Chanel Gabrielle : Perfume Review

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After years of waiting for Chanel’s next big launch, here comes Gabrielle. “A rebel at heart…passionate and free,” exalted the press release, using words like radiant, sparkling, luminous and “purely feminine.” Although Coco Chanel was a talented individual and a major force in fashion, as a personality I don’t find her all that appealing. But then again, it wasn’t the first time the brand relied on the designer’s charisma to cast a spell. Coco, one of the most baroque and elegant perfumes of the 1980s, used Gabrielle Chanel’s nickname and an image of her reclining in her Coromandel-decorated salon. So what’s wrong with Gabrielle?

One fundamental thing. Unlike its namesake, Gabrielle the perfume doesn’t aim for originality. Gabrielle is a shadow of Coco Mademoiselle, with less personality, less character and less presence. Take Coco Mademoiselle, remove all of the bling and earthy bit of patchouli, put it through a laundry cycle with white musks, garnish it with a few white florals—and here you go, Gabrielle.

The whole composition is clean and bright, with sweet orange notes accenting the rather delicate accord of white flowers. The story makes a big deal of Grasse tuberose used in Gabrielle. I’ve seen those fields, and they seemed rather small to me. Anyway, whatever tuberose is here, it was tamed into submission as creamy, green and pale. But within an hour, the perfume becomes warmer and creamier, with vanilla and musk filling in the spaces between orange blossom and lemony jasmine. It’s an upbeat, pretty perfume, but I can’t figure out what makes it a tribute to Gabrielle Coco Chanel. Opportunism, perhaps?

It pains me to dislike Gabrielle, because as a perfume house, Chanel is one of my most admired. It respects quality the way few others do—or can. It maintains its classical collection. It has enough variety within the collection to appeal to lovers of dark and complicated blends and luminous and bright ones. So I wanted to find some merit in Gabrielle. One could say that Gabrielle is to the women’s market what Bleu de Chanel was to the men’s. It’s easy-to-like, fun, and even if derivative, well-made. Let Chanel earn money on such launches so that they can support their other, more experimental ones.

Still, I find it disappointing that big brands don’t have faith in their customers and keep offering bland, identical juices (one can’t even call them perfumes). So here we go, another illustration that luxury can be boring.

Nevertheless, I want to conclude on a positive note. Who should try Gabrielle? Anyone who liked Coco Mademoiselle but found it too brash. Those who enjoy light floral notes but want a bit more depth. Lovers of citrusy florals who would like something easy for daytime. It lasts quite well and has a moderate sillage, but it would be a good office perfume. And finally, die-hard fans of Chanel who collect bottles. Gabrielle’s is quite fetching.

You can also take a look at Angela’s review of Gabrielle on Nowsmellthis. We smelled the perfume together, and the specter of Coco Mademoiselle haunted us both. But of course, if you experienced something different, please let me know.

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125 Comments

  • Richard Potter: ” It’s an upbeat, pretty perfume, but I can’t figure out what makes it a tribute to Gabrielle Coco Chanel. Opportunism, perhaps?” Ouch!🔥 September 15, 2017 at 9:59am Reply

    • Liz S: Perfectly summed up! September 15, 2017 at 10:40am Reply

    • Rosie: Ha I had EXACTLY the same reaction. Damn, V, you sassy! 😂 September 15, 2017 at 6:40pm Reply

    • Victoria: If the perfume were as original as its namesake… September 17, 2017 at 9:41am Reply

  • Ariadne: Wonderful to see this reviewed! I rec’d a sample of this with my FB purchase of Misia edp. I liked it but immediately thought it would be more appealing to my daughter, 26 yrs younger than me.
    Coincidentally she passed on a FB of Coco to me saying it made her feel like an ‘old lady’. I will send her this review and encourage her to try Coco Mlle, instead.
    BTW, I LUUUUV Misia, which is now available in edp. and lasts ever so much longer than the edt and is way creamier and uber irisy! September 15, 2017 at 10:02am Reply

    • Nora Szekely: Ariadne,
      I’m 36 and wear Mademoiselle since 8 years now, I recommend it to everyone who likes playful, energizing yet chic fragrances.
      I also wear Coco (actually adore it) when I’m more in a grand dame mode ha-ha. September 15, 2017 at 11:24am Reply

      • Victoria: I love Coco Mademoiselle lotion and body products. The extrait is also excellent. September 17, 2017 at 9:56am Reply

      • Ariadne: Thank you for that feedback Nora! Playful and Chic describes my daughter! September 17, 2017 at 4:01pm Reply

    • Victoria: I liked Misia too, although I keep gravitating to Boy instead. And Jersey. I’ve been craving something bright and fresh. September 17, 2017 at 9:45am Reply

  • briony: I was waiting for you to do a review on this – and I couldn’t agree more. I so wanted to get excited about this new launch but even the publicity material made me feel disappointed. And when I eventually managed to sniff Gabrielle, it just smelled like a pretty generic floral. Nice, but unmemorable. Oh well, I do hope it sells and Chanel can give us some real beauties – maybe sometime next century. September 15, 2017 at 10:06am Reply

