Bleu de Chanel (Chanel)

By Andrew
Chanel house nose Jacques Polge’s talent is most evident in Bleu de Chanel’s carefully rendered citrus top notes. Indeed, as long as they persist, Bleu de Chanel is a satisfying citrus composition anchored to a mild spiced wood foundation. While the citrus does endure for longer than it might have, it still leaves the stage to the woods and spices within an hour or two on the skin. From there on Bleu de Chanel’s arrangement of nutmeg, cedar, ginger, and pallid jasmine is innocuous at best, and certainly too timid to hold my interest in the absence of the citrus.

After Cartier’s Roadster, Guerlain Homme, Polo Double Black, Allure Homme Sport, et alia, peppercorns (pink or black) and mint threaten to become for the 21st century what Calone and ozonic notes were to the late 20th. Bleu de Chanel includes pepper (pink) and mint, both probable prerequisites of any commercial masculine release this year and next. Such ingredients-of-the-moment are meant to be hip, but more often leave a fragrance smelling dated the minute it hits the shelves. To Jacques Polge’s credit he avoids hackneyed aquatic notes despite Bleu’s hopelessly clichéd “clean, fresh” brief. Even better, he eschews the grating, over-amplified phony wood base notes that mar so many recent masculine drydowns, employing instead an understated blend of vetiver, cedar, and very clean, herbaceous patchouli. It’s utterly forgettable, but in the context of contemporary mainstream scents for men, that’s pretty good.

It’s a long time since Chanel brought out a masculine scent to stand beside Antaeus, Chanel pour Monsieur, and Égoïste, and Bleu is not that scent. Bleu de Chanel isn’t bad, and given a recent track record that includes Allure Homme, Allure Homme Sport, and Platinum Égoïste, (to call any of these “bad” would be generous,) that’s a step in the right direction.

Year: 2010
Nose: Jacques Polge
Notes: pink peppercorn, citrus, peppermint, nutmeg, vetiver, grapefruit, cedar, labdanum, jasmine, incense, patchouli, ginger, sandalwood


  1. I remember being disappointed upon first learning the scent's name; sounded like it would fit in with all the other generic men's scents at the cologne counters around the world. And sure enough: It's been done dozens if not hundreds of times before. In fact, I was so underwhelmed I can't even say which Armani or Boss scent(s) it resembled most. A shame that Chanel, creators of Pour Monsieur and Antaeus and Egoiste, have become so dull as regards men's fragrance. Pleasant enough, but is "pleasant" enough for Chanel? But of course, this will be in the European Top 5 by the end of the year, and half the guys at the gym or on the tram in the morning will be wearing this.

  2. I dare say, I agree that Platinum Égoïste is sub par, but Allure Homme (the original) gets an undeserved bad rap. I wonder what it is about the scent that annoys you so? Per my experience, it's been easy to wear, admired by ladies (who are my own age for once, and not my mother's), and stands up well with the rest of my wardrobe (which includes gems like Yatagan, Kouros, Quorum, Grey Flannel, Pour un Homme de Caron, and Acteur). I respectfully beg an explanation of your own distaste for it.

  3. Be careful what you ask for! To paraphrase my review of Allure Homme from elsewhere: the peppered fruit top notes are both chemical and sticky-sweet; the heart, with its bland amber and sanitized patchouli, is tiresome and commonplace; and the loud and seemingly artificial wood base notes throw the composition seriously off balance.

    To quote myself directly:
    "To Allure Homme’s credit, it never smells completely unpleasant. In fact, it’s ultimately bland and 'safe.' Perhaps that’s why it’s been so popular. But with so many fine woody oriental masculines to choose from, I see no reason to wear this undistinguished entry. Go try Héritage, Jaïpur Homme EdP, Body Kouros, or Paul Smith London instead."

    Basenotes Directory, 2010

  4. Ah, I see, damning it with faint praise . . . Well I guess in the context of the sweet '90s it was unquestionably "safe" - it seems Bleu de Chanel is stuck in the '90s itself based on the review here and elsewhere. The older masculine orientals that you've listed are masterpieces. But I think the labeling of Allure Homme as a "woody oriental" here and on sites like (which I like)is part of the scent's issue - to me it just seems to be a relatively simple dessicated citrus & allspice fragrance on a sweet amber base, with nothing coming close to a masculine oriental in its nature. In any case, thanks for your reply!

  5. Very masculine fragrance. Jacques Polge wanted to create the perfume which will be loved by the masses...


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