Bleu de Chanel ~ fragrance review

Bleu de Chanel

After finishing In Search of Lost Time, I spent several weeks reading nothing but my old children’s books and fashion and travel magazines. Sometimes, following days of eating rich and spicy foods, all I crave is a sliced cucumber or tomato drizzled with rice vinegar. As hot weather arrives, I like to pour on Eaux de Cologne and let their sparkly, invigorating notes “cleanse” my sense of smell of its winter residue of incense, amber, vanilla and leather perfumes.

We all (most of us) like, and need, variety in our lives — and in our rotation of perfumes. I could never wear only “natural” fragrances or rely on one perfume house for my perfume ‘needs’. I can’t stick with one genre of scent: say, vetivers, ambers or chypres. BUT: I didn’t think my need for change would ever take me into the blue-bleu world of marine-sport fragrances….

Bleu de Chanel is Chanel’s “first major male fragrance since 2004’s Allure Homme Sport and its first men’s master brand since 1990’s Egoïste.”* Even though Bleu de Chanel is not geared to a particular demographic/age-group, Chanel hopes this fragrance will broaden its appeal with young men. Bleu de Chanel was created by Chanel’s in-house perfumer Jacques Polge and it contains notes of citrus (bergamot, lemon, grapefruit), “deep blue sea” accord, peppermint, pink pepper, nutmeg, ginger, jasmine, cedar, vetiver, patchouli, labdanum and frankincense.

Chanel Bleu de Chanel advert

Chanel describes Bleu de Chanel as a “woody-aromatic” fragrance, but it definitely has (no matter its big-city-at-night/”dressy” ad campaign) a marine/sport vibe — and the marine nature of the perfume becomes more pronounced the longer I wear it.

Bleu de Chanel has been badly received by the online perfume community. Polge has been accused of sullying the Chanel name by gathering together in one perfume many elements of mainstream (read: banal, cheap, made-for-the-hoi polloi) men’s fragrances: a fresh/ozonic accord, AXE-like “personal hygiene” notes, simple-minded (and smelling) sport-y aromas. Throw me to the floor, hold me down, and make me guzzle vintage Chanel No. 5 till I morph into Catherine Deneuve, circa 1973, but at this point in my life, and in the realm of perfume creation, I could care less about the Chanel heritage, its “mystique” or exclusivity. Chanel is in business now, as it was when Coco Chanel was in charge, to make money…fragrance tastes change and what sells is preferred over what’s “artistic” or adventurous; anyway, niche perfume companies have picked up the slack when it comes to creating quirky and “soulful” perfumes. Let Chanel have its fresh, marine-sport fragrance for men.

Bleu de Chanel is not a “graphic” (and harsh) take on the ‘deep blue sea’; it’s a more impressionistic and diffuse interpretation of a marine-sport fragrance. In the opening and heart of Bleu de Chanel, the notes seem to move into each other’s space, bleed into one another in “watercolor” fashion — peppermint nudges grapefruit, mixing some green menthol into oily, yellow peel; flecks of grated nutmeg and ground pink pepper float on clear, ginger juice. What’s most interesting (to me) about Bleu de Chanel is the control Polge has over its ingredients and his ability to make the same “watercolor” (spontaneous-smelling) effects reappear with every application.

Bleu de Chanel goes on “cool” as it opens with strong bergamot-grapefruit and (non-medicinal) peppermint leaf notes. Bleu de Chanel's "temperature" starts to rise as nutmeg and ginger become apparent; the scent of peppercorns mixed with mild vetiver and a floral note (reminiscent of the jasmine in Christian Dior Eau Sauvage) adds even more warmth to the mid-phase of development. Though there is a smidgen of “freshness” one associates with marine and sport fragrances, there’s more complexity and better ingredients used in Bleu de Chanel than in your average water/sport perfume. For me, Bleu de Chanel conjures a summer beach — hot sand; sun-toasted skin; silky driftwood; baking stones; citronella (bugs, be gone!); and an evocative, slightly salty accord I’ll call “clean-dog-takes-a-dip-in-the-sea-and-then-suns-herself-dry.” The most traditional (formulaic) phase of Bleu de Chanel is its base, where citrus-y musk, pale cedar and a touch of incense ash (benzoin?) mix to produce a sweet talcy finale.

