Friday, February 15, 2013

The Friday Forum - February 15

Last Saturday, I spent a wonderful two hours with Chanel's fragrance guru, Christian Jorgensen. That's him above on the right. My buddy and one of the best makeup artists in the world, Loyd Cassler, is standing at left. I lined them up so that the picture  of Chanel N°5 would be showcased. Don't you think they make a better advertisement than Brad Pitt did?

Saks Fifth Avenue was the first store to have Chanel's distinctive olfactive bar. I showed you the new installation at Saks Chevy Chase (see this link). I believe the bar at Chevy Chase is one of only three, but there are more planned.

As Christian and I started to chat about it, I asked him about his history. How did he get the coveted job as a Chanel fragrance ambassador? In short, Chanel had sent him to ISIPCA (Institut supérieur international du parfum, de la cosmétique et de l'aromatique alimentaire), a school for post-graduate studies in perfume, cosmetics, and food flavor formulation. He was in France for a month. In addition to his course of study at ISIPCA, he had opportunities to see the Chanel factory, visit the corporate offices, see Jacque Polge's laboratory, and experience a behind-the-scenes tour of Versailles (beyond the ropes). I learned so much about Chanel's history that day!

While Christian was at ISIPCA, he had to take a test: create his own fragrance and the story and marketing to promote it. Why did he select an oriental? His mother wore Shalimar, and his aunt wore Opium. Although he had planned to create a unisex oriental, he quickly realized that the perfumer's task isn't easy. He ditched that idea and created a feminine fragrance to honor his memories. The ingredients included rose, vanilla, white musk, black pepper, jasmine, and synthetics. His fragrance? Les Nuits d'Isis. His marketing? Every woman is a goddess! He passed and returned to the United States with a knowledge base that's impressive.

Chanel's olfactive bars are designed with ceramic blotters that allow you to experience the dry-down of a fragrance. When you test a fragrance in a store, you'll smell the top notes first. The scent will normally change, so unless you spray the fragrance on your skin and wait - sometimes hours - you won't know how it will smell on dry-down. The blotters, designed by Christoper Sheldrake, are infused with fragrance for one week before they are presented in the tubes. The ceramics have no fragrance of their own. When you smell them, you perceive the fragrance as if it had been on your skin for hours. Plus, there's no paper to add its own scent (paper has a smell). Those papers you are offered to test fragrances in stores do carry a scent of their own.

I was very interested in the Exclusifs. The original 10 were released in 2007. Sycomore and Beige were introduced in 2008, followed by Jersey in 2011 and the new, stupendous 1932 this year. We reviewed all of them, and Christian told me the story of each, its connection to Coco Chanel, and the notes.

One story - not about the Exclusifs Collection - that I found interesting is that N°5 and N°22 were created at the same time. Coco Chanel had a really hard time selecting which to introduce. Her ultimate choice was N°5. The following year, when she wanted to introduce another fragrance, N°22 was ready to go.

I had already purchased 1932 the week before. I know I need to feature it for you, and I promise I will get to it soon. It is a floral lover's dream, a "powdery-floral with a focus on jasmine. It opens with fresh citrusy flavors that include aldehydes, bergamot and neroli. The heart is a heady floral, composed of jasmine, rose, ylang-ylang, lilac, and carnation. The base is sweet, woody, and resinous with notes of vetiver, orris, sandalwood, opoponax, incense, vanilla, coumarin, ambrette, musk, and iralia molecule, which possesses the character of iris and violet (from Fragrantica).

I asked Christian about Bel Respiro, one of the Exclusifs that I was determined to purchase. Bel Respiro was named after Coco Chanel's weekend home outside Paris.  It was there that she entertained. She had painted her house beige with black shutters - so Chanel. The neighbors were horrified. Apparently in those days, that was unconventional.

Jacques Polge went out to the house and just smelled. He wanted to get the aura of the house and gardens. Fortunately, the house is still owned by Chanel, so little has changed. He smelled green - freshly cut grass and green leaves - wafting into the windows, so he returned to Paris and created Bel Respiro, a fresh, green scent that would take you to there. I did purchase it. It's irresistible.

