With the new Chanel Coco Mademoiselle Eau de Parfum Intense, the house is proposing to emphasize the "naturally excessive" nature of the original perfume born in 2001. Its original intent, we are told today, was to contrast the sensuality and elegance of agrumes with a refined patchouli unencumbered by traditional by-product facets of dust and camphor. "This [feminine] woody of a new era" featuring a heart of patchouli gets revisited in 2018 by the son of the man who came up with the first formula. The set goal is to recall the original signature while adding more energy to the mix...
How Does it Smell Like?
The mineralness and fruitiness of the fractioned patchouli accord in Chanel Coco Mademoiselle Eau de Parfum Intense is immediately apparent, jumping at you this time with renewed gusto and energy. The flanker is without a doubt a faithful one, prolonging the signature of the original which has been not only popular but - a consequence of its market success - notoriously reproduced by Lidl (they also did it for Terre d'Hermès as a limited-edition). That's okay - although still grating - in the fragrance industry because perfumes are considered to be like cooking recipes, objects of circulation rather than unique opuses.
The familiar opening is followed by an impression of nail-polish bottle that you would have just opened, or alternatively of freshly painted nails drying in the air. Chanel in-house perfumer Olivier Polge has front-loaded the new composition with fruits, fruity aldehydes, which all amount to a certain subliminal sensation of stickiness. Could it be that its now mass-market rival courtesy of Lidl has inspired this new show of force in the top? Not impossible. As noted earlier on, the Lidl Madame, Suddenly has an oomph about it, a touch of olfactive neon that made it perform better in blind tests. Hmm, now thanks to a Chanel reinvented, that fruit chew could remain stuck on your hand forever. It also smells tart as when a bonbon comprises some cassis or rhubarb, with even an incursion into slightly acidic territory.
Behind that intensification of young, up-and-coming fruits, the dustiness of, au contraire, a lightened patchouli emerges inflected by cacao-powder accents. Because this is a Chanel accessory, it has to convey elegance. This is achieved in part by resorting to a suggestion of richly fragrant cosmetics. Your mind turns away from the fruit bowl directing its attention to the vanity table, even if a trace of green banana leaves lets you continue to grasp the fruit thematic. Instead of thinning down, the composition manages mid-course to gain in intensity. To refer back to a duality first outlined by former in-house perfumer Jacques Polge, you are treated to the baroque side of Chanel's aesthetics, its Venetian side, where opulence is welcome and encouraged rather than streamlined.
Further down in its development, the scent reveals an animalic nuance of ambergris as it dives deeper into the Oriental sequence of its development. Powderiness, dustiness, a perfume of palm leaves are then accentuated - you even wonder if there might not be a hint of papyrus - suggesting a certain easy nonchalance, another side of Mademoiselle Chanel's style, defined by lankiness. You perceive an undercurrent of green dewiness, which counterbalances the hotness of the Oriental base. Let's say that it smells both sharp and baroque.
When you thought that the fragrance finally would relent, it gains further steam, if that were ever possible. Yes, it is. Now, it might evoke to you a cloud of perfume, acting much more in-your-face - and yes, powering through still.
Polge has visibly taken to heart the word "intense" which is the key operating word for the new version of Coco Mademoiselle. It is like having three levels of hot air on your hair-dryer and as you go along augmenting the heat every few minutes. Now, you might just as well be inhaling desert air and you start feeling parched. The amber deepens.
Despite the general movement towards more intensity, which is experienced with an effective sensation of dramaturgy, the fragrance is not that unrelenting in the end. It fares very well on clothes. But it does let up in the end. What you will get is more of Chanel Coco Mademoiselle without much surprise except for this capacity to power through and delay effects. It could have been more authentically lasting, but that's perhaps for another time and a parfum version.
In the epoch of Twitter feeds, it feels a bit like taking in a series of relatively shocking news for a couple of hours while the effect dies fairly harmlessly after a while - an invitation to replace the effect with a fresh thread and fresh curiosity.