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Friday, June 29, 2007

Needle in a Haystack. Perfume Review: Une Fleur de Chanel

My random sample pick for today is Une Fleur de Chanel. Inspired by Chanel's legendary love for camellias, Une Fleur was released as a limited edition in 1998-1999, then re-released again and finally disappeared for good. This is one discontinuation that I don't particularly regret. Although pretty and very wearable, Une Fleur de Chanel seems to me to be rather indistinct, lacking in character. I feel that the House could have done a much better job of honoring Mademoiselle's favorite flower.

My main grievance with the scent is its pale, watery drydown. I appreciate the idea of a cool, fresh, somewhat understated, airy and white fragrance that the creators seemed to have in mind. I love fragrances like that, especially in summer. They are my White Dress Scents. I think that elegant understatement and freshness are two of the hardest qualities to achieve in perfume. Make the scent too subtle, and it becomes bland. Make it too breezy and clean, and it goes soapy or unpleasantly aquatic. The base of Une Fleur de Chanel is bland, aquatic and even a little sudsy. And yet the beginning of the perfume is so very promising. It starts with a cold, transparent floral accord that has slight, almost imperceptible fruitiness. The accord reminds me in a way of the magnolia beloved by Maurice Roucel. The sweetness intensifies, the flowers now have an almost incensey, ambery feel and a very appealing vaguely apricot-like undertone. At this stage Une Fleur de Chanel reminds me of Shiseido's Message From Orchids. I realize that jasmine and rose are declared in the official notes, and perhaps they are playing tricks with me, because what I smell in the top and middle notes of Une Fleur are magnolias and orchids, and I like that. At the heart stage, towards the end of it, I also smell a green floral accord, which is weaved out of a lighter, drier green of lily of the valley and the darker, more sharply and more sumptuously green of hyacinth. And it is at this point that things start to go wrong, the flowers pale away and the green accord slowly but surely transforms into a rather aquatic one. It is not an aggressive marine undertone, but it is very much there and it overwhelms the pretty flowers and makes the drydown of Une Fleur ...there is no other word for it...generic and dull.

That being said, I do enjoy the chilly floral elegance of Une Fleur de Chanel in the heat of summer. There are, however, other White Dress Scents that I prefer: Chanel's much more successful cool and effervescent Cristalle, Patou's youthful and refined Caline, Malle's somewehat less shy but still quite cold beauty, Lys Mediterranee, and L'Artisan's crisp Verte Violette. By the way, the latter two also have an aquatic quality, but it is rendered in such a way that it does not take over the composition instead helping to showcase the ethereal nature of the star accords.

Une Fleur de Chanel can still be found online, Perfume Emporium seems to have it in stock, $69.99 for 1.2oz.

Please visit Aromascope to read about Ina's "needle" of the week.


Blogger chayaruchama said...

I'm with you, Marinochka.
Big ole meh.
Definitely prefer the others.

11:18 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow, Cristalle. Now that's a blast from the past. I think I wore that in my 20s, back before I even knew what perfumes I liked or didn't. Perhaps I'll re-sniff it - it'd be interesting to see what memories it evoked, if any.

Oh! And Aedes *finally* got in Cuir Ottoman.

*happy dance*

11:42 PM EDT  
Blogger Unknown said...

I agree with you, Une Fleur de Chanel perfectly fits in the unremarkable Chanels category (perhaps the only one, really). It does the same thing on my skin - it turns all watery and sudsy, making me think of laundry detergent. What a shame!

1:06 AM EDT  
Blogger tmp00 said...

Well, thanks for saving me 70 bucks.

Hasn't Cristalle been reformulated? I loved it back in the day: one of my best friends wore it and I adored it on her. I hope I am crazy and it's the same scent.

Doesn't Chanel, like every other house that's been around for a century or so have scents that people like us are salivating over the reintroduction of? Oh right, don't use a built in audience/PR machine. Please, hire another D-list celeb/ future Promises-resident to shill for you.

1:22 AM EDT  
Blogger elle said...

I remember a time when this was raved about on MUA and I almost bought a bottle unsniffed. Very relieved I didn't - doesn't sound like something I'd like in the least.

7:37 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

And it could have been so much better! Oh well.

8:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

Are you getting Cuir Ottoman? Congratulations!

8:01 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

I think there are other unremarkables there, unfortunately :-) Allure Sensuelle, Chance, Chance's sequel, the name of which I forgot...

8:02 AM EDT  
Blogger rosarita said...

I've never run across Une Fleur, but I'll hop on the nostalgia bus for Cristalle. I wore this back in the day and just loved it, #19 too. Will have to revisit one of these days. Great review as always; your reviews are so good, even when it's a scent you don't esp. care for. That's an art!

8:03 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

They do have scents like that, and Polge once let it slip in an interview that it is his dream to reintroduce them...I am still waiting :-)

8:03 AM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bland and aquatic? Bleh. I will stick to more distinctive florals.

This heat is making me crave white florals again, and I recently purchased unsniffed Coty's Muguet des Bois. I hope I love it. You raved about it in the lotv week, so I have high hopes. :-)

8:04 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

I think it is safe to say you won't like this one either :-)

8:04 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

Thank you so much for your kind words! I hit my bottle of Cristalle hard in summer. And No 19 is a year-round favorite. And No 22...Signed, Chanel Fan :-)

8:05 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

Was it contemporary MdeB? I would love to hear how you like it!

8:06 AM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes, it is the new MdB. I hope it's as lovely as your experience with the vintage. I'll let you know once I get it.

8:44 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

Wonderful! If you give it thumbs up, I'll get it too :-)

8:51 AM EDT  
Blogger carmencanada said...

The name of the perfume says it all, doesn't it : "Une" is the indefinite article, on top of meaning "one". So "A Flower" spells a fairly generic juice. Being a recent Chanel convert I've never smelled it. Cristalle I remember as utterly lovely and it's hovering somewhere in the to-sniff seriously list...

9:15 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

Great point about "une". I haven't even thought of that. A wishy-washy name for a wishy-washy scent :-)

9:21 AM EDT  
Blogger NowSmellThis said...

Another we agree on: it is VERY watery-fresh and meh.

11:28 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

I love when we agree! Although when it happens too often, I worry that the Universe might collapse :-D

12:01 PM EDT  
Blogger lilybp said...

Huh--my comment seems to have disappeared! I guess I didn't post it correctly! No matter--it basically said, "meh."

12:06 PM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

Sorry about that! Yeah, meh just about sums it up.

12:08 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I bought this one before I discovered most of the rest of the Chanels. The department stores around here don't even stock no 19, so not much variety! I have to agree, its meh. I mist it in my hair, and then it seems to stick more to the nicer top notes.
As for your comment on Chance, I actually enjoy that one! I agree that it is not up to par with the other Chanels, but its a nice, fresh scent, imo.

1:35 PM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

Chance doesn't like me :-( But it must be wonderful on others, it is such a big bestseller.
I will try spraying Une Fleur on my hair, that's a great idea.

1:57 PM EDT  
Blogger Anna, Fair and True said...

Hi Marina!

The bubble girls have been wondering about you! We're all addicted to Facebook and think you should join too!

Hope all is well!

3:51 PM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

How is everything! I need to google the Facebook. I don't think I could afford to get addicted to a single other cyber place :-)

3:53 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


Getting? Bought, home, on my dresser! I almost never buy full bottles but this one is mine. It's even more lovely with a full spritz than dabbed on from samples *sigh* :)

Do you keep your full bottles in the fridge during the summer? Just curious ...

3:56 PM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

Oh, congratulations!!
No, I don't keep bottle sin the fridge. With Mr C being a huge AC fan(atic), it is cold in the house most of the time in summer :-)

3:58 PM EDT  
Blogger Anna, Fair and True said...

If you can't go the addict way, do at least send us an email with an update1 New pics of T. and the like!!

4:09 PM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

Will do!

4:11 PM EDT  
Blogger Anna, Fair and True said...

Nons, Babs, Jes, Anouk are all thinking of you and wanting news. Jes has been e-mailing (I'm chatting to her on MSN and she just told me that).

4:11 PM EDT  
Blogger JH said...

hi marina! how r u?

4:18 PM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

Girls! Emaling as we speak, with some pics.

4:26 PM EDT  

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