    • Victoria: Yes, perfectly enjoyable but unremarkable. For a house of Chanel’s quality I really expected something better. September 17, 2017 at 9:46am Reply

  • Irene: Oh quelle soulagement! THANK YOU for putting in words my feelings!!! Such a disappointment…such a chaim for all us, perfumistas… September 15, 2017 at 10:09am Reply

    • Victoria: I hope that the next one will be better. September 17, 2017 at 9:46am Reply

  • Hamamelis: I tried Gabrielle on a blotter at an airport and have left it at that. I agree with you on all accounts and am impressed you managed to find a positive note to end your review with…I would assume that Chanel has enough money makers not to have to market something as bland and boring as this? September 15, 2017 at 10:31am Reply

    • Victoria: It’s hard to determine what’s their bottom line these days, since they’re private and secretive. I liked their flankers to No 5 and the next Exclusif launches, though. September 17, 2017 at 9:48am Reply

  • patuxxa: I find Gabrielle enjoyable but somewhat bland, and sadly it doesn’t last more than thirty minutes on my skin. I’ll stick to No. 5 September 15, 2017 at 10:32am Reply

    • Victoria: Yes, it can be fleeting on some, since it’s packed with musks, and not everyone can perceive them. I can smell it for a few hours with no problems, but some of my colleagues can’t at all. September 17, 2017 at 9:49am Reply

  • Liz S: I found it smelled very generic and inoffensive and very obviously marketed as a moneyspinner to younger women. If I hadn’t known it was by Chanel, I would have said it could have originated from any number of lower end designers. I also don’t get the idea that Gabrielle represents Chanel as an innocent ingenue. her life was hard from the start, abandined by her father to an orphanage run by strict, harsh nuns with the accompanying regime, having to go singing in rough bars to make ends meet and then becoming the mistress to a French aristocrat twice her age etc.. through all of that, I would never imagine luminosity, radiance etc but a gritty determination to escape the poverty and harshness of her early life that stayed with her all her life. There is no softness in Chanel as a personality. Even the choice of Kristen Stewart is off. Chanel has really sold out with this one.. September 15, 2017 at 10:39am Reply

    • Liz S: Sorry – phone keyboard. Forgive the typos September 15, 2017 at 10:41am Reply

    • Victoria: Mind you, I don’t find Chanel’s personality aspirational enough to want as my perfume theme, but leaving that aside, nothing about this launches makes sense. If they marketed it as a flanker to Coco Mademoiselle, I would understand it. But as their first major launch in 15 years, it’s disappointing. September 17, 2017 at 9:52am Reply

  • Claire: So glad to see this review. I tried Gabrielle on Tuesday and it literally confused me. Did I like it? Did I hate it? Did it dry down nicely? Did it play well with others? Run without scissors? In the end, it was just a meh for me, and I think that might be something that would make Mlle. Chanel roll over in her grave. Who created this boring fragrance? September 15, 2017 at 10:42am Reply

    • Victoria: Yes, I agree, I found it perfectly nice, but it’s not memorable. September 17, 2017 at 9:52am Reply

  • sandra: I think that giving Gabrielle 3 stars is very generous of you. September 15, 2017 at 10:48am Reply

    • Victoria: It has some nice elements, especially in the top and the floral accord, and it’s pleasant to wear, but the drydown is too bland and nondescript. September 17, 2017 at 9:54am Reply

  • Ralu: As a die hard Coromandel fan I too was disappointed in Gabrielle. Very disappointed. September 15, 2017 at 10:59am Reply

    • Victoria: I also expected more. September 17, 2017 at 9:54am Reply

  • Nora Szekely: Hi Victoria and perfume lovers,
    It was my most awaited new fragrance for a long time. I contemplated travelling to a neighbouring country on launch day as in Hungary we had to wait for it a few more weeks.
    I love and wear Coco Mademoiselle and find that it has character. I clearly understand her popularity.
    I wanted to love Gabrielle as well. However, like it can happen with a very handsome man (or woman I guess) who becomes uninteresting once he opens his mouth, the name, the bottle, the new launch after a long time and the myth behind this lured me in, but I did not like it at all once I smelled the actual thing. I also found it bland, forgettable just like you Victoria. I tried it once again a week later to give it another chance but still no palpitations. It is a nice scent all in all and from a lesser house I might call it an acceptable floral but not from my beloved Chanel.
    I rather hope this scent does not sell too well so that decision makers realize that women want more from a scent than predictable and nice. I’d like Chanel to take some risks next time.
    I personally admire Coco Chanel for her accomplishments. What made her house great is being daring and experimenting with new ideas in fashion or feminine scents. This perfume represents nothing of the groundbreaking originality and larger than life personality of Coco Chanel.
    Coco will remain my Gabrielle I guess. September 15, 2017 at 11:21am Reply

