Chanel Bois des Iles

How Snowmageddon has anything to do with Chanel Bois des Iles.

First off, my apologies to those I offended Monday with my remarks about idiots shoveling their cars out.  I was attempting to be flip and funny and, as sometimes happens, I ended up being offensive.  Of course I am grateful for all the emergency, road and other personnel who have dug out and driven in and worked nonstop. If it weren’t for their efforts, everyone here would be much worse off than they are.   The remark was intended as a lead-in for the idea of a perfume that could be enjoyed indoors like a blanket.  Furthermore, everybody here, including us, got out and dug our cars out, because a) it was something to do, and b) at these volumes, that snow isn’t going to remove itself.  An aside: I noticed yesterday while shoveling that our neighbor’s holly tree fell over in our yard.  And the way I noticed this is by finally realizing why the (bare) side of their house looks so strange.  I still can’t see the holly tree, which should give an idea of the drifts.  I’m glad it fell on that side and not the side with the power line to our house.

Also, here’s a link to the Snowmageddon reader-submitted photo section of the Washington Post — I think their staff/professional photos are a total snooze, but the reader photos are great — lots of dogs and kids, sure, but also photos that give a real sense of the scale of the fallout, as well what I think would be (for those of you from other parts of the country/world) an interesting peek into the Washington, D.C. that isn’t located on the Mall.  There are some excellent snow-creatures in there as well.

They’ve closed school for the rest of the week, and as I type this it hasn’t even started snowing again (Snowmageddon Part II: 10 – 20 More Inches, Punk).  It’s still pretty trashed here; it took me 45 minutes to make our ten-minute drive to the kids’ dentist this morning.  But the reward was: the parking lot of the dentist belongs to Saks.  Squeee!  Civilization!  Less Donner Party, more Breakfast at Tiffany’s.  I even put some lipstick on.

I spent an hour in there just enjoying pretty things.  Sniffing Chanel Les Exclusifs again, I drew some conclusions.

First: much as I love 22, I don’t love it enough to need a bottle.

Second, Beige appears (from the amount of liquid in the bottle) to be far and away the most popular in our store.  Smelling it again, I was assailed with that kinda-musky-warm-comfort scent that seems to be distinguished by how undistinguished (and undistinguishable) it is.  I won’t back away from my previous statement that I still like it, but that’s only because it’s generically pleasant.  I can see why it’s popular, but every single one of the others is more interesting, and (one could argue) more beautiful.

Third: I have heard (and faintly recall) that Chanel Bois des Iles before Les Exclusifs was better: richer, stronger, deeper, more sillage and longevity, plus it did your dishes and rubbed your feet, all while preventing cavities.   I put on a couple modest squirts after sniffing the cap and being reminded of how nice the sandalwood is.  You know what?  Maybe Chanel Bois des Iles back in the day used to be hugely better, but Chanel Bois des Iles sitting right there on that counter is more beautiful than almost anything I might have been inclined to sniff among the tester bottles at Saks that morning.   So if you’ve been holding off sniffing this one because of all the perfumista breast-beating about how its glory days are gone, guess what?  It’s still worth it.

(Clarifying, for anyone who read the para above and is concerned I’m having memory issues: yes, I smelled and reviewed three different iterations of BdI maybe a month ago.  What I meant to say is: 1) the (new) extrait smells pretty different to me than the EdTs, no surprise there; and 2) I think the new EdT I smelled at Saks held up to my memory of the vintage-y EdT, which is maybe 10 years old but not ancient.  Also, old (vintage) EDT of BdI seems to be pretty variable in quality.  Clear as mud?)

Two squirts of BdI comforted me through a trip to the grocery store after the dentist, to join the panicked post-blizzard/pre-blizzard throngs, and all the joy that entailed.  And then back in the car, still wafting, for the tricky, icy trek back to the house, which is rather like running an old-fashioned maze at this point, with various dead ends and backtracking required.  (We live in a funny old neighborhood with narrow streets that even without snow requires cars to pull over and yield to oncoming traffic.  Only now there isn’t anyplace to pull over.)  Every time I felt myself defeated, I took one sniff of my wrist, glanced at Buckethead in the rear view mirror and thought: patience.