Bleu de Chanel is not a perfume to sample on paper (where it smells stunted and “sketchy”); it should be worn — and applied with a generous hand — to experience its subtle phases of development. Blue de Chanel has good lasting power and sillage, and to me, it smells more masculine than “unisex.” Of all the marine-sport fragrances I’ve sniffed over the years, Bleu de Chanel is one of my favorites and the only one I’ve considered buying for myself.

Bleu de Chanel Eau de Toilette comes in a heavy blue-gray bottle whose sides and top are a gorgeous sapphire color; the fragrance is available in 50 ($59) and 100 ($79) ml and also comes in 100 ml aftershave lotion ($50).

* via Women's Wear Daily, 7/16/2010.

Note: top left image is Blue No. 2 by Georgia O’Keeffe via Wikimedia Commons; bottom image of Peaches Zickler on Whidbey Island by Linda Findlay, used with photographer's permission.


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110 Comments

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  1. Cheryl says:

    Wait, wait, wait. You *finished* In Search of Lost Time? I’m too awestruck to get beyond the first sentence. :)

    • Kevin says:

      Cheryl: I SURE DID!!!!!! One of my proudest accomplishments!

      • Robin says:

        I have been stuck in the middle of the last volume for almost 18 months now. I would be very proud too.

        • Cheryl says:

          Robin: If you have read 5 volumes @approximately 800 pages each and are stuck in that 6th volume with a teensy 400 pages left to go, I say drop everything , go for it, and join the Kevin club!

          [Hmmm. Wonder if I could get away with all Proust NST reviews for 6 months. Insert devilish grin here.]

    • Cheryl says:

      You both amaze me! I have read four of the volumes (the three first, and the last–long ago) but have missed the ones in between, and every time I decide to go back to it, I start at the beginning. The result is that I’ve read ‘Swann’s Way” at least six times.

      Meanwhile–great review , Kevin!

      • Kevin says:

        Cheryl: thanks. (and the middle volumes are GOOD! HA!)

        • Cheryl says:

          Isn’t that where the Charlus stuff is featured? Sodom and Gomorrah?? To do list item #41: Finish the Proust!

          • Kevin says:

            Cheryl: indeed!

    • lilydale aka Natalie says:

      Lordy, I’m so out of it I didn’t even know they’d “changed” the translated title — I had no clue what you were all talking about! Count me among the impressed: I slogged my way through Swann’s Way but haven’t had the gumption to face the rest.

  2. Dzingnut says:

    I had a sniff of this at Nordstrom’s, but it was on a card that the SA was waving around like a traffic cop, so I couldn’t really take it in. This sounds like one to definitely sample. I love the “clean dog” versus “normal stinky dog that you forced into the water in the hopes that he will smell better when he comes out”. Thank you for a great review Kevin!

    • Kevin says:

      Dzing: you’re welcome…

  3. pyramus says:

    You have a way of making it sound very interesting, and yet I am confident that it would not be for me: the only “wet” fragrance I’ve ever enjoyed enough to buy (and wear repeatedly) was L’Eau D’Issey Pour Homme, fifteen years ago. But whether I changed or it did, it didn’t age well as a concept, and I don’t think I’ve ever smelled another fragrance in the category that even came close to appealing to me.

    But it’s a big world. Lots of scents out there.

    • Kevin says:

      R: I’m sure you’ll smell it on one of your perfume excursions….

  4. Celestia says:

    I tried this the other day and liked it. Of course, I am an aquatic/ozonic lover. If I didn’t have access to tons of female fragrances for free, I’d wear a men’s for sure. My favourites are Azzaro Chrome and Chrome Sport, and Bulgari Aqua. Back in the day, Givenchy Insense Ultramarine did it for me too. I wish someone would come up with a really good ocean fragrance for women!

    • Kevin says:

      Celestia: curious for a woman’s opinion…did you find Bleu “masculine”?

      • Celestia says:

        That’s a really good question. I will revisit it at work on Saturday and reply. I tried it on my hand last week and remember that it was good but the details escape me now.

        • Celestia says:

          I promised to report back. I retried Bleu today and my opinion is that it is very unoriginal because it smells like all the other men’s marine fragrances. However, having said that, I really like it because it is my favourite fragrance category. The sharpness of the cedar (not a bad thing) renders it decidedly masculine for me.

    • SmokeyToes says:

      Wrappings by Clinique is a pretty good ocean scent for women, it has some oceanic but it’s not overdone. Top notes are aldehydes, lavender and herbs, mid notes are orris and cyclamen and the base is marine, leather and patchouli.
      If you’d like to try it I’d be happy to send some to you.