    • Victoria: And since the brand is marketing it as novel, original, cutting-edge, it seems even more of a disconnect. September 17, 2017 at 9:55am Reply

    • Silvermoon: Nora, and many others,
      I was equally disappointed. Completely agree with your comments. Like you, i also tried it on two separate days. Each time, same thing. Boring, uninspired and uninspiring. Cynical to use the name. September 18, 2017 at 9:01am Reply

  • Emily: I knew this mediocre review was coming, and I am still bummed, because I love your reviews and put great stock in your opinions. But, I have also learned that perfume is so subjective. For what it’s worth, I actually really like Gabrielle–can see it being my go to everyday perfume for many of the reasons you mention. Two things: I think it can layer well with perfumes that could give it more bite. Two, it smells to me like a sophisticated update to Clinique Happy, which many my age (30s) wore and loved in high school. I guess they got me with it, so it worked. I’ll put it next to my Rossy de Palma, which I love but have to be in the mood for. Gabrielle feels like something I could always be in the mood for: a good baseline perfume for me. I wish the bottle were more substantial though! I’m really scared I’ll knock it over and break it. September 15, 2017 at 11:32am Reply

    • Aida: Emily, thank you for your words…I agree with you…I found the review unnecessarily harsh 😪
      Each day we feel different and want to wear a different fragrance to embody how we feel and who we are that day…why can’t Gabrielle Chanel be one of those mellow fragrances we go to on a day where we just want to smell delicious without it being massive fanfare and over the top? ❤️ September 17, 2017 at 2:17am Reply

      • Victoria: Of course, it can be, and as I said in my review, those who are searching for just such a perfume should try it. But I wish as their first major launch in 15 years, Chanel indeed went for a bit more fanfare. There are just so many mellow fragrances out there as it is, and anything more or less interesting is marketed as “exclusive” and priced out of my budget. Anyway, enjoy it! It’s a very pretty perfume. September 18, 2017 at 2:22am Reply

    • Victoria: Thank you very much, Emily. Your explanation makes perfect sense to me, and yes, I was also thinking of it as a sister to Happy! I started my review by thinking about the message of the brand and the result, what does it add to the current market, what does it accomplish. If Gabrielle were marketed the way Chance was, it would make more sense to me. As it is, they are marketing Gabrielle as rebellious, original, cutting-edge, and it’s none of those things. It’s a well-made fragrance, but it follows the pattern of many other launches today. Does it mean that people shouldn’t wear it, or that it’s a bad perfume? No, of course, not. Sometimes you want something easy and fun, and this could be it. But I so wish that as the first perfume after 15 years, Chanel would have selected something a bit more original. We have so little originality in the market today, and if one of the most distinctive houses starts to follow the rest, then it makes me concerned. September 17, 2017 at 10:08am Reply

      • Emily: That makes total sense. Being pretty new to perfume, I didn’t pay attention to Chance’s launch and didn’t realize this was marketed so differently. I agree that perfumes should be marketed for what they are, so you are right that the labels rebellious and cutting edge don’t make sense. Not as far out there as Lutens copy, but off the mark for what it is. I really enjoy hearing your insight. September 17, 2017 at 11:05pm Reply

        • Victoria: 🙂 Few can rival Lutens on the incomprehensibility. Sometimes I think that his marketing team has a special app to generate “the maestro’s words” for the press releases. September 18, 2017 at 2:36am Reply

          • Austenfan: I would so love to be hired for that particular job! September 19, 2017 at 8:29am Reply

            • Victoria: I’d love to see a writing sample you might propose. 🙂 September 19, 2017 at 8:39am Reply

              • Austenfan: Surprisingly I’m actually quite good at that particular kind of prose. A couple of years ago I had to write the copy for a new (fictitious) cosmetics brand, including some copy for a fragrance line. I had a blast, especially my RevitaLance for mature skin. It had to be written in French which made it even more fun. September 19, 2017 at 9:25am Reply

                • Victoria: Now that must have been a hoot! September 19, 2017 at 2:04pm Reply

  • Dusan: “Still, I find it disappointing that big brands don’t have faith in their customers and keep offering bland, identical juices (one can’t even call them perfumes).” I wish this came posted at the entrance to every major perfume shop in bold pink letters (for eye-catching effect, of course). Thanks for the review, V! Sadly, it’s all too true. September 15, 2017 at 11:51am Reply

    • Victoria: Yes, we can dream on! September 17, 2017 at 10:09am Reply

  • Patricia: Great review! It sounds like something more for my daughters (in their thirties) than for me. I’ll try to give it a sniff next time I’m near a Chanel counter. September 15, 2017 at 12:02pm Reply

    • Victoria: Do try it, Pat! I’d be curious to hear your thoughts. September 17, 2017 at 10:09am Reply

      • Patricia: I went to the mall yesterday and tried Gabrielle on both paper and skin. Although there is nothing objectionable about it, it smelled very generic to me. Not impressed, but the sales associate gushed on about how it was four years in the making, etc., etc. September 17, 2017 at 6:51pm Reply

