Chanel : Bleu

Created by : Jacques Polge

Date : 2010

Genre : Woody fougère

Concentration : eau de toilette

Chanel perfumes are over-represented in my collection.  That’s because they’re generally beautiful and not overly expensive.  When men tell me they don’t like perfume but would like to wear fragrance on occasion, I recommend Chanel’s Pour Monsieur.  Pour Monsieur goes anywhere, anytime and is suitable for all ages.  So when I heard that Chanel was launching Bleu, their new masculine, I was excited.

At the start, Bleu was nice.  The citrus-wood combination had me hoping for a few minutes there that the blog reviews I had read were unusually harsh… but no.  Within minutes, Bleu had morphed into an opaque, dark-brown two-dimensional wood fragrance with a fougère base.  Bleu had morphed from a Chanel into a “I know people in the mob” hairy-knuckled Gucci.  And unfortunately, there are literally dozens, if not hundreds, in this genre.  And, that’s Bleu’s downfall.  It’s common.  It’s not what we expect from Chanel.

As a composition, Bleu is downright chilly and dark.  Not that I’m against dark… I like some of the the quirky, medievel cathedral fragrances that Bertrand Duchaufour did for L’Artisan Parfumeur.  But this one… well… it doesn’t work.  It lacks lustre.  I think it makes its older brother, the much-maligned Allure Homme, better because Allure’s warm amber base softens the tough, woody heart.  In fact, I’m willing to bet that Allure sales increase as men approach the Chanel counter to try Bleu out and decide that Allure is the more interesting of the two… or maybe even go back to a classic fougère that I tested recently and found wonderful 30 years after I bought my first bottle… Azzaro pour Homme.

I’m glad I’m not Jacques Polge, Chanel’s in-house nose.  Mr. Polge has the near-impossible task of protecting Chanel’s legacy perfumes and yet come up with new scents that speak to changing trends.  He keeps No. 5 crisp, Pour Monsieur classy and No. 19 edgy… and still has time to come up with scents like Chanel No. 5 Eau Première, which is beautiful beyond belief.  In my books, the man is a genius.  I wouldn’t want his job… but I’m glad he is around to do it.

There is one last thing.  When I look at the advertisement with fragrance face Gaspar Ulliel, it’s clear that I am not Chanel Bleu’s target audience.  So maybe, the young guys will like it.  And if not, they may discover that Allure Homme isn’t as bad as its reputation makes it out to be.

My final word on Bleu?  “Fuhgeddaboudit!”

Image : Al Pacino and Johnny Depp in Donnie Brasco (1997)

Leave a comment


  1. Larry G

     /  September 30, 2010

    A flawlessly wonderful review!!!!!! You nailed it.

  1. Women love Bleu, men love David Yurman « The Perfume Chronicles

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