BORING: 1932 by CHANEL (2013)


There are plenty of reviews out there discussing its jewelled brilliance, its gentle, shimmering jasmineness. So read those for another viewpoint. But no matter how many times I smell this new release from Chanel, I can smell nothing but boredom. And irritation. And even unpleasantness. 

A flat, unaffecting, even somehow slightly farty, modern Duty Free Jasmine, underlaid with…something. Vetiver? Aldehydes? Other ‘flowers’.Who cares. ‘1932’ (stupid name)  is of no consequence. Slightly ugly. Just a calculatingly, substandard Bulgari Jasmin Noir. 


Bye Bye. 


Filed under Flowers

48 responses to “BORING: 1932 by CHANEL (2013)

  1. Dear Ginza
    To the point to a tee.
    Yours ever
    The Perfumed Dandy

  2. Nancysg

    I know many people totally enjoy the Chanel Exclusives, but I have yet to find one that calls to me to the point of a purchase. I have often wondered what I was missing with the line. After reading your review, I feel like maybe I wasn’t as crass in my assessment as I feared.

    • I think you couldn’t get much more crass than this review, but I am not a huge fan of any of them either. However this one really does smell very standard high street to me.

    • I have to put in a good word for Sycomore, which I think is a really elegant interpretation of vetiver. On the other hand, a 2ml decant has lasted me six months, so I can’t really call myself much of a fan.

      • I would agree that it is one of the best, but for me, Sycomore lacks soul.

      • Hmm, you have a point about the Sycomore. As I considered your comment, I realized that I tend to wear it when I have unpleasant things on the schedule and need armor. So maybe I’m using it for its touch-me-not quality, which in fact is kind of soulless. This leaves me with no Exclusif to defend. I love Coco, and like #19 on spring days,otherwise the whole line leaves me pretty cold.

      • ……but perfumed armour is surely a great thing, no? I do like Sycomore, but there is something paintstripperishly harsh in there, like with most modern vetivers, that feels like my heart is being plated. But it does smell very chic…

        > Date: Wed, 10 Apr 2013 12:57:00 +0000
        > To:

  3. Ouch! A slightly farty Duty-Free jasmine?

    Very tart and very, very funny, Neil 🙂

  4. This review is coming at a good time for me. I’ve been reluctantly firing my decant at myself, trying for the sparkling jewel-like scintillating etendlesscetera quality, and all I can think is “meh.” I am willing to be a fume-idiot if necessary, but hated the idea that a gem was under my nose and I couldn’t sense it. Now I feel better. At least I’m not the only one who can’t see the point.

    • I felt the same. I was worried my nose wasn’t working, but decided to trust my instincts!

      • I was browsing through your older posts and came across the Witchy one from January which talked about Paloma Picasso’s Mon Parfum. It occurred to me that Mon Parfum, while I can’t wear it, at least dares a great deal, while 1932 dares nothing. Maybe I just like perfumes with a black-magic element. I love white florals, partly because they tend to have that underlying hypnotic darkness that says “look closer, look more deeply.”

      • We are the same. I love both extremes as well, totally.

      • Totally off topic here, but have you ever tried the CBIHP Cradle of Light? I am trying to decide what I think of it. There are times when I dislike it, but I’m fascinated by it and can’t stop trying it. Would love to hear from real perfumistos/as about it.

      • I am no more a real perfumista than you are: we are in this swirling obsession together. But I have yet to love one of his perfumes, the ones I have smelled anyway (you can’t get any in Japan, and there were only a few in London). Isn’t that the white floral he did? Tell me more. What is it like?

      • It is a white floral, narcotically intense at times, at other times obscured by what smells to me like dusky dry leaves. Not green tomato leaves at all to my nose, more like the tomato vines that you rake up in November, plus the wood-chip mulch from the garden path, plus an animal note. Well, several animal notes, really. And all this late-autumn stuff goes on while jasmine fills the hothouse and wafts out now and then. I’ve put it on three times, and each time there have been moments when I pined for a full bottle and moments when I couldn’t imagine wearing it again. But it dares in a big way, and I can’t stay away from it. I don’t think there is another white floral in my small collection that pushes boundaries the way this one does.

      • I emphatically need to smell it, and also urge you to join the throng and start a blog immediately! Feral Jasmine is a perfect name for it. Start today: you have the prose and the power.

      • You are too kind! But really, I’d rather hang out on yours. There are times when my work preoccupies me for weeks at a time, and I know I could never produce posts consistently. This way I can spout off in the moments section, and if I talk like a fool, nobody really notices.

      • You don’t, but I talk like a fool all the time on here. I have a strong, prickly ‘up yours’, self-sabotaging side to myself which means that The Black Narcissus could never become one of the biggies. I just can’t bear to be as polite and controlled as the major blogs. I LOVE the spontaneity of it. But you are right. Sometimes we are just too busy (what do you do by the way?)..

      • brie

        feral jasmine- agreed with Neil you should surely start a blog (I like your way with words!)

        N- you COULD and SHOULD be “one of the biggies”…you have a unique spin which I find utterly appealing and I am sure that I speak for many others….

      • Sadly (?) Brie I don’t think so, but thanks all the same!

      • Now I’m fascinated. How did somebody with a prickly, “up yours,” nonconformist side to his persona end up in Japan? I’ve never been there, ut always hear about it being a highly conformist society. If so, how do you use that part of yourself creatively? Other than writing this blog, which is decidedly nonconformist.

