Structural Integrity - Nº5 L'Eau by CHANEL
Structural Integrity – Nº5 L’Eau by CHANEL

There’s always a sense of unease amongst the perfume-appreciating public when a brand announces that they are tinkering with a classic and presenting it in a new guise. Teeth are clenched, short breaths are inhaled and noses are on guard, all held in hope that whatever this new fragrance child turns out to be, it lives up to the high standards set by its forbearer. Personally, I’m not so precious about the classics and I view these remixes as being similar to the remake of an iconic film. Just because something is being remade, doesn’t mean that every single copy of the original will be deleted. The classic will still be there so if the new version doesn’t resonate, that’s fine, one still has their classic to enjoy. So yes, brands can remix and remake as much as they like because you know what? The results can often be quite interesting indeed (case in point: Shalimar Parfum Initial).

I say all of this because CHANEL are just about to launch Nº5 L’EAU, an entirely new interpretation of none other than Nº5, arguably the most famous perfume in the world. L’EAU comes as the first rehash of Nº5 under the penmanship of Olivier Polge, CHANEL’s latest in-house perfumer, who took the reigns in 2015. This however, is not the first rebirth of Nº5, which has seen a number of incarnations in its time, starting as an Extrait composed in 1921 by Ernest Beaux before the perfumer revisited the composition to create an Eau de Toilette just two years late in 1924. Under perfumer Jacques Polge’s tenure, we saw an Eau de Parfum concentration composed in 1986 in addition to an ‘Eau Première’ version which followed in 2007 as an introductory scent for a younger audience. Now we have L’EAU, a fragrance that is being billed by CHANEL as the Nº5 of today.

“A fragrance for here, now and always” – that’s how CHANEL describe Nº5 L’EAU. The fragrance is a “complete reinvention” of the original but at the same time, the brand is quick to point out that Olivier Polge has been respectful of Nº5’s history whilst he has dissected the formula to see just how it ticks, and rightly so. Nº5 L’EAU looks to the future to create a new Nº5 – a Nº5 for the modern generation. The trick here is to create something new from something so instantly recognisable, to make the known surprising and to not lose the spirit of the composition along the way. So how successful has the exercise in modernising and lightening an olfactory icon been? Well, you’ll just have to read on to find out!

Spray-On Chest Hair
Spray-On Chest Hair

I have no chest hair. I’ll just let you digest that fact or a second. Nope, none, nada, zilch. Not a speck.  I know, Dear Reader, that this will be of tremendous interest to you, and I’m sure you now have a wonderful image in your mind of my pale, hairless chest (oh yes, I’m pasty too) so, once again, I shall allow you a brief moment to enjoy this thought. Done? OK, we’ll move on. Now, I share this fascinating tidbit with you because I often look to perfume (where else?) to give me what I lack and luckily for me, perfume answers with some impressively hairy-chested fragrances to provide me with what I so desperately lust for: spray-on chest hair.

This post celebrates six scents that could put hairs on your chest. They range from the machismo-classics of the 1980s – you know the ones where you can literally smell the testosterone emanating from their sprayers – all the way up to the more modern scents that just so happen to be so badass that they can’t keep their chest rugs tamed. So prepare yourself to spritz some scent and sprout some chest hair as we traverse the world of butch masculines – fragrances for men that could put hairs on the chest of the smoothest of guys. Put your trimmers aside and get set, folks, because things are set to get a bit hairy up in here.

The New Boy in Town
The New Boy in Town

If last year’s Misia was anything to go by, perfumer Olivier Polge is definitely finding his feet at CHANEL, having taken over the position of perfumer-in-residence from his father, Jacques Polge, the man behind the likes of Antaeus, Coco, Coco Mademoiselle, Égoïste – need I go on? Big boots to fill, most certainly, but M. Polge Jnr certainly has a fair few hits under his own belt, scents such as Dior Homme, which, lets face it is already a modern classic, so perhaps those shoes aren’t quite so big after all?

