Chanel Master Perfumer Jacques Polge, the nose behind 95% of Chanel’s fragrances, introduced the latest scent from the Les Exclusifs collection – 1932. The scent was named after the year Gabrielle Chanel debuted her first high jewelry collection, Bijoux de Diamants, which featured a collection of brilliant stars, fringes, feathers, bows and striking comets.
The image above is a still from the original showcase at Mademoiselle Chanel’s apartment. She arranged the diamonds in a way that was unique and ahead of the time. The 2012 Comete piece below pays tribute to the 1932 original and it’s my favorite of the collection.
As beautiful and striking as this collection was and is – I hardly think of showstopping diamonds when I smell the fragrance. As a matter of fact, I feel a calming comfort.
Top: aldehydes, neroli, bergamot
Middle: jasmine, rose, ylang-ylang, carnation, lilac
Bottom: vetiver, orris root, incense, opoponax, courmarin, vanilla, ambrette, musk
Les Exclusifs de Chanel 1932 opens with citrus and jasmine. At first whiff I’m not swept off my feet but it’s a Chanel and I’m prepared to ride out this fragrance journey. What I have learned since I became a fragrance enthusiast was to have patience. What you may not be wowed by in the first three minutes will turn into something great within ten to twenty minutes or vice-versa. What happens next is the rose note kicks in. The jasmine is still there but it’s lingering in the background, not to heady to give you a headache but just enough to linger like a good memory. There’s bits of spice from the carnation but it’s fleeting. My nose isn’t sensitive and trained enough to pick the ylang-ylang and lilac but it’s at this point where I am paying attention again. And of course a signature Chanel feature – the use of aldehydes. I love the powdery sensation of the floral aldehydes in this and it comes out in the opening but it really blooms as you wait for the drydown.
I am pretty sure the people on the train wonder what is wrong with me again because I can’t stop smelling my wrist.
The drydown is what brings it home for me. The jasmine becomes faint but the rose is still going strong and now I get a bit of a honey, almond, sweet hay. The wood notes are almost creamy. The soft powdery musk hugs my skin. It’s feminine, warm and makes me feel downright beautiful. Close to an hour later, I’m enveloped in a deep resinous vanilla, powdery aldehydes, sweet musk and woods. I feel like I’m wrapped in cashmere, particularly the $1000 cashmere wrap I got to try on at the Chanel boutique and I almost cried when I had to give it back the sales associate, while wearing this scent.
The sillage is moderate and longevity is quite impressive – I can get almost five hours of wear time before I felt the need to reapply. Anything that lasts over three hours on me is a good thing.
This is offered in a 75ml bottle ($130/USD) and 200ml ($230/USD). Les Exclusifs de Chanel is an exclusive collection found at Chanel boutiques and some department stores (flagship Nordstrom store – Seattle, WA).
I only own one 75ml bottle (Bois des Iles) of an Exclusif and I am really considering saving up for a small bottle of 1932. Like I mentioned earlier, I wasn’t wowed initially but I will usually give a fragrance three tries before I give my sample or decant away. There’s a bit of familiarity – the bits of honey is reminiscent of another Les Exclusifs scent, Beige, which is a beautiful honeyed white floral. Rose and woods are favorite notes of mine so that help win my vote and I’m a sucker for a sweet, powdery clean musk drydown. It’s beautiful and perfect for the office, lunch with girlfriends and in my case, play dates at the playground. Added bonus – the simple square bottle design with the heavy magnetic cap can make even the most shoddy dressers look like a million bucks. It makes you feel feminine just like a great classic Chanel scent would.
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