        • Victoria: The sales associates around here also gushed how extraordinary it is and how it contains “the rare Grasse flowers.” September 18, 2017 at 2:29am Reply

          • Patricia: Haha! Guess it’s just part of their sales pitch :-). September 18, 2017 at 11:18am Reply

            • Silvermoon: Hi Patricia, as mentioned above, i was far from impressed, although it certainly is not an objectionable perfume (pretty and sweetish in a bland way). However, when this is what I said to the sales assistant at the Chanel stand, he looked shocked and deflated at the same time. In a way it was amusing, but I appreciate that he had to say what had to be said. October 12, 2017 at 3:54pm Reply

  • Andrea: I read all the big and small reviews, the internet provided before Gabrielle came out. There were so many lucky people who could try it before it came out officially. And I thought it would just be me, since I wanted a white floral for daytime, easy to wear, uncomplicated, even a juice a real perfumista would find boring, but, since Chanel, good quality. And it seems to be exactly that – and it doesn’t work on my skin! I could go mad! There’s no luminous white floral, there’s only that cassis-grapefruit-thing sitting on my arm and spoiling all the easy-to-wear-perfume, that I wanted. Arggh! September 15, 2017 at 12:06pm Reply

    • Maria-Anna: Ah, is that a skin thing? I’ve been wondering how I’m not getting luminosity, just sourness. Do you have much experience with white florals not ‘turning out’? I’m curious because when I smelled J’Adore, I just really, really didn’t get it.. September 15, 2017 at 12:44pm Reply

      • Andrea: That is funny because J’adore is the reason why I am looking for a luminous floral. J’adore makes me think that they had a brilliant idea idea but didn’t manage to get it right. I’m desperate to find the idea turn real but nothing I tried fits the bill. I don’t know, if it’s a skin thing. The new Chanel just doesn’t smell on me like everyone is describing it. Must be my skin chemistry, I thought. September 15, 2017 at 3:22pm Reply

    • annemariec: I must be lucky because I DO get that luminous effect with Gabrielle. The funny thing is that I hoped for it with Jour d’Hermes when that first came out a few years ago, and which (I think) Gabrielle resembles somewhat. But Jour is unpleasantly sour and grips my skin for hour upon grinding hour. Sounds rather like your reaction to Gabrielle. Sometimes I think a perfume will just reject you, no matter how much you try to love it! September 16, 2017 at 2:19am Reply

    • Victoria: You can set it aside and revisit it later and see if your perception might change. Sometimes it happens. September 17, 2017 at 10:11am Reply

      • Madaris: I found that to be true with several fragrances, including Hypnotic Poison. On my first attempt with HP, I was repulsed at the stuffiness, but months later I found it less cloying. Still I handed it off to my 26-year-old. September 23, 2017 at 3:42pm Reply

  • Mucharl: I’m in the minority of those who quite liked it, but like the last few mainstream launches (Coco Noir, Coco Mademoiselle and Chance), it lacks the sophistication, complexity and depth of No 5. It will probably sell very well – the analogy to Bleu de Chanel is spot on – but I expected a slightly more delicate touch for a feminine fragrance. I actually prefer Gabrielle to Coco Mlle, whose patchouli overdose I find quite cloying.

    Thank God for Les Exclusifs! 😄 September 15, 2017 at 12:32pm Reply

    • Emily: Glad to find another fan! I agree. And the exclusifs are there for when perfumistas
      need and want something less mainstream. September 15, 2017 at 1:21pm Reply

    • Victoria: I’m sure it will do well. It’s quite a commercial fragrance. September 17, 2017 at 10:11am Reply

  • Maria-Anna: I’m glad you have reviewed this one. I have really struggled with Gabrielle. The first time I tried it, I only got high-pitched florals with a vaguely shampoo-like quality, and as it went along, a screechy note appeared that was quite headache-inducing and made it difficult to smell anything at all.

    Today it seems to be behaving a little better, and I can see the lemony tinge of jasmine you noted (cannot, for the life of me, find the tuberose though). But in all honesty, these sorts of perfumes are my nose’s weak spot. At the very beginning of my interest in perfume, I would have imagined ‘white florals’ as something high-pitched, but as I have come along, I have come to appreciate the sensuous creaminess of tuberose, the zing of orange blossoms, or the facets of jasmine. Gabrielle, thought, takes me back to that beginning.

