Let’s talk LES EAUX DE CHANEL. As far as capsule collections go, it is easily one of the most cohesive, elegant and on-brand lines to exist. Inspired by travel and the routes out of Paris Coco Chanel took to places of significance in her life, LES EAUX tell rich olfactory stories in that effortless CHANEL style. There is Deauville, the resort town where Chanel opened her first boutique, translated into a sparkling citrus-chypre with green notes. Then Biarritz, another resort and another boutique, represented in scent form by a refreshing, oceanic muguet. One cannot forget Venise, a city Chanel loved and visited following the death of her lover, Arthur ‘Boy’ Capel – a city imagined in vanilla and silk. Then finally, Riviera, inspired by Chanel’s villa on the Côte d’Azur – society’s hotspot captured in a powdery, solar orange blossom. It’s a great collection and now there’s one more addition…
And that edition is Paris-Édimbourg. Transporting us straight to the Scottish Highlands (via Paris, of course), Paris-Édimbourg tells the story of the refuge and sanctuary Chanel sought in this wild and rugged landscape with the Duke of Westminster, her lover in the early 1900s. The scent itself stands out as a subversive summer scent that relies on aromatic and resinous notes to create an unusual sense of freshness, with a rugged, masculine quality that slots in nicely along the freshness, silkiness, aquaticness (not a word), and powderiness (also not a word) of the current line up. It completes the range quite nicely, if you ask me, which I’m assuming you did, because you’re here reading this review…. Anyway, let’s sniff!
Juniper, Cypress and Vetiver
Olivier Polge (CHANEL)
How Does it Smell?
Paris-Édimbourg opens bracing and fresh, with an icy blast of aromatic, herbal notes. Like many CHANEL fragrances, it has that bubbly, fizzy energy that it is undeniably, well, ‘CHANEL’. The bubbles here a bit softer and finer, scented with juniper and a pale, dried lavender. It instantly makes me think of a patterned fabric such as Tweed, where the colours are slightly washed-out and the texture is dense but soft.
For a while, I couldn’t put my finger on a strange element of Paris-Édimbourg that reminded me of another scent: Guerlain’s Aqua Allegoria Ginger Piccante. Both fragrances share a soapy quality that is frothy but also spiced with clove. In Paris-Édimbourg, this facet adds a clean warmth to the sticky, sappy resins that form the rugged foundations of the fragrance. It’s a nice touch that makes this particular Les Eaux feel well-preened and groomed. Well, what did you expect? This is a CHANEL, after all…
Now on to those sticky resins I mentioned above! The core of Paris-Édimbourg is a warming blend of cypress and frankincense. The impression is of golden, smouldering incense crystals drizzled with glowing sap, all done with the slightest of hands (let’s not forget that this is an Eaux). It feels like coming home after a long walk in the countryside – that rush of cold air meeting the warmth of a fireplace. You bring the scent of outside in on your clothes and it slowly dissolves, carried away by the smouldering embers of incense resin and dry woods.
I’m sure this will be no surprise to anyone, but I love Paris-Édimbourg. Remember when I said LES EAUX is a really cohesive collection? Yeah, well, this latest addition just proves that and it fills a gap missing in the line – specifically a more masculine offering. It is marvellously fresh in the most unconventional way, utilising resins and herbs to create a cool image of the rugged brush of Scotland. This all makes for a wonderfully handsome and stubbled Les Eaux that harkens back to the classic CHANEL masculines such as Antaeus and Pour Monsieur. So it sits nicely in the wider CHANEL collection as an alternative to the perfectly groomed beauty of the likes of Bleu de Chanel, acting as something more wild, daring and intriguing. Great stuff, honestly.
Paris-Édimbourg is available in 125ml Eau de Toilette for £112.
Images are my own. Sample provided by CHANEL for review. This is not a sponsored post.