There are plenty of new men’s fragrances to review this spring, but before reviewing Chanel Allure Homme Édition Blanche, I thought it might be interesting to smell and “discuss” the previous Allure offerings for men (both created by Chanel house perfumer Jacques Polge) — Allure Homme and Allure Homme Sport.
Chanel Allure Homme (1998)
Allure Homme contains bergamot, mandarin, citron zest, pepper, vetiver, patchouli, sandalwood, tonka bean and labdanum. The fragrance starts off with an artificial-smelling, alcohol-y and acidic accord; these opening notes are, to my nose, ugly, harsh and sour. Thankfully, Allure Homme’s opening notes begin to subside within 10 minutes’ wear and what comes next is a hazy, well-blended mix of woody, vanillic and earthy notes. The note or accord I’m calling “earthy” is not dirty enough to be called “sweaty”; I guess I would call this note “flushed” or “blushing” (is it ‘neutered’ labdanum?) Except for its rough opening, Allure Homme is not a bold perfume — its vetiver, pepper, patchouli and labdanum are all faint-hearted and wan.
Allure Homme is a middle-of-the road scent: it has mid-level sillage/strength, mid-level quality, mid-level complexity and mid-level pricing. Allure Homme wears down to a light musk-amber aroma that is not unpleasant — but these days, what men’s mainstream fragrance DOESN’T dry down to that accord?
Chanel Allure Homme Sport (2004)
I don’t have to like a fragrance for it to grab my attention or inspire my imagination (Rochas Lui is a perfect recent example). If a fragrance is sublime, monstrous or ‘just’ interesting, I can get fired up about it. Allure Homme Sport (just like Allure Homme) is neither great (nor awful) and it holds no interest for me: it’s dull.
Allure Homme Sport contains mandarin, orange, aquatic accord, black pepper, neroli, cedar, tonka bean, vetiver, amber, white musk, and aldehydes; its opening is similar to Allure Homme’s — and almost as unpleasant. As often happens in modern men’s fragrances, the notes of Allure Homme Sport seem blended into a mishmash accord that is unvarying in its simplicity and “freshness.” The only mildly appealing aspect of this fragrance is a creamy citrus aroma that I can smell only if I put my nose right up against my Allure Homme Sport-saturated skin (and that note disappears quickly). Allure Homme Sport is so plain and static, it makes Allure Homme seem mysterious and complex by comparison.
If you are new to perfumery, you may find Allure Homme Sport novel; but if you are an old hand at perfumery, you will have smelled this type of fragrance dozens of times under dozens of brands and names — MEN’S FRAGRANCE (insert name) = fresh ozone/marine accord + citrus + cedar + vanilla + powdery musk. To make matters worse, Allure Homme Sport turns stale on my skin within an hour of wear. With all the wonderful (and refreshing) perfumes that can be had at Allure Homme Sport’s price (pick almost ANY of the Parfums de Nicolaï men’s or unisex fragrances for instance), who’s buying it…and why?
I love many Chanel perfumes and quite a few Jacques Polge creations, but the Allure offerings for men add nothing special to the Chanel fragrance line (except, perhaps, lots of CA$H). After smelling Allure Homme and Allure Homme Sport, I’m anxious to try Allure Homme Édition Blanche — with but a soupçon of creativity/boldness, it could easily surpass its predecessors.
Allure Homme and Allure Homme Sport are widely available at department stores and online discounters.
Tomorrow: a review of Allure Homme Édition Blanche