    It seems like such a shame, given the beautiful bottle, the striking name, and Chanel’s reputation. I thought in general they were quite good at self-editing. September 15, 2017 at 12:36pm Reply

    • Victoria: Some people complained that it smelled of soap, which I sort of see, although it doesn’t strike me as a cheap and functional note, but rather the creamy, soft one that I also find in Chanel Gardenia. September 17, 2017 at 10:13am Reply

  • Alicia: Well, well…I have had some disappointments with Chanel before (Chance), and have never been fond of Coco Mlle. No longer ambrosia? It seems that the Olympians now serve lemonade. September 15, 2017 at 12:44pm Reply

    • Lindaloo: ….now serve lemonade. Brilliant! September 15, 2017 at 2:35pm Reply

    • Victoria: They have to be content with soda. 🙂 September 17, 2017 at 10:13am Reply

  • Joanne: I bought a big bottle of Gabriel last Sunday. It seemed not too bad in the store. But now wearing it regularly since then, it is a nice pleasant perfume. I barely get the tuberose, the orange blossom is nice and the touch of jasmine and white flowers. It is a “nice Perfume” but it’s not Chanel No.5. It’s not Fracas, or Serge Lutens A La Nuit or even Fleur de Orangier. The scents are light and last about 4 hours on me. But I really prefer the other perfumes, so once this bottle is gone I won’t buy it again. Much prefer the other perfumes I have. It’s pretty though. But I guess I want more dirt lol lol Thank you for your column I’ve been reading for years this is the second time I’ve commented. And your review of Gabrielle is spot on, but weaker Perfume for me. September 15, 2017 at 12:45pm Reply

    • Victoria: It’s pleasant to wear, though. I got a few compliments when I did. September 17, 2017 at 10:14am Reply

  • maggiecat: I was so disappointed with Gabrielle! I was hoping for a softer tuberose, a note I usually dislike. No, there it was, drying down to a plastic-y scent that I disliked and had to wash off. I’m over-sprayed with 1932 today, loving every minute of it. Chanel has lovely and amazing scents – but Gabrielle isn’t one of them. September 15, 2017 at 1:41pm Reply

    • Victoria: I wore Coco Mademoiselle next to it, and Coco Mlle took the town. Love it or hate it, but it has character and personality. September 17, 2017 at 10:15am Reply

  • Robert Herrmann: I found I quite liked it for what it was; a solid commercial release focused on a younger demographic then I. And since it does have a touch of Chanel DNA, I hope it acts as a gateway perfume for younger perfume lovers to discover some of the great beauties within the Chanel cannon. I hope they sell a million bottles so they can continue to create other deeper and greater scents.
    Is it groundbreaking? Absolutely not, and that’s OK with me. My Chanel shelf is so full of wonderful offerings, As a business owner I understand the need to honor the bottom line, as a perfumista I always look for more more more. September 15, 2017 at 2:34pm Reply

    • Victoria: They aren’t marketing it to the younger demographic, though. It’s quite an expensive perfume. In my experience, commercial launches like this never serve as gateways to something else. They just better more similar offerings. But yes, it’s a competitive market, and making money from any new launch is very hard. September 17, 2017 at 10:20am Reply

  • Sarah: Your analysis of this newest from Chanel is spot on. I so wanted to be in love with Gabrielle. Got a nice sample from my Chanel lady at Nordstrom. It’s not offensive to me; it’s simply ordinary. I do smell Coco Mademoiselle in the dry down.
    Will stick with No. 5 and Beige. September 15, 2017 at 2:46pm Reply

    • Victoria: At least, the line has something else for those who don’t like Gabrielle. 🙂 September 17, 2017 at 10:21am Reply

  • Severine: “Another illustration that luxury can be boring” – priceless! Sums it all up! You’re a remarkable likeness of Oscar Wilde.
    I can’t forget the first whiff of Coco or Coromandel.
    In recent years, Chanel’s line of flankers such as Coco Noir are ‘nice’. That’s about it. Nice and forgettable. September 15, 2017 at 2:47pm Reply

    • Severine: I wonder what you think of Bel Aspiro. September 15, 2017 at 2:49pm Reply

      • Severine: Bel Respiro -I mean.. September 15, 2017 at 2:50pm Reply

        • Victoria: I’m on the fence about it. I love the bright, crunchy green top note, but the sweet drydown is jarring. It’s an interesting perfume, though. September 17, 2017 at 10:22am Reply

    • Victoria: 🙂

      Yes, nice, pleasant, tame. September 17, 2017 at 10:21am Reply

  • Amelie: I feel the same: I was offered a Gabrielle sample card at my local perfume counter and was very disappointed. When I heard Chanel would release a new perfume with the tuberose note taking center stage I was extremely excited and couldn’t wait to try it. I told myself my disappointment could be attributed to my high expectations so I put it away and when I smelled it again after an hour I didn’t dislike it anymore but I didn’t like it very much either, sadly. September 15, 2017 at 2:54pm Reply

    • Victoria: I’ve been wearing it on and off for the past few weeks, and I couldn’t get past it either. September 17, 2017 at 10:22am Reply

  • Nick: I think that Gabrielle is very good for all its intent and purpose. While one may argue that there is no edgy, daring, or let alone a ground-breaking element that typifies the likes of Shalimar or Chanel N°5, it must also be noted that in this time and age, where market success can break or make a brand, a mainstream launch such as this cannot afford to be polarising. It ought to be pleasing and well-liked by many, and Gabrielle does just that with its harmonious, rounded, modern floral accord.

