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Chanel 1932 ~ fragrance review

Chanel 1932

Chanel is one of handful of perfume houses with a distinct perfume voice. Say “classic Chanel” to perfume lovers, and likely they envision a greyhound of a fragrance — aldehydic, elegant and restrained. If you’re a Chanel aficionado, you’ll likely love Chanel 1932, the latest fragrance in Chanel’s Les Exclusifs line. Really. Start saving up now. If you like your perfume big and dirty, 1932 is unlikely to convert you.

Jacques Polge, Chanel’s house perfumer, is credited with 1932. The Chanel website says “1932 evokes a dazzling array of diamond stars and comets. Created petal by petal, the soft, woody fragrance expresses an enveloping heart of White Jasmine.” The name commemorates the year Chanel first offered fine jewelry. Notes listed for the fragrance are jasmine, vetiver and iris.

Unlike gem-studded jewelry, which I think of as hard and cold, 1932 is tender as chiffon…

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Chanel Jersey ~ fragrance review and a lavender poll

Chanel Jersey perfume

I was not excited when I heard Chanel’s latest addition to the Les Exclusifs collection, Jersey, featured lavender. It is not a favorite note of mine, although I love Guerlain Jicky, and oddly enough, also the first fragrance I thought of when I smelled Jersey, Brin de Réglisse. Like Jersey, Brin de Réglisse is a niche-from-a-mainstream-house sort of thing, in this case from Hermès, and the reason I thought of Brin de Réglisse right away is not because they smell alike, although I suppose perhaps they are the distant-est of distant cousins. No, I thought of it because of the lavender note in Brin de Réglisse, which as you may remember, was a molecular fraction (is that the term? I don’t know the term, and admit I am not very concerned about it either way). I’ll repeat a quote I used then:

[Perfumer Jean-Claude Ellena] asked them to slice natural lavender into 50 distinct groups of molecules, sniffed them all, discarded five and reassembled it. “My lavender had a much purer, cleaner smell,” he says, comparing it with the natural scent. “Then I had to find something to dress it up that would be a little unusual. I chose a touch of licorice.” (via Los Angeles Times, 10/28/2007)

As near as I can tell, they do something similar (presumably using cheaper methods) with many fragrances notes, which is why notes you used to hate — patchouli! — don’t bother you anymore, and why smelling materials in their natural state is no longer necessarily helpful to the budding perfumista…

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