Armani Prive Vetiver Babylone & Chanel Sycomore ~ fragrance reviews

If my perfume choices were limited to one type of fragrance with one note predominant, chances are I would opt for vetiver colognes. (I’d probably have to flip a coin: Sandalwood vs. Vetiver.) I love vetiver fragrances and have owned too many to list here. Recently, my introduction to Lalique Encre Noir, the reissue of Givenchy Vétyver and the debuts of Giorgio Armani's Vétiver Babylone and Chanel's Sycomore have made me very happy and ready to expand an already-overcrowded perfume collection.

Les Eaux Armani Privé Vétiver Babylone

Just as sparkling, fresh water sustained ancient Babylon’s (real or imaginary) fragrant hanging gardens, Vétiver Babylone’s vetiver, likewise sparkling and fresh, supports its other brisk ingredients — bergamot, citron, mandarin, green cardamom, coriander, pink pepper and patchouli.

Vétiver Babylone is a ‘cheerful’ and bright perfume; when I first sprayed it on, I was reminded a bit of Eau d’Italie Paestum Rose (but Paestum Rose served up with lots of crushed ice and lemon juice) and Annick Goutal Duel (diluted with effervescent mineral water). I love Paestum Rose and Duel, and I am currently infatuated with Vétiver Babylone.

Vétiver Babylone is simple, but satisfying; it opens with a delicious, and rich, citrus accord that, as it slowly “evaporates,” produces waves of freshness (thankfully not begot by ozone or marine notes, but by perky vetiver). The fragrance lightens and softens in mid-development, and I detect milky cardamom and a note that smells of sheerest vegetal musk (and perhaps a molecule or two of patchouli). The faint spicy-peppery base notes of Vétiver Babylone remind me of a fragrance a friend wore ages ago: Francesco Smalto for Men. Vétiver Babylone develops quickly and stays close to the body — you’ll need every drop of the 100 ml bottle ($115) to scent your way through summer. Vétiver Babylone lasts about 4 hours on my skin (with a 10-spritz application) but this is not a tragedy since I sometimes like to switch perfumes midday or reapply perfume on hot days to refresh myself.

For buying information, see the listing for Giorgio Armani under Perfume Houses.

Chanel Sycomore

Vetiver Root Bundles

Chanel Sycomore is a classic, and classy, take on vetiver. Sycomore was created by Jacques Polge and contains top-quality vetiver, sandalwood, cypress, juniper and pink pepper. Sycomore starts with savory vetiver and a glimmer of sandalwood, then comes an almost edible-smelling, nutty turn, and finally the fragrance darkens as cypress comes to the fore. I smell vetiver from beginning to end, and though its vetiver is smooth and clear, Sycomore’s wood notes provide an interesting “grain” or texture as the fragrance develops.

Unlike some of the other Les Exclusif fragrances, Sycomore (200 ml for $190) has very good lasting power; it would take me many years to go through such a large bottle of fragrance. Here’s hoping Chanel reduces the bottle size of Les Exclusifs to 100 ml and adds Eau de Parfum formulations for some of its more evanescent perfumes in the line (I’m looking at you, 28 La Pausa).

For buying information, see the listing for Chanel under Perfume Houses.

Note: first image of Ishtar Gate is by Josep Renalias at Wikimedia, some rights reserved. Second image is Vetiveria zizanoides roots sold in bunches (Réunion Island) © 2005 David Monniaux, also via Wikimedia.

Shop for perfume

Parfums Raffy


Leave a comment, or read more about commenting at Now Smell This. Here's a handy emoticon chart.

  1. Anonymous says:

    ET: three on right arm, three on left arm, three on torso, and one extra for good measure (location constantly changing….) HA! And you KNOW I don't do this with EVERY scent I wear!

  2. Anonymous says:

    I just sampled Sycomore at the Vancouver boutique last Saturday. I think the Canadian store replaced No. 18 with this scent (didn't see that when I was at the boutique). I invited my friend to sample this insipid copy of Givenchy Vetyver, only to be interroagted by the security guard and the Chanel beauty “expert” for ever having an interest in Chanel…

    Like all knowledgable (and paying) Chanel customers I was proudly showing off the Chanel heritage: the fragrances, the icons. I started by telling my friend the origin of the true Chanel beige. Then I talked about Chanel No. 19, Cristalle, the Coco and the Allure lines. Like any perfunistas I mentioned the inspirations, the notes, the memorable campaigns. (The ingeneous iris-galbanum alliance in No. 19 by Henri Robert, for instance.) Of course, the Allure and the Coco lines as well. I even talked about the difference between Chanel and Guerlain orientals (baroque vs. art deco)!

