‘La femme idéale’ : CRISTALLE by CHANEL (1974)


The Black Narcissus



As its name suggests, Cristalle is diamond-cut and delicate: a crisp, pretty, and very Parisian floral chypre of slightly cold-hearted mien that lends the perfume a distancing, enigmatic quality – at once a citrus-galbanum, sherbety hycanthine jasmine freshness (all the joys of spring), and yet a darker, more pensive tension lying beneath this crystalline veneer in the vetiver oakmoss base that lines the high heeled assertions with a more gossamer vein of depressive melancholy.

An eau de parfum, a clever retweaking by Jacques Polge to update and bring the (at the time) somewhat obscure Chanel scent more attention, was introduced in 1993 that overlayed the essential character of classical Cristalle with a fuller, revitalized, fruitier beginning (a more pronounced peach, ylang and mandarin note in particular), but this robust, sharper remake was also rather gorgeous, if a little shrill in comparison to the more demure and refined reach of the…

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7 responses to “‘La femme idéale’ : CRISTALLE by CHANEL (1974)

  1. Interesting timing. I just found a early 90s bottle of Chanel No 5 EdP at the local flea market, also reworked by Jacques Polge a number of years before he got his hands on Cristalle. Compared to Chanel No 5 EdT, it has the same ripened, fattened-up quality you describe in the Cristalle EdP. I actually prefer the EdT versions of both, although I can see how his tweaking was stylistically timely. There is something a little “yellow” and oily, I find, in the EdPs which takes away from their original elegance and cerebral quality. Kind of like the difference between a lean, complex, mineral-y Chablis and a buttery New World, American-oak-aged Chardonnay.
    So nice to be able to join you once again in this beautiful world of scent, N. You enhance the whole experience, you really do.

  2. Lilybelle

    I miss Cristalle. I need it. It’s exactly what I need now, cool, crisp, refined.

  3. Love Cristalle, the edt much more than the edp though. Wish I had one of those vintage bottles of it right about now.

    So sorry about the horrible turn of events in GB, how utterly disheartening and depressing.

  4. Nelleke Oepkes aka Booknose

    Please read the comment of an Europenne malcontente! In the other bigger version of Cristalle. I don’t want to sound like Jesaja preaching doom, but Euroeanism is stifling our everyday life and economics. And Brexit makes the EU rethink their strategism and values. In itself a good thing. Since the Euro life has been more than halved down here. . The schisma between very rich and poor has been widening. Europe kills the everyday life of the little people and the big internationals come marching in .. And not like saints! A meagre Anglodownsized diet is not the same as English or American culture. Universal sausage is not the same as an english breakfast or a real hamburger! There is a difference between feeling like an European, fine by me, and being lived by it, body and soul, not to say devoured … In a very tyrannical and capitalist way!!! The ideal is a long long long way removed from brutal reality. And I don’t see improvement, rather narrowing down paths and feeding the extrmists politics.

  5. Nelleke Oepkes aka Booknose

    Europeenne malcontente paysbassesse!

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