One by one, Christian explained all the Exclusifs to me. I have pages of notes, and I'll never be able to transfer all of his good stories to you in one fell swoop. Stay tuned for more. I'll try to cover my mini-book in future features.

For now, though, I have something really exciting to announce. The wonderful team at Saks Chevy Chase gave me two coveted samples of 1932 to give away to my readers. I'm going to have to limit this giveaway to United States residents because postal authorities have started to destroy fragrances sent against regulations, making international shipments without a license really risky. If you live in the U.S. and would like to enter to win one of the two samples, please say so in the comments and give me a way to reach you if you win. I will select two winners on Saturday at midnight.

Many thanks to Christian and Loyd! I had a wonderful day last week. That's enough from me for now. It's time for the Friday Forum. I love this part of our week. What new products did you discover this week? Did you find any deals you couldn't resist? Are you using a fabulous product and want to sing its praises? Did you find a beauty product disappointing? Do you have a question others might be able to answer? Want to talk about skin care? What's new in your life? Just use the comments. Don't be shy. Just make sure to ask any question you might have over the weekend. By early the next week, most (not all) readers will have moved on.

Don't forget this week's exciting giveaway contest for Chanel's limited-edition Mouche de Beauté Illuminating Powder. The deadline for entries is  tomorrow, February 16, at midnight. You know what Lady Luck says, "If you don't play, you can't win." Good luck!

Update 2/19: May, Mary, and Meredith won the 1932 samples, and they were mailed today.

Photo of 1932 courtesy of Chanel; other photo by Best Things in Beauty

57 comments:

Wendy said...

How interesting. No wonder I usually always hate fragrances I've tested on paper strips. Such a shame. All those fragrances I must have passed over because of my impatience and paper.

May said...

Hmm, I just posted a comment essentially begging for a 1932 sample (pretty, pretty please, with a bountiful cherry on top), but I don't see it yet. Shall I try again?

May said...

Okay, strange that the original comment that I posted via my iPhone didn't go through. Well, as I just said above, and which I shall elaborate on now, may I please, please, please have one of the samples of 1932? :) I collect fragrance samples (I am a perfume fanatic, but collecting regular size fragrances would be too wasteful, not to mention darn expensive, so fragrance samples it is for me), and I don't have 1932 in my collection, so I'm here to beg/cajole/wheedle/whine/etc etc for one, pretty, pretty please.

I'm posting this comment via my Google account. Not sure if you are able to contact me that way? If not, then please let me know so that I can email you. :)

Thanks!

May said...

I didn't know that USPS had started to get strict with shipping fragrances. I recently sold a mini-bottle of fragrance and coincidentally this morning the buyer contacted me to inform me that she had not yet received the item. I was worrying that the item had gotten lost (that would've been a first for me), but this may be the more likely reason.

Fortunately, I have another bottle, but I see that shipping fragrances is going to become much more of a hassle from now on.

Charleston Girl said...

May, your Blogger profile is not displayed when I go there. You must have set it that way. Just send me an e-mail to the blog so I'll know how to find you.

USPS has always been strict. You must lie when they ask if anything liquid is inside. Once, before I knew, I said "perfume," and they rejected my package. Now it's Royal Mail in England. They are sending notices saying, "We destroyed the contents of your package." Has the fragrance world in a tizzy. Honestly, I don't believe a small amount of fragrance could blow up an airliner. The airlines need to do some science here, and not just react.

Charleston Girl said...

Wendy, I never realized it either. However, I smelled one recently and got, well, cardboard. No wonder so many fragrances in the past had a slight "off" scent, that now I realize is cardboard!

Charleston Girl said...

Oh, and May, for some reason, shipping times have increased. A friend sent me $1500 worth of fragrance that I should have received last week. We were both dying over it. Where was it? Finally, it arrived. One bottle was irreplaceable, so insurance wouldn't have done much good. Seriously not available. It's L'Abeille de Guerlain. The last issue was very limited, and the price for a full bottle was $24,000.

lovethescents said...

1932 is indeed beautiful. I'm so glad I have my own! Enjoy.

Charleston Girl said...

I'm so glad you have it, Lovethescents. It's not all that pricey, but it smells like a million bucks (IMHO).

