Friday, March 26, 2010


I think I have established elsewhere in this blog that perfume and fragrance in general tend to get me in trouble. I LOVE perfume. I would venture to say that I love perfume more than I love makeup. There's no way to convince a total stranger who hasn't witnessed the train case of makeup currently sitting outside my bathroom door, but that is really saying something.

Recently I've been watching Katie Puckrik's perfume collection videos on YouTube (her blog is in my blogroll-check it out). She has so much perfume that the collection video is split up into 6 parts. It is soooo interesting to see what she has and what she loves and why.

So I got to messing around on, which does decants of about a zillion different fragrances. That means that they have big huge bottles of perfume and decant those huge bottles into smaller bottles so that you can try things out or just buy a smaller amount of perfume than a full bottle would hold. This is excellent for a person like me because I am basically a perfume whore. I have learned that I should only get roller-ball perfumes AT THE MOST and I'm not allowed to buy a full sized bottle of something until I use up that little bottle completely. I flit around from scent to scent and the only perfume I've ever actually used up is from Victoria's Secret. Dream Angels- Heavenly. It used to smell really amazing on me but lately it's been sorta... bland.

Lately I have really been curious about Chanel fragrances because they are timeless and people who wear them RAVE about them. So far the only ones I've really worn are Coco Mademoiselle and Chance, both of which are poo-pooed as being too modern and too young and too gourmand and just for the uninformed masses. (And both of which I like anyway, although I've said before the Mademoiselle has a tendency to wear me instead of the other way around). So I decided to branch out.

Using and, I found 6 Chanel fragrances that are classic and timeless. The Perfumed Court does samples sets where you pick a number of fragrances and the size you want them to come in, and then they ship them to you. I had mine in about 4 days. Here's what I got.

They all came in a fancy little mesh bag!

Chanel No. 5 EDP
This stuff is the classic Chanel perfume, and every time I've smelled the bottle in the store I have immediately recoiled in horror. It seems way too loud and there's something rather "grandma" about it. But when I put it on, it's nice and complex and a little spicy. And then it dries down to jasmine soap and smells sort of generic. And then it disappears completely- No. 5 does not have great staying power on me. This was created by Ernest Beaux in 1921. The '20s seem to be the time period for classic Chanel that has been around forever.

Chanel No. 22
Soooooo similar to No 5 it's a little scary. This was made in 1922, also by Ernest Beaux, who definitely has a signature fragrance. No. 5 and No. 22 both have Jasmine and Aldehydes and Ylang-Ylang, but 22 has more Rose to it where 5 has a little more Sandalwood. On me they dry down to VERY similar scents, but No. 22 seems to last a bit longer on my skin.

Cuir de Russie
Another Ernest Beaux creation, this one from 1924. I ADORE this stuff, which just figures because it's only sold at Chanel boutiques (the lady has expensive taste)- good thing for me that I can get this online! The literal translation of this is "Russian Leather" and it's supposed to smell leathery and a little animalistic but on me it's delicious spices and I pretty much want to eat my own wrist. This is sexy, but not overwhelming at all. I can tell it is in the same family as No 5 and No 22 but this is more complex and not as floral- it's got mandarin, bergamot, balsams, incense, cade wood, and the jasmine and rose and ylang-ylang are in the lower range of things. I think that men could probably wear this too. It's not that girly.

This is another of those stupid exclusive perfumes you can only get in boutiques. I thought I'd really like this because it's got all of the stuff I love- amber, patchouli, woods, vanilla and some chocolate. And it does smell really good, but it doesn't seem nearly as complex to me as Cuir de Russie or No. 5. This one was created in 2007 but I'm sure it was inspired by the older Beaux perfumes.

Bois des Iles
This one I also thought I'd really love but instead it's left me a little cold. The notes sound like a modern perfume- jasmine (of course, this is a Beaux perfume so where there's jasmine there's gotta be ylang-ylang), damask rose, bitter almond, gingerbread, vanilla, tonka bean, sandalwood, and vetiver. Considering how most of these notes sound like they'd be in the latest celebrity fragrance, I was surprised to find out this was created in 1926 by good old Beaux. This will probably be better in summer weather when it is warmer so I think I'll try it again then.

No. 19
Okay, this was my least favorite of the bunch but that doesn't mean I didn't like it. I just wasn't wowed by it. The first time I tried it, it disappeared. The second time I was overwhelmed by the jasmine and hyacinth- this is a really floral perfume. I think it's another one to try when the weather warms up. It wasn't disagreeable, just not quite right for me. This was created in 1971 and seems to have every single note but the kitchen sink in it. And still fades fast.

Overall I was really impressed by how balanced all of these perfumes were. None of them has a note that really stands out more than another, and none of them gave me a headache or anything like that. And I'm also impressed by how close they stay to the body. These are not fragrances that a person can smell before they see you. (I'm only using one little spray, I'm not taking a bath in the stuff.) These are all fragrances that say, "Heelloooo handsome, you should lean in a little closer because I smell enchanting. Let's snuggle. Go make me a drink." When I smell other perfumes now they seem to bash me over the head with their single notes or the lack of balance. (I'm looking at you Flower Bomb and Stella.) I feel like Chanel has given me an entire perfume education in six little sample bottles and now I can't go back.


kelley said...

That's so cool and I'm so jealous!! You know I still have a trace of Coco scent from yesterday but Chloe is all gone ; )

lstratton6 said...

Today I was in Macy's and decided to try Chanel and see how it compared to your comments. Of course I couldn't remember the specific ones until I came home and re-read your post... I tried Chanel No. 5 and I think it did exactly what you described - kind of strong and sharp, then it faded and was nice, and then it was gone. That was on one arm - the other arm had Chance, which you didn't mention. Ick - all I could think about was old ladies wearing clothes that needed laundering. Something from childhood, I'm sure, and a creepy old piano teacher comes to mind.... Definitely did not like that one. Let me know if you give that one a try.

Heather said...

Body chemistry is amazing. I have tried Chance and on some days it works and on some days it is just too watery smelling to wear. (I don't know what the note is but it reminds me of something I used to wear from the Body Shop when I was about 14.) Kelley and I tried Coco at the same time and in 20 or 30 minutes it had turned into two different perfumes. On Kelley it was warm, and on me it got sort of spicy and then a sharper grassy note took over.

I tried Bois des Iles again today because it's a very warm spring day and it smells absolutely beautiful now. So I might have to move it up a step or two in the rankings. No. 5 still vanishes on me, but Cuir de Russie is just... oh it is amazing. I think this is why fragrance is so fun-it is really personal since no one is going to have a perfume act exactly the same way as it will on someone else. It might not smell the same on me one day to the next either. It is a truly self-indulgent adventure because it is all about you.

Heather said...
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Heather said...
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