Just as it has been over at Hermes watching the changeover from a long-time in-house perfumer to a new artist is fascinating. When Olivier Polge took over he has presided over a lightening up of Chanel. What he has excelled at has been achieving it without losing the Chanel fragrance aesthetic. One thing left to show is whether M. Polge would bring this to the Les Exclusif line. His first release was the Les Exclusif Boy. It heralded the lighter direction, but it has been the releases since which solidified that. With the announcement of the Les Eaux de Chanel collection of three perfumes we would get a better idea of where the exclusive fragrance line at Chanel was going.
There are three new perfumes within Les Eaux de Chanel; they are meant to represent the ties between Coco Chanel and three different cities. I am going to write about all three because I have found them to be a coherent collection which is Chanel but also M. Polge’s modern vision of what that means.
Paris-Venise is described as being inspired by traveling on the Orient Express from Paris to Venice. That description makes you think a full-on Oriental is on its way. Here is where M. Polge chooses to go towards something less obvious by using the more transparent aesthetic to his advantage.
It starts with playful citrus and neroli top accord. This is that laugh of starting off a trip. The floral heart of iris modulated by geranium is also kept opaque although a bit of powder sneaks in. The base is M. Polge’s version of an Oriental base done with insouciance. Using cedar, amber, and vanilla these are the components of Oriental of the past. In Paris-Venise they are pitched at whisper level as it hints at the end of the trip.
Paris-Venise has 8-10 hour longevity and average sillage.
Paris-Deauville is meant to be a trip to the country for the weekend. What that meant for M. Polge was to imagine a cologne style which captures that vibe.
To do that there is what becomes the theme for this collection a joyful citrus accord. Comprised of orange zest and petitgrain there is a green undercurrent which is picked out with basil. Using rose and jasmine it turns floral but a lighter version of that. A patchouli fraction which is stripped of much of the heavier qualities is the base note.
Paris-Deauville has 10-12 hour longevity and average sillage.
The last one Paris-Biarritz captures Coco’s love of the beach. Which translates to M. Polge’s aquatic interpretation.
This opens with a classic sea salt accord matched with the citrus of grapefruit and mandarin. This is not particularly interesting to start. It becomes more so as muguet begins to transform the heart into a greener effect. Vetiver provides a grassy kind of effect which makes a “dunes accord”. A set of white musks recapitulate the airiness of the opening sea salt accord.
Paris-Biarritz has 12-14 hour longevity and average sillage.
These are not going to be my favorite perfumes of M. Polge’s time at Chanel. For the first time he has gone a little too light for my taste. That being said there is a consistent thought which shows up in all three, of the joy of heading out of the city towards something else. I think that will mean if you really like one you’re going to also like the others. At least for me it felt like taking a Trip with Coco on the days I wore each of the Les Eaux.
Disclosure: This review is based on samples I purchased.
5 thoughts on “New Perfume Review Chanel Paris-Venise, Paris-Deauville & Paris-Biarritz- Traveling with Coco”
Good morning Oliver,
i recieved Venice for a gift and I was so excited as I only wear Chanel perfume, I have to say I am very disappointed I cannot smell the fragrance this would have to be the first time I have experienced a Chanel perfume.
I have a wicked little theory about theese 3. I have yet to smell them to confirm my suspicion. I think these were the 3 runner-up Mods for 2015's outstanding No 5 L'EAU. (Albiet tweaked) The fact that they are exclusive to Nordstrom for "one year" reinforces my opinion. I believe Chanel is positioning itself to market the Les Exclusifs on a greander scale than just their Boutiques and .com, and that these 3 crowd pleasers are a gateway. Only time will tell, but "Exclusive to Nordstrom for one year" says they are broadening distribution after said year, rather than extinguishing it. They can do whatever they want, they are Chanel after all. 🙂
Interesting hypothesis but while i was wearing these I didn’t get a connection back to No. 5 L’Eau.
I wonder if you’re other hypothesis as to these being entry level perfumes to the Exclusifs coupled with wider distribution of that collection could be true.
One way we will know is after the exclusivity period is finished with Nordstrom whether a curated set of Exclusifs follow in their place.
As you rightly say they are Chanel and have always done things their way.
Mark, but did you get a connection back to the original No 5? Because they could also be mods at the time, because L'Eau was still in the mod stage at that point as well? Dang it, now I'm going to have to go to Nordstrom and get my nose on them. I'll go after Lulu's annual trip to the Vet for her physical/shots. That way no matter how much I'm tempted….
Mark, thank you for the great reviews. I own and enjoy the first three Le Eaux (Deauville, Venise, Biarritz). I have the body washes, as well and they’re fabulous. I find Biarritz a little too light; it lasts a mere 30 minutes on me. Deauville is probably my fav. I have pretty decants of all three for quick refreshes throughout the day. I did NOT like Riviera (which I believe is the only limited edition – available for one year). There’s something in it that turns sourish &/or indolic on my skin.