I want Chanel's Eau de Cologne next. Then...not sure. While I appreciate the heavier Exclusifs, I don't think I could wear them.

Mandy said...

Too bad I'm north of the border. I don't even know where I can find it in Canada to take a whiff. The only place I would imagine is in Holt Renfrew, but apparently not :(

Mandy said...

Oh wait, I just found a blogger who said she did find it in Holts! This'll be fun!

Anonymous said...

Would love to try 1932... Also, can't wait to read your write up about Jersey. Heard great things about it.

Walls said...

Thanks for another Chanel giveaway, CG! I would love a chance to receive a sample of 1932. I love floral scents, and am quite picky when it comes to perfume. This sounds right up my alley. I'll keep my fingers crossed. Happy Friday and weekend!

Michael Leong said...

I live in the us and would love a sample of 1932 since it sounds like a dream come true.

Teresa said...

I just found your blog and Immediately bookmarked it on my iPad! It is exactly what I have been searching for! Thank You!!!

Anonymous said...

Wow, one person gets a sample and you get a deluge of other people asking for one too. Not cool.

May said...

CG, I too noticed that USPS First Class Mail seems to be slowing down; it used to be basically as fast as USPS Priority Mail. Not sure if Priority Mail has slowed down as well.

It seems that USPS has become stricter about scanning the contents of packages, since I was sending the fragrance via First Class Mail, i.e., air mail. I never had a problem doing this in the past, and the amount of liquid was seriously tiny - 0.17oz, if I recall correctly.

I hope L'Abeille de Guerlain was the "bee's knees"! (Me and my corny cross-cultural puns.) I feel a little woozy at that price tag, although I assume it was more for the container than for the actual liquid. You have very generous friends. :)

Eileen said...

Hi Anonymous,

People aren't being greedy. You missed a crucial piece: Charlestongirl is doing a give-away of samples. That's why people are making comments about wanting 1932. All's good :-)

Nemo said...

Better than Mr. Pitt? Yes! Yes! Your friends look happy and genial; I can see myself spending hours with them, just chatting and buying makeup. CHANEL makeup. Brad Pitt makes me wanna itch, like when you've seen bugs or worms or something and can't stop thinking about'em!

Charleston Girl said...

Cool, Mandy! I love it - hope you do too.

Charleston Girl said...

Hi Anonymous,

I really like Jersey, named, of course, after the fabric.

Charleston Girl said...

Hi Walls, it's the cat's meow for floral lovers!

Charleston Girl said...

You are entered, Michael.

Charleston Girl said...

Hi Theresa,

Cool! Thanks.

Charleston Girl said...

Dear 2:20 Anonymous,

Did you read this feature? I offered a giveaway of two samples. Please back up and read it before you criticize my wonderful readers.

Charleston Girl said...

Hi May, I'm sure a couple thousand dollars of it was for the bottle. It's an amazing, museum piece. :)

Charleston Girl said...

Oh, and, I think Priority Mail has slowed. I am noticing it's no faster than first class.

Charleston Girl said...

Thanks, Eileen.

Charleston Girl said...

LOL, Nemo. He does look grungy.

May said...

Hi, Anonymous @ 2:20PM. Since I assume your comment was at least partially directed at me, I hope you don't mind if I say a few words. :) I realize I probably got a bit carried away in my begging for a Chanel 1932 sample; as I mentioned, I collect fragrances/fragrance samples, and I'd love to add Chanel 1932 to my collection, hence I got a bit over-exuberant. Please accept my apologies if I unintentionally offended you!

As CG stated in her post, she is doing a giveaway for 2 samples, and she will select 2 winners at midnight tonight. Therefore, if you want one of those samples for yourself (of course you do, it's Chanel :), all you have to do is ask. You can't win if you don't ask. :) We all have an equal chance of winning one, as CG is exceedingly fair (and generous to a fault!). Therefore, don't let my bountiful enthusiasm dissuade you from entering, and best of luck to you!

Virginie said...

1932!!!!! CAn't wait to see what it is....I was thinking, who is the lucky woman, or girlfriend, if this man has one, she is the luckiest girl in the world!
Thank you, to them too!

Melanie said...

I can't enter (boo-hoo!), but for MANDY: Holt's on Bloor in Toronto will have it!

