Chanel Egoiste and Egoiste Platinum : Fragrance Review

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Why is the idea of smelling “as if you’ve just come out of the shower” so alluring? If American women want to smell “sexy clean” (a very common client request!), American men are not far behind. The idea of a clean, “just out of the shower” sensation is the reason that the masculine fragrance market, both in the US and in Europe, is dominated by fresh, marine, citrusy blends. No wonder, Dior Homme with its lush iris note was such an avant-garde launch in 2005! Despite the generally conservative masculine market, some masculine scents reveal facets and combinations that are truly inspiring. One such fragrance is Chanel Égoïste, which was created by Chanel in-house perfumer Jacques Polge in 1990.

chanel-egoiste

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.

Égoïste

Rated 4.5 out of 5.0

Égoïste Platinum

Rated 4.5 out of 5.0

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25 Comments

  • minette: i love egoiste – it reminds me of a roughed-up bois des iles. in fact, i can’t wear it without my mind flashing on bois (possibly my favorite chanel). even though i’m a woman, i wear egoiste. i feel quite special, edgy and strong when i do. it’s especially good when the weather is damp and cool.

    don’t know the platinum; it sounds like something that might bore me. September 27, 2010 at 7:43pm Reply

  • Boisdejasmin: Minette, I wear Egoiste too time to time, and I really enjoy its plummy-woody richness! You are right about Bois des Iles connection (that happens to be my favorite Chanel too, rivaling Chanel No 19!) September 27, 2010 at 8:32pm Reply

  • sweetlife: Ugh, that obsession with “clean”! And isn’t “sexy-clean” kind of an oxymoron? Sometimes I think (or rather, hope) that the obsession with clean is just a function of having no vocabulary, and thus no possibility to imagine anything else desirable. Clean is safe. One showers before a hot date–maybe that’s the sexy part? Or maybe, the shower…after the hot date? (But why all this rush to the showers. Why not linger in bed awhile? 😉 September 28, 2010 at 12:11pm Reply

  • sweetlife: P.S. I do adore that commercial. September 28, 2010 at 12:12pm Reply

  • Boisdejasmin: A, I also do not quite see the connection. They strike me as oxymoronic too. Especially when one talks about scent! September 28, 2010 at 10:27pm Reply

  • Boisdejasmin: Oh, I forgot to mention, do watch the Egoiste Platinum commercial as well. It is quite good! September 28, 2010 at 10:28pm Reply

  • Carla: Thank you for this pleasure in the middle of my day – excellent perfume review (scent description and a little history) as an introduction to a scent I’ve never tried, plus fun commercial. I have passed over Egoiste many times. I now really look forward to a sniff. (Bois des Iles!) The name is fascinating. It usually means “selfish” but doesn’t have exactly the same connotations to the French as selfish does: not quite so negative. And the commercial was brilliant! I always loved that music from Romeo and Juliet. Thank you! September 29, 2010 at 6:45am Reply

  • Carla: On second though, egoiste may be better translated as “self-centered” and not selfish. September 29, 2010 at 6:47am Reply

    • Vince: No. Égoiste is selfish. Self-centered is égocentrique. I’m french. June 25, 2012 at 5:47am Reply

  • Boisdejasmin: Carla, thank you. Prokofiev’s score for Romeo and Juliet is one of my favorite pieces of music, and I love the ballet for this reason, despite the fact that it is not the easiest score for a choreographer to work with (and there is so little actual dancing for the ballerina!) If you ever have a chance, please watch the recording of Alessandra Ferri dancing the part. It is heartbreakingly beautiful!
    If you have not smelled Bois des Iles, please try it, an incredible fragrance in the style of its era. September 29, 2010 at 8:05am Reply

  • Lynn Morgan: Perhaps the American obsession with smelling “clean” is incomprehensible to Europeans because they have trashed their sense of smell with horrendously foul cigarette smoke for so many generations! Add to that the inability of some cultures to grasp the concepts of deodorant, shampoo and daily showers, and it all adds up to some seriously funky subway rides, and no Virginia; it is not in the least bit sexy unless you have read waaaay too much Henry Miller or you are George Michael, and apparently associate the smell of public bogs with a good time. Clutch the pearls. May I direct your attention then, to “Boudoir”, a devastatingly rude fragrance by Dame Vivienne Westwood, the Godmother of Punk herself: Boudoir smells like roses, bubble gum and…. estrogen. Imagine stumbling out the backseat of a Mustang convertible at 4 am, and you’re about to be grounded got life, young lady! Lolita just broke curfew. Westwood, ever the provocateur says her intention was to make a frarance that smelled like freshly showered…..vagina. (When it doubt, be clinical.)I think it is hot all to be damned: it smells like recklessness and over active hormones, which is probably much the same thing, but the fragrance was not a hit on the puritanical side of the pond, and they no longer sell it at Bloomingdale’s, more’s the pity. I think there must be something to Dame Vivienne’s vagina theory though, because I tried it on for a gay friend and he reacted like Count Dracula to a crucifix! It made me feel like I was out on the prowl, so I won’t be wearig it when I party with him and the boys. “Boudoir” is not a scent for everybody (or even just anybody), but I would expect nothing less from the woman who accpted her knighthood from the Queen while going commando. Rock on with your bad self, Vivienne! September 29, 2010 at 7:29pm Reply

  • Carla: I danced seriously until age 16 (ballet), and Ferri was one of my favorites in the late 80’s and early 90’s. I love American Ballet Theatre for their classical ballets. (I think Ferri remained with ABT.) Boston Ballet did a wonderful Romeo and Juliet a couple of years ago. The costumes and sets were beautiful. Thanks for the video recommendation. Now, with a toddler and as an expat in Germany, I miss going to the theater, but watching at home is a good idea. Anyway, I have tried Bois des Iles from a sample (EdT, I think), and still can’t decide between it and Ormonde Woman. It’s so hard to tell from little samples. Plus, I don’t know which concentration of Bois des Iles I’d like best. I must go to Chanel here in Hamburg – I think there’s one – and try again. Thank you! September 30, 2010 at 2:13am Reply