  • Carla says:

    Sniffs of the wrist are what keep me going some days, so true!

  • Joop! says:

    Just got 3 new perfumes online, one strong, one sweet, and one with a light scent. I absolutely love the light scent because its not too potent, but its just enough to get someones attention when you walk in the room.

  • Louise says:

    Re. Beige-Chanel “stole” the name from an early trio of their scents: Beige, Rouge, Bleu; Beige was a “jasmin-orris-ambery side more present than in No5, and it made me think of a combination between Arpège and Vol de Nuit” See a great write up here:

    The modern seems to have retained the name only >:/

  • Ann N. says:

    Hi all, longtime lurker here, only posted a few times. I’m with the majority on Beige, it’s pleasant enough, mostly just “meh,” and hardly memorable. It can’t hold a candle to my beloved Coromandel, which, to me, is overflowing with personality. Hope the Bois des Iles inspires the same kind of devotion! I have a decant coming and can’t wait to try it. Then perhaps going back to try a bit of the older juice.
    BTW, which Saks has the Les Exclusifs? Friends and Family is coming this this spring and 10 or 15 percent off is better than nothing, right?

    • March says:

      Thanks for delurking! There are several Coromandel lovers on here today … I’ll admit you don’t smell it and think, well, I’ve smelled that a million times before!

      It’s worth calling. Our Saks in Chevy Chase DC has it, but it’s a new arrival. Chanel boutiques have it, I assume the one in Tysons has it.

      I hope the BdI works out for you. :)>-

  • minette says:

    i can’t even bring myself to like beige because it is so beige. there’s nothing there there.

    bois des iles is another creature entirely. rich, magical and able to transcend time and space with its beauty. and i like that my grandmother wore it in the ’30s.

  • Tara C says:

    I still love Bois des Iles in all its formats (parfum, edt). Don’t much care for Beige.

  • Hilary says:

    I’m so glad to hear so many people singing the praises of Bois des Iles. I too have never tried versions older than the bottle of EDT I bought last summer, and I’m not sure I want to. I’m holding off trying the parfum too. Because even if it’s a pale shadow of what it used to be, and I can imagine the real sandalwood is a loss, I still think it is absolutely heavenly and the most beautiful thing I’ve ever smelled. This might sound odd, but it has qualities I aspire to as a person – the energy of the aldehydes, the warmth of the florally gingerbread, a kind of intelligence from the iris. And a softness all the way through.
    And by the way, although it becomes quite soft, it lasts for me all day.

    • March says:

      “This might sound odd, but it has qualities I aspire to as a person – the energy of the aldehydes, the warmth of the florally gingerbread, a kind of intelligence from the iris. And a softness all the way through.” That’s so beautifully put. Thanks for sharing that.

      BdI is the sort of fragrance I want to describe as a “classic” but I feel like I’d have to justify that, and I don’t know how. Its beauty feels so timeless. I don’t sniff it and think: 50s aldehyde, 70s power scent, whatever. It doesn’t smell “old” to me, but it doesn’t smell “new” (niche) either.

  • Christine says:

    Hey March! Snowpocalypse version 2.0 is in full effect in the city of brotherly love after dropping a good 8 inches, it rained, sleeted and is now back to snow. Blech.

    The husband is an idiot who drove himself to work today and I’m about to call and encourage him to come home. Sales can wait a day, me thinks, and he can always leave his cell phone number on the voice mail. I’m just hoping that my scheduled depositon for tomorrow gets canceled so I can wear jeans, and not a suit. :/

    Hope you, the family and house guests are all happy and warm.

    • March says:

      We are sort of dug out. The car’s still in there, and I’m not moving it [-( but we have a path to the curb. I do wonder when the kids will ever go back to school. Our area relies on buses, and unless things melt darn fast, there’s no way a bus can fit in most neighborhoods around here, even though the roads are passable for cars.

  • 2scents says:

    I love Chanel scents and my three FBW choices are BdI, Coromandel, and 28LaPausa, though honestly, I might cover my vanity with the whole lot if not for my Scotch blood. I think I’ve got it narrowed down to BdI; it is so complex yet comfortable, always just right and interesting at the same time. Now to finish my hoard of BdI decants up so I can justify the purchase…

    • March says:

      Can I say how surprised I am to find all the Coromandel fans on here? I agree it’s quite distinctive, although I admired rather than loved it (it’s abrasive on me.) But one person’s abrasive is another’s assertive, so I’m glad it has fans.

