Égoïste is based on the classical orchestration of woody and oriental accords. It is said to be derived from a limited edition called Bois Noir, which was introduced by Chanel briefly in 1987. Although the fragrance is inspired by a classical theme, Polge rendered it in a novel manner. The bright herbal accord of thyme, rosemary, lavender and sage is set against sweet plums and candied apricots, which in turn are supported by a dramatic woody backdrop. A prominent vetiver note lends a certain bitter chocolate effect, which heightens the baroque richness of the composition. The contrast among these accords produces a multilayered effect, which lasts from the top to the drydown.
Alas, Égoïste was a market failure, as its plummy and gilded form did not fit at all with the streamlined, “shower clean” trends of the 1990s. As a result, in order to recover at least something from the Égoïste franchise, Chanel presented Égoïste Platinum in 1993. One can hardly find a better example of a modern fougere construction, which relies on the hallmark combination of the aromatic-citrusy sparkle of bitter herbs and aroma-material dihydromyrcenol, the green pineapple flash of allyl amyl glycolate, and the woody amber dryness of Ambroxan.
It is clean, minimalistic, with just enough flair to be noticeable, yet without an overly dramatic character. Égoïste Platinum is everything that Égoïste is not. As much as I admire Égoïste Platinum for the beauty of its materials and the elegance of its composition, it is reminiscent of dozens other launches, whereas Égoïste still retains its original and unique character.
The Égoïste television advertisement directed by Jean-Paul Goude is one of the most outrageous, brilliant and dramatic examples of commercial marketing. Please watch it, if you have not seen it before!
Chanel Égoïste includes notes of Sicilian tangerine, Brazilian rosewood, coriander, rose, sandalwood, vanilla, and ambrette seed. Égoïste Platinum features lavender, rosemary, petitgrain, clary sage, geranium, galbanum, vetiver, cedarwood, labdanum, and treemoss. They are widely available at Chanel counters and online.