  • Marsha: Egoiste must need to be sprayed and not dabbed, because I just have a small sample and it doesn’t last very long on me. However, I will never, never forget that commercial! The first time I saw it, my reaction was *What the hell was that?* October 1, 2010 at 9:59am Reply

  • Boisdejasmin: Lynn, yet, these same Europeans with the trashed sense of smell nonetheless produced some of the greatest fragrances we know (and Boudoir as well for that matter, a fragrance signed by a wonderful French perfumer Martin Gras)! October 3, 2010 at 8:40pm Reply

  • Boisdejasmin: Carla, Bois des Iles and Ormonde Woman were quite different, but I would need to compare them side by side to see what was the main difference. I think of Ormonde Woman as a sweet woody oriental, with a heavy cedar note. October 3, 2010 at 8:41pm Reply

  • Boisdejasmin: Marsha, that was exactly my reaction when I first saw it!! October 3, 2010 at 8:42pm Reply

  • Rosabell: I re-smelled Egoiste yesterday- wonderful and divine. It remembers strongly Kouros, another formidable fragrance I absolutely adore on the right man. Unfortunately my husband dislikes them both. So, no chance for me to sniff them around. In my opinion they smell pretty much the same or at least they have a common vibe. I would also say they both mean to me a clean smell….Funny how things can be perceived differently ,in Europe and USA… Kouros and Egoiste have both a soapy classic attitude I associate with men, male bodies, baths, washing, white shirts, the (non)-colours black&white, a wonderful crystaline construction, an airy architecturethat lingers and project in the image of a perfect men. I find them particularly sexy and appealing and I don’t understand when people call them dirty, sultry,edgy, whatsoever :)) But I tell you what smells dirty, old and heavy to me- almost every Estee Lauder and especially Youth Dew, Knowing and Beautiful. I don’t understand how people can say Youth Dew and knowing are great for a woman ( !!!! ) and then say Kouros or Egoiste are “difficult or dirty”…. November 4, 2010 at 5:31am Reply

  • Victoria: Rosabell, it is just the difference in cultural olfactory preferences. In France, orange blossom is associated with babies and all things innocent (it is often used to scent baby products,) and in the US, the smell of innocence is lavender, citrus, rose–baby powder. Egoiste was not seen as dirty here, but the woody fragrances have a difficult time in the US market. These days Youth Dew and Knowing do not have currency among the younger consumers either. November 6, 2010 at 9:25am Reply

  • Tom: Yeah, no doubt this review was written from a US point of view. It has a really nice description but your verdict doesn’t match the meaning of Egoiste. In fact it was a success throughout Europe in early 90s. It was this or Fahrenheit when it comes to scents you can remember of this time, to smell on every thinkable location no matter if subway, the clubs, the business towers if you ask me. Really these two had some stalker’s qualities, lol. You should write a new version of this review, Egoiste is one of Jacques true masterpieces. November 10, 2010 at 6:34am Reply

  • Tom: Yeah, no doubt this review was written from a US point of view. It has a really nice description but your verdict doesn’t match the meaning of Egoiste. In fact it was a success throughout Europe in early 90s. It was this or Fahrenheit when it comes to scents you can remember of this time, to smell on every thinkable location no matter if subway, the clubs, the business towers if you ask me. Really these two had some stalker’s qualities, lol. You should write a new version of this review, Egoiste is one of Jacques true masterpieces. November 10, 2010 at 6:34am Reply

  • Victoria: Tom, Egoiste IS a masterpiece. In fact, I would go as far as to say that it is one of the best masculine fragrances of its decade. To me, market failure is not a verdict of anything. After Guerlain Nahema, one of the most ingenious fragrances, was a resounding market failure that forced Guerlain to sell a part of its real estate.
    As for Egoiste, I agree with you that it definitely sold better in Europe, but in the US, it was a flop. Some blamed the marketing of it, the name (which in English does not have any positive connotations,) some blamed the scent as being too sweet and sophisticated for American tastes. All in all, the entire franchise just did not make enough money for Chanel, which is why only three years later they introduced Egoiste Platinum in the US and Europe. Thankfully, Egoiste is still sold as well. November 10, 2010 at 8:13am Reply

  • Doris: Egoiste means selfisf (self-centered is egocentrique).
    Nice article, Egoiste Platinum and Kouros are my favorite perfumes…of course on the right person it’s better. November 23, 2010 at 7:07pm Reply

  • Victoria: Doris, thank you. I personally have changed my opinion on Kouros over the past few years. I am much more open to the animalic notes than I used to be in the past. A very special fragrance! November 23, 2010 at 7:18pm Reply

  • jb: I was able to spray test egoiste; and yes it is definitely a unique composition;

    there is a certain toasted quality of herbs, mix with wood and vanilla sweetness to my nose

    this is one of my favorite masculines together with habit rouge; good thing egoiste is still available for sale February 2, 2014 at 5:38am Reply

  • Natalia P: I LOVE Egoiste, but not the platinum version. Its my favorite masculine perfume, alongside Dior Homme.
    As I am not an expert I cant explain better but there is a base note in ALL men’s perfume that I hate. For example, Terre d’Hermes I like, but then comes that common note again that I cant identify (yet) and all the work goes down the drain…
    And Egoiste doesnt have that! Its original, its perfect.
    Id give it 4 stars, in my amateur view of the subject. October 21, 2014 at 8:23pm Reply

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