    When I was about to sample the new shoesthe security guard rudely interrupted me. He accused me of committing corporate espionage and almost asked me to leave the premise. After I explained my respect for Chanel he then asked me if this was a corporate visit or if I work for the head office. (Why would he ask those two question AFTER ACCUSING OF COMMITING CORPORATE ESPIONAGE?)

    And when my friend wanted to buy lipsticks the cosmetic “expert” started making really awful comments because SHE THOUGHT ONLY TRAINED PROFESSIONAL CAN IDENTIFY FRAGRANCE NOTES. The same “expert” then started interrogating me: do you work for this industry? Do you work for other companies? Why do you know so much about Chanel and Coco Chanel?…each question grew more disgusting than the last one….


    ..My friend was watching all this in disbelief and terror, espeically when they interrogated her…(my fried had to play dumb because she wanted a Chanel lipstick…she just recently caught the perfunista bug from me)…

    So to all perfunistas: if you dare mention the Chanel fragrance notes in front of the Chanel staff…you might be leaking sensitive corporate secrets…you shall be escorted out of the door like my friend and me last Saturday. Of course, not without purchasing something first!

    • Julia says:

      I’m jumping in very late here, but I have the same problem with the Chanel rep at Saks. They don’t have the Exclusifs in-store and have never once offered to transfer one for me despite repeated inquiries. They just tell me no, they can’t get one for me. One of them disliked my questions about No. 5 extrait and turned her back on me my while I was talking! She never turned around to help me again. She had been snooty on a couple other occasions, but this was outrageous! I would organize a boycott except that I want about half of the line now, so I guess I’m at their mercy. At least I can bypass the SAs by ordering directly from Chanel online. That woman will never make a commission off me.

  3. Anonymous says:

    I completely forgot to congradulate K on composing a great read yet again. I still love Givenchy Vetyver the best (reading “Givenchy Style” at the moment) and unfortunately Sycomore didn't register that much of an impact on me, but I really need to give a go one more time under a less stressful situation…(will have to sample the Armani when I drop by Holt Renfew next time…)

    Keep on writing, K! I look forward to your future reviews.

  4. Anonymous says:

    I'm glad to know I'm not the only one who often uses the 10-spritz application… as you've said before, that's often the amount needed to appreciate the FULL effect of a fragrance! I'm only wary when it's something that I don't know the strength of — wouldn't want more than 2 spritzes of most 80s fougeres! I find many perfumes so fugitive that with anything less than copious spritzing, I can barely smell them by the time I get to the office!

    I am going to have to spring for a decant of Sycomore VERY soon — I can't believe they're selling it in such humongous bottles! You've made it sound worth all the buzz, that's for sure. I'm more partial to vetivers and other woods in the cool days of fall, but the Armani definitely sounds like it has enough of a citrus kick to be summery. Ah, great review… even though it just incites more craving! (Oh, and THANKS for that cavalcade of samples! VERY gracious of you.)

  5. Anonymous says:

    what horror! what awfulness! What is the world coming to?

  6. Anonymous says:

    That is one hell of an unpleasant experience… I sometimes get asked by SA if I work for the perfume industry, but it's never in a negative way: I usually get smothered in samples at the end of the discussion! But then, I live in France. I think you should write to Chanel headquarters to tell them your story.

  7. Anonymous says:

    C, I want to begin by offering my belated kudos on getting that elusive bottle of Iris Gris (sealed!) several months ago and kindly offered your experience! I'm so jealous (in a good way) that you are able to live in Paris and pursue what you enjoy doing :-)

    I thought about doing that and I still don't know if the headquarter would take this seriously. I remember the security guard kept on talking about protecting proprietary secrets (on the info featured on so who knows what would the head office think…we'll see…

  8. Anonymous says:

    AlbertCAN: Good grief. I guess Chanel reps like to be the ones IN THE KNOW, not the customers. And your poor friend, will she start to shake whenever she sees a Chanel logo?!

