Chanel : Les Exclusifs – Coromandel

Created by : Jacques Polge and Christopher Sheldrake

Date : 2007

Genre : Patchouli amber

Concentration : eau de toilette

After being addicted to Coriandre for a couple of weeks, I decided to try some diversion therapy and my magic closet did not disappoint.  I remembered having worn and loving Coromandel so I gave the patchouli-centric marvel another try and it seduced me once again.

Now, you must know that I have two friends who wear straight up patchouli and I really don’t like it.  I don’t know where they buy it and I haven’t asked them but it smells like some kind of headshop essential oil.  A former friend used to mix it in with his shower gel so that it really reeked when he got close to me.  Thankfully, we were only friends and our get-togethers were mostly restaurant affairs where he sat across the table from me so I could eat without the patchouli.

In contrast, Coromandel couldn’t be more beautiful.  Its perfectly calibrated amber heart of vanilla, musk, benzoin and frankincense is topped off with a gorgeous patchouli veneer that stays fresh and interesting for several hours.  There are moments at the beginning when the vanilla sings slightly out of tune but the patchouli seems to keep everything in check and the sweetness subsides almost as quickly as you notice it.

My eau de toilette lasts me all day long and I NEVER tire of it.

If you are looking for a bottle of Coromandel, Chanel has strangely retired all the eau de toilette concentrations of their Exclusifs line and are offering Coromandel only as an eau de parfum.  I don’t know how much it has changed to the original, mine dates back to circa 2010, but it is certainly worth a try.

When Coco Chanel first saw a Chinese coromandel she thought she would “faint of happiness” and so she decorated her apartment above the 31 rue Cambon atelier with several coromandels.  What a lovely way to live!


From Coco Chanel’s apartment.

Serge Lutens : Ambre Sultan – guest review by Mario

The amber stone, not the accord.

The amber stone, not the accord. (click to enlarge)

Created by : Christopher Sheldrake

Date : 1993

Genre : Herbal amber

Concentration : eau de toilette

I was very happy that Normand asked me to review Ambre Sultan. It was my first experience with any Serge Lutens fragrance and I was very curious to experience this prestigious house.

After the spray, I was very disappointed with the smell of the fragrance, as it reminded me of a very old-fashioned snobby ambery concoction that a duchess might wear to the opera. Luckily, this first impression lasted only a few minutes before I got into the soul of this incredible fragrance.

Ambre Sultan is an amber in the rough, images of dust and soil went through my head. Although the amber accord and amber gems are two different things, AS is as far from the highly-polished gem of the same name as it can be! What I got from Ambre Sultan was much more the wood resin as it comes out of the tree… before it is polished by nature or by man into the gems used in jewellery today.

Ambre Sultan is very smoky and not unlike vetiver in that way. It is also herbal (it lists oregano as one of the main notes). It reminds one of dried oregano leaves. I was also surprised how natural this smoky-ambery fragrance smells… as to the smokiness and the herbs. If you like Sycomore, you will certainly be interested in this.

The amber is present throughout the day but I could not tell if I preferred the smoke or the amber as both gave me more pleasure than I expected. It was a long-lasting journey. At the end, the smoke dissipated to let a beautiful vanilla-amber impression that I stayed on my skin until I went to bed.

Thierry Mugler : A*Men Le Goût du Parfum / The Taste of Fragrance / Pure Chili (limited edition)

Great bottle!

Great bottle!

Created by : Unknown perfumer

Date : 2011

Genre : Spicy wood

Concentration : eau de toilette

This flanker is part of an A*Men series following Pure Malt and Pure Havane.  Actually, I know very little about the whole line (except for Angel and Angel edt, which I love) let alone two flankers, but a friend, Mario, brought me a sample of The Taste of Fragrance and insisted that I write a review.  When I asked him why he wouldn’t write the review himself, he wanted to know what a person not familiar with the A*Men line thought.  So… here I go… with my blank, uneducated mind.

This is not the kind of perfume I would wear but it is the kind that I WILL wear.  I was totally blown away.  A*Men The Taste of Fragrance is a warm, ambery woody scent laced with ginger and candied anise.  It’s an incredible combination.  The hot ginger and cool anise work together perfectly.  Other reviewers speak non-stop about the chili paste but I didn’t smell the chili at all, although I sure could feel it.  There is a “hotness” note in there which bumps up the “wow” factor.  I found this fragrance to be long-lasting and very sexy!

So… when I decided to wear it to this year’s Art Tattoo Montreal 2013 show, it made me feel confident AND totally rebellious, even though I don’t have any tattoos and after visiting the show for the past 10 years, it’s unlikely that I will… well, maybe just a little butterfly or a religious theme or marine or Old School or… wait for it… the SHALIMAR bottle!!!  Yesss!  What a great idea.  And then again, maybe not.

Enjoy the week!

Art Tattoo Montréal 2013 (click to enlarge)

Art Tattoo Montréal 2013 (click to enlarge)

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