Chantecaille – three new ones (Patty)

Chantecaille, maker of the seemingly discontinued, but maybe back (at a higher price point and for less fragrance?) Frangipane, has three new scents up for Fall 2010 – Kalimantan, Petales and Vetyver.

They are showing as a pre-order at Neiman-Marcus, but no ship date yet. I know that Sylvie Chantecaille is due at some event at Bergdorf in late September, and I’m going to assume that will be the launch of the three new fragrances.

Chantecaille isn’t know for its ground-breaking fragrances, but the ones they have created have been nice, pretty, even lovely in some cases. So my expectations are set for that  fragrance genre (!pretty!) smelling these three samples, which I got as a free gift by ordering something or another Chantecaille.  I think I picked out a pretty bronze eyeliner.

Vetyver has notes of citron, pepper, nutmeg, bergamot, vetiver, musk and sandalwood.  It does have vetiver in it, and you can tell, which I really was worried about, afraid they would dust so much !pretty! around it that you couldn’t smell the vetiver. It’s a soft vetiver, just lightly spiced with pepper, but the pepper persists through the entire drydown, for a very nice effect. It’s really very nice and no hint of frilly florals or tropicals anywhere around it.  If you like vetiver to have some punch, it’s probably not going to be for you – there’s no roughness in it, it doesn’t growl when you put it on.  Men or women could wear this, it’s not feminine.  If you’ve ever had trouble wearing vetiver, thinking it’s too earthy or swarthy, Chantecaille’s version may work for you.

Petales has notes of gardenia, balsam, jasmine, tuberose, cedar, ambergris and sandalwood. I’m definitely expecting feminine, and they’re not going to disappoint me here either.  It’s much more floral than woodsy, but it’s not as lush as the other fragrances they had before, the tiare, wisteria and frangipane, which were way lush to the point of, well, I needed them to not last as long as they did.  Petales skews to the white floral tropical area, but does not face plant in the gardenia like some of these things do. I’m surprised at Chantecaille’s restraint on this.  It’s well done and pretty much what you would expect from a restrained, feminine cosmetics line, but with more interest and nuance than the first round of pretty feminine fragrances they did.  It’s lighter, more delicate, which is sometimes a very hard thing to do with this list of notes. I’d wear this a lot for when I want a white floral, but I don’t want to put on my full Blanche DuBois.

Kalimantan is the one whose notes had me the most interested, but also the one that I knew had the biggest shot of making me sigh and be sad that it didn’t live up to its billing.  Still, I’ve tried to keep  my expectations low – well, for the reason above, it’s a feminine cosmetics line making a fragrance based on Borneo.  Okay, the notes, and I’ll skip over the marketing materials – Incense , Cistus Labdanum, Indonesian patchouli,  Thyme, Rosemary, Bergamot, Vanilla, Styrax, Agarwood, Cedar, Sandalwood.

Okay, before I uncork the sample, I’m projecting this to be a feminine oriental vaguely incensed laced with too much vanilla.  Actual sampling says:  hey, they put some incense and patchouli in this!  and not too much vanilla.  Nicely spiced with the thyme and rosemary, which brings the heavier labdanum and styrax back from the edge of oily indulgence, reigns in some of the more virulent aspects of patchouli, and it has some nice wood floating around in it.  Can’t find the vanilla – at least not in any way that smells gourmand, which is what I expected, if at all – it’s just all dry, there’s no soppy wetness from an of the notes. There’s a really lovely balance between the incense and patchouli.   It never veers over too far into a patchouli pit, but it keeps a distinctive patchouli feel.  It also doesn’t go careening over the cliff into chanting and om’ing on the incense side either, but has enough incense that it feels very meditative.  I have to hand it to Chantecaille, and maybe it was because my expectations were so low, this one far exceeded what I expected.  It’s beautifully done and not what I thought they’d deliver – and I mean that in a good way.  Take away any preconceived notions you have about the Chantecaille name on it, it’s a great fragrance.

