If you think that perfumes can express social ideologies and roles, then Bleu de Chanel eau de parfum, the new, more intense version of the 2010 original eau de toilette re-affirms a typical conservative ideology, which does not mean necessarily a completely conformist one. Within this worldview, you can be your own person except you would normally hate to show it too outwardly. You would not feel the urge to prove any point about who you are...
Bleu de Chanel EDP strikes you as epitomizing everything that you would expect to smell in a masculine cologne to reprise that American term which contains both a lot of disdain for perfume-wearing men and a takeover of the field by machism-victims who need a separate vocabulary for guys only.
Bleu edp wafts of masculinity to the point of appearing stereotypical, a bit in the style of Christopher Reeve in Superman who seemed to be made of rubber rather than human flesh, even when acting in his more pedestrian role of Clark Kent, the man with the mix of competent / incompetent sartorial clues including his rigid suit, oversized round/square glasses and brillantined hair-do.
Fortunately, this scent in particular has not forgotten to smell human if a bit overflowing with virile virtues translated into perfume. It may be a bit too self-assured in tone but it also smells authentically sexy. Or better said, it can smell sexy on the right person. The perfumers had indicated for the original that sexiness was a central preoccupation of theirs and the edp version is more immediately frank about this quality, at least this was my very first impression of the new release, having forgotten about the sexed up intent.
The difference between the eau de toilette and the eau de parfum I think is that the latter is more stuck with its XY chromosomes. The older eau de toilette appears more versatile, with a larger spectrum unisex appeal.
The main idea of Bleu de Chanel eau de parfum can be desribed as evoking clean, warm and sensual skin thanks to an amped-up, sueded iris and velvety tonka bean. The dry-hot cedar-y accord heats up the perfume and skews it masculine. The plum, unfortunately even it it was a Chanel idea too, makes you think too much of Hugo Boss today. Sandalwood from the Chanel preserve in New-Caledonia allows them to reproduce the elegant signature of the house. The drydown has even a nuance of baby powder and nursery room which is a bit unexpected but why not, it's comforting at least. Again, this would come from the sandalwood maternal-milk facet.
You completely forget about what kind of clothes the person might be wearing when you discover the primal personality of the scent as it immediately conjures up body warmth and natural masculine muskiness dabbed on with a hint of "cologne".
Yes, it may be a bit too obvious, but this perfume wishes to please while making sure that a certain image of masculinity and elegant sensuality are maintained. It's non-critical an opus but because it relies on an impression of skin to make all these social conventions more palatable, it leaves open the possibility that more naturalness and spontaneity might be at hand. In a way, I find it amusing to think that this might be an attempt at capturing the masculine version of a lady in the drawing-room and a whore in the bedroom dichotomy. So, that might give something like a gentleman in the boardroom and a male prostitute in the bedroom?
Perfumery has been for ever in pursuit of suggesting what lies behind sartorial covers and reminding our noses of nakedness - Bleu de Chanel edp has chosen to go back to this simple truth rather than try to capture the cut of a material in fragrance form, a more recent 20th century attempt exemplified by Chanel. Is it then subtly critical after all? Maybe.