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Group: Woody Aromatic
I received a sample of Bleu de Chanel in Debenhams London recently. I test fragrances as a hobby so I was looking forward to trying Chanel's long awaited new men's edition.
Both the bottle and packaging of Bleu Chanel come in a rectangular shape and opaque midnight blue colour and white lettering, typical of the simple, classy Chanel style. The magnetic cap - as the shop assistant said: 'toy for the boys' - clicks firmly onto the bottle, a good idea I admit though it definitely takes away some of the classic, old-fashioned Chanel feel we're used to in their products.
Top notes: citruses, grapefruit
The first impressions I get after spraying Bleu de Chanel on are fresh citrusy accords which are quite generic at first until a distinct grapefruit aroma comes to the fore. The citruses feel heavy and slightly raspy and are offset by the natural smelling sweet and fresh grapefruit mitigating the overall harsh and somewhat unoriginal opening notes.
Heart notes: nutmeg, ginger, jasmine, mint, pink pepper
After about half an hour, Bleu turned into a powerhouse scent heavily laden with spices that felt slightly aggressive and apart from the camphorous mint and powdery pepper notes are largely indistinguishable. There was a gentle, smooth undertone underneath the aggressive pushiness that must have been the floral note that was struggling to be heard. It luckily softened up the composition and gave it a slight oriental feel.
Unfortunately, the pepper came on quite late, about 3 - 4 hours into the composition and paired with the other spices it did feel overpowering and almost harsh at times. It would have worked much better in the top phase where mixed with the fresh notes it would have made for a more balanced accord.
The overall accord did come across as slightly soapy mixed with a combination of sharp-edged citruses and spices and lots and lots of mint. The strong and rough elements reminded me of an AXE aftershave only Bleu was more expensive smelling and had a little bit of more depth to it too. Bleu didn't feel original despite the fact it tried so hard to impress, it just felt cheap and messy, like when you've hastily mixed two men's colognes together: one made up of citruses and mint, the other of spices and florals.
The tones of the two types of ingredients didn't blend well and resulted in a sharp, harsh, overpowering and sweet musky affair that would have fared better if it had been used with a light hand or kept separate in the first place. This phase was extremely long-lasting with excellent, strong projection and stayed on for a massive 8 hours at least on my skin and even longer on clothing.
Base notes: labdanum, patchouli, vetiver, incense, cedarwood
Gradually, Bleu turned softer and slightly more balanced though it took the fragrance a whole day to reach this point. The drydown was less soapy but decidedly more powdery surprisingly retaining a citrus-mint spiciness to it, that characteristic powdery-sharp men's cologne feel that comes from the camphorous edge of the heart verging on musky rather than aromatic it's classed as. The overall effect was finally balanced though isn't particularly exciting or artistically compelling. On the skin the base still had a considerable projection due to the powerful powdery accord.
Unfortunately, I was unable to pick out all the individual base notes due to the busy aspect of the scent. The musky and powdery tone wasn't overpowering though it did stop the individual notes from thriving and developing fully. The woody patchouli and cedar were actually present though quite faded and only clinging to the edges which saved Bleu from becoming a completely linear musky-powdery solinote. The sillage of the base notes was fairly noticeable for another 4 - 6 hours and I still detected the scent on my clothes the following day.
Since the 1999 launch of Allure Homme there hasn't been a standalone Chanel fragrance edition from the house so obviously expectations were high with the new release. I think however that Chanel's focussed mainly on keeping their consumer base and get their fair share of the men's fragrance market again and not necessarily to produce a well-done, excellent fragrance that will become a classic like Bleu's predecessors.
Bleu is a bit like the man that dresses with elegance but wears a cheap cologne. It has that 'elephant in the room' syndrome. It's overpowering and harsh but because it comes from a luxury house, no one dares to say anything. I'm of course partial to the earlier, classic Chanel men's line which are just as exquisite, elegant and current today as they were back then. In terms of legacy Bleu is certainly not following their path but rather those fashion brands like Lacoste or Boss.
The question is do we really need an average quality, boring, ordinary and unoriginal mass market men's fragrance from Chanel, a company and name that stands for everything but these?
PRICE AND AVAILABILITY
Available in department stores at Chanel consessions and drugstores such as Boots for about £42 / 50ml and £58 / 100ml Eau de Toilette
Thanks for reading.
©powered by lillybee also posted on dooyoo.co.uk