I like to revisit major perfume releases a significant time after the hype round them has died. Especially when the fragrance in question has failed to impress me, initially and subsequently, as was the case of Chanel Beige. Back in 2008 when Chanel added Beige to their Les Exclusif line my first thought was that it was pretty enough and I could sort of smell the Chanel DNA, but Beige was really not my color or my cup of tea. I didn't mind it, just couldn't see the point. I kept testing Beige over the years (had a funny vision about it the second time around), and recently decided to really devote a few days to living with it, just so I can get it out of my system.
Spoiler alert: I'm not buying a bottle.
Beige is a lightly honeyed floral fragrance. It's very feminine, quite proper, and so light on sillage and projection that it's truly an inoffensive, office-friendly perfume. The freesia note is straight out of a Crabtree & Evelyn catalog, and it makes Chanel Beige smell not so much soapy, but more like a good shampoo, already lathered under a good stream of hot water in a fancy shower. The white fluffy towel awaits you.
The honey in Beige less an actual note and more a fattening of the hawthorn. There's nothing dirty or animalic here, so those who shy away from anything that reminds them of Miel de Bois should be safe here. Beige has a certain warmth and a musky dry-down that lingers on long after you no longer feel "perfumed". I think that this is my favorite thing about Beige, even if it forces me to spray most of a sample's content for every wearing. The late dry-down is sweeter and smoother than Beige lets on at first; sort of like the lining, stitches, and little details inside a real Chanel couture garment.
Chanel Beige ($130, 2.5oz EDT) is available from select department stores, Chanel boutiques and chanel.com.
Art: Cecilia Paredes, 2010