  9. Anonymous says:

    Joe: you're welcome…tell me what you like…. I enjoy Sycomore very much…and the size of the bottle is the only thing keeping me from it! REALLY…almost a CUP of perfume!

  10. Anonymous says:

    Dear K: thank you for caring about my friend! Fear not, however–she is pretty well-adjusted so she got over it way faster than I did! She didn't like the Chanel commercial products anyway: the only fragrances she liked were the Chanel classics by Ernest Beaux (especially No. 22 and Gardenia).

    In fact, she was MUCH more excited about the Frederic Malle line…she loved almost everything, especially En Passant. She loved it so much that she ended up wearing that throughout the rest of the evening.

  11. Anonymous says:

    You took the words right out of my mouth…that was exactly what I was saying to myself when I left!

  12. Anonymous says:


    Nice review of both. I loved Vetiver babylone but did not buy it for some reason. Those Armani Prive' bottles were not my thing and I'm a true “bottle collector” as you know by now. But my question is: if you need 10 spritzes of Vetiver Babylone, how many spritzes of ENCRE NOIRE de Lalique would you need to last you 4 hours? I bought Encre Noire last week in Paris and loved it, but it disappears on my skin within 30 minutes (!!!!)

    I also wanted to ask you if you've ever smelled “Eau Noire” by Christian Dior (2004, Hedi Slimane was the Creative Director then and developed 3 Eaux for Dior) The bottles for all 3 are are very “stern” and they truly were never for large distribution. May be Neiman Marcus and Bergdorf initially and then they stopped carrying them. Now they are sold ONLY at Dior Boutiques and I suspect that Dior will discontinue them soon. Luca Turin and Tania Snachez gave Eau Noire a 5-star in the book. As soon as I read it, I called Dior in NYC and requested a sample. Since they had none, the SA mailed me a card that she sprayed with eau Noire. I was so excited and could not wait. But when I received it, I was really on the fence about Eau Noire: To me it smelled like a sort of decaying lavender bouquet with curry (Luca mentions Curry BTW) and a burned caramelized sugar scent. I am now VERY intrigued by it and I'm obsessing. Do I call and order it or do I just let go of that one? Already made too many mistakes in the past as you know…Why not one more, right?!

    If anyone on here has an opinion of Eau Noire, please share. Thanks!


  13. Anonymous says:

    Hooray for the 10-spritzes! We love our close, short-lived fragrances! There *is* something so refreshing about coming in from the hot & sweaty outside and cooling down with several misting cooling sprays of your fav citrus fragrance. Despite the voluptuous spraying some things only last 4 hours, max.

  14. Anonymous says:

    Ericgmd: Where to begin? First, the Encre Noir lasts all day on me…truly. But it's one I DO apply lavishly…and I don't mind that it stays close to my skin for most of the day — as long as I can smell it I'm happy. A decaying lavender bouquet with curry: HORROR! I say if you've only smelled Eau Noir on a card THAT WAS MAILED!, do NOT buy it! (unless you NEED the bottle for your bottle collection). I know you travel a lot, can't you find it at a Dior boutique and spray it on? *But if you do buy it, SEND ME A SAMPLE..HA!

  15. Anonymous says:

    Third Shift: YES. Just got in from some dusty, grass-stained gardening…and sprayed on some green green green & green till the cats started sneezing…. Now for a cocktail.

  16. Anonymous says:

    Hi, AlbertCan —

    What an awful experience!

    I've not suffered such indignity, although every time I go to the Chanel boutique I get suspicious looks from the SAs and security guards, too. I fear that I will not be able wrangle any more samples from the SA without buying anything, which is too bad because I do not yet have a sample of Sycomore or 31 Rue Cambon.

    I do wish that the Les Exclusifs line came in 50 mL or 100 mL sizes. I would have already bought something. (Yes, 28 La Pausa, I'm also looking at you. You too, Eau de Cologne and No. 18. Bois des Îles and Cuir de Russie, you're off the hook, I have you in extrait de parfum already).

