Chevalier opens with a marvelous blend of citrus, herbs, and lavender that soon makes room for very airy floral notes. The persistent herbal accord keeps the flowers from getting either stuffy or too sweet, and as some subtle spice emerges Chevalier’s heart falls into perfect balance. The base of moss, amber, and wood is firm, yet light and clear, leaving the entire composition exquisitely poised and elegant. A cool, subtle pine note plays throughout, leaving an impression of aloof nobility.
True to its name, Chevalier is sophisticated and refined. It’s complex enough to hold interest, and confident enough that it never needs to shout. As foetidus points out, it’s also highly versatile, and would make a great scent for those who want to keep a limited wardrobe. The lasting power is quite reasonable, thanks to the lingering pine and amber in the base, and the moderate projection is just enough to be noticed but never offend – a truly well composed and well executed scent.
A traditional scent
The vintage version: The top note is a pleasant floral-citrus mix with a bit of neroli, that in the drydown adds lavender and later a woody notes. Towards the end a light and not unpleasant powdery tone is added. An interestingly blended quite complex composition, that develops well but in the later stages does fail to inspire me. Projection is all right initially, and the longevity was about two hours.
A very nice dry, almost bitter (in a nice way) citrus, that does not develop on me.
I so wanted to like this - for the packaging and bottle alone - but it must take a back seat to my citrus of choice - Borsari's Acqua Classica.
Chevalier d'Orsay is an insanely complex fragrance, and that makes it really hard to describe what it smells like. I think Swanky's comparison to YSL our Homme is apt, except Chevalier has an overriding lemony smell, and it has stronger, longer lasting lavender. A huge pile of various herbs, citrus notes and woody notes contribute little sparkles of scent, popping in and out throughout its duration.
The drydown is the best part - dry, bitter and slightly powdery, sort of like bitter orange peel blended with talc and moss. I smell no pine in this whatsoever, and I have a hard time imagining pine fitting in with a sunny, lemony scent like this.
Chevalier d'Orsay has a reputation of being a "dandified" fragrance, but I don't quite look at it that way. Granted, it does have a little bit of a prim and proper smell to it, but it's not a sweet scent, it not overly powder, and it's not as stuffy or fussy smelling as some other dandy fragrances like Floris No. 89 or Jicky. I think this is a great scent to wear in hot weather, as it has a Mediterranean flair with its citrusy, herbal smell.
MY RATING: 8/10
Beautiful opening composed of highly refined complex accords of citrus, berries, lavender, and herbs, with florals rising up from the middle. A very attractive beginning: full, balanced, sweet, and done with the artistic delicacy that is so typical of d’Orsay’s fragrances. As the citrus fades, the florals take more and more prominence, until the rather sweet floral / herbal heart is achieved. Again it is a beautifully delicate and refined accord that, I think, gets less masculine as the lavender disappears. I get a mixed floral with the Lily of the Valley taking precedence over a touch of both Neroli and Angelique. It’s not long before the base shows up with the pine, iris, and amber showing themselves with confidence. At this point, the iris and amber seem to seal the fragrance’s fate of living in the condition of borderline masculinity — Chevalier is truly unisex. This fragrance can work anywhere—quiet enough for the office and romantic enough for… romance—casual enough for jeans and refined enough for a tuxedo. It has acceptable longevity. An excellent fragrance: It is so solid in its beauty and delicacy — it is a scent that can be trusted.
Originally submitted 06 April 2007, Taiwan