Perfume Review: Chanel Cristalle
Cristalle is a perfect white dress of a scent, light, breezy, elegantly simple. Like such dress, it is absolutely indispensable during the summer. Created by Henri Robert for Parfums Chanel in 1974, the chypre/fresh scent, with its mouthwateringly tangy, sparkling, indeed crystalline top notes, its sweetly-floral heart and it's sophisticated, mossy and earthy base has deservedly become a modern classic. Lacking the sumptuous aldehydes of the old Chanels, less sharply-green and austere than its contemporary, No. 19, less rich and glammed up than the beautifully expansive creation of the 1980s, Coco, Cristalle is perhaps the most approachable, versatile and easy-to-wear Chanel fragrance.
Chanel scents generally "love" me, and Cristalle, along with No. 22, is the Chanel scent that loves me the most. It is always perfect, it never has off days, when strange notes suddenly appear out of nowhere, irritating and bothering me. The citrusy-green top notes have a tonic effect on me, I adore their refreshing sharpness, which is akin to a playful splash of ice-cold water on the face on a searing-hot day. But it is the heart where the real magic happens; the sweet greenness of hyacinth, the indolic whiteness of jasmine, a hint of dewy melon and a dash of cumin combine into a complex, sensual but still miraculously light, luminous harmony. The beautiful chypre base conceals a subtle trace of soft patchouli, which underscores the dry earthiness of moss and plays off the warmly piquant cumin. Like a perfect white dress, Cristalle is deceptively simple, its flawless structure and sublime proportions making it invariably easy going and forever fascinating.
Cristalle Eau de Toilette (which is my preferred formulation of this scent and the one described here) is available on Chanel.com, $62.00 for 2oz.
Images are by Sam Shaw.