      I can’t quite get BdI out of my mind.

  • nozknoz says:

    “Every time I felt defeated, I took one sniff of my wrist” – perfect! March and Shelley, you and (and the blizzard) have led me to reflect on the impact that a scent like BdI must have had in its original time – no internet, no TV, no cellphones, no central heating, no 3D cinema blockbusters – the comfort or confidence that it brought and what it communicated. And yet, none of the communication technologies now instantaneously linking the globe have managed to convey scent…

    • March says:

      I’ve been thinking about your comment. My impression of some other fragrances from (I think) around the same time is that they were much more aggressive/animalic. So I have to wonder whether BdI would have been a quieter, less statement-making scent. It’s a stealth beauty for sure, it doesn’t jump up and demand attention. Perhaps that’s part of why it feels so timeless?

      • nozknoz says:

        You’re right! I was just thinking about the lack of competing stimuli, but BdI must have been a radical departure in its time. I love some of those antique animalic scents, but they certainly don’t smell modern or timeless. (Although here we are in the 21st century, bathing in oudh, which comes close.) It’s also that the Chanels are so perfectly tuned and balanced, creating such a sleek and stream-lined scent form (LT compares No. 5 to a Brancusi bronze).

  • Nava says:

    OK,I’ll admit it: I like Beige, too. But not nearly enough to own any. My FBW faves are still Coromandel and Sycomore. I’ve never been a fan of BdI, but sandalwood can be a great comfort/stress reducing scent.

    I looked at some of the pictures in your link and I forwarded it to some friends/family here in T.O. We got some snow overnight, but only a couple of inches – nothing anywhere near “snowmageddon”. I’m throwing you some patience vibes from above the 49th… 😡

    • March says:

      Aren’t you guys hosting the winter olympics? Are you the one who said you’re building your jumps out of mud and haybales? wth.

      Really, I can’t stop looking. There’s a 7 foot fence behind our house, and the snow has drifted … not all that far from the top.

      • Nava says:

        Yes, the opening ceremonies are tomorrow in Vancouver. Ironically, they’re having all sorts of issues with the weather out there (not enough snow), so there you go. Whistler BC is Canada’s premier ski destination, but I had no idea they built the ski jumps out of mud and hay bales. There’s been a ton of controversy, but isn’t there always whenever the Olympics are held in North America?

        • sharviss says:

          The hay bales are at Cypress which is just outside of Van and the only event there is ski jumping. However, one would think lots of snow/padding would be a necessary for ski jumping so hopefully those bales hold up!:x The rest of the ski events are taking place in Whistler where there’s lots o’snow.

  • Shelley says:

    I was kind of feeling sad about our paltry just over a foot dump over the last 24 hours…does it bring us near your league if I mention oh, yeah–there was an EARTHQUAKE when the snow finally stopped falling? 😮


    You know I’ve been attached to the Bois des Isles for a long time; you saw me quaver through my first full price, FB purchase EVER…and it was a whopper…the jug of BdI. In the ChiCocoa monsoon. Hey, what is it with weather??? :-w

    Don’t you just love how the right scent can help ground you? Have huffed on my wrist many a time to get that effect…including behind the wheel, which sometimes has the most immediate beneficial effect for me AND the universe…love the moment you describe. (And for the bigger picture you allude to, not just the centering huff.) :)>- 😡

    • March says:

      I had totally forgotten that — you bought a jug of BdI from those harpies? And Musette let you live? 😉 I’m glad it happened, though, I’ve gotten a lot of mileage from that story.

      The right scent is very grounding. Right now I am wearing Fendi Asja EDT, which is my version of Xanax.

  • kathleen says:

    I have been a fan of BdI since the ’80’s. If there is a difference in the formulation, between then and now, and there probably is, I don’t notice it. There is a photo of me, in the Hotel Danieli, in Venice. Above me and behind me, is a very large, misty amorphous shape. Towards the top, you can make out the features of a face. No one has been able to explain what could have caused this shape to appear on the photo. The way I see it, along with, “richer, stronger, deeper, more sillage and longevity, plus it did your dishes and rubbed your feet, all while preventing cavities”, it had the power to attract ghosts (or wake the dead, you choose). Now that’s a perfume!

