Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Chanel- Misia (Les Exclusifs)

Art: Baroness Vera Wassilko by Christian Schad, 1926

Last night's review was of an opulent iris perfume with an almost languorous nature, the kind you find sprawled on the most lavish silks and doesn't get up until noon. Sort of like Misia Sert  herself, the bohemian muse who was also a friend of Mademoiselle Chanel. But Misia the perfume is a different creature. Crisp, clipped, linear, and determined, like a 1920s bobbed haircut. Misia delivers exact doses of iris and violets that walk the line between soap and powder, nostalgia and modern minimalism, Chanel and Guerlain.

 Misia is also very pretty. Not wistfully or heartbreakingly so, but pure and simple in its perfect proportions. The balance is kept so accurately that despite the turn towards the vintage dressing table through the powdery makeup vibe, Misia is still not overly feminine. It has the same gender-free appeal as Prada Infusion d'Iris: clean, approachable, a good office-mate kind of a thing. But this is Chanel, and the iris is more irisy, its spine is straighter, and the overall impression is of good breeding and good money, which is yet another point in favor of Misia: you get all the Chanel magic, tradition, and pretty packaging in a large bottle that's still cheaper than Tom Ford. Who can resist that?

Chanel's Misia has something austere about it, which is why I didn't use any photo or artwork depicting the actual Misia Sert on all her sensual and bosomy presence. The perfume watches its waist and doesn't get all foody and plump the way a Guerlain fragrance would have done given similar notes. Also, it lacks a certain playfulness, but that's probably what makes Misia so easy to pull off on any given day. It's there, it smells good, it's reliable. I can see Misia becoming the same kind of a default perfume that the various versions of No.5 are for me and Sycomore is for the husband. Too lazy or tired to choose? Going to spend the day around  people with unknown attitudes towards perfume? Grab that Chanel and go.

Notes: violet, iris, orris root, Turkish rose, benzoin , tonka bean.

Chanel Misia ($160, 2.5oz EDT) is available at Chanel boutiques and


  1. There are some perfumes I wish I could have temporary olfactory amnesia for when I sample them - this was one of them. I really appreciate this scent on multiple levels...but I just can't seem to make an emotional connection with it or be excited about it. My thought is that maybe if I hadn't tried three billion and eighty four scents prior to trying this I could find a way to connect with it emotionally, have it be one of the first in a certain category of perfumes and create memories and associations with it, but, as it is, I just find it to be another lovely perfume that I'm happy to have sampled, but don't even need a decant of. I also have to admit that I would have loved it had Polge actually created a perfume like Khol de Bahrein for Misia. I'm afraid I'd been guilty of having expectations along those lines for this fragrance given what I'd read about Misia. After sampling it, I read on Now Smell This that Polge wasn't actually intending to capture the spirit of Misia in this fragrance - instead, certain things related to her and her friendship with Coco. Obviously, he's free to do whatever he chooses and follow the path that most inspires him, but I confess I was disappointed and can't help but wish they'd named it something else and saved the name Misia for something more directly related to the woman herself as I think she could inspire an astonishing perfume (such as KdB).

  2. Chanel and I have a long standing relationship, it was the first line I truly found many to love and call my own. Want something classic to wear? Choose No 5. Need a light and sporty scent for a warm day out? The original Cristalle eau de toilette is perfectly sporty, crisp and green. Something exotic with mystery and intrigue? Coromandel is spot-on.

    Loving Chanel's Misia was totally unexpected, my typical scent is usually a bitter chypre or opulent oriental; many may call MIsia uninteresting but it's I think it's the olfactory equivalent of a pair of khakis or taupe eye shadow - a neutral workhorse that serves many a function with ease. Sometimes that's perfect.

  3. Funny that you should call it (in effect) a no-brainer scent, since that's what I've found it is for me. I bought a decant when it first came out; was about to pass it on but tried it one more time; K liked it; I decided that I'd give it a 3rd try... and now I have a second decant for when I've worked through the first.


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