Eau de Cologne by Chanel

On Olfactics, the Eau de Cologne needs no introduction. I am tantalised by its ephemerality. I am left chasing and chasing – applying minutes apart for lively refreshment and cooling.

One questions why you’d persist with such a short-lived wonder, and it certainly took time for me to develop an answer. At the very core of a cologne, when attempting to understand its brilliance, it became immediately apparent to me that I wear such zingy, acerbic waters for an effect more than its smell.

A necessary condition for a good cologne is for it to delineate and incite pep. A vivacious work that engages and performs. There too is beauty in balance, and even such a highly pitched fragrance requires echoes of softness and variations in texture. Citrus is sharp; pointing with a delightfully bracing quality. Alone, that gives us one dimension. Take plushness, take a surprising richness in both smell and texture, and receive a new dimension. These facets, akin to whisky, to wine, and to artwork, translate smell into perfume. Smell is singular. Perfume is intriguing. Delightfully multidimensional.

It seems counterintuitive to talk about dimension when it comes to usually singular cologne, but the Chanel Eau has variance. Wonderful layers of colour and assorted densities. This is a luxury product – not by virtue of the fact that it comes from a venerable house, but as a result of distinction: careful, classical elegance in sublime attunement. There is citrus, for instance, characteristically pushing but unusually soft, not sharp. There is balance: a balance splendidly well done that it begins to detail new facets and dimensions; both illusionary and ingenious.

Eau de Cologne by Chanel B/W © 2014 Liam Sardea

© 2016 Liam Sardea


Expect uplift immediately with a delicate edge. Do not expect an intensity like the firm, persistent bubbles of Champagne – but a soft bubbling that tangs and twirls around.

The opening is lead only just by lemon, with an otherwise imperceptibly fused mixture of tantalising hesperdics: bergamot, orange, and lime are a given. Yet, whilst the notes are a given, their effect is not. Instead of sharpness we get something just beyond bluntness. A tart, pastel hue that has a feeling of softness – surprising texture in what should be so expectedly familiar.

With the citrus note’s characteristic acidity at the top, a wood-toned crunch from the use of petitgrain, and neroli’s floral bitter quality, balance is achieved. From citrus melded with bitter, an effect is achieved of soft elegance with perpetual refreshment. A herbal, delightfully green (in a naturalistic manner) leafy charge adding tonic-like properties: instillations of glee, resplendency, liveliness … Near narcotic in its beauty. All a given.

With a high quality musk fixative, clean yet animalic, Chanel’s Eau de Cologne has delicious sensuality lying somewhere in-between steam iron clean and spicy with balsamic tinges. For a cologne to incite a unique sensuality with a paradoxical grace is truly remarkable. To further push this with perpetual freshness, and a buttery effect of wholesomeness on the wearer, whilst forever retaining the concurrency of its instant top-down structure is olfactory masterwork. A balance so fine it is akin to precision engineering. A balance done so well that all of its individual parts, in harmony, create effects that transcend the perfume wearing experience to one of intellect, reason, and across different sense organs.

Turn the Chanel Eau de Cologne on its head, and get a lightly spiced and balsamic fragrance invigorated with citruses melded imperceptibly with the softest white musk. From all angles, Chanel’s Eau de Cologne is impeccably constructed.

For the classicism of the eau de cologne genre to be respected and reiterated, modernised covertly, and then of course tease you when it disappears after it had lived on the skin for a short juncture (but just enough!) – naturally, this Eau de Cologne is worthy of the upmost praise.

Can’t do better. Non-singular cologne.

Subjective rating: 5/5

Objective rating: 5/5

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