      • Celestia says:

        Thanks for your very kind offer, Smokey Toes. It’s okay, I’ve tried Wrappings and you’re right, it’s really good. Too bad it’s only available at Xmas. I’ve never got around to buying it because I’ve always been obsessed with White Linen Breeze (now disc.). I should try it now that I’m over Pure White Linen Light Breeze!

    • Joe says:

      Celestia: I like Chrome too. It has a nostalgia factor for me. I can’t wear it often at all because it could be headache inducing, but it really is a great summer sport fragrance that is perfect for the beach or something like that.

  5. Dzingnut says:

    Kevin, philistine that I am, I did not recognize that “In Search of Lost Time” was the correct name for “Remembrance of Things Past”. I too am awestruck!

    • miss kitty v. says:

      Oh, geez– I’ve had that sitting next to my nightstand for months, stuck on chapter one. :( (The allure of re-reading old sci-fi and “Nasty” by Simon Doonan has been too great.)

    • Kevin says:

      Dzing: I’m striking you ALL down today!

  6. miss kitty v. says:

    I sniffed this yesterday in a magazine, and was put off by it pretty quickly. I really do not like marine fragrances– in my mind, it’s the smell of a migraine– so I don’t know that it ever had a chance with me. Maybe if I had actually tried it on I may not have disliked it as much. But one less lemming is always a good thing, so its probably better that I never know what I really think of it.

    • Kevin says:

      Miss K: avert your nose from all you can…a savings of time, money, etc.

  7. antonpan says:

    The biggest disappoitment of last years. Citrusy copy of a cheap Biotherm Homme Force. Not bad scent, but shameful for the house Chanel.

    • Kevin says:

      AntonPan: What can I say? I don’t feel Chanel should feel any shame…they actually made a marine scent smell GOOD for a change! HA!.

  8. lenika says:

    Tried it yesterday and hated the top notes. I didn’t pay much attention to the middle phase maybe because i already had another four fragrances on me, but i couldn’t miss the dry down. It was really REALLY great and lasted for the long time.

    • Kevin says:

      lenika: I really enjoy the top notes…that green peppermint and citrus.

    • hollyc says:

      I think this is very unisex. I think those that have vilified it perhaps didn’t wait out the opening notes, which are very men’s aftershave. I guess it must have a marine vibe because I find it quite similar to Montale’s Fougere Marine which I also wear, but overall I find the Chanel more wearable and the drydown forms the most lovely, rich, skin scent that lasts for hours and has the perfect sillage. I’m not wondering if I put on fragrance an hour after applying. On naughty days I add a tiny drop of cumin oil and I have Eau d’Hermes with a bit more sillage and lasting power. I think this is really beautfiul and hope Chanel doesn’t disco based on early negativity. Best on skin IMHO.

  9. sergelutencio says:

    Serge Lutens with L’eau, Chanel with Bleu, what else will show up now? Ellena and Duchaufour together to make an Ozone Eau d’Sport????

    • Kevin says:

      Serge: hey…didn’t you smell Un Jardin après la Mousson and Fleur di Liane!?

  10. jonr951 says:

    Great review Kevin. What with all the bad reviews I’ve read for Bleu, I was starting to lose all hope! Now I’m excited about it again. Which do you prefer, Blanche or Bleu? : )

    • Kevin says:

      jonr: boy, that’s a hard question; if a gun were held to my head I’d choose Edition Blanche…I THINK.

  11. feelslike says:

    Tastes may differ. Yet to me Bleu is a loud failure, a mountain has brought forth a mouse, and it does smell greyish and mousy and at best as raw mushrooms. One department store assistant told me that apparently people are not buying it, surprisingly for Chanel, no matter how omnipresent the ads may be. I have tried it for two weeks now, and have finally given up. And even if I had to do a well-paid product placement review for Bleu, I would still end up with a very cautious text…

    • Kevin says:

      Feelslke: it’s just available here in Seattle and I’ve not seen one ad yet. Chanel’s counting on making big bucks with this, but they’ve had disappointments in the past. Egoiste didn’t do as well as they thought it would either.

  12. SmokeyToes says:

    I smelled this a few weeks ago and because it was on paper, I didn’t get a good whiff of it. Bummer that I didn’t get any vetiver, patchouli, labdanum and frankincense-those are some of my favorite notes. I’ll have to try it on skin next time.

