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November 04, 2011

Chanel Jersey Les Exclusifs : Perfume Review


Rated 4.5 out of 5.0

Star rating: 5 stars--outstanding/potential classic, 4 stars--very good, 3 stars--adequate, 2 stars--disappointing, 1 star--poor.

I am going to lay my cards on the table. I love Chanel to the point of forgiving it Chance and Bleu de Chanel. Even as I had qualms with the exclusive collections from other luxury houses, I have enjoyed and purchased every single perfume from Chanel’s Les Exclusifs. That is, until Jersey came onto the scene. To put it mildly, I am baffled by this scent, which is an orchestration of excellent ingredients that ends up smelling like a cheap Duane Reade candle.

Jersey refers to the soft knit fabric that traditionally has been produced in Jersey, Channel Islands. Although it was used mostly for undergarments, Coco Chanel loved the way it could be draped, and she shocked the fashion industry by appropriating such a low-brow material for her couture collections. It seems that in making Jersey, Chanel fragrance development has gone into the opposite direction and fashioned a scent that smells like a functional product rather than a fine perfume. Since most fragrances today trace the same trajectory, such a thing shocks nobody, but it certainly fills me with plenty of disappointment.

Jersey opens up on a soft lavender accord accented with the hay and almond freshness of tonka bean. Its delicate sweetness is reminiscent of Hermès Brin de Réglisse, but if such a thing can be imagined, it is even more limpid than Ellena’s lavender etude. The rustle of a green leave, a whiff of jasmine petals, and before you know it, you are in the territory of white musks and vanilla. The aromatic presence of lavender is still there, but the composition begins to smell disconcertingly like a fabric softener.* Even assuming that the laundered fabric feel is the intended effect, the character of the perfume does not match with its concept, for there is nothing soft and comforting about it. The more Jersey develops on the skin, the sharper and scratchier it feels. I doubt that Coco Chanel would have been pleased.

Chanel Jersey features notes of lavender, vanilla and musk. It is a part of Les Exclusifs collection that also includes Beige, Sycomore, No 22, Gardénia, Cuir de Russie, Bois des Iles, 28 La Pausa, Coromandel, Bel Respiro, No. 18, and Eau de Cologne. It is available in the Eau de Toilette concentration from Chanel boutiques and Bergdorf Goodman. 2.5oz, $110; 6.8oz, $210.

*Gaia of The Non-Blonde put it best of all, “The thing is, Jersey's effect doesn't smell like a real perfume. It's too similar to what I'd smell if I used scary amounts of Downy® Simple Pleasures® Lavender Serenity Liquid fabric softener and nothing else.”

Sample: my own acquisition



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