Tag Archives: Coromandel

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

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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!”

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Elizabeth Arden Mediterranean: Oops A Daisy!

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Call me superficial but I was drawn to this by the beautiful blue glass and silver lid and tempting advertising campaign. For design and marketing, Elizabeth Arden Mediterranean gets ten out of ten. The image alone makes me imagine freshly sliced oranges, bougainvillea, sunshine and sea spray.

I was therefore hoping for a fragrance that matched those expectations. For example, I love bitter orange  or lemon in a scent and love how a citrus note can cut though the heat on a hot day.  Ô de Lancome  is a perfect example. However, I was very disappointed with Mediterranean and here’s why:

It’s as if they nearly had a fresh, pretty scent for a summer’s day but then added Musk and Peaches. Still feminine but a little on the sweet side, decisions were being made on the final formula when someone split a  cup of Latte over their wrist as they were smelling it. “That’s good, let’s keep that in” they said, and so it was.

What we have now is a musky, peachy, sweet and fluffy perfume with a hint of milky coffee in it. Not at all what I was expecting or hoping for.  Longevity is every poor too. On me it was half an hour. After mingling with the long lasting hoi polloi this week (waving across the room to Coromandel and Cuir Mauresque, see previous reviews)), poor longevity makes me feel cheated, even at this very reasonable price. Look at Body Shop White Musk Oil for instance. It’s currently £11 for 30ml of oil, lasts twelve hours on me and the bottle itself lasts me over six months. Longevity can be had at low prices.

They had the name, they had the packaging, they had the image, but the actual fragrance was lost in a big messy old mess.

Turns out I can forgive Elizabeth Arden though, as they created Blue Grass. Arden is an affordable High Street brand, but I am getting disappointed more frequently by their more modern offerings. This is one of them.  High hopes dashed.  Sorry Meditteranean, I’ll pass.

Chanel Les Exclusifs Coromandel: Milky Bars and Old Stone

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I tried Coromandel reluctantly, having read that there were hints of White Chocolate in it. If anything is designed to put me off a scent it’s the smell of the kind of stuff I wipe off my hands all day (I have a three year old). I also read there were Patchouli notes and that it was an Oriental. Sounds good to me, I thought, apart from the choc. But I will always sniff an Oriental, with open arms and a flaring nostril.

Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel was very taken with her Chinese lacquered screens, and in tribute to these, Coromandel was created in 2007. Indeed there is a definite mysterious Eastern vibe going on here, but still in the back of my mind was the nervous question “When will it smell of Milky Bar?”

At first spray, the Patchouli is strong and musty. Perfume gives me very visual impressions, often at random. The immediate visual that Coromandel gave me was of a bar in Krakow that I visited  around fifteen years ago. Until I smelt Coromdanel, I had completely forgotten about this bar. As you may know, Krakow is a very ancient town and this wine bar was no exception. It was accessed via a flight of stairs going down into the basement and the walls were solid ancient stone, like a castle dungeon. It gave off one of my favourite smells: old stone. I adore that musty smell that is both damp and dusty at the same time. I can safely say that Coromandel’s Patchouli is of the ancient musty old stone genre. And I love it.

There are floral notes too: Rose, of which there is a hint, Jasmine which I couldn’t find, and Orange Blossom which didn’t turn up.

The White Chocolate did turn up shortly afterwards with a “Sorry I’m late” and it was very polite and sat down quietly at the back. The milkiness calms the Patchouli down and makes it very addictive and soft. Staying power is tenacious. Bad luck if you don’t like it, because you’ll need an Eviction Notice and a Bailiff to get rid of this one. Longevity kind of compensates for price: £200 for 200ml.

Coromandel was created as part of the Chanel Les Exclusifs Range. They weren’t kidding either. You’ll buy hen’s teeth and unicorn droppings off Lord Lucan before you can get your mitts on this stuff. Do they care at Chanel? Not a jot. They’re just playing hard to get to make you want it more.

It worked.