    • March says:

      Well THERE YOU HAVE IT. BdI and its Magical Powers, much like the Three-Wolf Moon tee shirt on Amazon with all its special abilities. 🙂

      I have several perfumes that would wake the dead. And not in a good way. I know you do too!

  • GalileosDaughter says:

    I have a tiny bit of the parfum. It’s circa 2005 or so, and I don’t know how it compares to vintage, but wow is it ever good.

    • GalileosDaughter says:

      Forgot to add–hope you are doing well in the snow and the power stays on. Thanks for the link to the Washington Post photos. The captions on some of the photos are very funny. I especially liked the caption of “Consumer confidence is back!” under the photo of a grocery store’s bare shelves.

    • March says:

      The parfum is very, very good. I might be content with the EdT — already discussing a split with someone offline… /:)

      There’s a great moment in the pics, only now I can’t find it. I was clicking through them: dog, dog, sledding, buried car, etc. And then there’s one of the Abominable Snowman lurking off to one side. I burst out laughing. I think it must be someone’s stuffed doll? And you’re right, the captions can be very funny.

  • Jared says:

    I just got a small bottle of Bel Respiro, and it reminds me very much of other Chanel fragrances, I think Coco Mademoiselle. Not a fan. I sit here wearing Coromandel, and they’re worlds apart. I suppose that’s what’s great about the Exclusifs line- there’s something in there for everyone. Oh, and my bottle of Sycomore came yesterday. Every spray I swoon.

    I have to remain in the ignorance is bliss camp. I got into this game only a few years ago, and my Mitsouko still smells amazing, even with “tree moss”, whatever that is. (And yeah, I bet the EdT is a joke.) I have the same question with Cuir de Russie, since that’s one I very much want to sample, but I hear the parfum is better. I have no idea where to get it, but if I can live with whatever’s in the Exclusifs line, alrighty.

    • March says:

      Sycomore, for vetiver fans, is all that and a bag of chips.

      Everyone says the extrait is “better” for CdR and BdI, right? I gave my sample of Cuir to someone (I think Louise) quite some time ago.

  • Melissa says:

    Hi March

    Thanks for your shout-out to the people who dug their cars out of the mountains of snow to take care of others. I understood that you were being flip-I just wanted to make sure that these folks got credit and didn’t wind up being lumped in with some of our more inconsiderate human specimens and being labeled “idiots”.

    Offended? Nope, too strong of a word. You make me think, you entertain me, you often touch me and you very frequently amuse me, but you never offend me.


    • March says:

      I’m almost sorry I dug the car out, looking at it now. And the path in front of our house is gone. The drifts are incredible — approaching the top of our porch.

  • Abyss says:

    Beige gets pushed a lot by the SAs in my experience. They suggest it regardless of whether you ask for something floral, non-floral, light, heavy, fresh, sweet, whatever. I’m not a fan and while I wouldn’t mind it as part of Chanel’s mainstream offerings, I think that it has no place among the Les Exclusifs alongside the likes of Cuir De Russie, Bois des Iles, 31 Rue Cambon, etc.

    I’ve never had the pleasure of smelling the older versions of BdI. I think that the LE edt is beautiful, I just find it very fleeting. It simply doesn’t last even when sprayed on fabric which is my main gripe with it.

    • March says:

      I wonder whether there’s some bottle-by-bottle variant on the new? I thought it lasted when I tried it in Chicago. Then in NYC, it didn’t. YEsterday — really, I only did two normal sprays, just wanting to smell it. It’s now been 24 hours and there’s no sillage, but it’s still quite clearly there on my skin, and the sandalwood was quite pronounced (in a good way.)

      Well, Beige would be the safe choice, right? That generic sweet/musk/floral or whatever it is?

    • mals86 says:

      That’s my beef entire with the LE BdI – it doesn’t last. I can spray myself soaking wet with it, three sprays on each wrist and two on the neck, and it’s still gone two and a half to three hours later. It’s beautiful while it lasts; I guess I should kwitmabitchin. It’s just that the edt sample I got last winter from TPC was so much… MORE.

