The seasoned, well-considered reviewer in my mind will often find themselves torn against multiple perspectives when analysing a scent. This is an old and often repeated theme found on this blog, as the subjective/objective perspectives are merged together to the best of my critical abilities. Despite attempts for the objective to outweigh the subjective, that isn’t always easy. Wearing, smelling, and testing Cristalle’s Eau Verte flanker reveals two concurrent mindsets I have as a reviewer.
The negative mindset highlights my general aversion for flanker products. Firstly, I do not think that they are unnecessary, but they seldom improve a feature they so intend to put in focus. Flankers which focus on a new theme (a change in concentration, ‘night’ labelings, and etcetera) are generally better off than whole thematic shifts. Eau Verte, if applied to the original Cristalle would be a tautology. Cristalle is already green, and so why would it need the addition of green? But reason prevails – it would be absurd to suggest green or amber or fraiche are singular concepts. They’re a complex web at the helm of the perfumer to lead in a certain direction within the concept. In essence that’s what makes perfume enjoyable: a perfumer imposing their vision onto a broad concept.
And so I am to accept that the flanker Eau Verte is perfectly reasonable. The issue is that the finished product and overall concept find themselves at a mismatch. Cristalle Eau Sucree would be infinitely ampler, and if that were the case (same scent, different name), I’d be more than willing to offer the scent an approbative mark. I do think that name is important in scent, for it becomes tantamount to its reputation and its label. I find this to be a subjective quality. Importantly, where is the green in Eau Verte? Gone is the sticky, crunchy intensity of galbanum and oakmoss in favour of a petal-soft green moving into white that is leafy, dewy, and herbal without much of a textural crunch.
If I were to proceed in judging Cristalle Eau Verte in reference to the quality of labeling alone, which is how I drafted this review earlier, it would proceed as follows:
I have a [simple] problem with recent itinerations of Chanel works. In what seems to be an appeal to a younger audience, the original scented structures are reduced and then dipped into some sort of sugar water. No. 19 Eau Poudre shares this quality. It’s a touch more mature than ethyl maltol, but it bares a similar effect onto the composition.
Adding sugar water I feel is not done for the sake of the structure itself, but rather as an effortless appeal where beauty becomes secondary. Adding sugar water does nothing for the scent, it doesn’t mould nor fit, but it sits as a contiguous entity contributing nothing to the scent, meaninglessly bolstering it.
Photo by Chanel
Stripping the fragrance away to its rawest feature of just its scent alone doesn’t excuse it from my earlier criticism, but it produces a new perspective. Magnolia is inserted into this scent, while the aldehydic chypre components are removed and the rest is reduced. Effervescence is focal – it is youthful, not at all trashy (it is a Chanel after all), and it happens to produce an interesting effect when the eau sucree is considered.
Magnolia adds a clean, sunny optimism, like a floral-gone-citrus lifted with a contrasting echo of bergamot and honied neroli. There’s a striking ping of jasmine too, which in my mind could add a bit more of an indolic pep to the sweetness. Overall, Eau Verte is brighter in nature with a soft fruit cocktail at the back, and while the sugar dampens the intensity of green, Eau Verte becomes crystalline, reminding me of intricate and sumptuous desserts encased in a cage of golden set sugar – contiguous from every edge.
I find the nutritionally sparse eau sucree is painted on too thickly in Eau Verte, becoming denser with a white musk note. Despite its added radiance, it all becomes a bit heavy and sticky. As a result, it is harder to hear the beautiful floral symphony playing in the background, severer and so wonderfully prominent in the original. It is a pleasant scent with great ingredients, but that’s never enough.
More on Flankers: Here
Subjective rating: 2/5
Objective rating: 3/5