Coromandel by Chanel

A moreish gourmand. Welcome to olfactic cloud nine.

image© 2014 Liam Sardea


The precious Coromandel screens are intimately linked to the world of Gabrielle Chanel. This exceptional and meticulous art from China perfectly illustrated Mademoiselle’s approach to work: infinite patience and a spirit of perfection. Gabrielle Chanel took refuge amidst the ornamental magnificence of her screens.
A rich composition with Frankincense, Benzoin and Patchouli, Coromandel is the olfactory evocation of the warm and baroque world of the East. Intense and spicy, its amber top notes develop softly, gracefully and sensually.

Away from the usual tobacco and oud notes I adore, Coromandel is the antithesis. Creamy, rich and sumptuous in smell, this fragrance embodies the house of Chanel perfectly. Like the smell of a new jacket or delicate fabric, you can imagine the smell of Chanel garments emanate the buttery, quasi-gourmand delight of Coromandel (Les Exclusif). I say this is the smell of ‘new clothes’ because my trips to Tom Ford or Prada inevitably lead to the inspection of top-notch garments in the most pristine of conditions with the ‘cleanest’ and ‘classiest’ of all smells; This is it, in creamy superlative form.

An artful oriental with an opening of dirty patchouli, and the resinous cloy of sandalwood, benzoin/balsam, incense and frankincense, it is trailed with a bouquet of vanillin scents, including velvety iris, vanilla bean and delicate rose.

The opening is without a doubt, old world (maybe even old lady) with the potent stickiness that reminds me of the smell of old books and wood. The sticky bitterness and the heaviness of patchouli fades quickly from a rough soil note to something dreamy and buttery (cheesecake-esque).

Coromandel is made moreish (smell your arm good) with the creamy note of white chocolate which isn’t as heady as a dark chocolate note, but innocent and optimistic in its milky, cocoa butter composition; speckled with vanillin notes. Rose serves the important note to develop the accord into something three dimensional, formulating interest and contrast. Bitter orange/neroli, jasmine and a ‘root’ note are transparent in the mix, however still serve to create interest through bitterness with every whiff.

Unlike many feminine, flower/rose based fragrances coromandel only becomes slightly powdery in the dry down. The chocolate and bouquet notes only become amplified whilst the incense dies down forming the warming heart of the fragrance. The incense note lies at the back of the nose, whilst the other notes are upfront and proud. This is backed up with more detectible tinges of amber and musk in the accord. Woody notes give body and ‘weight’

The sweet non-offensive vanilla note is awe-inspiring. A wonderful vanilla aroma radiates without it becoming too sickly or candy like. Hence, in conjunction with amber and patchouli, the fragrance is very warming and very comforting.

This fragrance is in my opinion, unisex, however verges very close to feminine. I can imagine the scent would smell very different on a man than a woman, and vice-versa. The olibanum x vanilla notes in the fragrance would project different on either sex and hence skin chemistry should be taken into account. A must try before you buy.

An absolute masterpiece, it exudes finesse in its creation, veneration in its conception (through lovely storytelling) and when applied conveys appreciation for all things lavish. Nevertheless, some people will not like this fragrance to wear, but anyone will enjoy the accord from opening to drydown. This is the true “Chanel No. 5”, this is the immaculate masterpiece of the house and better yet made unisex enough for all to wear, as long as you’re wearing at least one designer/haute article of clothing with it!

For an EdT this has a very impressive longevity, with a couple of sprays adequate enough to last the day. Sillage is a little better than moderate and in no way offensive or ‘too much’.

Alternatives: (Masculine) Tom Ford Tobacco Vanille; or Hermès Ambre Narguile; or Hermès Vanille Galante; or Tom Ford Black Orchid.

Wear it to bed, wear it when you don’t want to wear fragrance, wear it when you meet your icon. It’s divinely classy.

“I need a full bottle”.

Out of this world.

Subjective rating : 5/5

Objective rating: 4/5

5 thoughts on “Coromandel by Chanel

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