Chanel Bleu de Chanel : Fragrance Review

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Bleudechanel

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

If I were given Bleu de Chanel in a blank vial, I would have pegged it as a Hugo Boss flanker: a competent, commercial, focus group winner. Indeed, it is almost a shock to realize that this is a major masculine Chanel launch. While Chanel masculines are not of the same caliber as its feminine fragrances, they are invariably memorable: the velvety plum of Egoïste, the orange tinted woods of Antaeus, even the spicy warmth of Allure Homme. Bleu de Chanel, on the other hand, does not charter new  directions; instead, it relies on the market winning combination of citrus, aromatics, marine notes and woods.

I am ambivalent about Bleu de Chanel for several reasons. On the one hand, the magnificent heritage of the house leads me to expect nothing but marvels and I take every disappointment very hard. On the other, I am aware of how conservative the masculine market can be, especially the younger men demographic that Chanel is trying to reach with Bleu de Chanel.

Original or not, Bleu de Chanel has succeeded in creating what it set out to do—a fresh, aromatic woody fragrance that can compete with other woody-aromatics on the market. Bravo, I say. It blends the metallic freshness of Allure Homme Sport with the spicy effervescence of Egoïste Platinum and Dior Homme Sport, liberally using citrus and lavender to create a vibrant top note supported by fougère and ozonic elements. The effect is bright, vivid, and clean. This contrasts pleasantly with the ambery-woody core of the composition. The subtle sweetness of coumarin and the mossy-musky softness of the base set off the crisp dryness of ambers. The ozonic note runs through the body of the fragrance, conveying a fresh, clean message from the first inhale to the late drydown.

Like all Chanel fragrances, Bleu de Chanel possesses quality, the rarest of ingredients these days. Its raw materials are excellent, from the bright fizz of bergamot in the top notes to the earthy vetiver in the base.  Would I recommend it to a 20 something friend who wants to try something other than Axe? Yes, without a doubt! To those who want something different, there are always Chanel’s classics. Luckily, everyone has a choice.

Bleu de Chanel includes notes of bergamot, lemon, grapefruit, “deep blue sea accord”, peppermint, frankincense, pink pepper, nutmeg, ginger, jasmine, cedar, vetiver, patchouli, and labdanum.

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38 Comments

  • Mark C: Great review, V! So glad to see you writing more. I completely agree with you on Bleu de Chanel. It is not anything new, but it is nice for what it is. I would wear it if someone gave me a bottle. I wouldn’t purchase it myself though. November 3, 2010 at 7:59pm Reply

  • Carla: I wonder what you think of Cologne du Parfumeur from Guerlain. Is it another safe masculine? I haven’t smelled it. I did smell Bleu, and agree with you. November 4, 2010 at 10:50am Reply

  • Karl: Disappointing! I am not even going to say anything else. 🙁 November 4, 2010 at 7:35pm Reply

  • Marla: I haven’t smelled the fragrance, but I enjoyed reading your review. As always, you describe the fragrance really well and your critique is interesting. I did see the ad on youtube, which I really liked. November 4, 2010 at 9:51pm Reply

  • Aromacasa: Chanel is going down deeper and deeper trying to catch the trend line. They’d better try to set their own as it was before. Bleu de Chanel is a great shame. November 5, 2010 at 5:21am Reply

  • sweetlife: “something better than Axe”

    Hee! Hee! November 5, 2010 at 11:24am Reply

  • Charlie (London): I was expecting a work of art, but Bleu is little more than a good illustration; technically competent, convincingly drawn, high quality but with no mystery to unfold. I sprayed Sycomore onto my other wrist – just to remind myself how great this great House really can be.

    No doubt it will sell by the caseload this Christmas… November 6, 2010 at 8:48am Reply

  • Victoria: Mark, it is just not possible to be creative with the big commercial launches, mostly because the brands are not willing to take a risk. Everyone’s time horizons are so short. November 6, 2010 at 9:12am Reply

  • Victoria: Carla, Cologne du Parfumeur is pleasant, but not particularly outstanding. I would rather go for Tom Ford Neroli Portofino, or cologne from Chanel’s Les Exclusifs. November 6, 2010 at 9:16am Reply

  • Victoria: Karl, it is definitely disappointing. November 6, 2010 at 9:17am Reply

  • Victoria: Marla, thank you.
    Chanel ads are among the best! November 6, 2010 at 9:17am Reply

  • Victoria: Aromacasa, let’s hope that their next big feminine will be special! November 6, 2010 at 9:18am Reply

  • Victoria: A, I know that they sound very low market, but you would be surprised how much research and effort goes into developing Axe fragrances! Still, not the best benchmark for Chanel. 🙂 November 6, 2010 at 9:19am Reply

