Chanel Gabrielle

Judging by my Instagram feed comments, there are a lot of mixed views on this new fragrance from Chanel – their first completely new juice for 15 years.

As a brand Chanel digs deep into their heritage for inspiration so I suppose it is no surprise that Mme Chanel’s love of the sun is reflected in the solar element of Gabrielle. However, that aspect isn’t really mentioned in the drill down of its creation by Olivier Polge. Instead, it is noted that he has created a ‘dream flower’ from all the floral varieties ever recorded in Chanel fragrances. In fact, very few reviews mention the solar aspect and yet it is the first thing I can smell. My daughter didn’t pick up on it at all – and she loves the fragrance.

Chanel Gabrielle

So, you will find orange blossom, tuberose, jasmine and musk along with sandalwood and ylang-ylang. A solar note is something that hits the senses as the smell of sunshine – maybe warm earth or hot air or something towards those things – it’s really hard to describe. It dries away after a time and leaves light, floral notes in its wake. They’re pretty, not heady. Although it is being heralded as such, I don’t really see it as a particularly ‘youthful’ fragrance, in the way that Chance could be seen. What does that mean anyway – youth is in your spirit, whatever your age!

So, in my view, there is a familiar ‘Chanel’ thread lying below the surface of Gabrielle – if you like luminous and solar notes AND you like Chanel fragrances in general with their white flower trail, then you will adore this. However, the main criticism of it is that it is generic and a ‘crowd pleaser’ which I really don’t find at all. I smell a lot of crowd pleaser, built for mass market fragrances and I can’t find that in this. It’s not a fragrance for me – I can’t get past the opening and I will always be No.5 to my bones – but I feel it is their most modern fragrance and yes, a challenge to those who like their Chanel perfume familiar.

There is much excitement about the bottle – it’s a challenge, apparently, to make glass to house fragrance so thin, and was five years in the making.

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