Sycomore by CHANEL

Sycomore by CHANEL

Hey Crew. CHANEL is one of the worlds most iconic brands. The marketing team is second to none. It’s hard to stay current and afloat in the world of fashion. Let alone doing it in the 21st century. With the historic stories of Gabrielle Chanel and her personal and political choices, any other brand would have been cancelled or censured. For more information read Hal Vaughan’s book Sleeping With The Enemy: Coco Chanel’s Secret War. She wasn’t alone according to this article. There has been some extra hype with No 5 turning 100 years old in 2021 and the release of the homewares inspired collectable Factory 5 Collection. They also manage to pump out some impressive fragrance in their Les Exclusif line. If you’re new to the perfume craving they are a good place to smell some beautifully crafted fragrance, accessible in most large department stores.

Sycomore by CHANEL EdP (2016)

Sycamore by CHANEL

Parfumo gives these featured accords:
Aldehydes, Spices, Pink pepper, Sandalwood, Tobacco, Violet, Vetiver, Juniper, Cypress

Grassy greenness, the sweet shiver of pink pepper, the warm enveloping and silky smooth pairing of tobacco and sandalwood are all front and centre at the opening of Sycomore EdP. Less brilliant and sparkling than its EdT predecessor but warmer and more wearable by far. This feels more luxurious without the razza mattaz, showbiz style entrance. Don’t get me wrong, I love the EdT but there is a place in my heart for the EdP. Also, as more proof I own this small bottle of EdP and it wasn’t even on my list as an EdT.

The heart becomes a lightly spiced fresh hewn wood. Not a chest thumping, crackly, modern niche experience of woods. Here there is air between the notes. You aren’t in the sawmill, or even the lumberyard. It’s more like you’ve had a wood delivery at home and you can smell it as you enter and leave the house. I don’t know what it is but I also smell wood polish, like those lovely waxes that feed and nourish your wood table.

Dry down gets woodsier and woodsier as it fades over hours. Interestingly people around me can smell this long after I become nose blind. A perfect scent for those times you need to be softly fragrant for long periods of time.

Sycamore by CHANEL EdP

Sycomore is a modern, unisex fragrance. No matter that it was originally created in 1930. I never smelled the Ernest Beaux version but Jacques Polge and Christopher Sheldrake have done a beautiful job of revamping the EdT.

Have you spent time with any of the CHANEL Sycomores?
Portia x

(EDIT: I spelled Sycomore as SycAmore through the whole post and then was pulled up. It is in fact SycOmore. Fixed now)


Coco Noir… Light by Chanel


For many years Chanel and I weren’t getting along. I knew the brand had iconic perfumes. I knew it was well-loved and famous. I kept trying No. 5 and other perfumes again and again still wondering after each attempt what I couldn’t smell that others could.

A couple of years ago on my way home from a pleasant trip to Sonoma wineries I stopped by a perfume counter at Nordstrom (I’ve never been to that store before or after) where I met a sales associate who was really passionate about Chanel perfumes. I didn’t try any other brands that day but I left the store in an even better mood and with five Chanel samples. And that was how it started.

Chanel Coco

That Christmas  I bought my very first bottle of Chanel perfume. It was Coco. Since then I enriched my collection with numerous bottles and decants from Chanel including some Exclusifs. Some of them went much higher in my personal hierarchy. But Coco holds that special place by being the First one.

Coco by Chanel – created in 1984 by Jacques Polge; lists of notes are slightly different depending on the site, I’ll go with NST: jasmine, peach, frangipani, mimosa, orange blossom, cascarilla, rose, clove buds, angelica, labdanum, sandalwood, tonka bean, leather and opopanax.

If you want real reviews here is Angela’s (now smell this) and here is the most recent by Suzanna (Bois de Jasmin).

Three days ago I casually asked my friendly SA if she knew when they would be getting the new Coco Noir perfume and she very secretively handed me two samples saying that they weren’t supposed to show them yet, but for me… (She’s always good with me and I try to give her as much of my business as I can).

I do not trust my nose too much and I trust my ability to describe scents even less (not trying to be modest – just stating the fact) so these are just my impressions from testing Coco Noir in parallel with the original Coco.

Coco Noir is definitely Coco’s close relative – a younger sister maybe? She thinks she is all grown up and should be taken seriously; she tries really hard to be like her older sister who is effortlessly elegant and confident. But even through her thoroughly applied smokey eyes, dramatic lipstick and cynical gaze one can still see the freshness of the youth and innocence. But enough of the metaphor. In my opinion, the only “noir” part of this recent Coco flanker is the bottle – and what a beautiful bottle it is! I’m glad it isn’t dark blue or I wouldn’t have been able to resist.

Coco Noir by Chanel – created in 2012 by Jacques Polge; the notes include bergamot, grapefruit, orange, jasmine, rose, geranium, patchouli, tonka bean, vanilla, sandalwood, incense and white musk.