    • Kevin says:

      smokey: I don’t think you’ll get a strong dose of any of those notes with Bleu.

    • sheltisebastian says:

      Chanel is the most famous fashion house in history, and my personal favorite. I hate to say that I think this scent is very disappointing, and seams to not have much creativity as well.

      Earnest Beaux creator of No. 5 we need your touch back. This new mens fragrance is really bad. Not worthly of the Chanel label at all.

      I make perfume at home, and have sold a good bit. I hate to say it but I could make a better scent.

  13. Joe says:

    Nice review, Kevin. I’ll have to see if this is in any of my local stores yet. I’m curious, but not eager, to try it.

    You’re right, this is being panned on the fragrance blogs. However, it’s funny to think of criticism of the Chanel legacy being “sullied.” Wasn’t it already sullied plenty by Allure Homme & Allure Homme Sport, which are dreck?

    Again, I’m curious to try this, but wondering if I’ll like it better than Allure Homme Edition Blanche, which is by far the best offering Chanel has put on the men’s side of the aisle in a decade (aside from the unisex Sycomore).

    • Kevin says:

      Joe: HA! Funny…a commenter above made me choose between this and Blanche…I had to choose Blanche.

  14. LaMaroc says:

    Kevin – Whew, I almost didn’t get through your review, I was so attracted to the model in the ad. He’s very different for a men’s fragrance model and Chanel. *fans self* And then you give me Catherine Deneuve ca. 1973 and and so adorable sweet wet puppy! Squeeee! But I soldiered through and am piqued…but also concerned with the listing of grapefruit, peppermint and ginger. These were three prominent ingredients in Bulgari Blu (both Femme and Homme) which were scrubbers for me. How do they compare? I’m sure I’ll try it eventually but new items take forever to show up at my local Chanel (half) counter.

    • Kevin says:

      LaMaroc: don’t worry about the Bulgari Blu smelling like Bleu de Chanel…very different (Bulgari smells “cheap” in comparison.)

  15. annemarie says:

    Whatever the fragrance, good or bad, Chanel or wet dog, I still enjoy reading your reviews Kevin.

    I’d like to try this. Even if it is a genre fragrance, Chanel will surely do it well, with good raw materials. They have to make money, but they also have to maintain the trust of their fans by not putting out dreck.

  16. SiameseCat says:

    I can’t wait to try this. Men’s fresh scents seem much more satisfactory to me than women’s. They’re more uncompromising, less fussy and pretty. And Chanel quality is undeniable.
    Though I’m worried by the wet dog detail. I do like dogs, and the picture is lovely, but I have my limits. Is it a prominent note?
    Shame they didn’t release it some months ago. I’m already looking forward to autumn/winter scents by now.

    • Kevin says:

      Siamesecat: well, it’s well positioned for the Southern Hemisphere summer to come…and all Equitorial regions, right?

      When people hear “wet dog” they think ‘stinky.’ If the dog is smelly to begin with, getting her wet (without shampoo!) is not going to improve matters. But the scent of clean fur, salty from the ocean, drying in the sun is a “hazy” delicious aroma to me…if you don’t know dogs…think of your own hair in a similar situation: a musky/citrus/vetiver-y aroma. Anyway, the “dog” note to me, may read as something else to you…it’s certainly not a prominent or long lasting part of this scent…it ushers in the base notes.

      • SiameseCat says:

        Great, thanks for clearing things up! I’ll try to hunt it down tomorrow. It sounds like what I’ve been looking for.
        Maybe it will be available online in spring.

  17. Tim says:

    I was already “scented” when I found a tester of Bleu so I could only take the paper with me. I was going to give it a real test on skin anyway. I think it is a MESS on paper. I could tell there are interesting aspects and some nice materials. On a blotter they didn’t seem to merge with it’s I-am-a-guy-smell top notes. Edition Blanche is more successful, I think, in spite of being a flanker. I really need to wear Bleu to be fair.

    • Kevin says:

      Tim: if I had only Bleu-scented paper to go by I would not have reviewed Bleu. So, hope it’s better when on your skin.

  18. Rappleyea says:

    I have to admit that the scent sounds dreadful to me, but I enjoyed reading your review, Kevin, as always! I do love the blue bottle and you’ve used a great dog picture!