    I do think that when confronted by such rudeness on the part of SAs and security guards, one should stand one's ground and invoke the haughtiness of a true, Chanel-buying consumer. Indicate that your prior willingness to spend an exorbitant amount of cash on a Chanel product has been endangered by their lack of customer service, and imply that it would be all the more tragic for them if you were to choose to take your business elsewhere.

    I'm assuming Chanel SA's work on commission.

  17. Anonymous says:

    Kevin —
    another fantastic review. Now I'm intrigued by the Vetiver Babylone — I had only sniffed it in passing, while making a bee-line for the Bois D'Encens. But since I love AG Duel, I will re-assess.
    I would love to hear more about what you think of Chanel 28 La Pausa. I, too, have ben eyeing it covetously (under the suspicious eyes of the Chanel SAs, apparently).

  18. Anonymous says:

    I am thrilled you reviewed Sycomore today because I just got a decant in a swap and wore it happily all weekend. Vetiver was one of the first notes I really got a bug for, so I've tried many versions (not the lauded Givenchy yet, however). I really like this one. It reminds me of Kyoto a bit with the smokey woody incense thing, but it has a green feel that reminds me of the scent of a fresh cut branch. I find it compelling and it's good to see it get a little positive attention.

  19. Anonymous says:

    Hi jtc,

    I live in Canada and the Vancouver boutique officially does NOT give out samples for Les Exclusifs!!! I got it once (31 Rue Cambon) because I made an impression on the SA that day…

    Yes, I would be more than happy to buy the boutique exclusives if they do come in smaller sizes! However, I suspect this has something to do the Ms. Maureen Chiquet (current CEO). I remember reading something about her wanting to make this line “special”…so I didn't budge and continued using Chanel No. 19…

    It's interesting that you talked about the best response under this situation because THAT'S EXACTLY WHAT I DID! When asked why do I know so much about Chanel I replied, “Well, as a loyal and faithful Chanel customer I feel it's my innate duty to fully understand the heritage, tradition and spirit of the larger-than-life woman who changed the course of history. It's very important for one to earn his or her stripes and badges before being accepted to stylish community.” Then I noticed the SA was blushing because I don't think her knowledge is up to date…(she thought the Emma Watson story was a corporate secret)!!!!!!

    And yes, I am taking my business elsewhere…Hermes was the sweetest last time I visited. I was carrying two silk scarves in the signature orange bag when an awful pedestrian destroyed my Hermes packaging and badly greased my best silk tie with hot dogs and glazed onions (and she asked me to pay for the hot dog…it didn't work). Hermes later replaced all the bags and boxes and offered to took the stain out of the tie. The SA ended up giving me two fistful of fragrance samples, including two Jardins Apres la Mousson, Hermessence and Terre d'Hermes…

    Oh well, life goes on…A

    ps Thank you for making me sound so important…I don't really spend “an exorbitant amount of cash”…mostly fragrances, accessories and small gifts for dear friends who need cheering up. In fact I don't think I'm a typical Chanel customer…I'm very selective so I suspect the SA's don't get that much commission out of me anyway. (Yes, it's commission based…but the SA gets 50% on the bi-annual sales items. I know that because one of my old boss used to work as a beauty expert at Chanel.)

  20. Anonymous says:

    Sorry…that's “getting the sales items at 50% off” and not “getting 50% of the commission on sales items”. (That wouldn't make sense, wouldn't?)

  21. Anonymous says:

    jtc: I LOVE La Pausa but it goes into hiding about 20 minutes after I spray it on…even with 10 sprays. That delicious iris note is great.

  22. Anonymous says:

    2scents: I was told by the Chanel SA that Sycomore is a limited edition (not many bottles remaining in the U.S.) I was never able to confirm this bit of info but I hope it will be around a year at least? It is nice from top to base notes..if only it came in a small bottle….

  23. Anonymous says:

    Tama: HA! Route du Vetiver is my No. 1 vetiver scent. It always “transports” me to some faraway place, circa 1860 for some reason! It's been a good spell for vetiver scents this last year.

  24. Anonymous says:

    And just make sure I don't exaggerate the story…the orange bag was just the orange paper shopping bag one receives when making a purchase…not a leather bag. (No, not that loaded last time I checked.) And the tie was just an old Hermes tie.

