Chanel Cristalle EDT and EDP : Perfume Review

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Cristalle

Rated 4.5 out of 5.0

Star rating: 5 stars–outstanding/potential classic, 4 stars–very good, 3 stars–adequate, 2 stars–disappointing, 1 star–poor.

Eau de Toilette

There are some fragrances that one cannot forget, even if for one reason or another, the love affair is suspended, and the bottle is not replaced. When I moved to the US, my perfume bottles were left at the old apartment and, alas, never retrieved. Cristalle was one of them. And then recently I stopped by a Chanel counter and reached for the slim oblong bottle. As the mist fell upon my skin, I was immediately swayed by its luminous clarity. Of course, I had to have a bottle right away.

Cristalle Eau de Toilette was created in 1974 by Henri Robert and Edmond Roudnitska for Chanel. The name is quite appropriate, for the image of this fragrance is a brilliant light reflected from a perfectly flat plane of a well-cut diamond. The scattering of vivid green notes ranging from soft herbal bitterness of basil to tangy floral sweetness of petitgrain sets a velvety foil for the exuberant burst of lemon and bergamot. The intense verdancy of galbanum strings the shimmering citrus notes together, prolonging their effervescence.

The sensually earthy green notes lace the heart of hyacinth and jasmine and render these ordinarily heady floral chords filigree-like. While the top notes create an impression of an ice sculpture under the intense sunshine, the dry down presents something altogether different. In the base notes, oakmoss, with its sweetness redolent of powder and hay, is punctuated by wet roots smell of vetiver. Their classical pairing lends a somber, yet warm glow to the composition, making it unfold like some enchanted flower from the ancient myths.

Eau de Parfum

Rated 4.5 out of 5.0

Star rating: 5 stars–outstanding/potential classic, 4 stars–very good, 3 stars–adequate, 2 stars–disappointing, 1 star–poor.

In 1993, Jacques Polge created a new formulation of Cristalle, taking Henri Robert’s creation as a point of departure. While the Eau de Toilette is austere and mysterious, as befitting a chypre, The Eau de Parfum is sweeter and richer. The intense green note is rendered to be considerably softer, with the sweet warmth of mandarin replacing the astringent lucidity of bergamot. Juicy flesh of peach and melon permeates the layers of the composition, softening its aloof aspects and brining them from the shadow and into the light. Exotic opulence of ylang ylang and jasmine veils the heart and persists voluptuously in the dry down, despite being tempered by the earthy sweetness of vetiver and oakmoss.

Both the EDT and the EDP are well-composed fragrances, emphasizing different aspects of the composition, cool aloofness of chypre and fleshy radiance of floral, respectively. If you do not tend to like a combination of sweet fruit and flowers, Cristalle EDT should be your choice. On the other hand, EDP is the concentration to consider, if you find classical chypre too austere.

 

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28 Comments

  • parislondres: Hello V! Christalle is a very pretty fragrance indeed just as you describe them and I enjoyed wearing Cristalle EDT years ago. My mother prefers Polge’s creation the and wears the EDP. Some fragrances have been left behind in my life – as I like to move onto other perfumes and new phases in my life – however good that phase of my life may have been. I prefer not to re-purchase.
    Some of the exceptions as you may know include Jicky.
    Hope you are well.

    xoxo July 28, 2005 at 2:55am Reply

  • parislondres: PS Cristalle – oh dear where is my coffee!! July 28, 2005 at 2:56am Reply

  • julien: I have this one…so pleasurable in summer.
    A fresh note that lasts…what i prefer in the scent is the honeysuckle.
    The edt has something more “green” i think than the Edp wich is more citrus watered scent like in my opinion.
    The perfect scent for summer!:)

    Thanks again.
    Kisses dear. July 28, 2005 at 7:16am Reply

  • Victoria: Dear N, I know what you mean. I have some fragrances like that, however it is not the case with Cristalle for some reason. For the past ten years, I have been rotating so much that I doubt that I have a fragrance for any phase of my life over this period of time.
    xoxo

    Dear J, EDT is definitely greener, more vibrant. I prefer it, because I do not tend to like fruity notes, but I used to wear EDP as well.
    xoxo July 28, 2005 at 8:24am Reply