  19. Seraph says:

    Thank you Kevin for a very even handed review, even if it is all very reminiscent of the pre-war British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain saying that he thought Mr Hitler was a reasonable fellow. Instant coffee even if done well is still instant coffee. I suppose it’s as much about disappointment as anything…I realise it must be so difficult to come up with another No5 where commercial success coincides with integrity and quality; Chanel was never the success it was because it brought itself down to the level of the (nearly) lowest common denominator but rather because it did the complete opposite- it made life better, not life dumber. Dumb is already so over-serviced…
    But maybe (hope springs eternal) they’ll do a flanker that is actually good; spin the Egoiste/Egoiste Platinum thing around…Bleu de Chanel Vraiment Interessant anyone?

    • Kevin says:

      Seraph: you’re welcome! I’m no Neville Chamberlain!, Chanel isn’t Hitler! and the creation of Bleu de Chanel isn’t the annexation of the Sudetenland! Chanel certainly isn’t what it once was…making most of its money from innovative, cutting-edge clothes for women used to corsets and “precious” clothes. Today, companies like Chanel live and die on the sales of accessories, make-up and fragrance. And tastes do change as we all know…how many times times do I hear Chanel No. 5 described as an “old lady scent” in the course of a year? I don’t think of Bleu de Chanel as “dumb” any more than I think No. 5 is “intelligent”…Bleu is probably Chanel’s way of rounding out its portfolio of scents to attract some new customers. ..and that doesn’t bother me; after all, Chanel has some GREAT scents in their line-up. (And why didn’t I ever think of your great “instant coffee” analogy myself? HA!)

      • sheltisebastian says:

        Kevin

        Really now! No. 5 old lady like. Explain then why its is the sought after fragrance. It is the number on saler, and Chanel has done a good job of presenting No. 5 eau priemere.

        Kevin I have done alot of research on Chanel, when I was at the Art Institute of Pittsburgh, and as well when I went to Point Park University in Pittsburgh. No. 5 is the perfect balance between Jasmine and Rose. It’s a mystery, a masterpiece that other perfumers would love to be able to produce.

        But I have to say Bleu is my least favorite of the Chanel line up for men.

    • lilydale aka Natalie says:

      And yet, Coco Chanel got famous by transforming tricot knits and shopgirl dresses — downmarket junk, essentially — into haute couture. I haven’t smelled Bleu, so I don’t know if the modern house of Chanel was successful in replicating that pattern, but I’m guessing that’s what they were shooting for.

      • Seraph says:

        Interesting comment. But did they still look like downmarket junk once she’d finished them? ‘Twould be great if Chanel repeat the trick with the downmarket junk of the perfume world.

        • Seraph says:

          Whoops. There’s a “with” and a “could” missing there.

        • lilydale aka Natalie says:

          Nope — she did it very, very successfully, and it looks like opinions are divided as to whether Bleu accomplishes the same trick.

      • sheltisebastian says:

        Oh please lady go away. You have no class. Go wear Gaultier then you will look silly and like a slut.

  20. Na says:

    I tried this one on paper a few days ago. I felt that it was a decent perfume but reminds me more of the Abercrombie retail store rather than the ocean or Chanel.

    • Kevin says:

      Na: haven’t tried any Abercrombie scents and would not be caught dead in the store…that’s when E-commerce comes in handy!

  21. Tara says:

    Kevin,

    What a great review. I have not sniffed Bleu so I have no idea whether I agree with you or not on the actual fragrance, but I do agree that business is business. Often people are swayed by a “name,” like Chanel or Guerlain, me included. But at the end of the day, businesses survive by turning a profit. Unpleasant, but true. There is a time for niche-type querky fragrances and then there is a time for the big seller (to a new younger market) to support the querky. It is all good, really. Hey, times change, tastes changes. Whatever..Just be open to it and if you like it.. fine, if not, why be so judgmental or take it all so personally? Life’s way too short and there is plenty of great stuff out there to sniff.

    • Kevin says:

      Tara: yep, the world IS FULL of perfumes…I’ll never catch up with releases…ever!

  22. Tama says:

    I smelled this on paper the other day and hated it. Maybe it needs to be tried on skin but I was put off enough to not want to go there. Money saved!

    Every time I see a reference to Proust I hear “A la Recherche du Temps Perdu” a la Monty Python – pronounced with the broadest possible British twang. Congrats on getting through it! I have Swann’s Way but have not cracked it open.