For his second outing in CHANEL’s niche line, ‘Les Exclusifs’, Olivier Polge pays homage to Arthur Capel, Gabrielle Chanel’s patron and lover. ‘Boy’, as he was called, lends his name to the fragrance, which is a feminine take on the typically masculine fougère inspired by Chanel’s clothing, couture that borrowed heavily from the codes of menswear and tailoring. BOY the fragrance has been created to capture Capel’s “irresistible elegance” and “virile strength” and is a gender-bending scent that borrows from the olfactory codes of men and women. As CHANEL describe it, BOY is the “mark of a man on the skin of a woman”.

image_1
Super Scent: The Chanel Edition

Super Scent is back, again! As you may or may not know, the idea of this series is for Basenotes, Persolaise and I to pick a perfume house and list our top five (or a few more if the house has an extensive catalogue). We are not allowed to discuss or show each other our lists before we publish and we must pick fragrances currently available and in their most recent formulations. We encourage you to share your top fives too and it’s always fascinating to see both the similarities and differences in our lists. So please do join in!

So far we’ve looked at Lauder, debated about Dior and edited the catalogue of Etat Libre d’Orange to pick our favourites, which takes us up to today and our latest subject: Chanel. Chanel is the house responsible for popularising the link between fragrance and fashion, cementing themselves as not only one of the world’s greatest couturiers, but also placing themselves at the forefront of fragrance. They are an illustrious brand with a fascinating eye for detail and a never-ending thirst for quality. Let’s take a look at my top five!

Spritz Me, Kiss Me! - Five Lipstick-esque Fragrances
Spritz Me, Kiss Me! – Five Lipstick-esque Fragrances

This post is inspired by Chanel’s Misia, a fragrance named after Misia Sert, the godmother of the Ballets Russes and Coco Chanel’s greatest friend. Smelling Misia properly for the first time over the weekend I was struck by how cosmetic it was, in the sense that it was strikingly evocative of blushes, powders and lipsticks, giving the impression of a gigantic cast of impeccably made-up performers about to burst onto the stage. My mind wondered, as it does, and I got to thinking about other fragrances in the Lipstick League. So here we are with ‘Spritz Me, Kiss Me! – a roundup of five lipstick-esque fragrances.

Lipsticks and fragrances go together like bacon and eggs, it’s true. Every perfume lover will tell you their story of how the smell of their mother’s goodnight kiss was peppered by the lipstick, blush and perfume that she wore, forming a core scented memory that would last far into adulthood. Cosmetics and their distinct smells – odours of violet power, rose blush and waxy lipsticks – have permeated the world of perfume and perfumers have attempted to capture these smells in liquid form so that those precious memories of childhood can be replayed with each and every spritz. Here is my top five.

Shave in Style with BLEU DE CHANEL
Shave in Style with BLEU DE CHANEL

Facial hair is, and always has been, one of man’s many fashion statements. Over the years styles may have changed, with more men today rocking wild lumberjack beards that display impressive growth over handlebar moustaches, but the necessity for fastidious facial grooming is more prominent than ever. A good shave therefore, is incredibly important. Now, there are many steps to a good shave and a plethora of grooming products to aid each step of the way, but for the act itself one at least needs a decent shaving cream or foam and a soothing moisturiser of sorts to calm the inevitable burn. Oh and a razor too, that always helps.

In February, legendary luxury house CHANEL will launch two such things as limited editions within their BLEU DE CHANEL line. Now, regular readers of my blog will know that I’m more likely to spritz on some Nº5 than I am BLEU DE CHANEL (I do love a floral, after all), but that’s not going to stop me from exploring all that the line has to offer. With their SHAVE IN STYLE collection, which consists of the BLEU DE CHANEL Shave Cream and BLEU DE CHANEL Hydrating After Shave Gel, the iconic Parisian house are utilising the familiar scent of BLEU to fragrance two products that “ensure a perfect shave and an elegant and sophisticated trail”. As with all things CHANEL, the quality is top notch and without offering too many spoilers, I found them to make for a very enjoyable shave. Shaving is a ritual – a time to take care on oneself, and let’s face it, if you’re going to shave, and shave properly, why not do it with CHANEL?