  25. Anonymous says:

    Hi, Albert —

    Yes, I've had much nicer experiences at Hermès. Although the very sweet SA nearly caused me to have a heart attack when, after my purchase of Osmanthe Yunnan, she saw me looking at the watches in the glass case. “Would you like to see one?” she asked, so I said, “Why yes, certainly.” She took the one I was looking at out, put it on my wrist, said, “That's very nice.” Then I saw the price — $25,000! I nearly dropped it on the floor. Apparently I had picked out the one made out of solid white gold.

  26. Anonymous says:

    THAT IS FUNNY!!! YOU'VE MADE MY DAY! My biggest jaw-dropper at Hermes was last Christmas when the SA quoted the prices over the telephone. I thought he was giving out prices such as “$97.65” until I realized he was talking about Birkin bags…$9,765 plus tax (a whopping 12%) was what he was referring to. I was the time that I realized my earning power was WAY TOO WEAK for my own good.

  27. Anonymous says:

    One last thing…I have Osmanthe Yunnan too! I bought it after smelling it once, which would be the closest I would've ever gotten to buying fragrances blind. My SA told me OY is the best-seller in colder climates among the Hermessence collection, whereas Paprika Brasil is the least popular. In the hotter region, however, it's the opposite. Paprika sells like hotcakes apparently in the Southern states. (Interesting…)

  28. Anonymous says:

    That's weird, I haven't heard anything about Sycomore being a limited edition here in Paris… I have a full bottle and I agree, it's a very fine vetiver, with the vetiver note shining through for hours. I seriously doubt the bottle sizes will get any smaller, but the people at Chanel are aware that 28 La Pausa has poor lasting power. I don't know if they're working on it, but they do know.

  29. Anonymous says:

    Do it. How else are they going to know? The Chanel people in Paris are charming, when I went in for my birthday to buy Cuir de Russie I actually got all the Exclusives minis after talking for an hour with the SA…

    And I agree about the Hermès staff, they're very nice, both in Paris and in Montreal (at Holt's) the guy was an absolute doll, we got all the Hermessences, both of us, without a single purchase!

  30. Anonymous says:

    There is a very good post on sales assistants on a new weblog.

  31. Anonymous says:

    carmencanada: I called several stores that stock Les Exclusifs, even stores in California, and though no one said “limited edition” outright, ALL said I should buy the scent “while supplies last.” HA! I don't know if that was a sales ploy or if the scent won't be readily available here in the U.S. after a certain point.

  32. Anonymous says:

    KevinS: you are in Seattle, yes? Do they have it at Nordstrom? (The sales ploy thing is working on me…)

  33. Anonymous says:

    Oh i totally agree! I get the same “are you in the perfume industry?” comments whenever i go on a sampling spree. My worst encounter ever was at a Macy's this past February. I went looking/sniffing for my new, light, crisp scent for spring and summer and had just sampled Chanel's Chance when the woman from the Givenchy counter swooped on me like a hungry eagle. She started babbling about how the new Very Irresistible Sensual was all new and awesome. I told her that i enjoyed the original but it was a bit heavy for what i was looking for. She insisted i smell the sample swab anyway. So of course, I did, and i commented that the base was too heavy on the Patchouli for me. She responded (very offended) and said there was no Patchouli in the base and that they had merely added a new rose! And in fact, the perfume was ALL ROSE, no patchouli. I knew better. I argued. The woman at the Chanel counter even told her that I was not one to mess with.

    All in all, i left the store furious, drove angerly home through 6pm traffic, went straight to my computer and looked up the notes/description on SEVERAL different sites (of course stopping at NST first) and found that everyone else had smelled the patchouli as well and some sites had listed patchouli as its base note. Vindication!

    Oh, and did i mention the woman also grabbed my arm and SLATHERED the hideous body lotion on my arm then spritzed it with the perfume even as i tried to get my arm back? I smelled it for days. Eeew.

  34. Anonymous says:

    2scents: the downtown Nordstrom carries Les Exclusifs…and does have some Sycomore

  35. Anonymous says:

    Kevin – if you love sandalwood, you MUST try Taylor of Old Bond Street Luxury Sandalwood cologne. It is wonderful. The sandalwood remains throughout but out of it comes a rose and jasmine note that is exquisite. Very sweet but manly at the same time. A female friend of mine sighs deleriously when I wear it.