  5. lizziemarian

    Ha! I concur.
    As for the rest of the exclusives I do actually like Bel Respiro quite a lot. It settles into something interesting and green and warm on my skin.

    • On me, the green top notes intrigue but the base is somewhat pickled somehow. Do like just owning that mini though ( I do love Chanel, you see), and perhaps I should give it another go.!

  6. brie

    For all the positive reviews I have read there are an equal number of negative. I was quite displeased with Chanel when they turned my beloved no 22 (which could easily be bought at my local dept store for a fraction of what it sells for now) into an “exclusive” and for a while was only sold in those ridiculously large bottles. I have yet to sample any of the other offerings from the exclusive line up.

  7. tonkabeany

    It is truly a joy to read the words ‘slightly farty’ in this context.

  8. brie

    oh! I forgot to say happy one year anniversary ten days ago!

  9. Katy

    So succinct and wonderfully articulated. I adore Number Five, I have not been tempted by any other. My perfume armor is Tom Ford Black Orchid. If my winning personality does not charm the crowd, at least my perfume will knock their socks off! I find I only wear it when I think I will be socially uncomfortable……

    • You know, that one I have only ever sniffed from the bottle in shops, and I always find it so formidable I find myself putting it down again. It BLASTS me away, somehow, as though it has a million and one things in it, and I just don’t know how to react. How does it feel on skin?

      I am also intrigued by the idea of being socially uncomfortable and the perfume being like an armour: I suppose I do that with my No 19 parfum, as it smells mysterious and elegant, but in my case it is more as though I am attempting to tone DOWN my personality and pretend I have more style and dignity than I do in fact have. In the past I wore the trumpety Elephant by Kenzo. Now that most definitely WAS me at my most extrovert…..I practically suffocated anyone who came into contact with me, but then those that loved it on me were practically clambering all over to get another sniff…….

  10. Katy

    Black Orchid is very noisy, when first applied, but the dry down on my skin is very like Hinoki incense. The ghost of this perfume in one’s clothing is unforgettable. I find it velvety and glamourous. I know others find it very sweet and a little too chocolatey, everyone’s skin and sense of smell is different. As far as perfume as a social shield, we all know we love it when people notice how great we smell! It can be a great ice breaker. Particularly if the fragrance is interesting and not well known. I live in a perfume wasteland, so nobody seems to know much about anything but current mainstream fragrances. Occasionally, I will get a sniff of Dune, or Gucci Rush at the bookstore where I work. My fellow booksellers, many of whom love fragrance like I do, smell divine!

  11. “Boring” – was exactly how I described what I thought about 1932 (stupid name, I agree!) after the first two tests. I do not know why I decided to spray it on again… but in an hour of that third attempt, not expecting anything any more (not even thinking about the perfume) I unexpectedly liked what I smelled. I do not think it’ll go anywhere, I might try it again but that will be probably the extent of our relationships – but I thought I’d mention that strange episode.

    • No, actually to be honest, I felt that if it were worn by the right person, someone standing next to me whose skin brought out the florescent jasmine light tuftiness, there was a chance I might enjoy it, so you are definitely right to bring this up

  12. Reblogged this on The Black Narcissus and commented:

    Persolaise has just done a beautiful review for the new pure parfum extracts of Chanel’s 1932, Beige and Jersey: he always brings a fine-pointed and intuitive precision to his perfume analysis, and the piece almost made me want to smell this
    perfume again, just to be sure.

    I was personally unable to share his gracious equanimity in my own review of the latest Chanel, however, as I simply found it trite, vulgar.

    Do you think they will ever do anything interesting again or is it just Duty Free home furnishings from now on?

    Will Chanel be synonymous merely with ‘safety’, or will they ever be daring- poetic, even?

  13. There is so much I want to reply to in this post but I will try to keep it brief. First, I love CBIHP Cradle of Light. I have a sample that I am still dabbing. I do have the oils of about five others. His perfumes are very interesting and intriguing.
    As for the Chanel Esclusifs…l have a few, including the beloved “Sycamore”, which I think gets more positive vibes on perfume sites than any others. I also have 1932 and a few others–although I had some of them before they became “esclusifs”, I do agree with some of the opinions on this post…1932 is beautiful but almost heartbreaking as the attraction is there but somehow doesn’t cut it.
    The Tom Ford fragrances I think always deliver what they purport to deliver. The original “Black Orchid” is one of the sexiest perfumes on the market IMHO. His more exclusive line also delivers but his basic fragrances are just as good. His new Black Orchard flanker (“Velvet Orchid”) is just a smoother, quieter, softer and more velvety version of Black Orchard. Bottom line, although I like a lot of his exclusive line, his basic line is great and more intriguing than most base line perfumes could ever hope to be. Although I am a Chanel fan, Tom Ford fragrances are absolutely great and I am attached to many of them.

  14. My apologies to all the bloggers (and especially to you Neil) to making my brief comment into a long one. Zzzzzzzzz, Sorry for boring all of you.

  15. I feel Chanel is just pumping out insipid offering after insipid offering. All the while charging top dollar because it is Chanel of course. There is just not a thing about any of them that truly strikes me as groundbreaking, nor daring. Nothing like when the original Coco was released, which gave rise to a new category…the floral oriental. Too sad though, such glorious raw ingredients to work with, yet not a drop of daring.

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