      • Shelley says:

        There must be a skin thing going on, right? Maybe compounded by cycles/etc.? Because my big bottle of current iteration lasts all day almost every time. 😕

        • Musette says:

          I dunnot about BdI but that 22 lasts a goodly while. I’mo wear it to the Lions Club meeting tonight. I was going to wear Mitsouko edp (hey, I don’t get out much) but that really does tend to scare people.

          I am NOT going to wear Cartier Brilliante. [-(

          xo >-)

          • March says:

            Man, 22 lasts like a week. And I need to sniff my decant of Brilliante, since clearly for you it is All That.

          • Musette says:

            22 is a Lifer, innit? not as bad as AmTributeAtt which (are you ready for this?) was on the sleeve of my robe from when I wore it 2 nights before (I shower in the morning and at night because it calms me down so the day perfume gets washed off and so on)…I got out of the shower, put on my robe and the blasted thing transferred back to my wrist and became the SOTD because -lemme tell you – that stuff, once it’s on? it’s ON!

            Luckily it is a lovely scent. Strong. But lovely.

            So 22 is a piker compared to ATA but left to its own devices,
            it’ll be there 24 hrs later.

            Brilliante? I have NO idea what happened there. I was minding my own business and it slapped me upside the head, then threw me into olfactory handcuffs! Been there ever since, 12 ml later. Time for a FB I think. And no, I WILL NOT be taking you down Drama Nuui Lane, I promise!

            xoxoxo >-)

        • March says:

          Clearly a skin chem thing? I mean, as you know, I am actually shocked when things don’t last on me, that’s almost never a complaint of mine. I can still smell my BdI and it’s been 36 hrs. No, I didn’t shower. :”>

      • Abyss says:

        Yup, I feel like I’m always whinging about BdI doing a disappearing act on me after a couple of hours. I don’t think it’s a skin thing ’cause it does the same on fabric but, maybe, it’s some sort of anosmia to something in the base. So, perhaps, more of head/nose thing.

        Either way, I’m forgetting about it until I can make it to a proper Chanel boutique and see if I can get a good sniff of extrait.

        • Shelley says:

          Ah, good point, that. Sniffers can come into play, too. (And when it comes to heads, well…my brain provides it’s own peculiar warpings at times. Onto many inputs. /:) 8-| )

          Happy to tag along anywhere you find extrait… :d

        • March says:

          The extrait is richer and creamier on me — not as sparkling? But certainly it lasts longer. I have a sad feeling you can only get it in Paris now, but I might be wrong.

  • Louise says:

    Wait…Saks has the Exclusifs?…daarn, can’t dig the car out today…:((

    I’m definitely in the camp of “older BdI=much better”, but will retry the new to be fair. I recall it to be thinner, without the “good” sandalwood, but as sometimes needed with reformulations, it may be very nice on its own merits.

    Have fun on round two of Snowpocalpse 8-|

    • March says:

      Hah! So I wasn’t the only one surprised! They’re in the Chanel section, on an endcap facing their regular perfumes. I did a double-take and said, helloooo sailor! Also — they have these small bottles (I swear) that are testers — 100ml? Are they always like that? I want one of those!

      It probably is the bad sandalwood. It’s probably the thin, wan, anemic crap sandalwood. And I can still smell it on my wrist, 24 hrs later, two thin sprays.

      • Louise says:

        No, I don’t think the sandalwood is “bad”-I seem just to be an old fart about sandalwoods…the Mysore, which is unavailable now (overfarmed) just smells much better to me (most sandalwood notes now are either Aussie, synthetic, or a mix thereof, I think). But I need to accepts the Mysore’s demise…and get with trying the modern BdI version…:x

  • Silviafunkly says:

    I have been lemming BdI in parfum for years and with a Paris perfume trip booked for April, I am literally counting the days, it would be worth going just for that.

    Beige never did it for me, but agree the collection is an overall winner, never mind the industrial sized bottles and the lack longevity of some scents. And their packaging is just the best.

    • March says:

      They had smaller bottles as testers, I want one of those.

