Les Exclusifs de Chanel is comprised of 10 fragrances. There are 6 new fragrances added to the existing 4 exclusive boutique collection which includes Cuir de Russie, Bois des Iles, Chanel no 22, and Gardenia and are created by nose Jacques Polge. Polge said that "We wanted fragrances which were unusual and special," he said, noting that while several are favorite notes, most are too costly to use in a more widely distributed scent such as the house's Chance or Coco Mademoiselle. "Above all, we tried to do fragrances which are very different from one another and very different from what is currently offered in the market. These are the ingredients [that] we simply wouldn't have in the quantity to use in a more widely distributed fragrance."
I have reviewed the new Chanels in order of my preference - I think - at least for now:
31 Rue Cambon - (an experimental chypre that omits the classic oakmoss note) a "dry, musky, nutty scent." Starting out a dry iris and a little woody, this one surprised me because I don't normally like this dry of a scent. But there is a hint of sweetness here that blooms in the mid notes and reminds me of a less powdery No. 22. Drying down very soft with a lightly sweet finish. Vary elegant.
Bel Respiro - (green leaves and stems) "intended to evoke stems, leaves and springtime." Immediately on first sniff I thought Aliage. The same bold greeness. Definitely getting the cut stems here. If you are an Aliage fan, you will love this too. Unlike Aliage, unfortunately this settles down too quickly into a soft slightly sweet, green scent. Still nice, but too bad the top notes don't hang around longer.
Coromandel - (dry ambery oriental) "an oriental fragrance using a tree resin called benzoin, which has vanilla-like properties"...Like Chanel's apartment that inspired it, it is not "innocent", it is "weighted by frankincense" and "contains a hint of the heavier spices of the East". I thought sure I would like this one best, but actually it's my third choice. A touch of Pois de Senteur and dab of Teint de Neige with a slight green notes that runs throughout. I'm not really finding any amber here.
Eau de Cologne - "a lively floral.... with citrus, bergamot and neroli." A typical summer splash cologne with the feel of 4711 meets Fresh Sugar, then inexplicably begins turning sweeter and sweeter. Which I thought was different, but nice, since I like sweet.
28 La Pausa - (iris)"a powdery scent based on the oil from iris pallida (known as sweet iris), one of the most expensive products available to perfumers..." "named for a house Mlle. Chanel owned in the South of France." No.31 is a nicer Iris in my book, but I guess I'm not an iris enthusiast. Starting out very dry iris, sweetening in the middle resembling Iris Poudre, then ending (way too fast I might add) with a slight green note, before fading to nothingness.
No. 18 - (Ambrette seed)"named for the Chanel fine jewelry boutique at Place Vendome." Last on my list. Not sure what to make of this, it's not bad, but not really good either. A bit harsh and raspy in the opening, slightly peppery, then as with the others, it sweetens slightly in the drydown. Wearable, but why?
Where to get your hands on a sample set? Some of you may know Nancy, a trusted eBay fragrance seller whom I hope you will add to your favorite sellers! Her eBay name is Fishbone96 her store is: Fishbone Fragrances.
Lovely Nancy is selling the CHANEL EXCLUSIFS - SIX Sample Set! Small Vial sets or Decant Sets or just one or two, anything you want just ask and she will quote you. She has them all and is ready to ship now! Please email inquiries to her directly at: firstname.lastname@example.org For a great price and fast shipping!
Bottom Line - I'm surprised to find them all quite wearable. I see a common trait that runs throughout, a light sweetness that begins mid way and develops differently in each. I like sweet, but I think this will deter some. I think I'll order a decant set and wear them a couple days each before commiting to a bottle that large. Or even to sharing a bottle. The impulse is to buy a bottle or two or three of your favorites. But I think we need to step back from the hype and really consider if we love these, over what we already own, or enough to wear it often enough to justify the price and size. And another note or reminder here - they are EDT and don't last long! Yes, most can still be detected if you smoosh your nose to your arm, but I need a liberal spraying to see how they are really going to perform by mid-day on the job. Touch up decants will be required throughout the day I suspect, but then I guess 200ml will go a long way.
The fragrances are available for $175 for 200ml and the eau de cologne for $300 for a 400ml splash bottle.