  • Victoria: Charlie, yes, paired with that great ad and commercials, I can imagine that Bleu would do quite well. Funny, I also reached for Sycomore as an antidote immediately after wearing Bleu. 🙂 November 6, 2010 at 9:20am Reply

  • Olfactoria: It is so sad that the great perfume houses are going the easy and safe path, instead of blazing a trail befitting a house with such a history as Chanel. Bleu is, as you say, quite nice, too bad Chanel is content with “quite nice” these days…

    Thank you for your wonderful blog, It is a great resource! November 6, 2010 at 4:25pm Reply

  • aromacasa: Victoria, I’m seriously doubt about the quality of new Chanel release. Chance and Chance Eau Tendre killed my hopes)) November 7, 2010 at 7:57am Reply

  • Victoria: Olfactoria, you are right, that is the most disappointing part. November 8, 2010 at 9:10am Reply

  • Victoria: Aromacasa, hope springs eternal! 🙂 November 8, 2010 at 9:10am Reply

  • Persolaise: I thought Bleu was worse than disappointing. It SHOULD be possible to create a fresh, aromatic fragrance that isn’t utterly moronic, especially if you’ve got the resources and experience that Chanel have at their disposal.

    One question: do you really think younger men are more conservative than their older counterparts? Do you mind if I ask which perspective you’re writing from? USA? UK? Elsewhere? November 8, 2010 at 1:32pm Reply

  • Victoria: According to most marketing studies in the US, younger group tends to be the most conservative in their scent preferences, meaning that they would prefer riding the trend, rather than experimenting with something new. As ironic as it seems. In Europe, the pattern is not dissimilar. Now, marketing research is marketing research, make what you will of that, but these findings fuel the fashion and fragrance brands’ decisions in terms of their product launches. November 8, 2010 at 1:58pm Reply

  • Tom: What to say about Bleu? More or less accidentally I noticed it a few weeks ago. I entered the shop, excited to realize they launched something new. There was a Chanel representative, she handed me the dark blue vial and after getting a first impression I had to ask her if Jacques really created this one…Obviously Chanel itself knows very well this isn’t a masterpiece like Egoiste because there is no big marketing campaign (at least nothing what came to my attention). I think it’s quite normal you have overcharged expectations sort of when it comes to Chanel. So after some weeks of wearing it I found out that it needs a different view on Bleu. Me too was thinking Hugo Boss first. HB made some interesting scents in the mid 80s. And that’s exactly the way you have to see Bleu. It’s simply the best early to mid 80s perfume ever made. Ok, it comes out some decades too late, lol. But if you think about it (not the first impression but after few hours) it’s really an astonishing quintessence of male scents of this time. So I guess one of his design goals definitely was creating a vintage 80s thing, not so much the next Egoiste.

    Sorry for my bad English.

    Tom November 10, 2010 at 6:11am Reply

  • Tom: am I allowed to post links? Here a tiny clip with Jacques Polge http://www.basenotes.net/threads/258558-Brief-interview-with-Jacques-Polge-on-Bleu-de-Chanel November 10, 2010 at 6:12am Reply

  • March: V, I guess … I was disappointed they used such a great name (and a great opportunity) for this scent, although I agree it does smell very nice, the sort of thing I’d give as a gift to my nephew, trying to lure him away from Lacoste. But I do understand everything can’t be, and isn’t, designed for those who want something “different.” BTW I got my husband the Allure PH Edition Blanche which I think smells wonderful, if not groundbreaking, and he likes it very much. November 10, 2010 at 7:45am Reply

  • Victoria: Tom, there are so excellent Hugo Boss fragrances, of course. The damascone rich Baldessarini is one of my favorites. Very striking!
    Your point of view on Bleu is very interesting, I have to say, particularly since the 80s style is something I glimpse in many feminine launches too (smell Lady Million on a scent strip, which slows down the evaporation and see what I mean.) November 10, 2010 at 7:59am Reply

  • Victoria: Tom, you can post links, they just do not get activated automatically. Thanks! November 10, 2010 at 8:00am Reply

  • Victoria: March, the first thing I thought hearing of Bleu de Chanel was that it might be a relaunch of the vintage Trio. From that point of view, I am disappointed that they used the name for some other project, the result of which is not that memorable.
    Allure Pour Homme Edition Blanche is excellent! Almost wish that it were the pillar brand instead of Allure Pour Homme. November 10, 2010 at 8:03am Reply

  • March: lol — PS, here’s the text in the ad I’m looking at on the left of your site:
    [edited by Victoria: sorry this made my ads go crazy 🙂 ] November 10, 2010 at 3:05pm Reply

  • Victoria: March, oh, the joys of random google ads! 🙂 I love it when I write about India and especially my wedding, I keep getting ads for online Indian marriage services. LOL!
    P.S. Sorry to do this, but I edited the wording of that ad in your message. It keeps bringing up all sorts of nonsense, and I worry that there is even more than I do not see (and cannot block!) November 10, 2010 at 5:44pm Reply

