Sycomore is the one scent out of Chanel Les Exclusif range that doesn't annoy me by being a sheer and ethereal version of a perfume that must have been a good idea at some point. A few of the Exclusifs had previous lives when they had depth and teeth (Cuir de Russie, Bois des Iles, No. 22 and even Gardenia). The other ones never had the chance to be anything more than an EDT in a huge bottle, though both Sycomore and Beige were named after long gone Chanel perfumes from the 1930s).
Sycomore is not anyone's shadow. It is full of character and brimming with life like the green marshland it evokes. A smoky vetiver with a strong tobacco note tinged with chocolaty patchouli has richness and depth beyond many other vetiver scents. It feels a lot more opaque than one would expect from an EDT concentration, though we've seen similar inky quality in Lalique's Encre Noire.
Sycomore is a unisex perfume with masculine leaning like many vetiver fragrances. My husband was the one who fell for the complexity from the very first sniffing. He tested it a couple of times before deciding he need a large decant, which I promptly got for him (there's absolutely no chance that even with combined efforts we'd finish a 200 ml bottle in the coming decade). My own experience with Sycomore has been interesting. I love it just as I love most (all?) vetivers. It wears like a thick smoky green veil, almost Lutensic in the way it clings to my skin. Occasionally, however, I have an off day when it feels too swampy and murky for comfort. I find that unlike many other vetivers, I prefer wearing Sycomore during the winter because it lacks the bitter dryness that cuts the heat and humidity of August in the City.
Sycomore and all the other Chanel Les Exclusifs ($200, 200 ml) are available from Chanel boutiques around the world, Saks Fifth Avenue in NYC and Bergdorf Goodman, as well on chanel.com. Samples and decants can be purchased from The Posh Peasant and The Perfumed Court.
Photo: Green Swamp by Derek Corneau on Flickr.