Do you know the feeling when you try an outfit and can’t decide whether it suits you or not? You think, “maybe it would be fine if I were to add a different purse or wear my hair up…” Those are the kind of pieces that end up gathering dust in the closet. Perfume is not exactly like clothing, because some fragrances don’t cast their spell on you immediately, but as my recent experience with Chanel 1932 proved, sometimes the first instinct is the correct one.
I admit to having a certain reverence for Chanel. Its perfume collection includes some splendid gems like No 5, Bois des Iles, Cuir de Russie, and No 19, and even releases like Allure and Coco Mademoiselle have the kind of attention to quality that one rarely finds at department store counters. For this reason, I wasn’t ready to give up on 1932, a new addition to the Les Exclusifs collection, but when I first tried it on my skin I found it to be pale and limpid.
In my bid to give 1932 a proper chance, I wore it almost daily and kept a scented blotter on my desk for the past month. You see, I really tried! I didn’t fall in love, even though I enjoyed some elements of this soft iris perfume. The initial burst of grapefruit is bright and zesty. I especially love the wispy tendrils of jasmine caught among the iris roots and the soft moss touched up with creamy musk. The honeyed notes fleet about, recalling the sweetness of fresh tea roses and ripe pears.
I enjoy the elegance of the composition and the plush richness of iris, but on skin, it doesn’t sing. It doesn’t seem particularly new either. 1932 recalls the softness of 31 rue Cambon and the iris melody of 28 La Pausa, but it doesn’t smell distinctive enough to create its own strong image. It also doesn’t help that the fragrance is frustratingly fleeting. After an hour, I might as well not have bothered putting on any perfume.
Of course, it doesn’t mean that 1932 has little to recommend itself. It’s elegant and understated, and those who like their perfumes muted or prefer mild-mannered scents for work will enjoy its soft iris whispers.
If you too found 1932 wan, then I suggest trying No 5 Eau Première or the aforementioned 31 Rue Cambon (28 La Pausa is great, but just as fleeting as 1932), both of which are striking. Another option is Prada Infusion d’Iris, which is a buttery iris lit up by orange blossom–plenty of elegance as well as a hint of old Hollywood glamour.
Chanel 1932 Les Exclusif is available at Chanel boutiques and selected department stores counters.
Sample: my own acquisition