While North Korea detonates underground hydrogen bombs in preparation for possible attacks on Japan and South Korea, I have my own important test to conduct today : the launch of Gabrielle Chanel, finally available to experience at Yokohama’s flagship Takashimaya.


I like all the alleged materials: tuberose, jasmine, ylang ylang, orange blossom, even if, like you, I have already read that it just smells, in the end, like the dreaded Coco Mademoiselle (in my view one of the most noxious fragrances ever to be created in the history of modern perfumery).



And it does.



It couldn’t POSSIBLY smell more boring, less inspired. Insipid. Flavourless.  It smells of nothing. It smells horrible. I prefer Coco Mademoiselle ( at least she is being herself); not this phony, ‘white flower’ cover up that just smells like the toilets by Duty Free.




The smell of disenchantment.





I leave the crowded department store.



I have more important things to worry about.




Filed under Flowers

25 responses to “GABRIELLE by CHANEL (2017)

  1. I think this whole ‘abstract floral’ baloney essentially only means turning down the volume on each material so it becomes a kind of white noise that nobody can object to : they must have done so much consumer testing that they realized that people still basically wanted La Vie Est Belle, so they put enough of that hideousnees under the vague ‘solarity’ to reach some kind of beige, bland, common denominator.

    Anyone else had a try of this yet?

  2. Do you not think the austerity (or banality) of Gabrielle is a direct reaction to the exact worry about “important things” so many of us feel? I get reassuring space and cool in Gabrielle (which could just as easily be read as “nothing”). The campaign film of breaking out of a dark tendrilous twilight to wonder at a simple sunrise is telling…

  3. Sad, worrying times. Your words chime perfectly with what Mr Turin had to say about Coco Mademoiselle! That’s the last time i mention his name, i promise…

  4. Sally Karpe

    I too was disappointed with Gabrielle. It smells like No5 L’eau in the drydown. I bought new Gucci Bloom instead.

  5. I quite agree Neil. This one went by me like a whimper and left no lasting impression. I liked the pretty opening and the fact that it doesn’t have toffee and foody notes in it, but it was gone within the hour. I just thought for all the trouble they’ve gone to, they could have spent some money on longevity. And maybe a smell that isn’t so “meh”

  6. Brutal, Neil!

    (Also happy to hear that you are moving around, out and about! Sounds like the recovery is moving along well!)

  7. LOL… i love this post. As for Coco M… I agree. I have yet to sniff Gabrielle, but somehow I feel I’ll like it as it sounds like one of those unoffensive wears when I feel lazy and don’t feel like showering when I head to the grocery store. Boy, I really make myself sound pretty don’t I?!

  8. Linda Trujillo

    Hahaha “the smell of disenchantment”.

  9. Grayspoole/Maria

    Dear Neil-
    Taking one for the team, eh? I will try to get a sniff of Gabrielle in one of my rare trips to the department store. It is a shame, but I didn’t expect much. Kristen Stewart is very pretty and the video was fun to watch, but it is marketing without substance. I thought No. 5 L’Eau was pretty bad as well. I came home with a sample and then I had to test it side by side with a dab of my dishwashing detergent on another blotter to see if they really did smell as similar as I thought…and they did. So many people want to smell like soap or shampoo…

    I thought your comment about Gabrielle’s “abstract florality” resembling white noise was very astute, and I do think this is a new(ish) trend. We seem to getting new perfumes with floral notes that are designed not to smell like any living flower: unapologetically synthetic flowers (often described as water lilies, orchids, poppies–flowers that do not have scents or are not often smelled in everyday life) or the zombie flowers in a florist’s refrigerator (isn’t there a Byredo floral that is advertised in just this way?) Some new florals have an almost metallic-aquatic edge. It’s not that I think my vintage bottles are brimming with natural floral essences (I know they are not), but there seems to be a greater naturalism in older floral compositions. Take Paco Rabanne’s Metal–one of my favorites. It isn’t really floral or natural-smelling, as its name would suggest, but I when I wear it, every so often, I get a breeze blowing across a rose and so I enjoy the contrast between a naturalistic floral note and the other elements–the allusion to a real flower. Perhaps I am reaching here, and I am just an old curmudgeon who likes old perfumes!

  10. This is disappointing. I have a soft spot in my heart for Chanel, but it is because of the old masterpieces and the original edt Exclusifs, not the Coco Mademoiselles and Allures. You describe the smell of Gabrielle so well; I haven’t tried it yet, but what you say fits in with my reaction to so many new releases. I just can’t connect emotionally with bland, abstract chemical concoctions. In their blandness, they’re actually a little offensive. I mean, give us a little credit; we can handle some personality!

    Back from some travel, I was craving Patou, and this morning sprayed on some vintage 1000 edt. Ahhhhhhhh. I smell real flowers, real woods. As all the best fragrances, the whole is greater than the sum of the parts, so blended that I can’t tell where the osmanthus ends and the violet begins, abstract in the best way, and yet there is that sense of there being true, of-the-natural-world components: a symphony, not white noise. I would die and go to perfume heaven if Chanel could — or rather, WOULD — create something in their mainstream line that smelled half as drop-dead, uncompromisingly beautiful — and still perfectly wearable — as this.

    • Had to repost my osmanthus post after reading this. I agree – 1000 is really one of a kind: I love it.

      • Just read the osmanthus piece and wish I had the time this afternoon for the long reply it warrants. For now, just let me say thank you. It would be so good to actually talk to you one day. This writing — or responding — can sometimes be cumbersome, much as I love it.

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