Hopefully our little DNS problems have resolved and all of ya’ll are back now, yes? Best description of the week about a scent comes from my nephew: “Smells like vanilla ice cream and Harleys.” If you can guess which scent it is he’s talking about, drop your guess in comments. First person to get it right will get…. hmmm, samples all three varieties of Chanel No. 22 I’m reviewing today, a sample of Rousse, Isabela Capeto, and some other grabbag samples I’ve got laying around, like some carded Tom Ford Private Blend samples, and Neil Morris Vault samples I have laying around and whatever else I feel like throwing in.
I’ve reviewed Serge Lutens Rousse in the past, though finding that review is proving to be a little trickier than I thought. Love this fragrance on me – Lee and I are of one mind on this stunner – though I know lots of people don’t feel the same way… cretins. Notes of mandarin, cinnamon, cloves, spices, floral & aromatic notes, fruit, cinnamon wood, precious woods, amber, musk and vanilla make up the perfume. The open on me is all cinnamon stick goodness, like one of those Jolly Rancher Fire Stix, then settling into a joyous cavalcade of softer cinnamon, cinnamon bark and woods. I know this has very mixed reviews, but given others of Serge’s scents, this one seemed like a good addition to his line, preserving the woody notes we find in many of his scents, but adding a much more eye-popping note on the open that gets your attention and keeps it warmed up. It is probably one of my two favorites of the export line from Serge.
Chanel No. 22 was introduced in 1922, a year after 5. Notes are orange blossom, peach, citrus, orchid, rose, ylang-ylang, sandalwood, vetiver, vanilla. This is my favorite Chanel, hands down, no question, no room for quarrelling. There is a softness in it that is exquisitely tender, while the aldehydes bubble around it like smitten teenage boys – for some reason I think of a cross between Scarlett and Miss Ellen in Gone With the Wind, feminine in ways that we’ve forgotten how to be feminine, the sorrow and disappointment of life put to one side so you can really live and love with no excuses. For this scent, after reading some rough-n-tumble fragrance “discussion” in various places about versions, I decided to compare the pre-Les Exclusifs version with the new Les Exclusifs and the vintage parfum. Between the pre-LE and the post-LE version, the pre-LE is much richer, it seems fuller, especially on the open. As they dry down, I detect less of a difference, perhaps more incense in the pre-LE, but the minor emphasis on some others notes seems to be a little changed up. For me, it’s not enough to make purists pay a bazillion bucks for the pre-LE version, but I’m sure 30-40 of you stand ready to tell me how dunderheaded I am not to notice the subtle shift in notes from one to the other and that the incense is…. blah, blah… yes, I’m an idjit sometimes, but my nose thinks both version are gorgeous and within a fly’s wing of being the same.
The parfum version of 22, however, is worth finding, if you are a big 22 fan. I believe they don’t make it anymore – of course – so be prepared to pay top dollar on eBay to get it, which is where I got mine. The aldehydes seem tamped down in the parfum, and all of the floral notes seem imbued with a surreal light that focuses on each note and lifts it, making it more of a prayer of gratitude than a perfume. If this were readily available, I would spritz it wildly and go dancing naked in the streets, it’s just unfathomable bliss. Sorry, I try to squelch my raptorous praise for things, and especially for perfumes that are rarer than Virgins at Denver East High School, but… it makes me want to shout “This is freaking gorgeous!!!” from the rooftops.
22, both of the edt versions, have tremendous sillage, while the parfum sticks close to you. But you could not go wrong with any one of the three. This is truly the treasure, in my opinion, of the Chanel line, bar none.