This won’t come across as at all original or unique, but it’s the truth: I have an obsession with all things Chanel. From the glamorous Grande Dame herself, to the storied history of the house, to the quilted leather handbags, to Karl Lagerfeld’s eccentricities, I just can’t get enough. With one exception: Chanel’s fragrances.
Possibly the most famous fragrance of all time, Chanel No. 5, just does not work for me. And I feel strangely guilty about it! Every time I’m out shopping at Sephora or Nordstrom, I feel compelled to try a spritz. It will be different this time! I convince myself. But I only ever end up with the same result: the scent of stale baby powder. I have no problem with powdery scents, and I don’t mind smelling a little ‘old lady’ either (I know some cool older ladies). The fact is, No. 5 just doesn’t smell *right* on me.
I’ve gotten similar results from Coco Mademoiselle and No. 19. The only mainstream Chanel fragrance that semi-works for me is Allure and even that isn’t a *love it* experience for me.
Enter: Les Exclusifs de Chanel. It took me an embarrassingly long time to discover Chanel’s Exclusifs line and I’ve only begun exploring it in earnest in the past several months. Based on my own scent preferences, I singled out Sycomore as my first Exclusifs sample.
Notes: vetiver, sandalwood, cypress, juniper, pink pepper.
Considering the name, it’s no surprise that Sycomore is all about doing an elegant woody fragrance. Vetiver is definitely the star of the show, evoking roots and forest undergrowth. There’s a considerable amount of dry smokiness here too. The entire effect is delicate, not dirty. It reminds me of a piece of bark peeling off a tree trunk.
It also has fabulous staying power on me. I recently wore it to my favorite French restaurant, which is a small affair with an open kitchen. I fully expected Sycomore to be obliterated by the cooking smells, but I was happy to note that it was still going strong on my wrist at the end of the night.
So, Sycomore is the first Chanel I’ve really fallen for. I’m currently experimenting with Cuir de Russie, and I have Coromandel and Bois des Iles on my to-try list. I’m hoping that Chanel fragrances & I can finally start getting along.
What are your experiences with Chanel? I’d love to hear from people who really enjoy No. 5, how does it work for you?