Bleu de Chanel - cologne review
When all is said and done, you can hire a cinematic colossus like Martin Scorsese, a looker like Gaspard Ulliel and the charmingly vacant-looking Ingrid Schram, and put together a clever-clever marketing video, but the ad for Bleu de Chanel is still saying: 'Buy this scent and girls will go wild for you'. Or at least, 'Buy this scent and fantasise about girls going wild for you'.
Let's consider the video in detail: Reading between the lines a bit, Gaspard Ulliel's character (some sort of celebrity or actor, like Gaspard himself) has been asked a question at a press conference by (it is implied) Ingrid Schram, a journalist. Also by implication, the question is something banal and predictable - something like: 'What is your next role going to be?' or 'How do you see your career developing from here?' Either that, or it is a question trying to fit Gaspard back into whatever pigeonhole the press have assigned to him.
If we're reading it correctly, while Gaspard ponders the answer to the question, he appears to fantasize about intimate relations with the very same journalist who posed the question (underscored by the awesome Rolling Stones soundtrack to the vid, 'She Said Yeah', which is all about testosterone-fuelled, caveman-subtle girl-ravishing, to put it mildly).
Not only that, in his fantasies he uses his camera a lot (one section is a homage to the famous scene of David Hemmings straddling Veruschka in the 1966 film Blowup): so now he's the journalist/paparazzo, and the lovely journalist lady is his quarry. The vid even opens with Gaspard chasing after Ingrid as she flees into a subway station: the pursued has become the pursuer (for some reason, this brief section reminded us of the cult 1979 film The Warriors - check out the final 40 seconds of the trailer here - or one of Scorsese's less-appreciated works, After Hours - both of which involve trying to escape across New York while pursued by the hordes...).
So sure enough, snapping out of his reverie, the big-chinned one announces: 'I'm not going to be the person I'm expected to be any more'. So it all makes sense. Celebrity gives up the limelight to live out his true, authentic self: which means chasing great-looking, flirty girls. And it's all shot in blue tint - Bleu de Chanel, see?
It's pretty sophisticated stuff, as you might image: not a sweet vanilla creamcake fragrance, and not 'fun' exactly... You can see from the solid, space cadet blue bottle, tinted like a gangster's car windows, that it expects to be taken seriously. You can safely wear this one to work but we're not convinced you'll get any prizes for 'Employee most likely to no longer be the person he's expected to be any more'. If such prizes exist. We think they're normally called letters of dismissal. So panic over: it's not really a cologne that will completely confound your life, after all (whatever the salespeople at Chanel may want us to think).
So, the scent itself: Well, other people smelt grapefruit, incense, ginger and lemon in there, for the most part.
We definitely get the grapefruit scent there, although we suspect it is really a basic lemon scent being made 'bitter', so to speak, by a heavy overlay of pepper. Personally, we felt there were some bitter oranges down there pushing through, but overall, this isn't really a citrus to our noses at all.
Chanel themselves describe Bleu de Chanel as being: For the man who defies convention, a fresh, clean, profoundly sensual fragrance. A striking balance of timeless woody aromatic notes and resolutely innovative elements liberates the senses, offering a singular statement of determination and desire for today’s modern man. No citrus there, then. Wood, basically. Well at least that's what Gaspard's fantasies about Ingrid were giving him...
Others can detect incense, and we vaguely get that after a while, once the scent calms down a bit. Very, very distant notes of Chinese jasmine tea in there, as well. The woodiness, maybe even an apology of mint, comes through much later.
So in short, it's classy stuff, not an easy cologne in many respects - but we doubt that it will allow you completely re-invent yourself á la Monsieur Ulliel.
Overall rating: a sophisticated 8 out of 10.
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