      A trip to Paris AND BdI parfum. That sounds like a perfect trip. HAve some macarons for me. :d

  • Jarvis says:

    I’m ready to douse myself in Bois des ÃŽles today as the snow comes to Boston. Although, if I’d crawl naked through the snow storm to get some Bois Noir, now that Fiordiligi has reminded me of it.

    • March says:

      I hope you don’t get clocked too badly. Yes, put on some BdI, I know you have the extrait! I think it would be perfect for warding off storms.

  • Six' says:

    Did my homework on the Exclusifs in Brussels.
    Best-sellers of the line, bar none, are N°22 and… you guessed it, Beige.
    The mind, it boggles.

    • March says:

      No. 22 I can sort of see, as it had a lot of fans before, and I think you can only get it now this way, unless you manage to care up an older bottle.

      Beige is just a generic entry scent for, I’d suppose, women who want to wear Chanel but don’t like any of their traditional perfumes.

      • Six' says:

        Oh, ditto on the No.22 (I love it!)
        (the Chanel reps are uttering nonsense left, right and center about the extraits (“there are no extraits for Les Exclusifs, madame!”) but they are indeed available rue Cambon for No.22, Bois des Iles, Cuir de Russie and Gardénia, last I looked.)

        It’s just that Beige thing…. “entry into Chanel”? I though Coco mademoiselle and Chance were already just that? 😉
        Or maybe it’s the entry Chanel for the leet crowd 😉

        (I think it smells of shampoo, Polge-Sheldrake dream-team notwithstanding ):”>

        • March says:

          I swear not too long ago, Chanel was handling the distribution differently, and it was relatively easy to get the extrait — you didn’t have to go to Paris for it. But the distribution patterns of perfumers have never made any sense to me.

          Coco Mad … okay, I will admit that, sprayed on TOP of regular Coco, every now and again I like. Allure is disgusting. I do think Beige is for the elites (at that price point for sure.)

  • Fiordiligi says:

    March, I have no idea how people could have been offended by your post on Monday. Like everyone here, I was touched by the huge efforts made by you and le Fromage to help others.

    Bois des Iles – absolutely gorgeous. I’m a Guerlain girl through and through but this has long been my fave Chanel, followed by No 22. I have Ye Ould Stuff but I too think the current version is rather fine. I also adored Bois Noir which transmogrified into Egoiste and they both seem to me to be close relatives of BdI.

    Beige is very – beige, and dull, and I think Chanel could and should have done better. It is like a pair of beige slingbacks – dull but unlikely to offend and will go with everything. And what an uninspiring name!

    • March says:

      I think, for Beige, it would have been fun to do something sharp and interesting, like a surprise with that name. But in fact they probably did exactly what they meant to: as you said, dull but unlikely to offend. And I think it’s easy to wear if you like generic on-trend sweet musky warm florals, or whatever it is.

      Egoiste I have a decant of, and what a riot! I never smelled Bois Noir, although I think LT (?) says they’re relatively close.

  • Joe says:

    Aw, I miss the snow back in the motherland (NJ), though I got to “enjoy” some back in December. I sure am sorry that it’s making lots of your lives miserable there. However, if I were your kids and school was cancelled all week, I’d be doing major happy dances!

    So yes… Les Exclusifs. Last week I received a decant of 28 La Pausa and — being an iris fiend — swooned at first sniff. Yeah it’s fleeting, but I’m happy to reapply just to get that beautiful opening over and over.

    As for BdI: I’ve got do dig my sample out of the Chanel baggie tomorrow during the pre-work frenzy. You guys on the blogs are killing me with all the talk about it lately. I remember being verrrrrrry unimpressed the couple times I’ve smelled it, but maybe tomorrow I’ll give it a proper wear and the planets will converge and finally make me a convert. (For what it’s worth, I always say my favorite straight-up sandalwood is L. Villoresi Sandalo. Worth sampling.)

    • March says:

      La Pausa is pretty darn amazing. I am not an especial iris fan, and I love that one. I love how it’s dry and rooty but not bitter.

      As I said upstairs: I tried BdI a long time ago and thought: pretty! Now having more things mentally to compare it to, I think it’s timelessly lovely. It’s this perfect balance of raspy, sweet and turpentine-ish. If you’re lucky you get that gingerbread. It’s not a powerhouse or a statement on a note (like tuberose, or even sandalwood, really.) It’s very smooth. Considered on those terms, it’s a keeper. I haven’t forgotten about Sandalo, I have my little list!