  23. kaos.geo says:

    I think I know what you mean about the dog part….
    I hope it gets released here soon. I usually don’t pay much attention to chanel releases here in the southern hemisphere.
    The exclusifs NEVER arrived, I tried them in Houston.
    And the rest eventually trickles down…
    Let’s say the only male chanel frag that I *love* is Antaeus.

    Great review!

    • Kevin says:

      KG: I love Antaeus too and should review it…and can’t believe there are no Exclusifs in Buenos Aires!

      • kaos.geo says:

        Kevin…yes, the horror! ;-)

      • kaos.geo says:

        Oh I tried this today, it has finally arrived in Buenos Aires, well ahead of my expectations.
        Unfortunately it smells better on paper than on (my) skin.

        In my skin I get the baking stones et all, but it all lasts about 3 hours.
        and then its gone.

        Call me jaded and elitist, but I agree with those who think that this is not worthy of a Chanel launch. It does not smell “expensive” to me as even (gasp!) Allure does, even though I don´t like it.

        Theres all this talk of fine materials going into the composition of this one, but to me it smells generic. Fine materials may have been used, but they do not show.

        Well, some other time then…till then Antaeus will keep being my reference Chanel frag for men. sigh!

      • sheltisebastian says:

        Kevin

        I agree with you on this one. Anteaus is my all time favorite!

  24. donanicola says:

    Interesting. As you say this has garnered less than favourable reviews elsewhere so I must admit when I saw the heading for this review I settled myself down for what I thought would be an enjoyable diss. (After all Kevin, you penned my all time favourite pan – SL Serge Noire!) And I had sprayed Bleu on a card and dismissed it. But out of respect for your reviews I will give it another go on skin though I don’t like fresh/ozonic stuff. Thanks for an alternative view.

    • donanicola says:

      groan………too many views and reviews in my comment what would Proust say……….

      • Kevin says:

        Donanicola: he would no doubt have fun with your “character’s” dialogue! HAHA! (Sorry for the no-diss review…surely something VILE awaits me in new releases?)

  25. Dilana says:

    Uhm, Wouldn’t everyone like to look like Catherine Deneuve circa 1973? In my mind, hers was truly a face that could have launched a thousand ships. In fact, have you seen any of Madame Deneuve’s more recent films? She’s is still one of the most beautiful women ever, and an extraordinary actress.

    • Bela says:

      Hmm… she’s had a lot of work done. Anyway, she wasn’t as pretty as her sister Françoise Dorléac nor was she as talented as her. She benefited greatly from her untimely death. I think a lot of actors are thought to be better than they actually are by foreigners who can’t hear how false they sound in the original language.

      • Kevin says:

        Bela: throwing The Slap(TM) back at ya this time Disagree heartily on your CD assessment! I think Deneuve’s improved with age…as an actress especially. While others flail, sob, stomp and scream she has learned the secret of screen acting: less is more — use the EYES. To me, she’s an understated, but moving actress. I’ve seen all Dorléac’s films and she was good…very different from her sister.

    • Kevin says:

      Dilana: yes, I see all her films…watched her recently in a YSL documentary and loved the way she talked about her CHICKENS and turkeys as she got fitted for clothes. Who knew?

  26. RossM says:

    I really enjoyed reading this review Kevin but have to say I’m not a fan of Bleu at all. And in some way, I kind of understand the whole idea of Chanel losing it’s prestige/history or maybe just its sensibility through this fragrance. Only because all the other offerings in their line, whether I like them or not, all seem to share a similar aesthetic of sophistication which to me represents Chanel and as a consumer what I expect from this brand. Had this bottle been in a different section of the store with the label ‘Usher Sport’ or ‘Jay-Z: The One’ I would have not been at all suprised. It doesn’t smell like a Chanel product to me at all. But because you kind of dig it, I’ll definetely be giving it another go!

    • Kevin says:

      RossM: I don’t have the same feeling for Chanel as you…MANY of their scents, Allure, Allure Homme Sport, Egoiste Platinum could be any old department store scent…

  27. J. Folds says:

    When the brunette at the foot of the basement escalator at Bergdorf gave me an “FDNY style” drive-by hosing of Bleu yesterday, I was shocked to learn that it hailed from the Chanel counter. Blanche and Pour Monsieur have always been olfactorily pleasing to me. First Impressions of Bleu: brassy and loud (like my 7th grade trombone), naturally acquatic, perhaps… but not nearly so easy on the nose (mine, at least). After a workout, shower and night’s sleep, Bleu was still clinging to my wrist and had undoubtedly overstayed its’ welcome. Like my initial hosing at BG, Bleu simply blew for me (escusez-moi Madame Coco).

