If you don’t know whether to laugh or cry, you know what time it is? Time to put on some perfume. So there I was at Nordstrom, in a massive hurry as usual, and I walked by the Chanel counter on the way out and saw No. 19 Poudré sitting there.
The original No. 19 is, in my opinion, a love-it-or-hate-it. Those fangs of galbanum and thorny rose … I’m more in the hate-it camp. So of course I picked that bottle of Poudré right up and sprayed it on generously; hey, why not? Putting on perfume can be living dangerously in a very small, safe way.
Jacques Polge did this version, and to the extent that the job of any great modern perfumer is to dumb down a classic to make it more palatable to the huddled masses, he succeeded. The fangs have been pulled, and it’s still green at the opening, but much softer and grassier, and the scent is focused on iris more than anything. Despite the name, it wasn’t powdery on me at all, which is a good thing.
This scent would, I think, be a bitter disappointment to anyone who loves No. 19; the relationship is tenuous, and the reviews online are pretty mixed, trending toward negative.
You know what you get when Jacques Polge remakes a galbanum-green scent into something more mass market? You don’t get a pair of Uggs. You don’t get a f’ing Snuggie. You get nine miles of uncompromising orris butter underpinned by a hint of smoky leather and what their brochure describes as “the latest generation of the most sophisticated, beautifully soft and light musks” and which I will English-to-English translate for you as: not laundry musks.
I think it’s lovely. I’d be delighted with a bottle, thank you very much, and unlike a lot of people who’ve complained about longevity I could smell it a day later on my wrists and forearms. In fact, I’ve decided it’s the perfect scent for the new life I am emerging into right now – the suit’s a soft knit, but the tailoring’s impeccable, and it’s got that hint of aloofness I love in the classic Chanels.
Notes: Grasse neroli, mandarin orange, jasmine absolute, iris pallida, white musk notes, Haitian vetiver, tonka.
PS Don’t forget – Swapmania starts on Friday!