When Chanel announced the launch of Beige, Jersey and 1932 in Extrait de Parfum, purportedly the richest and more luxurious concentration, I was excited. Although neither Jersey nor 1932 caught my attention in the Eau de Toilette versions (Beige, by contrast, is one of my staples), Chanel often has a few surprises up its sleeve, and I waited impatiently till my local boutique received the testers.
There was some speculation as to the reason why Chanel launched the “deluxe” versions of particular perfumes in the Les Exclusifs collection. Shouldn’t the exquisitely beautiful 28 La Pausa, sultry Coromandel or polished 31 Rue Cambon receive more attention? Chanel itself said something about the noble materials and other romantic things, but the truth is that Beige, Jersey and 1932 are the best sellers in the collection, and it made more business sense to focus on them first.
I started with 1932, because the EDT held so much promise, but its etude of iris wrapped in jasmine petals melted within minutes on my skin and turned into a slick of musk and toasted almonds. I tried 1932 again and again, hoping that I simply didn’t get a chance to figure it out. At some point, I ran out of patience and moved on.
On paper, the parfum is the answer to my iris-jasmine dreams. It is very close to the EDT–the shimmer of aldehydes (materials that smell like starched linen and feel like champagne bubbles), the velvety embrace of iris, the sweetness of musk, and the spicy balsams and vanilla. The composition indeed is brighter, more saturated, with iris emphasized and highlighted. 1932 has been dressed to the nines, but at the same time, it’s mellow and understated. If Chanel were to make the perfume equivalent of a little black dress, this would be it.
But a gorgeous dress on a hanger can turn into an ill-fitting outfit. 1932 parfum on my skin is just as disappointing as the EDT. There is a suave interlude that makes my iris loving heart skip a beat, but after half an hour, I’m left with the same pale cloud of musk, pale flowers and a dash of cinnamon. It’s pretty but not exceptional, and once again, I’m pining for more of everything, including the trademark Chanel character.
In short, if you already loved 1932 in the EDT, the parfum will surely make you swoon. The parfum certainly has more tenacity and presence, and if your main complaint with 1932 was the lasting power of the EDT, the new concentration is worth trying. On the other hand, the parfum won’t change the minds of those who didn’t find 1932 exciting. For the price, you can find much better irises, starting with Chanel’s own No 19, 28 La Pausa, and even the lovely but much maligned, No 19 Poudré.
The reviews of Jersey and Beige parfums are up next.
Chanel 1932 extrait de parfum retails for €185/15 ml.