New Perfume Review Chanel Paris-Edimbourg- Olivier Creates His Own Space

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There is a sports term to describe the skill of the most elite athletes in a team sport. It is called “creating space”. It means through a combination of skill and ability they can make a place on the playing surface where they are on their own. Only the best players can do this. When I received my sample of Chanel Paris-Edimbourg I am beginning to think there might be a perfume equivalent.

Paris-Edimbourg is the fifth release in the Les Eaux collection. They are meant to represent the travels of Gabrielle Chanel. In this case it is 1924 and her current paramour is the Duke of Westminster. He introduced her to the rugged beauty of Scotland as an antidote to the high society world.  It would also become an inspiration to some of the most recognizable Chanel fashion items. In-house perfumer Olivier Polge would go and visit the estates where she stayed to help him design the perfume.

Olivier Polge

He came away with the idea of two contrasting pieces, “icy” juniper berry and “peaty wood”. As one who enjoys his peaty flavored scotch, I was dubious about a perfume featuring that not becoming overwhelmed by it. Especially a collection like Les Eaux which have been on the lighter side. This collection has come to feel as if M. Polge is defining his vision of the fragrance side of Chanel in the 21st century.

The promised cool juniper berry is where this begins. If you’re expecting the gin-like scent profile it is instead one which accentuates the citrus facets of the ingredient. It surprised me because I was expecting a gin and tonic and got the lime without the alcohol. There is the promised chill it just comes from a different direction.

The “peaty wood” is also set upon the Scottish heath as he pulls together lavender and a smoky vetiver. This is like looking out over a gently sloping field of purple flowers as the peat gently scents the air. The vetiver is added in such a precise amount to give that hint of peaty smoke while keeping this light. The lavender adds its herbal version which has a mentholated interaction with something else, probably the juniper berry. Recapitulating the promised “icy”. It finishes with a warm comfort accord of vanilla, musk, and cedar.

Paris-Edimbourg has 8-10 hour longevity and average sillage.

After five releases I think the “Les Eaux” collection is where M. Polge is creating his own space. Paris-Edimbourg doesn’t smell like any other Chanel ever made. Yet it is constructed with the same precision the brand is known for. He is unafraid to oversee a collection of perfumes which will create a new type of Chanel fragrance lover. Paris-Edimbourg proves it.

Disclosure: This review is based on a sample I purchased.

Mark Behnke