$175 for 2.5 ounces. Hey, didn’t they use to sell their scents for $90 for 100 mls?  Charge more, less fragrance, but all three of these are better fragrances than the first round, so we’ve made some kind of tradeoff here.  I won’t even comment on whether the price uptick is worth it or not.  Anyone else smelled these, and did you smell the first round of Chantecaille fragrances?  Surprised?  Disappointed? I think I have enough in my sample vials to do one or two sample sets of the three to a commenter.

28 Comments

  1. Hi Patty. I’ve never tried anything from the line but you’ve made all three of these sound fairly interesting. But Kalimantan is also the one that jumped off the page to me: I love the name evoking Indonesia, and I have to admit I’m one of those consumers who’s seduced by an exotic name and geographic connection more often than not (it just occurred to me that Sikkim is a huge favorite). I’d love to be in the draw. Thanks for the reviews.

  2. I’ve only tried the Frangipane, and it was a big fail for me – too much vanilla with heavy white florals just doesn’t sit well with me. My daughter loved it, though. Reminded us both of her beloved Songes (another one I can’t wear).
    I would love to try the new ones, as I’m a gardenia/tuberose nut, and on a big vetiver kick of late.

  3. I can’t remember Frangipane. Or whether I’ve even tried it. But these certainly sound sniff-worthy, so I’d love to be entered into a drawing. Kalimantan sounds downright nice, but, oh, the price! Up there in the VC&A Collection Extraordinaire stratosphere.

  4. I liked Frangipane, but in the end Songes won my heart. These new Chantecailles sound very promising. I’d love to have a sniff.

  5. I’ve never heard of them. Something I’ve never heard of in perfume land? Interesting. Pretty isn’t bad. Pretty is much better than cynical, synthetic and not-long-lasting. It’s a virtue someone is still going for “pretty”. Love to be in the draw…

  6. According to their website, they’ve got Frangipane again, although I’m betting it’s a reformulation if not a downright reconstruction–the same in name only. (I could be wrong, but you know the odds are on my side: the original is 13 years old, a couple of centuries in perfume years.)

    $175 seems like kind of a high price point, but maybe the scents really are just that good.

  7. I’m glad you’ve tried these for me! When I was at the Chantecaille counter last week buying the blackberry water stuff the manageress was telling me that these new scents would be arriving soon and they were wonderful. I just smiled and thanked her….

    Chantecaille prices are high (well, they are here in the UK) but I use a lot of their creams and make-up and their facials are lovely. I am sure I’ll be trying these once they hit London!

  8. =)) at the visual conjured: Vetiver, growling and snapping and chained like King Kong, being dive-bombed by crop dusters spraying !pretty! all over it!

    thank you for that.

    I remember the Chantecaille originals, mostly because of the colors – each one was tinted (or whatever) and I am always a sucker for that, when it’s done in triplicate – but the scents themselves are not memorable. One of them was a lilac tint and one a pale gold, if I recall.

    I think Deputy Fife has these – will check when next I go visit.

    xoox >-)

  9. You have gotten my attention regarding the Kalimantan. Looking for something new for cooler weather. Petales sounds nice also. would love to be part of the draw. Thank you for another great review!

  10. Patty,
    These sound really nice. I’ve never tried any of the Chantecaille scents. The vetiver one, especially, interests me. Please enter me in the drawing. Thanks!

  11. Patty, Thanks for the review,they sound very nice. The only one that got me is the vetiver. I would love to try it, please enter me in the drawing. Thanks.

  12. Better pretty than fruity-floral! Incense is a note I often find too masculine so would love to try Kalimantan

  13. These all sound wonderful. I have never tried this line, but they sound perfect. Please include me in the draw. The floral sounds the best to me.

  14. You’ve made these sound elightful and reminded me that I used to really enjoy Chantecaille cosmetics. I’ve never run across any of their scents before – and in fact haven’t seen much of the line around lately either. I should check them out…could always use another bronze eyeliner or something…

  15. Okay, I’m going to butt in here just long enough to wonder why on earth anyone would spend $175 on one of these when they could have 100 mls of something great by Serge Lutens for $150, or Bertrand Duchaufour, Olivia Giacobetti, Jean Claude Ellena, Patricia de Nicolai or another genuinely talented nose for that matter, because such a thing is unfortunately beyond my ken.

