When you love a particular perfume and you hear a more concentrated version is coming it usually induces a smile. After all more of what you enjoy should be an improvement. Except in perfumery that isn’t usually possible. If you just up the oil concentration what you end up with is a distorted version of the original. To do it correctly a perfumer has to re-work the proportions while hewing to the original while also making something more. It’s not easy. Now imagine you are the son of the original co-perfumer who is making a parfum version of one of the best perfumes his father was responsible for. That adds another degree of difficulty. Happily Chanel Coromandel Parfum overcomes all of these hurdles.
Chanel Coromandel was originally released in 2007 as one of the first Les Exclusifs. Composed by Jacques Polge and Christopher Sheldrake it was an Oriental style of perfume in every way that term applies in the positive. It has always been one of my favorites of the Les Exclusifs. Now Jacques Polge’s son Olivier Polge, who has succeeded his father as in-house perfumer at Chanel, creates a Parfum version.
The press release says it is meant to be an “intensely ambery Oriental fragrance”. What that means in execution is M. Polge has enhanced the warmer elements of the original Coromandel. What that further means is a near-decadent opening before a second phase which simmers for hours.
Coromandel Parfum opens with a smokier version of the jasmine-pine-patchouli trio of the original. That smoke comes through frankincense and labdanum. The original triptych had a green core from the pine and patchouli which the jasmine gave a sweet floral veneer. In the Parfum version the sweetness is pulled back so the resins can warm the top notes. It is a gorgeous re-invention of the top half of Coromandel. I like it as much as the original. Over an hour or so the Parfum transitions into the promised intensely ambery base accord. This is made that way though benzoin warming up the more earthy patchouli while the resins persist. It becomes elegant over the long run as it just goes on and on.
Coromandel Parfum has 14-16 hour longevity and moderate sillage as befits a parfum strength fragrance.
Coromandel Parfum is a compelling re-telling of the original Oriental perfume. It works because M. Polge allowed things to get warmer and more intimate.
Disclosure: This review is based on a sample provided by Saks.