Star rating: 5 stars–outstanding/potential classic, 4 stars–very good, 3 stars–adequate, 2 stars–disappointing, 1 star–poor.
It is rare that a movie sequel outshines the original. More frequently, the plot feels strained, the characters tired and the ideas bland. In the case of flankers, the perfume version of cinematic sequels, the same holds true. The original Chloé—the 2008 original, I mean, not the 1975 bombshell–was a lychee spiked rose that smelled simultaneously sharp and cloying. Given this inauspicious association, I did not think that its flanker L’Eau de Chloé would be different. And how wrong I turned out to be! L’Eau de Chloé is a spicy green chypre, with a bold rose note. It has enough retro glamour to wear like a full length ball gown and enough modern simplicity to feel as comfortable as a silk slip.
At first, L’Eau de Chloé has a fizzy champagne-like quality, with the peppery sharpness of bergamot and leafy notes playing up that of rose petals. This pleasant tingling sensation then gives way to the warm chypre accord; the cool mossy notes intertwined with earthy patchouli serve as a sultry backdrop for the floral vignette. The floral part is mostly rose, with a touch of fresh lemony jasmine and lily of the valley. It is not a rich, honeyed blossom like Annick Goutal Rose Absolue, but rather a radiant modern flower along the lines of Stella McCartney. When combined with the woody and mossy notes, however, it becomes more complex and interesting.
In many ways, L’Eau de Chloé is a nod to the classics. The hints of great rose chypres like Jean Couturier Coriandre and Lancôme Magie Noire lie under its effervescent exterior. Its spicy petals remind me of Agent Provocateur, but L’Eau de Chloé is tame and well-behaved by comparison. This in no way diminishes its charm. As I was having some coffee outside, enjoying the generous caresses of the spring sun, I caught myself taking surreptitious sniffs of my L’Eau de Chloé redolent scarf—its scent was likewise tender, ebullient and spring-like.
L’Eau de Chloé has great tenacity, and even after several hours, the dry patchouli and sweet musk of its drydown linger on the skin, inviting others to lean in. It easily goes from day to evening, from an office setting to a late night party. Then again, as someone who does not have either a typical office job nor indulges in partying, I find that it simply smells great whatever the occasion. L’Eau de Chloé has enough character to be distinctive, but unlike the 1975 Chloé that announced the wearer before she herself could do so, it is subtle and understated. Now, if only more flankers were this good!
L’Eau de Chloé includes notes of citrus, rose, rosewater, and patchouli. Available at Saks 5th Avenue, Barneys, Berdorf Goodman, Neiman Marcus and other select retail locations.
Sample: my own acquisition