Coco Noir smells fresher then Coco; it is brighter because of a more prominent citrus note and it doesn’t last as long as the original version. Coco Noir is “younger” than Coco in modern perfumery sense as well – it’s fruitier and sweeter in the opening. A younger sister who prefers fruit punch on a sunny day to a glass of cognac next to a burning fireplace. If anything, Coco Noir is lighter than original Coco. But they couldn’t have used that beautiful bottle for Coco Light – right?

I do not think Coco’s fans will prefer Coco Noir and it’s not distinct enough to either justify the second bottle for a fan (unless you really want that bottle) or make a friend out of those who really disliked Coco. But if the original perfume was just a little too much for you Coco Noir might be an answer.

Victoria (Bois de Jasmin) today published a real review of Coco Noir.

Chanel Coco Noir

If you’d like a chance to win a sample of Coco Noir you have until 23:59 PST on Saturday, August 4th. You do not need to do anything, just mention in your comment if you want to be in the draw. The only condition: you have previously commented on this blog at least once (I’ll know, no need mentioning that).


Images: my own.

My First Unsniffed Purchase: Chanel №19 Poudré

It started completely innocently: less than two months ago another perfume blog (APB) published a brief article about the upcoming launch of Chanel №19 Poudré. It was a big surprise for me. Not because of the launch itself but because this was the first time I heard about it, and the information was coming not from my “regular sources,” big and well-known sites and journals (I read a lot of perfume-related noise) but from a fellow-blogger. First, I thought I’d somehow missed it so I went and searched all my usual suspects. Nothing. Then I searched Google, Facebook, Twitter. With similar results: all I found was a couple of vague tweets from random users and trademark registration information. Of course, within a week the picture changed, there were articles appearing here and there, but I still think that APB pioneered with that information in our perfume-related part of the blogosphere; and I felt strangely intertwined with it.

When I read that Chanel №19 Poudré was going to be available for preview at Selfridges in London starting June 1st and no specific date for the U.S. launch, I felt I couldn’t wait. I wanted it. NOW. Luckily (?) for me a friend of mine was on a long business trip to the U.K. and he agreed to buy this new Chanel’s flanker and hand deliver it to me. And he did.

Rusty and No 19 Poudre by Chanel

Chanel №19 Poudré – created in 2011 by Jacques Polge, notes include neroli, galbanum, jasmine, iris, white musk, vetiver and tonka bean. It comes in the eau de parfum (EdP) concentration.

I’ve been testing it for the last two weeks in different environments and combinations – in the office, during the weekend and on a vacation; in sunny weather and under the rain; alone and alongside with Chanel №19 in all possible concentrations – EdT, EdP and Parfum. Here are my thoughts.

Chanel №19 Poudré opens very nicely with a strong iris note which I like more and more with every next wear. While anxiously waiting for my bottle to arrive, I read so many discussions and speculations about the perfume that now I’m not sure if it actually was just a speculation, but I want to state that I do not think it’s a powdery scent at all. The iris in №19 Poudré doesn’t smell powdery, or cold, or earthy, or dirty as in many other perfumes that I like. Iris in this perfume is very well-behaved and appropriate, it’s soft and creamy. And just a little daring – like a single hair lock carefully places to look like it spontaneously broke out from the elegant updo hairstyle. This is the most interesting stage of this perfume’s life cycle, and it will probably sell it well to those shoppers who make their decision at the perfume counter. In ten-fifteen minutes iris subsides almost completely, and №19 Poudré becomes a softer, “rounder” and, in my mind, less interesting version of the original №19 EdP. I only have a manufacturer’s vial of Chanel №19 EdP of an unknown vintage, so I do not know how the current version smells but assuming it’s not too far from the one I tested, №19 Poudré EdP has much less character than the original №19 EdP, though it strongly reminds of it.

Unless you’re one of those people whose body constantly produces heat, I should warn you that an air-conditioned environment (and maybe cold weather but I haven’t tested under that condition) kills this perfume for me: I could hardly smell it on my skin after a generous application in two hours in the cool office. On the other hand, on a warm and humid day six hours into wearing I can still smell it without pressing my nose to the skin.

If your favorite Chanel №19 concentration is eau de toilette (EdT) №19 Poudré might be not a bad idea since it’s even farther from №19 EdT then any “native” variations. But if you love №19 EdP or parfum I do not think №19 Poudré will work for you: it’s not different enough to justify the changes.

My cat Rusty who favors Chanel Beige when offered two wrists – one with Chanel №19 Poudré EdP and the other one with vintage №19 EdP, sniffed the latter for much longer and much more attentively. I think he prefers the classic one.

Do I regret my unsniffed purchase? I’m not sure. Yes and no. I will be using it from time to time, I do not dislike it. But I think should I have tested it in the store I would have bought Chanel №19 EdT instead. But it’s definitely not the worst outcome.

Do you remember your first unsniffed purchase? Was it a hit or miss for you?

As always, feel free to post a link to your blog’s post(s) related to the topic.

Image: my own