Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Chanel No. 22 (Les Exclusifs EDT)

Chanel No. 22 is a fragrance I only know in its contemporary form and as an EDT. I don't know if to be sorry about not experiencing its past grandeur or happy that for once I don't need to personally mourn the old version. The current Chanel No. 22 is an eau de toilette in the family size bottle of the Les Exclusifs which according to a former Chanel executive was meant to be "applied lavishly", and indeed, at least when it comes to this scent one just want to bathe in its gorgeousness.

I'm not that much of a floral person, but there's something about the composition of white flowers over a delicate incense base that is heartbreakingly beautiful and touches perfection. Sometimes I think it's too pretty, like I'm trying on a piece of the Queen's crown jewels that could never belong to me. It's probably a bit too ethereal, though I can't say if it's skin chemistry or personality. I need to be in a certain mood to be able to wear it in a satisfying manner. I also find the EDT to be too fleeting in warm weather so I prefer it in winter. There's something about several Chanel perfumes that work especially well in the cold:  it makes them soar into the air like the distant chime of a silver bell.

The unattainable beauty makes me think of French actress Carole Bouquet. She was actually the face of Chanel No. 5 in the very early 90s, but her looks (described in Bertrand Blier's 1979 movie Buffet Froid as "'staggeringly beautiful") is a better fit for the more mysterious No. 22. Both seem to have an hidden intensity that is beyond my reach.

Chanel No. 22 and the rest of the Les Exclusifs line ($200, 200 ml) are available from Chanel Boutiques around the world, Bergdorf Goodman and Saks Fifth Avenue flagship store, as well as from True to my word that I'm not buying any of these aquariums until they start offering smaller bottles and higher concentrations, I prefer to purchase reasonable sized decants from The Perfumed Court.

Chanel No.22 vintage ad from 1966-
Photo of Carole Bouquet:


  1. I'm with you. Love No. 22 but I even have less reason to wear it.

    Even using "lavishly" I would never use 200ML unless I used it as windscreen wiper fluid..

  2. wow. that ad brings back memories of that pretty powdery scent. i actually had the same bottle as in that ad. it was white with the gold banding in the middle. And i most certainly didn't pay $200 for it. wow. looking back i enjoyed the scent but it was not quite strong enough and too light for summer. so i too, used to wear it more in the winter. Love your blog btw. :-)

  3. Alas, I have no love for No. 22. I thought I'd just adore it - aldehydes! white flowers! incense! Just my thing!

    But no. On my skin, it goes very sugary. You can hear the grains of sugar crunch in your teeth.

    Sigh. But YOU wear it, and I'll come sniff you and smile.


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