  36. Anonymous says:

    Haha – what a great story! I upset an SA at a Chanel boutique by mentioning that I had tried a number of the Exclusifs, and was quizzed as to how and where I had managed to do this, as I had let slip that I didn't live anywhere near the store. I explained about decant sites, with which the SA was not familiar. Moreover she said it would have to be a fake/grey market product because Chanel would not allow the product to be sold in anonymous glass vials (by inference divorced from the mystique and aura of the brand as promoted in the boutiques). I said I thought the decanters probably bought a bottle in a major department store and extracted the juice using whatever technique was appropriate for the particular bottle type. The SA denied that it was physically possible to take the top of a bottle of 31, rue Cambon. Well, perhaps they just keep squirting into a funnel till they have the correct amount, I volunteered. And so it went on….I tried to point out that the very fact I was in their store at all considering a full bottle purchase was thanks to the the decanters who make samples available to people wherever they live. The SA didn't get it and needless to say, I didn't make a purchase on that occasion.

  37. Anonymous says:

    HDS1963: Will do…I'm in the market for a new sandalwood.

  38. Anonymous says:

    vanessa: what a farce … but “that sort of thing” happens all the time. I often tell SAs they should REALLY start reading perfume blogs….

  39. Anonymous says:

    Agree about its shortevity – also, of all the perfumes I have ever tried, this is the first one that seems to combine fragrance with air conditioning!

  40. Anonymous says:

    I just wrote a few e-mails to the Chanel headquarter. If I don't get any response (typical Chanel, by the way) then I'll send out an official letter to the New York headquarter.

  41. Anonymous says:

    I forgot to add that I e-mailed the Paris headquarter…

  42. Anonymous says:

    Oh gracious!!!!! Apparantly “thou shalt not mess with a perfunista” is not in the training manual! That's why I have a routine everytime I got fragance hunting…

    SA: Do you need any help?

    Albert: I am fine for now. I will definately use your help when I need it.

    Then I dash right before the SA is back, armed with the latest scent weapon…(you need to plan your sampling routine and exit strategy for this to work)…

    I usually go to department stores with a plan…sample this and that…if they are really rude then I'll say “I don't have time…not now…sorry!!!”

    Holt has learnt to kindly leave me alone…the Vancouver store was the sweetest last Saturnday…the SA simply gave us a vial of test strips, two chairs and said “Albert knows what he is doing.” We ended up having a killer time! (Why can't the other SAs do that???)

  43. Anonymous says:

    Oh…one more thing…the above strategy usually buys me about 15 minutes…enough to figure what I want…if they don't get it after the first let down then I get progressively more forthright.

  44. Anonymous says:

    I usually say that I travel a great deal in order to avoid the quizzical look from the SAs. I don't think they get the whole decant concept because I've noticed most simply make a living out of scent…and don't have the time after work to get their skills updated.

    And most training are not adequate…it's a shame because Chanel is one of the better ones. When my old boss (from elsewhere) was becoming a beauty expert she was flown to New York and had a three-day training session. I was told that other SA were flown to NY just for training too.

  45. Anonymous says:

    Good move, and indeed I only revealed the decant angle that one time. At the Maison Guerlain in Paris, where I was similarly grilled about how I could possibly know Sous Le Vent up close and personally, I played the travel card. However, because that required me to specify my own movements in rather more detail than I felt comfortable with, I promptly invoked the help of a number of mysterious (and imaginary!) travelling friends, who got me out of a similar hole with Plus Que Jamais, which seems to be in very limited distribution – I am not sure I even saw it in the other Guerlain stores I visited over there.

  46. Anonymous says:

    Your move is better! I gotta steal that one next time I need to get out of the hotseat ;-p

  47. Anonymous says:

    Another thing…Sous Le Vent was mentioned in a perfume book published by National Geographics (Cathy Newman was the author) so if Guerlain tried to grill you on that one maybe you can simply said “I read it in National Geographics.” (At least that's what I said when Chanel asked me how I know about the packaging updates of Chanel No. 5 over the years.)

