2000 launches: 11 posts

Chanel Chance, Eau Fraiche and Eau Tendre : Fragrance Reviews

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Perfumer Jacques Polge has authored or co-authored so many of my favorite Chanel fragrances (Beige, Coromandel, Cristalle Eau de Parfum, Coco) that it always pains me to admit that he has also authored my least-favorite Chanel scent, Chance.  Chance always smells to me as if a brand of lesser and striving quality decided to make something “à la Chanel” in style and came up with Chance.

I understand where marketing was going with this scent—that extremely lucrative twenty-something market must be addressed and not with No. 5.  In its fruit, vanilla, and patchouli trope Chance has the ingredients to appeal to this younger market and from that marketing standpoint Chance was a smart idea indeed; the scent does sell and sell well. I smell it on young girls in the mall, their hair swinging and their limbs tanned, and it doesn’t smell any better to me on them than it does on me.

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Christian Dior Miss Dior (Cherie) : Perfume Review

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I was a late convert to Miss Dior Chérie (2005), the Coco Mademoiselle sibling-scent that expanded a green patchouli note with sticky carnival accords like strawberries and caramel popcorn.  Miss Dior Chérie is aimed at the young; I was converted to it by a nineteen-year-old girl who owned her own makeup store.  She considered it the height of elegance and at first I scoffed, and then I tried.  It was too much fun to pass up, with its neon fun-fair atmosphere bopping around underneath the nose in a major chord of teenage pleasure.  Why didn’t they have stuff like this around when I was fourteen?

With the mechanisms of the perfume industry being what they are, Miss Dior Chérie was recently reformulated and renamed  Miss Dior (the “real” Miss Dior is now called Miss Dior Originale).  Sometimes the reformulations means that a “bad” ingredient was removed and replaced by a “good” (and often inferior) one, and other times it means that something that is no longer available is replaced with something that is.  The truth is, perfumes are reformulated all the time for a variety of reasons, and the differences can be subtle or striking.

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Le Labo Vanille 44 : Perfume Review

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It’s vanilla! It’s expensive! Strike that; it’s very expensive! And it’s very, very good.  Bad news: It’s only occasionally sold in America.  Occasionally means three times in five years*. It’s Le Labo Vanille 44, an ultra-smooth vanilla pod with woody kick from the trendy Le Labo line whose price ($290 for 50 ml; $440 for 100 ml) jumps out because, well, I can’t afford it and neither can any of my friends.  On second thought, maybe one friend can, but he’s a movie producer and can also afford a five-bedroom home in the Malibu Colony.

Le Labo is the dual-citizenship Grasse-New York house that in addition its regular line of perfumes has a set of City Exclusives whose number supposedly mirrors the number of ingredients that enter into the composition and whose fragrances are only available in the cities that bear their name.  These cost more than the regular line. First-class travel always does. To that end, they issued Tubéreuse 40 (New York); Aldehyde 44 (Dallas); Poivre 23 (London); Gaiac 10 (Tokyo); Musc 25 (Los Angeles); Baie Rose 26 (Chicago); and Vanille 44 (Paris).  To celebrate the recent opening of their Paris boutique, Le Labo made Vanille 44 available in the US for one month via their website and Luckyscent, which gave me a chance to sample this perfume.

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Chanel Coco Mademoiselle : Perfume and Dry Oil Review

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Chanel Coco Mademoiselle (2001), currently the USA’s top selling women’s fragrance, has little to do with the 1984 Coco fragrance it allegedly flanks. One isn’t related to the other, except from a marketing standpoint that has Coco Mademoiselle positioned to sell to young women and Coco aimed at an older crowd. Coco Mademoiselle is a patchouli scent that belongs to the species of Thierry Mugler Angel, the groundbreaking 1992 fruit and patchouli techno-gourmand that was responsible for many spin-offs, some of them flops and some of them, like Coco Mademoiselle, bestsellers.

The notes of Coco Mademoiselle–rose, jasmine, patchouli, lychee, orange, grapefruit, vetiver, vanilla, and musk–say absolutely nothing about the scent. It’s not possible to imagine what it smells like from that roster. So many of these notes are rendered completely abstract that what really jumps out is a greenish, herbal patchouli over which have been melted vanilla and the type of fruit syrups used to flavor water.

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Rochas Poupee : Fragrance Review

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

Fruity-floral can be a tired category, since too many of them inundate the market at the present. Rochas presents something different. Poupèe (2004), meaning “doll” in French, is an example of tuberose and fruit marriage. Anne Flipo, a nose behind many of L’Artisan Parfumeur fragrances, including La Chasse Aux Papillons, Jacinthe du Bois and Violette Vert, paired white floral accords against a pure yellow of pineapple. The top notes are a rainstorm of orange blossom and tuberose, both of which quickly melt into the sweetness of tart fruity shimmer. The fruity jam stage is my least favourite part, however it does not last particularly long, before giving tuberose a center stage it rightfully claims, accompanied by a hint of powdery violet and soft nutty notes. The final bars are those of a vanillic warmth of benzoin. I find Poupèe to be too sweet for me and perhaps too pretty, but it is still a nice example of the modern fruity floral.

Notes: Orange blossom, pineapple, gardenia, green jasmine, hazelnut, tuberose, sandalwood, benzoin, amber, balms.

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