Monday, October 10, 2011

Chanel Jersey (Les Exclusifs)

I've been trying hard to figure out the line of thought that resulted in the creation of Chanel's newest Les Exclusifs perfume, Jersey. How exactly do you get from the 1920s classic Ernest Beaux perfumes (Bois des Îles and Cuir de Russie) through the restrained and somewhat haughty 2007 Les Exclusifs to the mostly harmless washed out lavender of Jersey? What kind of creative process conceived this idea?

I guess it's the ongoing quest for smelling clean. But since we are talking Chanel and all that is French, the Polge-Sheldrake team came up with lavender. After all, this note is both clean and French.

After several days and half a massive decant, I can say that Jersey is growing on me a little. Sort of. I find the opening notes rather awful and I'm actually a fan of lavender. There's something oily and sticky just behind the very first burst of a too sweet lavender. I like this herb astringent with both leaves and flowers present, just like the lavender I pick in my yard and let dry, perfuming my kitchen. This is not that kind of lavender; instead, the Chanel version tries hard not to make any sharp and sudden moves. I could forgive that if not for the aforementioned unpleasant after-taste that makes me wonder if anyone has actually tested Jersey on human skin before sending it to production.

There's very little else to this weird perfume. You need to apply it with abandon, which is not necessarily the most fun thing, if you want to experience the whole thing and make it last more than an hour. What remains is a bland vanilla musk thing, shockingly chemical and uninspired. Again, think of this bottle standing at Bergdorf side by side with Cuir de Russie. I find that if part of the liberal application includes one's clothes, scarves and unmentionable it does last all day- 12 hours and going, and that mix of skin and musk is actually quite pleasant. That's what I meant in saying it was growing on me- I'm a musk girl, after 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. I don't and I won't. The Powers That Be at Chanel should be aware that this kind of scent is what one buys at Target for $5.99.

Chanel Jersey ($110, 2.5 oz) is available now from Chanel boutiques around the world, Bergdorf Goodman, Saks5th Avenue and Thankfully, the Perfumes Court offers samples and decants.

Photo of Christy Turlington for Chanel from


  1. I love the idea of lavender in a scent. Though it seems that Jersey is getting a thumbs down, I'm intrigued enough to take a sniff!

  2. Your review has me shuddering! Downy? "Non, merci!"

  3. I agree that it smells like the least exclusive of the Exclusifs. An odd creative choice.

    But didn't it make you think that it's basically a cross between Caron Pour Un Homme and Prada Candy??

  4. Oh dear. Here goes my last hope. I won't go out of my way to try this.

  5. God, this sounds horrible. And I cherished Chanel for being one of the very few big houses that cares about quality. Looks as if the burden will be on Hermès in the future...

  6. Gah...I had high hopes for this. If I wanted lavender & musk, I could get Caldey's for not much money.

  7. I thought the Chanel les exclusifs line was one of the very best out there, though maybe not entirely targeted for my tastes.
    From Bois des iles to cuir de russie, from la pausa to sycomore, from 22 to 31 RC I like or love most of them - which is more than I can say for most brands.
    It is sad that the prestige line is suffering from the same blah-ness of the last mainstream launches. Though the "let the masses smell bleu and the élite smell bling" is not a concept I dig into. But still, les exclusifs seems as the last fortress of a certain perfume-loving customer respect.
    This seems a bad rendition of the iconic Caron. Which I already hated.

  8. I love lavender but with a vanilla musk drydown, this could be very messy on my skin. Some scents with vanilla get very chemical-smelling on me. My two ultimate lavender scents are Jicky and Gris Clair, I think I'll stick with those for my lavender fix!

  9. Your post reminds me that I have a little bottle of a lavender/vanilla fragrance that I bought for about ten bucks at the shop at the museum where I work. I keep it in my swimming bag. So, with that angle covered - thanks but no thanks, Chanel.


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