  • hongkongmom says:

    i too was focusing on the good efforts the cheeses were making…and thats how life should be…focus always on the positive
    i don’t know any different, but i love love love my le bois de isles!!!thanks for your review=:)

    • March says:

      See? Now you’re making me want it.

      Wait!!!! We were all supposed to go enable someone for a purchase!!! I have to go find that comment!

      • ScentRed says:

        Was it me?I have been sitting here on the fence about an Escale a Portofino purchase since the Snowpocalypse post, just waiting for a teeny, tiny nudge. No enablers have come to my rescue 🙁 Must be shovelling.

        I have a big vat of BdI and love it. You deserve it March. And it’s so warming it might actually help you save on heating bills and do something good for the environment 😉

        • March says:

          That was you!!! I went back and enabled, sorry for the delay! And yes, I think people are distracted by the weather.

          So I can’t remember, you have the new vat from Les Exclusifs? Enable me. It’s good stuff, yes?

          • ScentRed says:

            Yes, I have the glorious 200 ml size from the Les Exclusifs line. Hubby bought it for my birthday at the Chanel boutique in Toronto. I have not smelled the earlier formulations, so I can’t compare, but this is wonderful. I wore it Exclusif-ly for several weeks after getting it. It seems perfect for almost any occasion and I find it very comforting. It’s the sandalwood that makes me swoon the most. Truth be told, I don’t 100% love the first 5 minutes, but it just gets better and better on me as it wears.

          • March says:

            The first five minutes are (rumored to be) very harsh on some people, kind of cleaning-fluid-like. Maybe it’s whatever they’re using for sandalwood, plus the aldehydes? I have no idea. It was nothing but love for me. 😡

  • Francesca says:

    Here I was foolishly thinking: north of, say, New Jersey, had somehow escaped Snowmageddon. Hasn’t really started here in NYC yet–just had an icy mist as I came home from a birthday dinner with two handsome men, neither of whom is my husband, one of whom is an operatic tenor….but the schools chancellor has pre-emptively closed the NYC schools tomorrow, which I can NEVER remember happening; when I was a kid they didn’t close the schools til there was 4 feet of snow on the sidewalk.

    I’ve been kind of sadly avoiding BdI because I thought its glory days were over, even if all the notes sounded like they had my name tattooed on their little hearts. Glad to hear it is still worth investigating, and I have some birthday money to do the investigating with!

    And Beige? I’m sorry, but I think I’m the only person in the world who Does Not Like.

    • Silviafunkly says:

      Make it two (on Beige)

    • Kim says:


    • March says:

      Four! Re-stating: I’m kind of horrified by how generic it is, how pandering to current tastes. It’s like the Les Exclusif for folks who don’t really like Chanel perfume but want something to go with their bags.

    • GalileosDaughter says:

      Four. I got a strange musty smell from it.

      • Musette says:

        well, this is just weird. I yarked on Beige (loved it for about 2.3 minutes) but I guess El Posse didn’t like what I had to say!:((

        that’s okay – I said it again!

        hope you all continue to keep your wits about you in Snowmageddon! As Mistress Shelley said, we only got 6-8 inches, depending upon where you sit in IL but we did have an earthquake. Faultline or not, that’s just WRONG.

        xo >-)

        • March says:

          Did it disappear? You’re probably in our spam filter, you smutmuffin.

          Did you feel the Tremors? I’ve been in a tornado but never an earthquake.

          • Musette says:

            No tremors here – we’re WAY south. It ran north, apparently up to Madison WI. I kept thinking of the little shakes I’ve gone through in LA over the years, where you dash outside in your pjs (notice how earthquakes rarely happen at, say, 2pm? whyzzat?) – I kept wondering how folks in Dekalb ( poss epicenter). Feb in IL is not PJ weather, y’know?

            xoxo >-)

    • mals86 says:

      Dinner with an operatic tenor… you wouldn’t want to, you know, trade that for dinner with three picky children (“But MOooooom, you KNOW I don’t like roast beef!”) and a sports-obsessed husband (“The game’s on in twenty minutes, feed me fast!”)? No?