    Another complaint seems to be that it is akin to Coco Mademoiselle minus the patchouli and tamed version. Yet, I find that to be a good thing because, after all, many classics actually derive from their forebears. Not to mention, the radiance of its white floral accord is particularly interesting for me.

    Even though it is not revolutionary, there is a balance between market awareness and enough of creative touch there to make for a good fragrance. That is what I find positive about Gabrielle. September 15, 2017 at 6:47pm Reply

    • annemariec: Good summary, I agree, especially about Chanel needing to avoid being polarising. The risk is that the perfume ends up smelling fine, but lacking character. For me, Gabrielle has enough things to say to keep me interested but, as a comparison, Guerlain’s recent release Mon Guerlain slips into bland territory. It tries too hard to please too many. September 15, 2017 at 11:55pm Reply

      • Victoria: Mon Guerlain is forgettable. I smelled it yesterday again, and today I struggle to form an impression of it in my mind. September 17, 2017 at 10:36am Reply

      • Nick: You are spot-on. Gabrielle may not be the interesting launch, but it has enough to keep me interested. Had they completely gone for the majority of likes, they might have ended up with the ubiquitous sweet mix of defrocked vanilla and musk (The kind that vaguely gives a sweet, musky sensation, but not the complex character of the notes.) September 19, 2017 at 2:34am Reply

    • Victoria: Nothing wrong with inspiration from another perfume, of course, but it should offer something else. Otherwise, it feels like a pastiche.

      As for this being the market and this is what Chanel has to do to survive, I’m skeptical. First of all, I’ve worked at the same company as Olivier Polge when I was starting out in the industry, so I know what kind of excellence he’s capable of. Second, if you’re the house of Chanel’s caliber, you have more leeway and you can do things other houses won’t be able to get away with. You need not offer polarizing perfume, of course–that’s not Chanel’s thing anyway, but they should be something more than merely nice. September 17, 2017 at 10:32am Reply

      • Nick: Indeed, a brand of such calibre could have had it more interesting. I suppose I have been more easy-going on them as it has been fifteen years since the last stand-alone launch 🙂 September 19, 2017 at 2:10am Reply

        • Victoria: And that’s why I wasn’t. 🙂 September 19, 2017 at 2:00pm Reply

  • elisa p: I tried it at Sephora on paper and thought it was likeable but ordinary. Not something I’d be compelled to buy and I’m not their target audience. I preferred it to Chance and its spawn, actually. I thought the bottle in person was much more of a disappointment and I thought it looked cheap and fragile.
    So, glad I don’t love it since I’m not a fan at all of it’s namesake and actually wouldn’t want to own something with her name on it. She’s not really someone I’d want to honor. September 15, 2017 at 7:24pm Reply

    • Victoria: Yes, as much as I admire her as a fashion designer, I don’t want “to celebrate her life” either. September 17, 2017 at 10:33am Reply

  • babsbendix: Long before the launch, the news that K. Stew would be the face for a tuberose perfume made me think, THAT’S a stretch unless it’s an ambivalent, tongue-in-cheek tuberose and diesel fuel scent. Still, No. 5 Eau Premiere has become one of my great loves, so I burn a little pilot light of hope for Chanel’s commercial releases, always. September 15, 2017 at 7:47pm Reply

    • Victoria: I love No. 5 Eau Premiere and I also liked No 5 L’Eau a lot. September 17, 2017 at 10:34am Reply

  • annemariec: I like Gabrielle very much and bought a 50 ml bottle last weekend. I can’t easily pick out the individual notes, but I get a blind of creamy white florals and crisp citrus. There is something about that combination that I find both relaxing and uplifting. I think it has all of Chanel’s poise and elegance and is very wearable. Lasts all day with moderate sillage.

    The thing I struggle with is the ‘Gabrielle before Coco’ bit – the stuff about rebelliousness and freedom. There is nothing about this rather conservative fragrance that suggests that. And Chanel herself is not someone I would emulate. September 15, 2017 at 9:30pm Reply

    • Victoria: Enjoy it, Annemarie!

      I wish Chanel would stop using Gabrielle Chanel as a marketing ploy. Yes, she was a talented designer and a trendsetter, but as an individual to emulate, she leaves much to be desired. September 17, 2017 at 10:35am Reply

  • spe: It smells to me predominately of top notes and an unfinished middle and base.
    I am 0 for 4 with the new Mr. Polge and am so disappointed. As you reference, thank goodness they continue their classics. September 16, 2017 at 12:01am Reply

    • Victoria: The top notes are the best part. Too bad the rest doesn’t live up to the expectations. September 17, 2017 at 10:37am Reply

  • kekasmais: Oh, Gabrielle. I could’ve forgiven you much more easily if you’d been a Tuberose Crimenelle rip-off. September 16, 2017 at 1:02pm Reply

  • Melissa: A pretty, somewhat fruity floral, for someone younger than me. The bottle is lovely and it smells higher quality than so many like it. I hope that it sells well enough to start some young women down the path of fragrance love. I have no problem with it and I don’t really expect edginess from Chanel, but I hope that the next release is a little more unique. September 16, 2017 at 5:27pm Reply