  16. A couple of my thoughts re: these new Chantecailles. I’m just an amateur so take it with a grain of salt…:-)

    I thought Kalimantan was terribly like the newer upscale Guerlains–Bois d’Armenie and Oriental Brulant specifically. I even smelled BdA and Kali side by side, and though BdA is smokier and a little less sweet (I did catch a good bit of vanilla from BdA which immediately set my thoughts in Guerlain territory to start), they are remarkably close. It may actually be even closer to Oriental Brulant; I used up my sample so I couldn’t compare. Anyways, I was disappointed they chose not to be more original (and if I were Guerlain I would be pretty ticked off). Unisex in spite of the bottle.

    Vetyver: Musette I love your idea of vet being tied up and “prettified”. It seems to me though they just tied it up and lemon pepper sprayed her until she turned soft. Really, I thought Vetyver would be very nice for a professional setting, male or female. It’s very soft and likeable. I just don’t know if that’s enough for $175/bottle.

    The white floral Petale I agree with you is very tropical. My husband thought suntan lotion, I thought close to Songes.

    So overall, I thought they were all nice but not special. This was the first time I’d ordered a lipstick from Chantecaille, and I was very disappointed in the chintzy packaging. Also, for $28, note it is .07 oz. as opposed to .12 oz for my standard $28.50 Chanel lipstick. I don’t like it when companies do things like that. The lipstick seems to be nice enough, but still…I have reservations on that bottle now. It looks ethereally pretty in the pics but who knows. If the level of packaging quality is that of the lipstick and it’s some cheap plastic cap monstrosity I have to hide in the deep recesses of my cabinet, I ain’t buyin’ it.

    • I know just what you mean about cheap packaging! If you’re at a (relative) luxury pricepoint for a lippie, it oughta look good on both counts, imo.

      xo >-)

  17. These sound interesting. I’ve never tried any of the Chantecaille scents. Would love to give these a try! Please enter me in the drawing. Thanks!

  18. Have you tried any of their previous offerings, and if so, what did you think of their line? Please enter me into the draw as well.

  19. I’ve only tried Songes before – I liked it, but wasn’t in love. Of the 3 scents you listed, Vetyver sounds the best to me. I’m one of those that loves the scent but usually can’t manage to wear it.

  20. I’d sniffed Frangipane and I can’t come up with a better adjective than “pretty”. Chantecaille products in general seems really expensive for what they are: for instance, they had a thickening mascara for $65, which was reviewed on a beauty blogs as “cheaper than buying false eyelashes”.

  21. Hi Patty, thanks for the nice review. An SA I know at Neiman’s had called to tell me about these, but unfortunately, with son’s hospital bills pouring in, I’m not about to set foot in there (or on the Website). I recall their original scents and thought they were nice but failed to make a big impression. I did kinda like the tints (thanks, Musette) they had, though. Would love to be entered in the draw. Thanks and everyone have a great weekend!

  22. Petales and Kalimantan are drawing me to them. I would love to try Vetyver, but every.single.vetiver.scent. I have EVER tried always winds up smelling like lemongrass or verbena on me (Why?) for some reason, so my enthusiam for it is tempered. The bottle prices, though… sometimes I am glad I live in the middle of nowhere, as I’m less tempted to buy without sniffing first.

  23. Hi Patty, just discovered your blog. I purchased Chantecailles Frangipane and that is all it says on the label.If there are dirivatives of this type, I do not know. It is vanilla-y, but has such a sweet smell that, so far, everyone who has hugged me (and I’m a hugger) has made a comment on how great I smell. I just purchase this because I have been an Escada Sentiment fan since it was first released…before that, Champs Elysses (sp?)…these are all different types of scents, but I believe our bodies pheromones change from day to day, year to year, according to our moods/hormones and environment. I chose this scent because it is different and puts me into a whole new state of mind…French possibly, or high society socialite. Anyway, Thumbs up!

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