Chanel No. 5 L’Eau ~ fragrance review

Lily-Rose Depp for Chanel No. 5 L'Eau

We should be happy. Chanel has been very careful with its legendary No. 5 and until now has only dared an Eau de Parfum and Eau Première beyond the original Eau de Toilette and Extrait. Both were careful enhancements. No No. 5 Noir or Eau de Sport or Resort Rose.

I can almost imagine Chanel executives casting sidewise glances at Guerlain. “What the heck are they doing with Shalimar?” they might ask. All those takes on the classic — Eau Legère, Light, Souffle de Parfum, Parfum Initial, Ode à la Vanille, and more — are akin to stealing Joan Crawford’s shoulder pads and eyebrows. At some point you end up not with an icon, but with a placid starlet who will please the common denominator for a few months, then be forgotten for good…

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Boy Chanel ~ fragrance review & a quick Chanel poll

Arthur Capel

Boy Chanel joins the Les Exclusifs collection at Chanel this year, bringing the collection to 16.1 It’s the second Exclusif from house perfumer Olivier Polge (the first being Misia), and was inspired by Arthur “Boy” Capel. Boy Capel, an English polo player and businessman, would likely be forgotten today but for his 9-year affair with Coco Chanel — he is often cited as the true love of her life.1 That, of course, lends him massive potential as “another link in the grand construct of the Chanel story”.2 I don’t know exactly how many products he has accrued at this point, but his namesake lipstick (in the Rouge Coco Shine line) came out in 2011, and his namesake handbag, Le Boy Chanel, debuted in 2012 (and was called an “instant classic”). Now, he has a fragrance.

It’s a unisex, with the usual hedging about unisex…

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We can be much more precise today than we used to be

There are also nods to classic jasmine, aldehyde, sandalwood, and ylang-ylang in the new scent — and that’s where things get interesting. Polge isolated the ylang-ylang using a special distilling process. The result is a greener, crisper note than anything you'd find in the original. “Natural, raw ingredients are almost fragrances by themselves,” says Polge. “We can be much more precise today than we used to be, and we have the ability of redistilling the concentrate.” He also kept sandalwood, but balanced it with a lighter, “more vibrant” cedarwood for a crisper, softer dry-down.

— Perfumer Olivier Polge provides a few more details about the upcoming Chanel No. 5 L'Eau. Read more at Stop Everything: Chanel Is Launching A New N0 .5 at Refinery 29.