    • Kevin says:

      J Folds: can’t believe BG allows the SAs to hose down customers with perfumes…so old school!

  28. Craig Su says:

    Top and heart notes combination reminds me of Allure Homme, and the drydown is the formula from any recent Boss products, say Boss Bottled Night thingy. Does anyone think of Allure Homme while sniffing Bleu?

    Well clearly I’m not in Chanel’s targeted audience anymore. (But I’m in my 20s, what’s going on here?) What can I say?

    • Kevin says:

      CS: I hate Allure…it doesn’t remind ME of Bleu, thank goodness.

  29. Fuddy Duddy 101 says:

    The Georgia O’Keeffe painting really caught my eye as it’s always been a favorite – always reminds me of 2 swans in perfect harmony…anyways, I digress. Thanks for posting it.
    I am really hoping DH likes this one…can’t wait to sniff it myself now. And how come Chanel does the 50 ml for the “masculines’ and not the “femmes”? eh?! I am loving the price too – very shocked at it actually!

    • Kevin says:

      FD: I’ve always loved those early abstract watercolors by O’Keeffee too. You know, I never knew Chanel only offered 100 mls for women? Is that true?

      • Fuddy Duddy 101 says:

        No, it’s not 100% true. It’s only true of the ones I covet…like the Exclusifs…but it felt great to complain, thank you! :-D

  30. Riverwide says:

    I’ve done a complete about turn on Bleu. The first time I sniffed it, I was quite disappointed and I pretty much dismissed it. A week later and I sort of can’t imagine life without it. Hehe.

    No, it’s not groundbreaking or daring or anything like that, but I just think it’s a rather simple, lovely, comforting, masculine fragrance that now makes me smile whenever I put it on. It’s funny what a few days of trying a fragrance can do!

    • Kevin says:

      Riverwide: ah…we’re in the minority! HA!

      • Riverwide says:

        I so often am! Hehe.

        I really think Bleu is a rather elegant, underrated, modern men’s fragrance. That’s quite enough for me!

        Perhaps it’ll end up being a grower with other people too,

        • kaos.geo says:

          You think its a grower and not a shower?? :-)

          Sorry I couldn´t resist..hehehehehe

    • grizzly says:

      Just my two cents here (first comment as well).

      First experienced Bleu on a card and the first impressions were not good; seemed dreadfully generic. Kept the card though as it was a nice, iconic shot of the Bleu bottle.

      Absent-mindedly retrieved the card from my bag and gave it a sniff about 20 hours later and was struck by how “stable” and smooth Bleu had become. So here was a fragrance that seemed to deliver what was promised with the basenotes rather than the topnotes.

      Anyway, I took the plunge and bought a bottle blind (yes, despite an arrogant SA in the process). I’m happy to report that on skin, the fragrance develops similarly.

      The topnotes are kinda bright but generic enough not to draw any dubious looks and sniffs on the bus or in the office. I’m quite amazed at how the elegant basenotes are so well cloaked by the preppy topnotes. As the scent develops, it stays closer and closer to the skin until the rewarding basenotes appear.

      It’s a keeper.

  31. Owen says:

    there is nothing unexpected about Bleu de Chanel whatsoever I was so dissapointed with this.

    it’s boring and smells samey, you wouldn’t be able to guess this was Chanel. it just smells like plained ole’ aftershave :/

    and having been in Tenerife for two weeks surrounded by perfume shops I had plenty chance to smell this.

    AND, the bottle isn’t even blue, it’s black. one of the only things I like about Bleu de Chanel was the magnetic cap.

    • Kevin says:

      Owen: Jacques Polge said this about his inspiration for Bleu: “I wanted to do something very direct. You know, men’s fragrances are still very linked with shaving. When I find myself in planes, at some point I always see those business men coming from the bathroom smelling of aftershave. So Bleu is spicy, woody, and dry. There is no fantasy. “

      • Owen says:

        hmm, I guess so. it also took me some getting used to.

        it doesn’t smell of the notes listed either, my jaw dropped when I read the list of notes. I’m sorry, but I think this just smells bland.

      • Owen says:

        yes you’re right about mens perfume being linked to shaving. and it’s why I don’t like many men’s fragrances.

        thought I have got Givenchy fresh attitude (which doesn’t smell like shaving) and I want D&G light blue (which also doesn’t)

        :)

  32. Santemon says:

    I’m sorry, all I can say about this one is “yuck”. I can’t believe this is the same house that produces Sycamore and Bois de Illes..

