Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Chanel- Bel Respiro (Les Exclusifs)


In a perfect world Bel Respiro would be the standard for the quality and beauty of Chanel Les Exclusifs fragrances. Then again, in a perfect world there wouldn't be a need for a Les Exclusifs line because a Chanel perfume would equal greatness no matter what.

Bel Respiro was one of the original Les Exclusifs released by Chanel in 2007. It never got as much attention as Coromandel or 31 Rue Cambon, and didn't threaten to upstage the classic perfumes in the line, Cuir de Russie and Bois des Iles. Part of it is probably the low concentration that makes Bel Respiro seem pale next to its ancestor Chanel No.19. But we all know that No.19 is not what it used to be, so the only real green iris standing is Bel Respiro. I can live with that.

Bel Respiro opens with pale green leaves and stems swaying lightly in the cool morning breeze. The sky darkens a little as an elegant and austere iris adds its dry bitterness (with little to no powder) and a hint of leather gloves. These notes and the atmosphere around them are so very Chanel. It's very French, very streamlined without being quite minimalistic. Bel Respiro makes me think of great architecture, sublime food, and breathtaking fashion. Basically, it's Chic Parisienne bottled.

As The fragrance develops, the leather feels warmer and gains a slight sweetness and an almost animalic touch. There's something almost vintage-like in Bel Respiro, which is probably why I like it so much. If only it lasted without having to apply a bucketful every time. I've heard that the Les Exclusifs de Chanel Fresh Body Cream enhances the perfume and anchors it well. I have yet to try this miracle cream, so I can't comment. Maybe next winter, because while Bel Respiro is certainly a joy to wear in summer, it has a similar silver bell quality to No. 19  that makes it smell even more wonderful on a cold snowy day spent outside.

The concentration is the only issue I have with Bel Respiro. I still remember a Chanel executive telling me that it was a conscious decision because the Les Exclusifs are meant to be used lavishly. I'm still cranky about it. An extrait would have served Bel Respiro much better than the EDT and would have made me buy a bottle years ago. I am close to surrendering, though. A full bottle is the only way I can drench myself with this lovely iris and grass perfume, and drench I will.

Chanel- Bel Respiro ($130, 2.5oz EDT) is available from Chanel boutiques around the world, Saks flagship store, Bergdorf Goodman, and Chanel.com.

Photo of Nena von Schlebrügge for Chanel, 1960s, via Straight, Stirred Up With A Twist.

4 comments:

  1. I have and love Bel Respiro, but I hardly use it because the humungous bottle is not handbag friendly and it lasts around an hour on me. I find the suggestion of complementing a 200euro fragrance with an equally expensive body cream in order to make it last more than fleetingly so absolutely ridiculous, i shall not buy another Les Exclusifs.
    I was given Bois des Iles as a present, but unfortunately i find it too cloying and dark for me. Bel Respiro is the only Chanel scent I've liked enough to buy myself, so the lack of longevity is crushing.

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  2. I love Bel Respiro. I used up my large sample and got a wonderful compliment on it . I found it particularly lasting on clothes . I have also been contemplating a gigantic bottle of this.

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  3. My theory is that the low concentration of the Exclusifs enables Chanel to compose somewhat classical perfumes that include restricted ingredients. I've never read anything to suggest this; it's just my guess. ~~nozknoz

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  4. I have Bel Respiro and was, at first, not impressed. They say it was created by a master perfumer and this is true because it took me several months to "get to know it" and now that I do, I'm just in love with this sophisticated little beauty. I'm wearing it now, have been for a few hours and a sniff of the wrist reveals lemon, leather and wood with a scent of lively green. I just love it. It's perfect perfume that would take you anywhere, from weekends in jeans and boots to the dressiest of dinners. It is quiet, though, and I like that. The silage on me is massive. It's there until I shower the next day - albeit extremely mild. I think it's the nature of this one, it's a soft, breathy essence after many hours. People are still wearing and smelling of it, but it's so "breathy" that they don't realize it. It goes from being a scent to being an "essence" on the skin. My favorite perfume. Just adore it.

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