Perfume Review: Les Exclusifs de Chanel - Coromandel
Whereas 31 Rue Cambon represented the duality, the balance and the conflict between the sober elegance of Chanel’s fashions and luxurious extravagance of her tastes and private surroundings, Coromandel breaks free from the chic confines of refinement and pays homage to the baroque. The scent was inspired by lacquered Coromandel screens, which Chanel adored and collected, and with which her private apartments on the Rue Cambon was said to be practically packed.
I am not quite sure what to make of Coromandel. On the one hand, it reminds me of a plethora of scents and I am tempted to proclaim it unoriginal and derivative. I have heard Coromandel being compared to Borneo 1834; however it completely lacks the camphorous aspect, which for me is a very important part of Borneo, something that actually constitutes its identity. The beginning of Coromandel is more comparable to a patchouli soliflore. Not just any pale, dry soliflore, but something deep and sumptuous, perhaps something like Il Profumo’s Patchouli Noir. The patchouli note here paints an image of luscious, black soil, the kind one is tempted to run through one’s fingers, sniffing the raw, strangely sweet smell. After the wondrously rich beginning, the note looses some of its oomph and becomes patchouli as rendered in so many Angel-inspired scents. At that point it especially reminds me of Prada. Luckily, the Prada stage does not last long either; in a little while an unexpectedly fruity accord creeps in, the same one that I smell in Black Orchid, honeyed, candied, overripe, dark, with an incense-like undertone. The scent becomes softer, fluffier, more vanillic. I believe I also smell some myrrh here. The base has a certain delicate, ambery spiciness which reminds me of the drydown in Fifi Chachnil, which, in turn reminds me of gentler Obsession, so in a way the base notes of Coromandel remind me of that fearsome Klein classic. And so you understand my problem: so many similarities, with so many scents, that can’t be good, right? And yet…
And yet, every time I wear Coromandel, I cannot stop sniffing myself compulsively. The sheer amount of changes it undergoes is enthralling. It is a kaleidoscope of a scent, it never stays the same. It also has a strangely delicious quality about it, it is almost edible in a way…The patchouli is beautifully rich; the vanillic-woody-incensey drydown is wonderfully comforting. It might not be the most original of the six Exclusifs, but it is extremely attractive, at times even striking. It is easy to love and I have a feeling it might become the best selling new Chanel. Do I need it? I know that I don’t need a 200ml vat of it, but perhaps, when my miniature is empty, I will spring for a decant or even split a bottle with somebody.
Coromandel is available in Chanel boutiques and Bergdorf Goodman, $175.00 for 200ml
The photo of Chanel apartment is from Hindu.com, the image of the bottle is from thestar.com.my.