The Small Sniff - Scenting TV's Leading Ladies
The Small Sniff – Scenting TV’s Leading Ladies

“The Scent a Celebrity Series is my vain attempt at picking perfumes for those who don’t know any better, yes I mean celebrities. Let’s face it, most celebrities are incapable of choosing decent clothing, boyfriends, girlfriends, movies, (insert-celebrity-mistake-here) let alone having the ability to make decisions about something as important as their scent – that’s where I come in. Never fear my dear schlebs, I will ensure that you are appropriately scented, all you need to do is listen.”

I’d be lying if I said that the Scent a Celebrity Series wasn’t one of my favourite things to write. There’s just something about the challenge of trying to match a complex personality or character with the olfactory signature of a perfume. Sometimes the choices seem obvious or easy, but on other occasions these scented picks can range from the downright tricky to the marvellously obscure. Challenging or not, the Scent a Celebrity Series intends to be a bit of light, fragrant fun.

For this latest instalment in the series, I’m taking a look at some of television’s leading ladies. Over the last few years TV has risen to match, and even surpass the quality of film, creating a wealth of fascinating and entertaining shows for hungry eyes to feast upon. This means that we’ve also seen some exceptionally real and complex female characters on the small screen too, and that is never a bad thing. In this post you’ll find some of my favourites, along with a slew of scented companions.

New from Les Exclusifs de Chanel: Misia
New from Les Exclusifs de Chanel: Misia

Well here’s some news for you! Chanel is adding a new fragrance to its exclusive collection ‘Les Exclusifs de Chanel’. The fragrance is called ‘Misia’ and is the latest addition to the Chanel Exclusives since 2013’s 1932. The name pays homage to Misia Sert, piano player, artistic saloon owner and best buddy (well, friend) of none other than Coco Chanel, the founder of the Chanel brand.

Misia is the first fragrance created for Chanel by Oliver Polge (Dior Homme), the son of famous Chanel perfumer, Jacques Polge (Coco, Coco Mademoiselle, Antaeus and Egoiste etc.). The fragrance has been designed to be evocative of the 1920s, with prominent notes of Turkish rose and rose from Grasse. Misia is a fragrance “for the free and confident woman.”

Chanel N°5 Extrait
Perfume Pic of the Week No.14: Chanel N°5 Extrait

– Or “That Moment When You Realise Why a Classic is a Classic”

I’ve been spending a lot of time in department stores and shopping centres recently. The impending wedding has sent my soon-to-be-husband and me into a scheduled frenzy of buying things, returning things (don’t even get me started), looking at things and generally allocating a significant portion of our time to pre-nuptial consumerism. That may sound like a moan but it really isn’t and whilst I feel that the wedding build up is quite stressful, I’m pretty sure that it is in fact the best part.

It was on one of these recent shopping trips that I passed a Chanel counter. Now this is nothing unusual in itself, after all it’s pretty difficult to go to a department store and not pass a Chanel point of sale (they are anything if not prolific), but something caught my eye on this particular occasion that made me stop and pay attention. Something that one doesn’t always see amongst the many bottles of Coco Noir, Chance and Coco Mademoiselle – a tiny, gleaming bottle of N°5 Extrait.

Scenting Leading Ladies
Fragrant Femmes – Scenting Leading Ladies

“The Scent a Celebrity Series is my vain attempt at picking perfumes for those who don’t know any better, yes I mean celebrities. Let’s face it, most celebrities are incapable of choosing decent clothing, boyfriends, girlfriends, movies, (insert-celebrity-mistake-here) let alone having the ability to make decisions about something as important as their scent – that’s where I come in. Never fear my dear schlebs, I will ensure that you are appropriately scented, all you need to do is listen.”

This episode of my Scent a Celebrity Series serves as a slight change of tack from the norm. The series usually takes a famous person (ranging from Björk to The Muppets) and pairs them with a suitable fragrance (or fragrances) that perfectly capture the many facets of their personality. However, in this episode the focus has shifted beyond just humble celebrities to the characters they play.

Everyone loves a leading lady and a superb performance from a wonderful actress can turn a good movie into an extraordinary one. Here you’ll find a selection of some of my favourite actresses in one of their most impressive roles, and for good measure some perfumes that capture the spirit of their performances. These ‘Fragrant Femmes’ will have you glued to your seats and with a bit of luck the perfumes will too.