Christopher Sheldrake: 57 posts

Chanel 1932 Extrait de Parfum : Perfume Review

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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.

1932

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.

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Christopher Sheldrake on Chanel and Iris

In a video made for the launch of No 19 Poudré, Christopher Sheldrake of Chanel describes iris used by the house in its fragrances, from the famous No 19 to the exquisite 28 La Pausa. Speaking about dried iris rhizomes, Sheldrake says, “They have that characteristic scent: powdery, clean and fresh already. It’s very strange for dried materials to smell fresh.”

I hope that you will enjoy it as much as I did. Thank you to Geneviève for sending me the link!

Extra: reviews of iris dominated perfumes (not just Chanel).

Serge Lutens La Vierge de Fer : Perfume Review

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I don’t know why I expected a perfume called La Vierge de Fer (The Iron Maiden) to be the olfactory equivalent of punk rock*. Serge Lutens is as enigmatic as ever in his description and sources of inspiration. The fragrance was inspired by Picasso’s Les Demoiselles d’Avignon. It references a lily, a flower traditionally associated with the Virgin Mary. The website blurb also mentions instruments of torture. Oddly enough, this kind of eclectic mix appeals to me, and I was curious to see what scented shape it would take.

botticelli-madonna

I dabbed the pale, grey tinted liquid on my skin and took a deep breath. I inhaled jasmine; its green twigs, yellow pollen and crinkly petals unfolded one by one as I stood with my nose pressed to the pulse point on my wrist. Every time I’ve worn La Vierge de Fer since then, I’ve noticed other elements–the fizzy, silvery sparkle, the waxy lily petals, the warm musky sweetness, but I still can’t shake off my initial impression of being wrapped in a soft jasmine veil.

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Serge Lutens Santal Blanc : Perfume Review

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It rained the other day. Again. The drops covered the windows, turning the red roofs of the nearby buildings and the delicate church spires into an impressionistic blur. I’ve learned to enjoy the melancholy serenity of a rainy day, but there are times when the grey mist makes me feel listless and depressed. On such days, I throw open my perfume cabinet and reach for scents that remind me of someplace warm and sunny.

santal-blanc

One such perfume is sandalwood. Its creamy sweetness and heavy richness takes me to India, which may be a stereotypical association, except that India, my India, is thoroughly permeated with sandalwood. As a bride, I was rubbed with rosewater and sandalwood paste to make my skin glow. I was fed sandalwood scented milkshakes and fudge. Wherever I went, I smelled sandalwood incense.  No wonder that Serge Lutens Santal Blanc whispers Indian stories to me.

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Chanel 1932 : Perfume Review

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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.

1932

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.

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