Both versions of Chanel Allure, the masculine and the feminine, were launched in 1990s and have been around for a while. If I were forced to choose one for my personal use I wouldn't hesitate for a second and reach for the men's version any time. It's not that I'm that big of a fan, but the women's Allure hates my skin and turns into a screechy synthetic fruity mess upon contact. A mediocre oriental men's cologne is a huge improvement.
The zesty sharp citrus opening wasn't new and unique in 1999 and it certainly isn't now. Chanel simply went with the safest, easiest top note composition a department store shopper would never find objectionable while still detecting it clearly above the general smell of the place. This stage is so generic I'd have the hardest time picking Allure Homme in a blind lineup unless I spent a lot more time wearing it exclusively. But things get considerably better if not more special. The peppery wood, patchouli and a light ambery dry-down make it pleasant to wear and warm enough to enjoy. A man wearing this Chanel cologne to the office would get a reputation of smelling nice and it would probably work just as well on a date. It's a friendly scent with no jagged edges- it remains clean and crisp for a full day.
It's also boring, safe and lacks any individuality. Just look at the original 1999 ad campaign. Chanel took successful and accomplished men and posed them in a series of black and white shots without their names or anything to actually make them stand out. They sort of blend in with the brand and the others participants. From the New York Times:
The print ads are black and white, except for the enlarged Allure bottle, which is in color. The ads for both the men's and women's lines feature attractive people who are identified only by their professions, pursuits and residences, not by name, in an effort to add an element of mystery.Bottom Line: The last time a bought a Chanel men's cologne for my father, I chose Antaeus. Make your own conclusion.
The Allure Homme ads, which carry the headline, ''Real men. Real Allure,'' feature a writer in New York City, a professional golfer in New York, a plastic surgeon in Beverly Hills, Calif., an architect in New York and an around-the-world solo sailor from France.
By Courtney Kane, Published: December 21, 2000
Chanel Allure Homme ($72, 3.4oz EDT) is available from most department stores and chanel.com.
All images from Chanel 1999 Allure Homme ad campaign: couleurparfum.com