Of the three new extraits de parfum in Chanel’s Les Exclusifs collection, 1932 seemed most promising, but it turned out that Beige and Jersey held more surprises. As I mentioned in my review of 1932, if you didn’t like the Eau de Toilette, the parfum isn’t going to change your mind, but in the case of Beige and Jersey, the richness, new accents and nuances might make a positive difference for those who were ambivalent about the original versions.
I already enjoyed Beige for its understated elegance, and while I proclaim my undying love for Coromandel and Cuir de Russie, I wear this delicate white floral far more often. It certainly won’t turn heads the way Coromandel does or make you time travel to the Roaring Twenties like Cuir de Russie, but if you need a well-made fragrance that feels like a comfortable silk slip, Beige is perfect.
The parfum turned out to be even better than the Eau de Toilette, because with the richer notes of flowers, honey and spicy vanilla, Beige has gained several degrees of saturation. It’s still a pastel tinted perfume, but it’s fuller, curvier and warmer. It smells like a handful of white petals, rose scented face powder and honey. It’s a feminine, romantic perfume that instantly blooms on my skin. At the same time, it’s understated enough to work as a daytime choice.
Beige’s gardenia heart reminded me of Gardénia parfum, although the similarity is fleeting. Gardénia decorates its white flowers with green leaves and sweet peach, and whether you like one or the other depends on your preference for powdery vs fresh notes. Beige wins over Gardénia in terms of tenacity, but both perfumes have the same well-mannered, versatile character. These white florals won’t smother you in their embrace.
Jersey wasn’t instant love for me the way Beige was, but it’s excellent too. While the lavender and musk scented Eau de Toilette brought to mind fabric softener and laundry detergent, the parfum doesn’t at all. The lavender here is superb, smelling of sweet hay and sun-warmed rosemary, and wearing Jersey on a grey day is the closest thing to a Provencal daydream. The burnt sugar notes coat the lavender in caramel, and while there is plenty of musk, it doesn’t take over the entire composition.
Since feminine lavenders are few, Jersey parfum joins Hermès Brin de Réglisse and Kilian Taste of Heaven as my lavender favorites. On the other hand, before you splurge, try it next to Caron Pour un Homme. They don’t smell alike, of course, but if you’re searching for a sweet, vanilla steeped lavender, Pour Un Homme will deliver. Also worth trying is its parfum version, Impact Pour Un Homme. Made for men but irresistible on women.
Chanel Beige and Jersey extraits de parfum retail for €185/15 ml.