    • Victoria: Let’s hope for that! September 17, 2017 at 10:37am Reply

  • Notturno7: Thank you, Victoria for speaking your mind.
    I was pretty disappointed with Gabrielle. To me, it’s just another scent, nice but nothing special. I was expecting more from Chanel. I told the SA that it reminded me of (less rich or interesting) version of Coco M but she disagreed and I thought I was off, till I read your review.
    I’m really ‘flexible’ with scents and like many categories. I own and love No 5, No 22, No 19, Crystalle, Coco pure perfume, Coco M pure perfume, Allure pure perfume, Coco Noir pure perfume and quite many of Chanels Les Exclusifs, including Misia, Bois des Iles and Cuir de Russie.
    Gabrielle doesn’t come even close to any of these…. And I was really hoping they would create something original to honor the creative spirit of Coco Chanel.
    Why name this creation after her and then put forward a scent that’s merely a copy of what’s been done so many times already 😐 September 16, 2017 at 8:13pm Reply

    • Victoria: Yes, I also love many different types of perfumes, including fruity-floral and sheer florals, so I’m open to everything. I’m sure Gabrielle will find its fans–and as you can see in this thread, there are quiet a few.

      I’m wearing Jour d’Hermes today, my favorite transparent floral. September 17, 2017 at 10:40am Reply

  • Notturno7: Yes, I’m also glad Gabrielle will find it’s fans.
    And it might get people who haven’t been into perfume before interested to start exploring on their own. Because it’s light and pleasant and non ‘offensive’ 😉
    I’m wearing few dabs of Coco Noir extrait, because I’m in Amsterdam and on a month long holiday to few different countries so few small bottles of pure perfume are easy to carry around. I also took No 19 extrait that was great in hot weather a month ago and a big bottle of vintage Dioressence that I discovered thanks to your marvelous reviews. 💗 September 17, 2017 at 11:28am Reply

    • Victoria: Coco Noir extrait was my discovery, and it smells like a different perfume from the EDP. Very easy to wear but still interesting. September 18, 2017 at 2:23am Reply

      • Notturno7: I totally agree, Victoria!
        Coco Noir pure perfume smells like really high quality perfume and has more layers and depth then EDP Coco Noir. It’s very lush. September 20, 2017 at 3:36pm Reply

  • Ingeborg: I tried this around two weeks ago in a local store, no samples available so have only tried it once. I wasn’t pleased with the top notes, even if I like citrus of all kinds in perfume. To me there wasn’t anything luminous in this creation and I found the perfume was a mix of soapy and creamy one hour after I had sprayed it on. That part was nice enough, but reminded me too much of some of the sents in the Gucci Flora Garden Collection. The drydown had a kind of musk I didn’t care for, which was no surprise when I looked up the notes afterwards. I often don’t like white musk, but I know many others do so no complaints there.

    I guess I will just stick with Bulgari Mon Jasmin Noir (a rather transparent creation, nothing “noir” about it) if I want a light floral for daytime. I would also recommend Chanel Gardenia over this new Gabrielle. I know Chanel Gardenia is not a favourite with everyone, but it is a solid choice for daytime.

    I wish the perfumes with a wide distribution had the same high quality as the Exclusives, or at least some intersting twists.We can dream. September 17, 2017 at 8:54pm Reply

    • Victoria: I also prefer Gardenia over Gabrielle, if only because it has more presence and character. But of course, they’re different enough. September 18, 2017 at 2:33am Reply

  • Cybele: Great review! Personally it reminds me a lot of Chance more than of Coco Madmoiselle. I much prefer the Eau version of No 5. September 17, 2017 at 11:44pm Reply

    • Victoria: Chance is a sister of Coco Mademoiselle with more fruity and citrusy notes, so yes, I agree. September 18, 2017 at 2:34am Reply

    • Ra: I agree with you Cybele. I found more of Chance than Mademoiselle in Gabrielle. September 20, 2017 at 9:02am Reply

  • Edwina: Couldn’t agree more – generic floral, does not capture Chanel’s spirit – like her or not! September 18, 2017 at 3:15am Reply

  • Nora Szekely: It could have been released as flanekr and called Coco Mademoiselle Mon Eau Legere Sensuelle 😉 September 18, 2017 at 10:33am Reply

  • Nancy A.: Your review is on point and take note that they feature Kristin Stewart as the face of this launch. KS has plenty of skeletons in her closet not unlike Mlle. Chanel. It’s a far cry from the days of Deneuve and Chanel 5.
    I happened to be wearing a sample of it today despite its lack of appeal. September 18, 2017 at 10:48am Reply

    • Victoria: I’m not that familiar with Stewart’s biography, but the ad seems just as bland as the perfume. September 19, 2017 at 1:06pm Reply

