Fancy going on a jaunt, Chanel style? Perfumer Olivier Polge is about to make a journey into Chanel land feasible by way of today’s introduction of Les Eaux de Chanel - three citrus based scents designed to evoke some of Gabrielle Chanel’s most treasured locations. Each fragrance is closely modelled on a traditional cologne, as Polge declares that there’s appeal in the straightforward nature of the cologne composition:
“I used an olfactory world similar to that of eau de cologne as my starting point. Colognes are interesting in the sense that they represent the beauty and nobleness of simple things.”
Given that smell and memory are so closely intermingled, Polge set out to recreate Gabrielle’s travels by focusing on what made some of her favourite places so unique, from crinkled leaves in Deauville to zingy, salty sea air in Biarritz. Here’s were Les Eaux de Chanel will take you (you’re boarding at Chanel’s HQ in Paris every time FYI)…
As nostalgic as it gets, Gabrielle first set up shop in Deauville in the spring of 1913. A coastal town in Normandy, Polge immediately considered the contrast of land and sea when creating this Eau de Toilette, given that it remains a popular getaway for urban Parisians. It’s actuually more cut grass than coastal in influence, as Polge explains:
“Although Deauville is a seaside town, I liken it to a breath of fresh air in the lush green countryside, hence the idea of this woody green aromatic freshness. For Paris-Deauville, I wanted to use basil to bring a green quality to the freshness of the citrus notes.”
If you’re a fan of Jo Malone Lime, Basil and Mandarin, this will be right up your alley- it’s herbal but not overpoweringly so, with warming orange rind and patchouli for depth.
Another seaside adventure in scent, Paris-Biarritz is more obviously aquatic than Paris-Deauville, with refreshing grapefruit top notes. I think that this one is particularly clever- Polge wanted to conjure up the idea of “a cool dip in the sea”, and a spritz of this is the closest you’ll come to splashing in the shallows when actually you’re squishing yourself onto a sweaty tube.
Biarritz was picked as Gabrielle helped to launch the coastal destination as ‘the’ place to be in the summer time- it became a high society hotspot following her visit in 1915, and Polge continues to be awed by the Atlantic resort it to this day:
“Biarritz is a very vibrant city in southwestern France where you can feel the power of the waves and the freshness of the wind. Biarritz inspired me by its vitality. Paris-Biarritz is a composition that reflects this spirit with its bracing, zesty, dynamic and vivifying qualities. I gave this Eau lingering freshness with a lily-of-the-valley tonal quality. It's the freshest of the three.”
If you’re landlocked, I highly recommend dousing yourself in this for a visit to the sea via your senses.
This EDT is altogether more sultry- it’s heavier, with more discernible musk and an oriental edge, which makes sense given that Venice is a melting pot of culture, architecture and style. Gabrielle Chanel was inspired by the Baroque and Byzantine elements of Venice, but she also came here in 1920 after the death of her lover as a kind of rehab to reawaken her creativity. Polge describes why this scent has a touch more mystery:
“The creation of Paris-Venise draws inspiration as much from the long journey on the Orient Express from the French capital to the Italian city, as from the destination itself. Venice is the gateway to the Orient, with a soft and enveloping atmosphere- I wanted a fresh fragrance, but with a round and soft expression. It is probably the most urban Eau of the three. Although I worked on all three fragrances at the same time to set them each in their own territory from the start, I finished this one first”
The fragrance travels from citrus fruits and white flowers to cedar, vanilla and amber basenotes- it’s sophistication in a bottle, and if you’re a fan of Tom Ford’s Neroli Portofino, I think you’ll love this too. Get ready to expand your horizons for summer- Chanel luggage not included, but a girl can dream.
Each Eau de Toilette is priced at £97 for 125ml. Buy the collection online .
The lesser-known fragrances you’re about to fall in love with
Follow Anna on Twitter and Instagram