Chloé Eau de Parfum was launched in 2008 as a successor, in name only, to the original Chloé from 1975, a tuberose-laden soliflore perfume with an immense if not for some an overbearing presence to outwit Fracas created under Karl Lagerfeld's tenure at Chloé. The new Chloé attaches itself symbolically to this heritage like a descendant bearing the same first name. But in the hands of perfumers Michel Almairac and Amandine Marie of Robertet it was turned into a completely different person except for the fact that this time too it is a floral perfume with a marked propensity to be a soliflore and that there is a little hint of Narcisse by Chloé (1992), another lesser known floral predecessor from the same brand...
Chloé in 2008 turns out to my surprise to be a beautiful even touching rose composition. It reveals an unexpected measure of originality, quiet charm and even a nostalgic and poetic atmosphere. But this is where I feel the need to draw a distinction between the beauty of the rose + litchi + peony + cedar accord that unfolds here, which is aesthetically compelling, and the whole texture of the composition itself which suffers a bit from the parcimonious attribution of riches. In other words, it feels like looking at a beautiful, sincerely drawn and painted aquarelle but realizing at the same time that some parts of it are not completely finished to full effect due to, say, the drought and lack of water.
But going back to the special rose motif one finds in Chloé, I have to say that I did not expect the perfume to be anything but average. It turns out however to be a genuine attempt at offering a serious rose perfume interpretation. Michel Almairac has said in the past that his view of perfumery is very much steeped in the Grassois tradition which is less abstract and very much likes to reference the beauty of the natural world.To him, it is something intuitive and self-evident to think of doing, say, a beautiful jasmine.
So in Chloé the rose has been chiseled out and fleshed out. The perfume opens on a fruity-floral accord that is not easy to place at first but which signals its interest immediately. The nose is intrigued, captivated and wants to smell more in order to understand the unusual sensation. It seems that there is a jammy rose-lychee accord where the transparent rose petals have turned sepia at the edges as they can be sometimes seen floating in jars of rose jelly. The rose and lychee pairing is treated with more olfactory depth than is usual to encounter, with a nuance of over-ripeness. A powdery and woodsy cedary counterpoint plays up an unusual contrast with this rosy-lychee facet. A musky, heady facet is present but subtle. After a while a beautiful soliflore rose slowly emerges from the composition feeling like the filming in accelerated motion of a real rose unfurling its petals to the point where one almost could hear the silken rustling sound it makes. To me, it feels very much like a rose in a raw state brimming with life and releasing a deep, full-bodied scent both fresh and heady. I cannot help but think that this is one of the most satisfying rose scents I have ever smelled.
The rose interpretation offers a slight air of nostalgia. It smells a bit like a popular old-fashioned face cream found in Asia whose aspect is snow white and pearlescent (I can't remember the name right now). It reminds me also in spirit of another perfume by Almairac called Fleurs d'Ombre Bleue by Jean-Charles Brosseau which also contains that brand of feminine nostalgia and very light touch of melancholic charm as if looking at a bouquet in a vase in a colorized silver gelatin photograph.
The drydown however is less artistic, more prosaic and clichéd. It does not sing enough, petering out most probably for lack of financial commitment. The poetic rose ends its act with the not-so-supportive scents of white musks imported from the laundry context and standard commercial amber note. There is a bit of vanilla. It all thins out too soon. The illusion of a beautiful rose is vividly there but the overall physical treatment in terms of the quality of the ingredients could have been better as the synthetic aspect can be felt. This is probably a good reason to try the pure parfum version called Chloé Lisy. The Eau de Toilette version is different with melon and mandarin top notes. Nevertheless, Chloé remains a scent to be tried and enjoyed by rose lovers and rose skeptics alike for the sheer intriguing pleasure of discovering the special and compelling rose motif it contains.
Notes are: freesia, lytchee, peony, muguet, magnolia, rose, powdery notes, cedar wood, musks, amber.