      • March says:

        Heh heh. I am soooooo grateful we have groceries, so I’m not feeding them corn and Cheerios for dinner, which was the way things were headed.

  • Angela says:

    It’s time to get yourself a big ole bottle of Bois des Iles! What, with everything you’ve been through the last couple of days, you have it coming. Storm shmorm. With enough gingery sandalwood, you’ll be snug and delicious.

    Stay warm!

  • tmp00 says:

    Were there people that were upset? Really? I didn’t even notice- I was reading about The Cheese and focusing on what a great guy he was to be bringing generators to the wheelchair bound. And that’s from someone who would go dig out his car (and did for years) because I got such a sense of accomplishment from it. That and three feet of snow might collapse the convertible top.

    BTW if you want some fun blizzard reading, Thom Racina wrote a book called “Deep Freeze” about the effects of a freak snow/ice storm hitting LA. Major shadenfreude fun! :d

    • March says:

      Um, yeah. And I’m big enough to apologize. I hate those “I’m sorry if you were offended” non-apologies.

      If I ever get out of here, and if the library ever reopens, I’d love to read about LA getting clocked by a blizzard! Think of all those small, awful dogs, buried in the snow outside Barneys!

      • tmp00 says:

        I’m all for actual apologies. Those “if you were insulted” just tosses the responsibility to the person one insulted.

        The yappy dog phenom came after this was published. There’s no Paris-as-popsicle moment. Maybe for the sequel?

        • March says:

          What were those great old LA disaster movies? Towering Inferno — was that LA? And Earthquake!!!

        • Musette says:

          hey, doll! I just requested that book from my li-berry, will let you know if I got all shivery!

          Poor LA. We like to beat the tar out of it (heh. see what I did there with ‘tar’. I do amuse myself so 8-|

          xo >-)

  • Arwen says:

    March, that is an inspiring post. I will try BdI again. I have smelled the perfume and it is so beautiful, but I have been scared of trying the LE EdT version. I am glad your house did not get damaged by the tree. We had some folks at work traveling to DC and then to Cleveland between Sunday and yesterday, poor things, they finally made it home to So. Cal. after their flight got canceled.

    • March says:

      Gah — we already have 7 new inches and it’s blowing like stink, I am praying we don’t lose power this time. It’s pretty much whiteout conditions out there right now.

      I posted on BdI not that long ago (re the sandalwood.) The vintage EdTs don’t necessarily hold up beautifully. The parfum is of course a whole different thing, but the EdT I am not giving proper credit to.

  • Tiara says:

    The old saying “ignorance is bliss” certainly applies to me when it comes to the old formulations. Too new to the perfume world to have experienced them the first time around. Feel like I’m missing out on something special with never having tried any version of BDI. MUST add that to my list.

    Really feel for those living in your area. Lots of snow from punch #1, and now #2 on its way. Stay warm, stay safe!

    • March says:

      You know, we could all sit around crying in our beer about what was lost, and I’m as guilty as the next person. But if my choice is modern Diorissimo, which makes vintage fans weep with sadness, or 98% of what’s on the shelf at Sephora … crummy new Diorissimo is a more moving scent.

      The first time I smelled BdI was VERY early on in my sniffage and I thought: nice! I am no expert now, but have sniffed way, way more stuff. I now have some sort of context to put it in. To me, it’s timelessly beautiful — it’s hard to explain. It’s this perfect balance of raspy, turpenic and sweet.

  • Billy D says:

    That’s what I like about the LE–they’re actually fun to revisit from time to time.

    I’m still an EDC, Bel Respiro guy, but you’re right about the sandalwood in BDI. It’s one of the best out there. And I completely agree about the hemming and hawing about reformulations. What’s out now is pretty damn good, and comparing it to a lost ideal is just torturous.

    • March says:

      There are some things I’ve smelled … the femme-fatale scents come to mind. Big ol’ oakmossy things, and the old bottles had civet and eye of newt and etc. Mitsouko EDT today is almost a joke compared to an old bottle. But BdI which has no doubt been reforumulated … I am no expert. But I’ll take it.

      The EDC is a best-of, and Bel Respiro, which is not my style, I take out 3 – 4 times a year and put on, and then it’s perfect.