  48. Anonymous says:

    I think from what I have been told (Internet is a marvelous thing) they are working on it…although they probably won't make a huge announcement and if there's a new formulation then we'll have to wait until the fragrance department “modernize” the scents (it's no secret that they do that periodically).

  49. Anonymous says:

    Second on 28 La Pausa! It smells like a finely furnished library (yes, I'm a geek)!

  50. Anonymous says:

    KevinS: I don't think you should worry about Sycomore being a limited edition…that's what Chanel said when Les Exlusifs came out…

  51. Anonymous says:

    It is key that the mysterious travelling friends must be frequent visitors to Paris in order to cover your back completely. And the National Geographic wheeze – whilst a perfect ruse for background info/history – might not explain away the fact that you had also smelled it. Unless they do scratch 'n' sniff panels in the magazine, which is typical of so many other “glossies”!

  52. Anonymous says:

    For me the library would be more Cuir de Russie while La Pausa is “cryogenic iris”!

  53. Anonymous says:

    I can totally see that it would do that – it does smell somehow historic. It just gave me a violent headache. I have 3 scents of theirs, and none of them work for one reason or another. Just not my brand, I guess.

  54. Anonymous says:

    Thanks, Marianne. This blog is very good.

  55. Anonymous says:

    Oh, finely furnished library? I must be a geek too, because that sounds quite enticing to me.

    I love Cuir de Russie as well, but was able to find it in extrait de parfum so went for that instead.

    I'm trying to figure out whether my impulse to spring for a FB is self-motivated, or partially motivated by the desire to demonstrate to the SAs at the Chanel boutique that I am actually interested and capable of buying SOMETHING. (I know that sounds ridiculous, and it is).

  56. Anonymous says:

    Mine…what taste you have–vintage leather-bound books!!! Do I think “cryogenic iris” is for fitting for SL Silver Iris Mist IMHO.

  57. Anonymous says:

    Didn't think of the scratch 'n' sniff issue…yours approach is still better! (Gotta steal that next time! if it is okay with you!!)

  58. Anonymous says:

    AlbertCAN: Your story is sad/funny. Must be a Canadian thing. Such behavior would not be allowed here in the US. Especially where I come from in Texas. Dallas big-haired beautiful women would have called the sheriff and had both sales biatch and security guard incarcerated for insanity! They would have pulled their accounts and cancelled all trunk shows in a heartbeat. Chanel or not! Tell those Chanel anorexic people: Y'all need to relax. Have something to eat once in a while. Like a Bar-B-Q brisket sandwich or something. And have a cocktail while on your lunch breayyk!

  59. Anonymous says:

    That's hilarious! I shall try telling people that next time I am stuck in that kind of situation. I must say in all fairness that Canadian SAs are fairly docile in general. The only store which I feel the need to remind people to get a Bar-B-Q brisket sandwich is the new H&M here in Downtown Vancouver: it was shocking to see two floors worth of size 0 SAs.

  60. Anonymous says:

    Just checking back here to say that I received my decant of Sycomore yesterday and it's absolutely wonderful. Now, if we can just do something about that 200ml bottle….

  61. Anonymous says:

    Oh good grief! Who needs that much drama from any SA? I suppose they just expect people to come in, sample something off a tester, go “that smells nice”, and then drop $200 on a bottle? If it works for handbags that cost 10 times as much, why not perfume too? *eyeroll*

    I had a really good experience with the Guerlain Boutique in Toronto. I was served by (I believe) the manager, who was very friendly and knowledgeable. (Of course, I did come in for the purpose of buying Spiritueuse Double Vanille, so she probably started off with a good first impression of me!) I sampled a number of things on ribbons, though I was still a bit of an amateur at that point, so I rather ignored the more exclusive stuff (L'art et la Matiere, et al.). I even mentioned the Basenotes forum to her! I was also able to get a mini of Bois des Iles from Chanel in Toronto.

    Does anyone know if the Montreal Chanel boutique carries the Exclusifs? I would expect they do, but someone on Basenotes told me they didn't.

