Monday, July 28, 2008

Splash Down: Chanel Cologne

Having recently become a New Yorker-with-a-bike, I’ve taken to zipping around parts of Brooklyn and Manhattan I’d never had the chance to terrorize before. (An old friend once told me that Raymond Roussel took to doing similarly in a white Rolls-Royce he’d had outfitted with a harpsichord.) I love the feeling of liberation such meandering rides produce in me ... but, alas, not the smells. Hot, muggy summer-in-the-city means almost guaranteed inundation with stagnant water, sunbaked trash and something that I can only liken to the putrifaction of our piscine friends.

These are not the days for perfumes of profundity. A good bar of soap, clean water, absorbent towels and a large bottle of eau-de-Cologne will do ... all of which brings me to my supreme joy that someone with common sense was in the room when Chanel decided to include a cologne among its Les Exclusifs offerings. No matter how low the Dow Jones goes, no matter how high the price of milk or gasoline rises, each household should stock a 400ml bottle of the stuff.

A masterfully rounded Cologne, it manages to weave its very traditional components into something modern, “Coco” would have warmed to, or, at least, indulged in between her trysts with all those Grand Dukes and whatnot. Of course, the bergamot and néroli are there, but also some rose and vetiver, and a fresh-linen-smelling musk that makes me want to pour half the bottle over me. Very few drydowns transform my mood (Eau d’Hiver, Eau de Guerlain, Cologne Blanche) and this one does. It reminds me of childhood, post-bath, pre-pajama moments – moments which, sadly, are not revisited in the countless spa situations we endure in the city.

If I were you, I’d keep a large bottle on hand – which isn’t to say that you shouldn’t have another bottle stored away for safe keeping.


Blogger carmencanada /Grain de Musc said...

Oh, I was just telling a friend yesterday I'd happily get this in the 400 ml too! Though it must be a doozie to handle, the 200 ml are hefty enough... Isn't it utterly lovely? I've been dousing myself in it as well, from the 100 ml factory tester I've been offered. Its lasting power is slightly superior to many other colognes (Eau Impériale, I'm looking at you). A real gem.

July 28, 2008 at 11:58 PM  
Blogger chayaruchama said...

Agreed, friends.
It's a beauty, alright.

Nicely put, CV !

July 29, 2008 at 3:52 AM  
Blogger the oblitterati said...

Well put, but the idea of cooling off with Chanel Cologne is a bit like a hearty meal of peacock tongues.

July 29, 2008 at 4:40 AM  
Blogger Billy D said...

Do they still manufacture the 400 ml bottle? I wonder how much that one costs now with the price increases. When they were first released, I remember it seemed like quite a bargain. This, along with Bel Respiro, were my initial favorites from the line. Fresh, but without a sticky synthetic feel, and light as a feather in a Chanel bowler. This has probably the best lemon note I've ever smelled. However, it does only last for about 5 minutes on me.

July 29, 2008 at 5:36 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

LOL, Oblitterati.

Elsewhere, there is discussion of originality in scent, which had already prompted me to think of the impact of exclusivity. Peacock tongues, indeed!

it appears I am doomed to go back and forth between the blissful ignorance of transcendance (ah, liberal re-applications of Imperiale! clouds of Bel Respiro to step through!) and the realities of my own economy, as well as collective guilt. (Bring on the Jean Nate!!!)

Gotta tell you, there's something deeply satisfying about the way those Exclusif caps find their way back to the bottle with a resounding, powerful (and tasteful, natch) thunk. Kind of like starting up a powerful, quiet, exotic engine...

(...and now out to the driveway to start up the Subaru...)


July 29, 2008 at 6:53 AM  
Blogger Vetivresse said...

D., its tenacity is such that it leaves a veil on the skin, which, hours later is delectably detectable.

July 29, 2008 at 7:46 AM  
Blogger Vetivresse said...

Oblitt., Nice to see you on here. I don't find this an opulent or rarefied Cologne, just good ... the way Chaldée was ... for hot, summer days.

July 29, 2008 at 7:48 AM  
Blogger Vetivresse said...

billy d, ditto my man! "without a sticky synthetic note," indeed; which, lends this to the post-bath time perfectly.

July 29, 2008 at 7:50 AM  
Blogger Jenny Hill said...

None of my family ever wore Chanel, so I don't have any memories of it at all. After reading your description, I wish I did! My mother used to wear Arpege. I remember the gentleness of it - her leaning over to kiss me goodnight - the scent is imprinted into my childhood memories.

August 7, 2008 at 8:53 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'd have to agree! The bottle that was gifted to me remains.. A wonderful scent.. lodged with very fond memories. Thank you.

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