  • Felicia: Lovely review. I remembering wearing Cristalle years ago as well. I left it behind but your review makes me what to revist. I wore the EDT and am intrigued by the EDP. I also think it is quite clever to have different versions of the same “Named” product. I wonder how many out there purchase the EDP thinking it is just a more lasting version of the EDT. Interesting and I will seek both of these out for another try. Thank you for bringing this to my attention again. July 28, 2005 at 9:43am Reply

  • Robin: The EdT is one of the “fragrances of my youth”, and so I cannot make myself like the newer EdP, which is a nice enough scent in itself but seems to me to be missing the whole point of what Cristalle is about. July 28, 2005 at 9:44am Reply

  • Tania: Perhaps I ought to try the EDP, then. My only experience is of the EDT, and since the first time I’ve tried it, and the times I’ve attempted it since, it’s always struck me as too bright, too vivid, too sharp to wear. It’s good, but ostentatious, not my style. It is like olfactory bling. July 28, 2005 at 11:34am Reply

  • mreenymo: Ah, Cristalle!

    Cristalle reminds me of an upper East side woman in her late 20’s/early 30’s. She’s a classy, fashionable uptown girl!

    Whenever I want to feel that way and get NYC back in my bones (although I hail from the Upper West Side), I spritz on Cristalle. Lately, I’ve taken to spritzing the EDP first and then spritzing the EDT over it for extra “brightness.”

    I think the Chanels lend themselves quite well to layering. Not only do the Cristalles layer well, Coco and Coco Mlle. EDP layer well, too. For the life of me, I can’t figure out why I have been drawn to layering my Chanels, because I never really layered before. But there you have it!

    My dear friend, tearose, tried the coco/coco mlle. concotion, and declared me a “genius”! I think she just likes me a lot. :):)

    Love and hugs! July 28, 2005 at 12:46pm Reply

  • mreenymo: I mean “concoction”! I think parislondres and I have the same disease!

    Hugs! July 28, 2005 at 12:54pm Reply

  • Victoria: Felicia, I think that it is a very clever idea–they are too different products, emphasizing different aspects just enough to provide some interest, but not to the point of completely different character. I wonder how you like the EDP. I seem to reach for the EDT more though.

    Robin (from PA), now I feel the same way, but I used to wear the EDP too. I suppose that after retesting the fragrances again, I was struck at how perfectly the EDT was made and how appropriately constructed, given its name. It is just radiant and clear.

    Tania, I would be curious about your thoughts on the EDP. I think that it is even more ostentatious than the EDT, but perhaps the sweetness might mute the sharp notes you did not like. Please try and let me know what you think.

    Robin (from LA), I like how you weave in these images into your thoughts. Now, I just have to try layering combinations you suggested! I will report on my impressions.

    xoxo July 28, 2005 at 7:19pm Reply

  • Katie: Thanks for writing this – it seems like people are always asking which version they should buy and why. What a great post. July 29, 2005 at 12:03am Reply

  • Victoria: Katie, thank you very much. I am glad that it is helpful! July 29, 2005 at 1:44pm Reply

  • Romina: yes, THANK YOU for this post. I started with the EDT, which is as somebody said, always perfect and easy to wear. I picked up the EDP w/o realizing the back story, so dropped it, think the scent had changed for good. Doh. June 23, 2006 at 10:58pm Reply

  • Cher: I love, love, love Cristalle. The body lotion is amazing, and I have been wearing the EDP and the EDT for years. I do like the EDT better – it’s less “heavy”

    I have been having trouble finding it lately – what’s going on? I need more body lotion! August 9, 2006 at 11:17am Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: I have not seen the lotion for a long time. Have you checked with the counters? Or online discounters? August 9, 2006 at 11:30am Reply

  • Hedy in Birmingham: Had Cristalle EDP years ago. Walked through SAKS today and sprayed it on myself and absolutely fell in love, again! Bought a bottle and came home and ordered the lotion on-line from Perfume Distributor (for the lady who could not find it).LOVE….. September 6, 2006 at 6:32pm Reply

