Chanel : Les Exclusifs – Eau de Cologne

Created by : Jacques Polge

Date : 1929/2007

Genre : Eau de cologne (best in class)

Concentration : eau de cologne

Chanel’s über-class Eau de Cologne was on my radar a very long time before I decided to spend the money to buy it.  I knew it would be good… although I didn’t know that it would be THIS good!  You see, I had tested a sample which I received from a mail order service several years ago and I remember it being perfection… but then I tucked that thought away in my memory and kept waiting for the right moment.  I don’t know why I waited so long.  I guess I got distracted.

According to the Chanel website, this 2007 version is Jacques Polge’s reinterpretation of the original of 1929.  Then the marketing copy goes on to say… “The highest-quality citrus fruits have been used in the composition of this cheerful and dynamic Eau de Cologne. Mandarin Orange and Bergamot unite their zesty freshness with airy notes of Neroli. A generous and deliciously floral Cologne, for a radiant celebration of summer.”  All of this is absolutely not true… or rather, it is true but highly understated.  This is THE eau de cologne… every other eau de cologne which I have tested in the past pales in comparison except maybe Hermès’ Eau d’Orange Verte and the Guerlains (of course).  Chanel’s bouquet of quality citrus oils composed of lemons, limes, and oranges literally dance around in the top and middle notes… it’s absolute perfection.  The floral heart acts as an out-of-focus backdrop and the musk drydown smells cleaner than clean laundry.  There is absolutely nothing bad I can say about this one.  Even the timing is right… two to four hours, which is what one would expect from an eau de cologne.

I’ve been layering this one with Chanel’s Pour Monsieur Bath and Shower Gel. FiveoaksBouquet suggested it might go well with Chanel No. 19 soap and of course, she is so right.  And you could add Pour Monsieur eau de toilette to it at the end of the day for an evening or Chanel No. 19… or No 5.  In fact, I don’t think there is any Chanel product that couldn’t be added to that exquisite quality musk (probably Firmenich’s Muscone, according to Luca Turin).

Anyone can wear this one… men and women of all ages.  It’s timeless.

So.. while trying to find an image of perfection, the “Let’s Face the Music and Dance” number from the movie Follow the Fleet (1936) came to mind featuring a quartet… Fred Astaire, Ginger Rogers, Irving Berlin for the music and Bernard Newman who designed the gown!  When I think of perfection, I think of this number (even though the image is reversed, it is still perfect).

Estée Lauder : Azurée

Created by : Bernard Chant

Date : 1969

Genre : Citrus leather

Concentration : eau de parfum

Save perhaps Ernest Beaux, is anyone better at making leather scents than Bernard Chant?  There is?  Well I haven’t met him!  Of course, I haven’t met Bernard Chant either but when it comes to leather fragrances, no one comes close… imagine Aramis, Cabochard and Azurée… a citrus leather marvel that waters the mouth and just smells luxurious!  But this leather isn’t the grey leather of Cuir de Russie… it’s the sepia-tinged variety bringing to mind traditional woody notes instead of iris.

Azurée’s opener is leather from the word “go” with veins of bergamot and other citrus notes… perhaps orange.  Jean-Daniel, my favourite SA, kept sniffing the scent strip saying, “there’s something floral in there… what is it???”  Turns out his nose was correct with listed jasmine in the topnotes and rose in the middle notes, according to the Estée Lauder website.  Bottom notes are patchouli, moss and amber.  It didn’t surprise me to see patchouli in there… Bernard Chant also being the creator of Aromatics Elixir, another patchouli-based beauty!

Azurée is rich, distinctive and unapolagetic. When I got to work on Friday and a colleague asked me what I was wearing, I knew that this one would move to my top ten in very short order.  So if you like to be noticed, this one’s got throw!

Falling in love again,
Never wanted to.
What am I to do…
I just can’t help it.

Wearing Azurée, Marlene Dietrich’s closing lyrics from her iconic 70s concert tour came to mind… not only because Marlene Dietrich is EXACTLY the kind of woman that would have worn Azurée but also because I was just absolutely smitten with it.  Not available in Canada (anyone at Estée Lauder reading this???) Azurée was a gift from my sister who purchased it on a recent trip to New York City.  My precious bottle comes from Macy’s.

Gender-bending Azurée can be worn by both men and women… on a man it would smell sensual.  On a woman it would smell sensational.  And so my love affair with all things Lauder continues.

I’m ending this post with Marlene Dietrich singing a Pete Seeger tune that is as relevant today as it was 40 years ago.

Have a nice week everyone!

Top image : 1950 photo of Marlene Dietrich by Milton H. Greene

Guerlain : Aqua Allegoria Pamplelune

Created by : Mathilde Laurent

Date : 1999

Genre : Citrus (grapefruit)

Concentration : eau de toilette

I don’t know who said “Pizza is like sex; when it’s good, it’s terrific and when it’s bad… it’s still pretty good,”  but they could have said the same about Guerlain because certainly when Guerlain is good, it IS terrific and the rest of the statement applies as well.

I started a new job this week and I wanted something new to wear.  My latest acquisition was a bottle of Aqua Allegoria Pamplelune which I purchased for my perfume lecture at the Eleanor London Côte Saint-Luc library.  And so when the very smart participants at the library oohed and aahed as I passed around the Pamplelune scent strip, I knew I had my perfume.

To say that Pamplelune is a simple grapefruit fragrance is accurate AND unfair.  As with all Guerlains, you just know that there are many other subliminal ingredients that help make up the fragrance but are not always readily identifiable.  For instance, it didn’t surprise me one bit that neroli and petit grain notes are listed by Guerlain as ingredients.  So… it’s a lot more than simple but it comes off as uncomplicated, effortless and elegant.   

Pamplelune doesn’t smell like a grapefruit smells… it smells like a grapefruit TASTES!  It’s fresh, clean and wakes up the senses.  It goes on like a pink grapefruit and stays there all day but it doesn’t go sour like so many citrus scents do after awhile. 

For me, this is one of the great current eau de colognes… fresh, glowing and classy… even the bottle is beautiful!

Have a great week!

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