  • Austenfan: This doesn’t sound like my thing, but you never know. I’ve grown quite partial to Mon Guerlain, which isn’t quite Shalimar. Mind you, I’ll doubt I’ll get a bottle of it, but I do enjoy it, even though I also find it quite bland. September 19, 2017 at 9:27am Reply

    • Victoria: Yes, it’s not such a bad perfume that I wouldn’t put it on my skin. In fact, if I had a bottle, I probably would wear it time to time on days when I wanted something mellow. It just annoys me that Chanel took this direction with their new big launch. September 19, 2017 at 2:06pm Reply

      • Cornelia Blimber: Mon Guerlain is certainly not Shalimar, oe Mitsouko, or L’Heure Bleue (even in the current version), not even L’Instant de Guerlain (my fav. magnolia). You are absolutely right, Austenfan! But Mon Guerlain is a warm, agreeable, easy to wear lavender. I nearly finished 50 ml with pleasure.
        Gabrielle is in my opinion the forgettable one.
        Sort of Chance and to my nose fleety. I am one of those who cannot smell these musks, I suppose. September 21, 2017 at 5:09am Reply

        • Austenfan: Well I can’t compare as I haven’t tried Gabrielle, but on average Guerlains suit me much better than Chanels, and I adore lavender. September 28, 2017 at 2:41pm Reply

  • Teresa: I tried this at the store, the top notes were so sparkling, they got me excited for a while. Then just a few minutes later, I smell coco Mlle…. I already have a large bottle of unused coco Mlle at home so I was really disappointed. I thought it was just me but I see many of you smell the similarity too.

    If only the top notes lasted longer and the middle and bottom notes were not like coco m! September 19, 2017 at 9:30pm Reply

  • Ra: My first opinion was that it smelled like a less brash Chance. I didn’t find it similar to Coco Mademoiselle. To me it’s closest relative is Eau Vive.
    In my mind CM is a different perfume and I only recently started to appreciate its beauty.
    My only issue with Gabrielle is if I spray one spritz too much, it induces headache. Otherwise I found it feminine but not sexy, an overall nice blend. September 20, 2017 at 8:59am Reply

  • Jana: Dear Victoria, Will you also review Gucci Bloom and Hermes Twilly (another big houses´ take on tuberose)? September 20, 2017 at 12:00pm Reply

  • bregje: Did not have time to read the blog before now but i have been curious to hear what you thought of Gabrielle.
    I got a perfume giftcard for my birthday and i really wanted to like it.I expected something eccentric and very Chanel. But i was so disappointed!
    I tried it twice.Once with Hermes Twilly on my other wrist(i liked that one a lot more; not enough for a purchase yet but at least the ginger-note made it memorable) and once with Chanel l’eau.It made me fall in love with l’eau 😉

    I had read reviews saying it was like a mademoiselle flanker.I have worn mademoiselle for several years(did not renew when i finished my last bottle)but i could not find any similarities with Gabrielle on my skin.To me it smelled more like one of the Chance flankers or Chloe lovestory 1,2or3(i actually quite liked one of those but i can’t remember which one 🙂 ).
    Sweet,nice sort of melony or whatever.

    What is the most compelling evidence for me is that after a week i can still recall what Twilly smelled like while i could probably not pick Gabrielle out of a crowd.(i bought l’eau so it would not be fair to take that one into the comparison) September 20, 2017 at 6:51pm Reply

    • Cornelia Blimber: Happy Birthday and enjoy your Eau! September 21, 2017 at 5:12am Reply

      • bregje: Thank you! September 21, 2017 at 1:05pm Reply

  • Nightflight33: Dear Victoria, you were very very generous by giving 3 stars to this “fragrance”.
    I personally perceive Gabrielle as an extremely thin, pale, cold, characterless, and totally forgettable composition. This is a 100% comercial juice, with no trace of soul or personality, and clearly no exceptional ingredients (just like in Bleu for men). Where are the allegedly precious flower essences? Ylang, orange blossom, jasmine, the Grasse tuberose? In homeopathic-like dilutions perhaps? This perfume is simply an insult to Gabrielle Chanel herself. September 20, 2017 at 8:08pm Reply

  • Cathy: All that money and effort to produce something so BORING. I don’t understand how it even made it to the market as there’s nothing unique about it at all, let alone evoking the spirit of Gabrielle (unless it’s meant to be her beige jersey..). It’s like a pale floral base waiting for the final magical note to be added. If anyone gives you a bottle, perhaps that’s what you can do with it. September 24, 2017 at 10:39am Reply

  • Asta: I LOVE this blog! I await each new post with anticipation knowing Victoria will bring something thought provoking and enlightening. That being said Victoria and I are poles apart in our fragrance preferences! So when she was underwhelmed by Gabrielle, I still felt the urge to try it out for myself. We are still poles apart. While she was underwhelmed, I was thoroughly let down by the banal and downright thoughtless offering of Gabrielle by Chanel. It’s an insult to the house of Chanel. I have smelled better in the drug store isle! September 24, 2017 at 9:28pm Reply

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