Chanel Les Exclusifs 31 Rue Cambon: Missing That Je Ne Sais Quoi


31 Rue Cambon  is named after Chanel’s four storey building, purchased by Gabrielle “CoCo” Chanel herself and which remains today, the site of Gabrielle’s apartment, and the main Paris branch of Chanel.

ImageImmediately, the stakes are high. Named after the Mothership? This better be good. And it is. But great? Not so much.

For one thing, I find this very subtle. My skin seems to swallow it up whole instantly. You may have more luck. Secondly, this strikes me as an odd sort of melange.  It’s definitely a chypre, and it has lovely woody notes, but then clean, citrussy bergamot shows up, along with my old nemesis, Miss Carrot herself- iris. I often have problems with iris, but not with her cousin violet. I find iris dry and cardboard like, with an earthy rooty scent. I don’t always dislike it, but I can often spot it very soon into a fragrance these days, like a fussy eater who can spot a pea in a Shepherd’s Pie (I do that too).

One very wise reviewer on Fragrantica says that Rue Cambon needs and lacks Oakmoss. I think he has a point. It is neither a chypre, nor woody, nor citrus, but somehow all three, without ending up as a green note scent. Frankly it baffled me, and didn’t stay around long enough for me to know it properly.

The jury’s out on Rue Cambon.  I must confess to not loving all of the Les Exclusifs range (I haven’t tried them all yet, to be fair). Whilst I would bite your arm off for a full bottle of Coromandel, I would feel far more “meh” about a full bottle of Rue Cambon. It’s not badly made,  of course, and I know it would smell wonderful on the right wrist or neck, but those wrists and neck do not belong me, regrettably.

In my beloved Wales there is a lovely Welshism which sums up Rue Cambon for me:

“And there it was, gone!”



2 thoughts on “Chanel Les Exclusifs 31 Rue Cambon: Missing That Je Ne Sais Quoi”

  1. Dearest Iscent
    There are certain ‘Exclusifs’ The Dandy adores, principally Cuir de Russie, others he enjoys Sycomore and Coromondel but… there seems to be a longevity issue that runs through the range, at least on my humble dermis.
    Now some scoff that to grumble about the length of a perfume’s stay is merely skinflintery of the highest order, but if a fragrance is to develop and display it’s complexity, then surely it must be present for more than an hour or two?
    I tried Cambon just yesterday and so I will keep my counsel on my thoughts until the review that follows, just to say it’s an awful lot of money to pay for such a very fleeting thing…
    Yours ever
    The Perfumed Dandy

  2. Dear Mr Dandy,

    I wholeheartedly agree. it’s important not to be sidetracked by Emperors’ New Clothes syndrome, isn’t it?. If it doesn’t last, it’s not worth £200 a bottle. However, I have had success with Cuir de Russie, like yourself. I found it smelled rather nicely of horses and leather. The delicious Coromandel had great lasting power and was wonderful. Number 22 also had good lasting power, but that could be the Law of Sod since it was too metallic and cold on me and I therefore could not get rid of it.

    I’m enjoying working my way through the Exclusifs samples. Be it good or bad, half the fun is finding out.

    Your friend

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