Melanie said...

Oh, and yes, far better than Brad Pitt. I have not been loving Chanel's choice for "faces" lately. Brad Pitt does not say N°5 to me in the least.

Anonymous said...

1932 comes out in the UK next month, I'll need to wait till then to smell it ! Patience is, apparently, a virtue........ :)

Anne

Christine Crabb said...

1932 sounds lovely! I live in the US and my email is crabb dot christine at yahoo dot com. Thanks for the draw!

Charleston Girl said...

May, tomorrow, sweetie! Midnight Saturday is the deadline. I got another one today, so I will actually draw three winners! Chances are going up!

Charleston Girl said...

Hi Virginie, entered. It is a glorious fragrance. I definitely want all you U.S. gals in search of Chanel fragrances to call Saks Chevy Chase. They have everything, and they are so friendly. Today, Georgia told me she would sample with purchase for my readers!

Charleston Girl said...

I'm sorry, Melanie. I just can't fill out a customs sheet and lie so totally. I try to stick fragrance samples in my weekly winner boxes, but I've stopped doing that for international winners - simply because I don't want to kill the whole box.

Charleston Girl said...

Hey Melanie,

You will be happy to know that Gisele is the new face of Chanel!

Charleston Girl said...

Hey Anne,

It will be worth the wait.

Charleston Girl said...

Hi Christine, entered!

beano54 said...

wow some great information about fragrance
would So love to work for chanel best job for a beauty junkie lol

Charleston Girl said...

Hi Beano,

Talk to reader Rosemary. She worked for Chanel for a short time. Loves the brand beyond belief.

They do treat their long-time people well at the better stores. My fave team had a fabulous training trip to NYC recently.

Anonymous said...

I'd love a chance to try 1932...

cherylbogdan@hotmail.com

Anonymous said...

I'd love to win a sample! Thank you CG, Lloyd, Christian, and all the Chevy Chase Team! Denise at aeiokid at comcast dot net

Mary said...

I'd love to try 1932. Thank you. artbaker at optonline dot net

CrystesMom said...

I have not heard of 1932 before, so of course, I would love to try it. It sounds so lovely. Thank you, CG!

crystesmom (at) yahoo (dot) com

sunnlitt said...

Well, Charleston Girl,

You are hosting another great giveaway! Thanks for all your generosity...

I would love to sniff this Chanel.
Have a lovely weekend,

sunnlittlane at yahoo dot com

Betsy said...

I'd love to smell that!!

vicious081 AT hotmail DOT com

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for this wonderful post on 1932. I love the Eau de Cologne and the Sycamore was very pretty when layered over the Exclusifs Body Cream. So far, I haven't been able to zone in on one. Would love to try a 1932 sample.
Tanja

Anonymous said...

I didn't see my post show up, so I'm reposting.

I would love to win, pick me, pick me, pick me!

I'll email you.
jl

Meredith said...

Hi CG,

I would love to see the special bottle of Guerlain that you received. Would you show us a photo?

Yes, Brad was a terrible choice to represent Chanel #5. He looks like one of the Manson followers, that's Charles Manson, not Marilyn Manson!

I would love to enter the contest for the 1932 sample, please. I will send you an email with my address.

Thank you!

LoveSugarBabyDoll said...

the thought of destroying Chanel parfum made me cringe.

thank you for the opportunity to try 1932.

i do love Chanel :)

this week i have been trying and so far loving the Dior Diorskin Nude BB cream in fair 01. i am not really sure that it is a BB cream in the traditional sense, but it works for me. Light, sheer coverage easy for a casual makeup day.

Dovey said...

Hi Charlestongirl,
Rhia aounsa like an amazing olfactive experience! If I ever stop by the Chevy Chase Saks I'll have to check out the olfactive bar! I have yet to try the Exclusifs, but if I do I'll be certain to start with the recs here (esp Bel Respiro).

I would love to be entered in your 1932 sample giveaway :) My gmail is cuteandmundane

Rola said...

1932 is a beautiful scent, very Chanel!

Roberta said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Roberta said...

I would love to win the 1932 sample. It sounds like a wonderful fragrance that would suit me. My email is scab_fern at yahoo.com