Chanel: "A Fashion That Does Reach The Streets Is Not Fashion."
My friend clearing, Wyoming's preeminent perfumer (and I don't use that term lightly), has a tendency toward classic fragrances. I'm always looking for the weird ones and she's always gently steering me toward the good taste icons.
Chief among those icons is the Chanel fragrance collection:
Rue Cambon Collection (Gardenia, Cuir de Russie, Bois des Iles)
Une Fleur de Chanel
Thanks to C, today I have Chanel no. 5 elixir sensuel on the right wrist, Chanel no. 22 on the left.
To me, the hallmark attribute of Chanel no. 5 (a fragrance introduced in 1921, the first and flagship fragrance of Coco Chanel) is the initial sharp scent pricking of the aldehydes, the "sparkling" component.
The fragrance vehicle in this case, an oil "elixir," actually softens the aldehydes, to my nose -- so the initial experience of the fragrance is more pleasurable than usual. The scent's other notes include jasmine, rose, ylang-ylang, iris, amber, patchouli. I have always most enjoyed the drydown of these types of fragrances and this type -- an oil -- seems to hasten the development of the scent to drydown much more quickly. Within an hour, I am very aware of the amber and patchouli. Beautiful.
Chanel 22 (I'm wearing the edt) was introduced in 1928 with notes of white roses, jasmine, tuberose, lily of the valley, lilac, orange blossom. Although this doesn't list aldehydes as a note, it is a sharp fragrance to me, and I know from experience it will remain so for quite a while. There is an almost citric quality on my skin. Acidic floral.
Not to say it isn't lovely -- but it is a fragrance that needs to be worn a while, at least on me, before I get into its comfort zone. I get there, though, and it's worth waiting.
Of the other Chanels I've tried, Chanel 19 has that same sharp quality -- in this case, a green sharpness -- that, too, softens beautifully ... Cristalle suits its name, a sharply sparkling scent that claims citrus as its base.
Virtually every one of the Chanels I've tried (and I've tried all but the Cuir de Russie and the Gardenia) has a variation on that sharpness, after which one is rewarded with a gorgeously soft drydown.
I need to get brave and revisit all of them. It'll be worth it.
And I have an urban fragrance tale for you:
I'm waiting for a bus on Seattle's scenic northend Aurora Avenue. My way of dealing with the slices of life with which one is inevitably confronted on Aurora is to slightly unfocus my eyes, go inward and think about expensive perfume.
I do notice that a little gangsta has sidled up beside me at the bus stop. Oversize ball cap turned backwards, baggy T shirt, loose pants riding low.
But ... *snif* ... is that perfume? I take a closer look at my little homey and she's a girl.
"Excuse me," I say politely. "Are you wearing perfume? Is that Chanel Chance?"
And the tiny fresh-faced hoodlum turns toward me and says, equally politely, "Oh no, ma'am. Not Chance. Tommy Girl."