Jacques Polge: 21 posts

Chanel Coco Noir : Perfume Review

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“Why does all I do become Byzantine?” mused Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel. The silhouettes of her garments might have been streamlined and paired down, but the embellishments would be sumptuous: baroque jewels, ornate camellias, richly textured embroideries. Byzantine may not be the first association with Chanel fragrances, which tend to be polished and understated. Yet, if you look closer, you will find plenty of intricate details that make each perfume memorable: the luscious ylang-ylang of No 5, the smoky incense of No 22 or even the vivid technicolor jasmine of Coco MademoiselleCoco Noir, the latest addition to Chanel’s collection, promises to take Byzantine a notch further.

With Venetian fabrics and colors inspiring perfumer Jacques Polge, how can Coco Noir be anything but Byzantine! In order to weave his perfume story, Polge looked to the time Coco Chanel spent in Venice in 1919. She fell in love with the city, which she visited in an attempt to ease the pain of the sudden death of her lover, Boy Capel. The exquisite beauty of Venice seduces her and its Byzanthine influences stayed with Chanel for the rest of her life.

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Chanel Coco : Perfume Review

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I might as well admit it, I originally disliked Chanel Coco.  I will be up front about that because now I won’t be separated from it. Coco is a good case for retesting a fragrance:  more compliments have come my way with Coco than with any other fragrance. Although created almost 30 years ago in 1984, Coco is far from being dated. It is an outgoing, definite statement scent, not a wallflower. It is a fragrance from the time when women adopted a signature perfume as bold style accessories. Consider Coco an adornment, a piece of jewelry, the finishing touch.

Classic Chanel scents reveal themselves through mists of aldehydes that always to my nose make a Chanel perfume smell high concept.  They are tailored even when they are meant to be sexy, as is the case with Coco.  The top notes are bright and brassy with ripe, fruity aldehydes, mandarin peel, and macerated raisins.  These notes ignite as if flambéed.

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Chanel No 19 Poudre : Perfume Review

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No19

Star rating: 5 stars–outstanding/potential classic, 4 stars–very good, 3 stars–adequate, 2 stars–disappointing, 1 star–poor.

I am glad that I did not review Chanel No 19 Poudré within the first few days of wearing it. My initial impression was negative, but today I realize that it was so mostly because No 19 Poudré is not No 19. It also does not have the brilliant, original character of its predecessor, nor does it leave such a deep imprint in one’s memory. What No 19 Poudré does well—and the reason I came around in my opinion—is to create a soft, tender veil around its wearer. It is comforting and mellow, a sip of warm green tea to the original’s dry white wine.

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Chanel Jersey Les Exclusifs : Perfume Review

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Cj

Star rating: 5 stars–outstanding/potential classic, 4 stars–very good, 3 stars–adequate, 2 stars–disappointing, 1 star–poor.

I am going to lay my cards on the table. I love Chanel to the point of forgiving it Chance and Bleu de Chanel. Even as I had qualms with the exclusive collections from other luxury houses, I have enjoyed and purchased every single perfume from Chanel’s Les Exclusifs. That is, until Jersey came onto the scene. To put it mildly, I am baffled by this scent, which is an orchestration of excellent ingredients that ends up smelling like a cheap Duane Reade candle.

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Chanel No 5 : Perfume, EDT, EDP Review and Fragrance Poll

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No5ad1920s

Star rating: 5 stars–outstanding/potential classic, 4 stars–very good, 3 stars–adequate, 2 stars–disappointing, 1 star–poor.

According to an oft repeated story, the iconic Chanel No 5 fails miserably in fragrance market tests, with the derived conclusion that the success of this great fragrance is based on the clever marketing strategy and carefully maintained brand image. Considering that today’s market tests have produced some of the worst excuses for perfumes, I do not find this to be the logical inference. Although an elegant brand image is an important part of the story, it is not enough to explain the mystery, the draw and the timeless beauty of Chanel No 5. I realize that trying to write a post of reasonable length on this topic is an ambitious task; after all, Tilar Mazzeo wrote a whole book on No 5 and yet many felt that she missed some important elements. Instead, I would like to describe Chanel No 5 in its different forms as it exists today and to hear your thoughts. I am convinced that the reason for its iconic status, is above all, the impeccable quality and allure of the fragrance itself.

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