  • Lilly: Same experience hit me today : one smell of Cristalle EDP after years since the last splash of this perfume – and it struck me again. Bought the bottle right away and am now looking forward to indulging into the “good old times” 🙂 Great fragrance, very classy yet modern and definitely one of my all-time favourites. Have not known many scents that remain in my memory as clearly as this one. May 25, 2007 at 1:28pm Reply

  • Elaine in NY: I have been using Cristalle EDP since its inception and it is by far my favorite scent. Because I so love the pronounced jasmine note that is left after hours of wearing it, I sometimes spritz a little on my clothes the night before I wear them out the next day. Cristalle is really a scent I use to make a statement and it never fails to make me stand out from the crowd. December 4, 2007 at 4:25am Reply

  • Katherine: Dear V,

    A whiff of Cristalle EDP at the first Chanel perfume counter in Mumbai hit me like a wave of nostalgia for my college days when I would mooch samples in Filene’s. The scent, which I associate with confident youth, elegance and spring was still clinging to me when I went to your blog to see if you can explain the love affair and I was not mistaken. Thanks for the gorgeous review and for being there 🙂 March 4, 2011 at 10:07pm Reply

  • Victoria: Katia, oh, I can so relate to this experience. I recently smelled Vetiver de Guerlain on someone, and it was like being transported to my own college days with its excitement, crushes and other wonderful moments. It did not even matter that I was in some crowded place in the middle of NYC, freezing to death. On that moment, I was really there–library, a pile of books, summer… March 5, 2011 at 5:09pm Reply

  • pdxhb: Fantastic review and I am so happy to have found your blog! This article clears up my confusion about the reformulation in the 90s. I had a gift of a huge bottle Cristalle in the early 80s and wore it sometimes. It was never my signature yet when the bottle was done I missed it and didn’t find the same feeling in the samples I obtained. Likely I got ahold of the EDP. The EDT was so refreshing and clean but not too simple.

    Now I am in search of a new signature or “home base” as I wore Molinard de Molinard for 30 years or so. More floral than Cristalle to be sure but still a bright and clean feel. The reformulation of that is really a shame and so I search while waiting for some vintage eBay finds to get here. I am not sure what will serve as a good replacement for that one. August 25, 2011 at 9:07am Reply

  • Farnas: I am sure i am boring with this ,but i treasure your opinion so much-Can Cristalle be worn by men?:) February 21, 2015 at 8:52am Reply

    • Victoria: Of course! The EDT is a fresh chypre with a big dose of cologne. It would smell great on a guy. February 21, 2015 at 9:01am Reply

  • Anne: Thank you so much for sharing your knowledge and experience, I love reading your blog and learning!
    This might sound like a sacrilege or too “amateur”question : I love so much EdT but I am disappointed by its longevity, would it be too crazy or shameful to use them both? I mean, spray some EdP as a background for longevity, and add r refresh with EdT for some sharpness and brightness? Thanks a lot … May 26, 2015 at 4:49pm Reply

    • Victoria: A very good question! Yes, I think it would be a good combination, especially since both have a similar accord in common. In other words, they would harmonize well.

      If that doesn’t work, give Estee Lauder Jasmine White Moss a try. Between you and I, it’s just a copy of Cristalle, but it’s done really well. May 27, 2015 at 1:13am Reply

      • Hannah: This is basically what I do with Tubereuse Criminelle and untitled by MMM! I really only like the opening of Untitled, so I use Tubereuse Criminelle for depth and longevity.
        I think layering the EDP and EDP of the same perfume makes sense, especially in this case. May 27, 2015 at 2:30am Reply

        • Anne: Victoria, thank you for your input, I really consider you as an person of authority and experience! Plus I cannot really decide so far what I prefer, the sharpness of EdT, or the more “rounded” feel of EdP ….

          Hannah, do you mean in the case of Cristalle especially? June 2, 2015 at 7:24pm Reply

  • Polly: What a gorgeous review! Your site has become invaluable to me on my (relatively) new quest for all things fragrant. I wonder if I could ask a question in relation to the vintage edt – is the colour of the liquid different? I have an old bottle and am try to determine its age (no box, alas). The liquid is much darker than the lighter juice of today’s concentration… I’m hoping it hasn’t turned! P August 26, 2015 at 2:43am Reply

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