    • Kevin says:

      Santemon: ha! It IS certainly miles away from the two you mention…I don’t think it’s aimed (necessarily) at the same audience though….

  33. zaheer says:

    I’m loving Chanel Bleu, although i do wish it lingered longer, the notes seem to vaporise without notice.. before you know it, you have to stick you nose against the dermis for a hint of it. I guess this also boils down to chemistry etc, everybody should have a different reactions.

  34. smcat says:

    Im definitely no expert but I can say that 7 of 10 men’s fragrances (maybe more) do not interest me in the slightest. Have only purchased Carolina Herrera 212 which I used for years on end, passed to Roadster and have “found myself” again with Bleu de Chanel. Bleu says exactly what I want it to say, “original and young but still discerning”. Absolutely do not share the sport cologne reference at all, since the fragrance is much more complex in my view. But best of all my well heeled female friends who think they know it all have been quietly and postiely surprised. In sum, a total success of a fragrance that I can use even on the days that Im not trying to make an impact on the “other half”. BR

    • smcat says:

      just out of curiosity I just smelled the bottle to see if I could understand what all the complaining was about…conclusion: Bleu becomes a much more complex and intesesting fragrance ON the skin. you HAVE to road test it. Otherwise I could see why some refer to it as predictable…

  35. Olfacto the Magnificent says:

    This one grew on me – at first I hated it. (I’m no fan of Chanel’s mens fragrances to begin with…) but I went back to it again and again and now it feels fantastic. I love the ginger/grapefruit thing happening, and I find it very invigorating and changeable on through the drydown.

    This definitely comes across like a change from what Chanel usually puts out for men (I can barely discern differences between Allure, Allure Sport, Edition Blanche, etc.)

  36. Scentsate says:

    I think Bleu de Chanel is very well-constructed. But I’ve smelled so many like it that I don’t see the appeal. I guess Polge wanted to outdo the other fougeres, and he did. I’m not a huge fan of the sport fragrances, though, so it’s a matter of taste.

  37. I think Bleu de Chanel is like a lot of designer fragrances today. They are made to appeal to the mass markets. Does that make them bad? No. Are they going to be groundbreaking? Usually not. There’s no real reason to bash Chanel because they’re trying to make something nice, safe, and profitable. This is a business for them.

    Justin
    [link removed, please see comment policy]

  38. lucycece says:

    First, let me say—–I’m a fragrance-lover’s worst nightmare. I am very sensitive to scents and can’t be around most cologne/perfume. My last man started with Joop!(headache) Then came Curve(sneezed) and Cool Water(clogged sinuses). We finally settled on Eternity. Then came Bleu de Chanel. It was amazing! I could actually be in the car with him and snuggle next to him and not suffer any ill effects from it. It smells great and is not toxic when applied(he doesn’t have a heavy hand). Let me say, my current man is a “scent whore” and wears Hollister. He’s heavy on it and it gives me a screaming headache/clogged sinuses and a cough.

  39. SuzQ says:

    I purchased this for my husband for Valentine’s Day, 2011. Sexxxy!

  40. chrisgreece says:

    Hey there! I’m new here and I just have a quick question. How long should a perfume stay on the skin when we say that it lasts? I mean, I sprayed Bleu just a couple of times this morning at a local store and I can still smell it after 4 hours. Well ok, it’s not THAT intense anymore but it’s there. But then I can still smell Tom Ford Grey Vetiver on my other hand ( I applied both at the same time). So I don’t know, I’m a bit confused!

    Great review as always Kevin.

    Thanks a lot!

    • moore says:

      Cris, this is a little bite subjective. I consider that an Eau de Toilette lasts long on me when it lasts more than five hours keeping a good sillage. I do not consider a longevity good when the fragrance stays a good time but stays too close to the skin (sillage such as of an Eau de Cologne)- for exemple, that’s what happens when I wear Eau de Campagne or Eau de Cartier. For me a good longevity can be measured when the heart notes have long lasting. Remembering that that’s only my point of view…

      • chrisgreece says:

        thanx a lot moore!

  41. Trollamor says:

    Just purchased. Tossing out the marital scents, to ponder new paths. Chanel Bleu’s interaction w/ Body chemistry notwithstanding, curious to see how friends and intimates will react. Film at eleven…

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