  62. Anonymous says:

    That kind of behaviour by sales assistants is just disgusting. Who is the client here, for heaven's sake! Of course we should know the notes in perfumes. How else can we discuss them intelligently. They're morons. But Albert I can't agree with you that Sycomore is just a garden-variety imitation of Vetyver. Yes it does have the lovely almondy note of a good vetyver but to me Sycomore is traditional Chypre through and through (read: no patchouli whatsoever) and a very fine one at that. That labdanum note is absolutely divine. I'd hate to think that people wouldn't go out and try it because of misguided idiots in a department store. Sycomore is a hyper-highlight in fragrance for me this year. I was just pondering today what's been the best of the year so far and I really think this is it.

  63. Anonymous says:

    Kevin! You are just a hoot! 10 spritzes? Does it feel like floating in a cloud of fragrance? Much as I would love to be bathed in 31 Rue Cambon, I can't imagine my colleagues or dinner companions would share my enthusiasm. Do you get much feedback, positive or negative? I imagine the allergen-free p.c. throngs in the pac nw may be problematic. Anyhoo, back to Chanel. I was able to try the Sycamore in the Orlando Chanel Boutique on Black Saturday(while traveling; I live in Michigan) and was equally captiviated. Further, the SA (Bettina Rodriguez) was lovely and accommodating and not snooty in the slightest. And surely my 10 year old daughter and I would have taxed the patience of the typical snooty SA. We had just come off a cruise ship, were dressed like beach bums .. my daughter spent her time in the boutique fingering all the expensive merchandise and lounging/sprawling all over the large ottoman/lounge furniture watching videos, etc. And the shop was busy. Bettina didn't bat an eye, and indulged me with sampling. We left for a while, as I wanted to let the 31 Rue Cambon rest on my arm. I had the Cuir de Russie on my other arm. When we returned, Bettina insisted on sniffing both my arms, and offered her opinion re: which was more “becoming” on me. (her vote: the 31). I purchased the 31 Rue Cambon, as it was, for me, true love in a bottle(But adored all three). Bettina gave me a little scented card of the Sycamore, and apologized profusely for not being able to comp me the mini-bottle, as she didn't have one. I confessed I couldn't afford to buy two bottles at $190/ea, and made clear that this was a rare splurge on my part. She did give me a mini-bottle Cuir de Russie(yum), the only Exclusif mini she had left. She also took my contact information and promised to send me a Sycamore mini if/when she gets more. Overall a great customer service experience. I will shop with her in the future(for a big bottle when my mini Cuir de Russie runs out . . and maybe the Sycamore), by mail if necessary. For now I have a monster bottle of 31, and may have to try 10 spritzes today!

  64. Anonymous says:

    Pearlymom: who would DARE reprimand me for wearing 10 spritzes?! (No one yet!) I am a master at figuring out how much I need to wear of a perfume to enjoy the fragrance most of the day and “share” it with people who are at arm's length or closer. Of course I've made some HORRIBLE miscalculations on the first day of wearing a scent and wanted to reprimand myself for wearing too much.

    You had great luck with your S.A…a few friends have bought full bottles of the Chanels and not ONE of them has gotten a freebie mini-bottle as a 'gift.'

  65. Anonymous says:

    Hee hee hee! You are such a hedonist! Just love your devil-may-care attitude. I always feel guilty if I wear more than 2-3 spritzes. And yes, depends on the perfume. Like . . one or two of poison can sometimes clear the room.

  66. Anonymous says:

    Btw, not to be negative re: poison . . I love it. Just commenting on the powerful sillage.

  67. Eveden says:

    I always require only 50ml for any new perfume when I have it on my Christmas gift list. :) However, for Channel Sycomore I did get a big bottle and I agree it will last for years for me. (My friend who gave me this and saw the bottle again a year later, asked me don’t be stingy on it since there is Christmas every year!). But not every year you get a classy!

  68. bunzabee says:

    i ordered a sample of the sycomore awhile back, wore it, loved it, lost it in a sea of samples. found it again this morning and realized that i love it even more than i remember. vetiver is not a scent that i seek out (or really know, for that matter) but darn if that won’t be changing soon.
    i just can’t stop smelling myself! everytime i catch a whiff, i can’t help but think “DAMN! i smell GOOD!!!!!!!”
    can’t wait to try other vetiver scents and some others from of les exclusif fragrances.

Leave a reply