Le Lion de CHANEL and 1957 by CHANEL

Hi Posse, The last two releases in the Les Excusif line by CHANEL have been polar opposites. It has been interesting to watch the ways the scentbloggosphere has reacted and reviewed them. That they ONLY releases Le Lion de CHANEL in the Middle East created its own waves of excitement and wonder. That it harked back to French perfumery of a century ago, when its iconic CHANEL No 5 turns 100 next year is also interesting. Especially so after 1957 is so obviously a product of the now.

Here’s a little look back to a lighthearted 2012 CHANEL post I did.

Le Lion de CHANEL and 1957 by CHANEL

Le Lion de CHANEL and 1957 by CHANEL

1957 by CHANEL

Parfumo gives these featured accords for 1957:
White musk, Bergamot, Iris, Neroli, Cedar, Powdery notes, Honey

A sheer yet hefty aldehydic topped fragrance over a lovely honeyed iris powder backed by clean musks. When I first smelled 1957 I thought it could easily have been something that tied in with their Gabrielle pillar fragrance. TBH I felt cheated and annoyed that something so bland was even in the CHANEL line. I’d offered to do a split for nearly half the bottle though so I bought it. As I was doing the split, with so much of it wafting around me and on my skin, suddenly it made sense. 1957 is incredibly more-ish. It has become quite a regular spritz for me and has even taken over rom BOY as my most worn Les Exclusif. It wears beautifully, is softly elegant, lasts for ages and fits every situation. Unisex but leaning femme.

Le Lion de CHANEL

Parfumo gives these featured accords for Le Lion de CHANEL:
Top: Lemon, Bergamot
Heart: Labdanum, Madagascan vanilla
Base: Sandalwood, Patchouli

Le Lion de CHANEL is a horse of a different colour. My mates dad owns department stores in Dubai and he has a chain of perfumeries here in Sydney and online (City Perfume). He was able to buy from his dad and ship to Australia (and the world from Dubai) so a group of 8 of Sydney perfumistas went to his store a week after release and smelled it together. We all got different rides! Different enough that we could all be wearing separate perfumes. It was freaky.

On some it read crunchy toffee, others got animal resins, there was smoky incense, creamy sandalwood, citrus gelato, caramel. For everyone the timings were different, the depth, warmth, heft and also interestingly, WE ALL LOVED IT! Not one person in the room was less than spellbound. My personal ride goes something like this. A swirl of pine lime gelato. Labdanum rich amber with a distinctly animalic bent. Creamy sandalwood tempered by a vanilla rich amber that has strong hints of the crackly toffee on the top of a creme brûlée. (excerpt from Portia and LE LION de CHANEL on Undina’s Looking Glass)

The longevity is extraordinary. If I shower in the morning, apply a good few spritzes and do nothing else I will still be able to smell Le Lion de CHANEL when I wake up next day. Much bigger than 1957 and very dramatic, I love it.

Which sounds more like you?
Portia xx


  • Kathleen says:

    I blind bought 1957 as soon as it was available in the US and I love it. Very elegant. I can hardly wait to wear Le Lion, your review makes me even more excited. I adore Coromandel, Bois des Iles, and Rue Cambon and the labdanum and amber you describe as well as the longevity makes me sure I’ll love it. I will blind buy Le Lion as well as soon as available in the US.

  • Neva says:

    I went through a decant of 1957 and it is among my top three Exclusives. I really like its sophisticated and classy smell. You got me hooked on “pine lime gelato” and “animalic bent” so I’m looking forward to trying Le Lion. When will it be available in Europe?

  • March says:

    Oh, I WANT to try Le Lion!!!!! And the other one too, I’d probably love it, lol. Gonna nag Patty to phone Dubai….

  • Musette says:

    Holy snakes and cabbages, Portia! That Le Lion sounds a LOT like me (even though I don’t tend towards the creme brulee/amber notes) – the 1957, maybe not so much??? That white musk is not a note I am fond of in Chanel – something about it always ends up cheming-up the composition for me…. I certainly wouldn’t pass up the opportunity to try it, though..
    ..now watch – I won’t be the least bit surprised if the reverse happens. Life is weird.


  • Dina C. says:

    Lion sounds like too much of a muchness for me. 🙂 I’ve sampled 1957, and its lightness is more me. But my favorite Les Exclusifs are 31 Rue Cambon, 28 La Pausa, Sycomore, Bois des Iles, and several others. My favorite line.

    • Portia says:

      Hey DinaC,
      LLdC is only about the same heft as Bois des Iles but has MUCH better staying power.
      Sycamore is lovely. I recently bought a friends unwonted EdT and it’s thrillingly gorgeous.
      Portia xx

  • Erica says:

    I picked up a bottle and I have to say – it leans very masculine on me, but I love it and will wear it. Very smoky/animalic on my skin. Had to have it as I’m a Leo! Love 1957 too – different scents for different occasions and moods.

  • cookie queen says:

    Both. Love them equally. The honey in 1957. The incense in Le Lion. ??

    • Portia says:

      Heya Val,
      Yes, I love them both too. Completely different genres.
      I wish incense was more prominent in my LLdC wears but am very happy with hefty amounts of labdanum and amberishness.
      Portia xx