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.