One really needs to love modern fruity patchouli to enjoy Coco Mademoiselle. Released in 2001 (the EDT followed a year later) and created by Jacques Polge, Chanel was definitely on to something with Coco Mademoiselle, the problem is that they created a monster.The sweet fruitchouli with oriental roots and too much bleached musk has become the ubiquitous blueprint for perfumes aimed at the young on the mainstream market. While Chanel and Polge put some thought, craft and a nod to the house's tradition into Mademoiselle, none of the imitators bothered with such niceties, not even Dior that launched Miss Dior Cherrie in 2005, a perfume that smells like Coco Mademoiselle's ditzy little sister.
They say there are notes in Coco Mademoiselle. Perhaps. If you ask me, the promised bergamot and orange from the opening are completely drowning in lychee-patchouli syrup. It's rather interesting how Polge managed to clean the patchouli of any shred of funk and earthiness and take it directly into Angel's yummy territory that leaves little room to any other notes. There's a synthetic peachy rose that has probably never appeared in nature. But mostly, this is sweet patchouli that goes from Starbucks syrup to musky vanilla that clings to the skin even after a shower.
Chanel Coco Mademoiselle is pleasant in its own way, smell better on people with the right body chemistry than on me, and as I've discovered on the occasions I've been wearing it for this review, can put me in a cranky mood even on days my skin decides to cooperate with this juice. It's 100%, completely and utterly not my thing. Still, it's probably among the very best and most restrained in its category.
Chanel Coco Mademoiselle ($80, 1.7 oz EDP) is available from Nordstrom and other department stores as well as online.
Images: Chanel Coco Mademoiselle ads from 2002 and 2005 starring Kate Moss via couleurparfum.com.