  • March: Goodness, V, I’m so sorry, I didn’t even think about my making it worse! For what it’s worth: I see none of it on my computer, which somehow seems to block all that stuff better. My husband’s computer, which is theoretically set up just like mine (same spam block, using Firefox), all that foolishness leaks through. November 11, 2010 at 8:57pm Reply

  • Victoria: March, no need to apologize at all! It actually really made me laugh. November 12, 2010 at 6:36pm Reply

  • Nick: I disagree a bit about “bright, vivid, and clean”. Yes it is bright and vivid for the first several hours, but its later on (4-5 hours or smth), when the aroma really unfolds for me, and then there’s nothing bright or vivid about it, instead its becoming unclear, hard to catch, and totally magnetic. I bought this thing for a first (!) date with some very very special girl, who is very straight in her feelings and probably hard to impress with such tricks as perfume, and I’d say that she went completely crazy about that thing, I couldn’t take her face (nose, lips, everything) of the place where I’ve sprayed perfume, it wasn’t even fair, on the other hand now I’m not that sure if she liked me or the Bleu 🙂 November 21, 2010 at 4:17pm Reply

  • electronic cigarette: What to say about Bleu? More or less accidentally I noticed it a few weeks ago. I entered the shop, excited to realize they launched something new. There was a Chanel representative, she handed me the dark blue vial and after getting a first impression I had to ask her if Jacques really created this one…Obviously Chanel itself knows very well this isn’t a masterpiece like Egoiste because there is no big marketing campaign (at least nothing what came to my attention). I think it’s quite normal you have overcharged expectations sort of when it comes to Chanel. So after some weeks of wearing it I found out that it needs a different view on Bleu. Me too was thinking Hugo Boss first. HB made some interesting scents in the mid 80s. And that’s exactly the way you have to see Bleu. It’s simply the best early to mid 80s perfume ever made. Ok, it comes out some decades too late, lol. But if you think about it (not the first impression but after few hours) it’s really an astonishing quintessence of male scents of this time. So I guess one of his design goals definitely was creating a vintage 80s thing, not so much the next Egoiste. December 23, 2010 at 12:46am Reply

  • amber: hi, i am looking for chanel bleu cologne but what im interested is in a pack that has a perfume, aftershave and similar stuff. i have to give it as a present and a quick response would be helpful.

    thanks 🙂 May 21, 2012 at 11:10am Reply

    • Victoria: I think that macy’s might carry it. May 21, 2012 at 12:35pm Reply

  • Parfem: My favourite fragrance to have come out of recent years i this gem. It is fresh enough for me to wear in summer, but heavy enough for going out. It is also a nice change from the old school classic fragrances that remind me far too much of my principal from primary school, yuck. It also has an interesting mix of notes – pink peppercorn, nutmeg, ginger and citrus make the fragrance well balanced. It also wears very well and last a long while on the skin. I especially love the magnetic cap of the bottle, a nice Chanel touch. January 9, 2013 at 5:28am Reply

  • david lincoln brooks: This review has stated my thoughts on BLEU perfectly. It does not tread new ground— it reminds me a good bit of the 1990’s scents NEW WEST, Lagerfeld PHOTO, DUNE (hommes), COOL WATER (hommes), and other recent “marine” and “blue” scents. What saves it from being a simple “me too” fragrance– almost shameful for a CHANEL release— is, as this article states, its high quality of ingredients, intensity of scent (even in the EDT), and its faultless blending and skin development. The ginger and nutmeg spice notes also propel the mixture into something special and different, giving it a kinship with traditional spicy fougeres like Houbigant FOUGERE ROYALE. A great outdoorsy, clean marine fougere best for a young man. May 1, 2013 at 1:26pm Reply

    • Victoria: Yes, definitely! I’ve been smelling it a lot lately, and I always enjoy its presence. It’s not a daring, groundbreaking scent, but it wears very well. May 1, 2013 at 2:59pm Reply

  • Todd: Someone actually wrote “Bleu de Chanel is a great shame”. Too many people here are getting a little over dramatic abiut this scent. It’s not extremely horrible and has pretty positive reviews on the website Bassnotes and Fragrantica. It appears the scent snobs on this site hate anything that isn’t the latest/greatest scent that’s only worn by a selct few. One the mass enjoy a fragrance it becomes generic and unworthy of a positive review. I enjoy Bleu de Chanel and I own fragrances from Creed, Acha Di Parma, Pnhaligen’s, etc. it has a nice frsh and citrusy that turns into a classy woodsy finish during the dry down. If you’re a fragrance snob you’ll hate it. Average mortals will enjoy it. September 13, 2016 at 1:34pm Reply

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