One Thousand Scents

Friday, April 18, 2008

Mister Clean: Chanel Allure Homme Edition Blanche

Earlier this week I wore Coup de Fouet to work; it's a great workplace scent, because it hangs on pretty close to the body and doesn't advertise. A couple of hours in, I was working on some piece or other and must have moved my hand just so, because I caught a whiff of the scent, and spontaneously thought, "I smell really fucking good!"

And that, to me, is about ninety-five per cent of the point of wearing a scent. (The other five per cent is so that other people will think you smell really fucking good, but that's not an important consideration in my universe: I just don't want them to think I smell bad, either, so I usually wear understated fragrances when I'm out and about. Other people, I know, might reverse my ratios; some of them are the reason that there are signs up at my gym advertising their no-scent policy.)

I buy fragrances that I know will smell good. When I'm sampling new things, there's always the chance that I won't, of course, which is why I sample them. Last Sunday I got a chance to smell the new Chanel for men, Allure Homme Edition Blanche; it had smelled okay in the store, but that's never a good environment to truly experience a scent, because you're surrounded by distractions like salespeople and the pressure to buy and also about a hundred other scents. I managed to snag a sample--never much of a bet these days--and wore it on Monday, and whenever I happened to notice that I was wearing the scent, my reaction was, approximately, "Yargh."

I hate it when people say that a particular scent smells exactly like bug spray or suntan lotion or whatnot, because it seems to indicate a certain lack of discrimination, but unfortunately, Edition Blanche smells to me pretty much exactly like powdered cleanser. I guess this makes me one of those undiscriminating people.

Edition Blanche opens with lemon and ginger, and this ginger has the same detersive quality that gradually led me to hate Bulgari Blu Homme. The combination of the two notes smells like a cleaning product, and while I usually bemoan the fugitive quality of citrus notes, this lemon sticks around and sticks around, and the scrub-brush quality of the scent drowns out everything else in it.

Maybe three hours later, the scouring powder has died away and what's left is a soft woody-powdery accord. That's much too late, of course.

A lot of people seem to like Edition Blanche, and good for them. Obviously they can smell something in it that I can't.

While I was at the counter, I also got a sample of Allure Homme Sport Cologne Sport, a flanker of a flanker (in this case, of Allure Homme Sport, which I don't think I ever tried, or if I did, I don't remember it). The overnamed AHSCS smells exactly and indistinguishably like any of those other fresh men's scents we've been plagued with over the last ten or fifteen years, and could be attractive only to someone who's never smelled any of the others, or who is a blindly bandwagoning devotee of Chanel.


  • How can they do it?
    Chanel, I mean.
    They have Pour Monsieur and Antaeus, which are so good, and Egoiste (I don't wear it but it seems a nice perfume to me), they even have a few good ones in the exclusives that a man can easily wear, so why this obsession with Allur Homme and all its flankers?
    Can anybody really tell them apart just by smelling them?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 7:32 PM  

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