Perfume Directory

Égoïste / L'Égoïste (1990)
by Chanel


Égoïste / L'Égoïste information

Year of Launch1990
AvailabilityIn Production
Average Rating
(based on 1241 votes)

People and companies

PerfumerJacques Polge
Parent CompanyWertheimer

About Égoïste / L'Égoïste

Launched in 1990. A woody, spicy fragrance with a vanilla and sandalwood drydown.The fragrance was originally launched in the USA as a limited edition called 'Bois Noir' in 1987.

Égoïste / L'Égoïste fragrance notes

Reviews of Égoïste / L'Égoïste

As I listen to 'Blade Runner Blues' and enter a cloud Égoïste, a hazy nostalgia of a life I never lived comes over me.

A balcony overlooking a vibrant metropolis in the pouring rain, circa the late '80s or early '90s. Neon signs blurred by the steam rising from the streets below. A glass of whiskey, maybe a cigar. A silent TV playing the news. Solitude.

Thoughts of the past with one eye on the future.
03rd August, 2018
This has become my very favorite fragrance and in the past I have preferred classic English traditional fragrances which are still part of my fragrance wardrobe and always will be. Égoïste is a perfect sandalwood fragrance to me and that is why I love it. It is more complex than just Sandalwood, Rose is a significant component too. It is long lasting and the sillage is just right. Opus 1870 is similar, but it has it own distinct charms. I am enjoying Sandalwood so much that I use Égoïste EDT with the deodorant in the morning and I keep Opus 1870 and Trumper's Sandalwood deodorant in my gym bag for after my mid-day workout. If you like Rose and Sandalwood you will love this one.
26th May, 2018
10is Show all reviews
United States
Absolutely gorgeous! This is the fragrance that got me into this hobby and it was love at first sniff. It starts off with a spicy, peppery blast with a soft rose backbone. The scent develops into a warmer scent, with the beautiful blend of the sandalwood, saffron, and rose (think creamy and lush). There's a bit of a transparent feel throughout the drydown, but this isn't a bad thing - it's clean while being a little dirty and not overly heavy.

1 Word Summary: Masterpiece!

Rating: 10/10
01st May, 2018 (last edited: 02nd May, 2018)
I'm probably going to get shot for saying this but I hate Egoiste.

That doesn't mean that I don't respect the fan base it has or that I consider it to be poorly made. I just hate the smell of it. All I get is cheap vanilla air freshener, plastic, unwashed spice rack and god knows what else.

Sorry but just not for me!
30th April, 2018
Égoïste, like most Chanel masculines, is a watershed fragrance among hobbyists and collectors, while just a damned good scent for everyone else, with a lot of history leading up to it's creation. Chanel's own personal historians claim it is a masculine take on the venerable Bois de Iles (1926), which itself was the first notable woodsy perfume for women and second collaboration between Coco Chanel herself and perfumer Ernest Beaux. Just as Bois de Iles had to follow up the epic Chanel No. 5 (1921), Égoïste had to follow up it's own creator's high precedent too, since it was made by Jacques Polge, a perfumer who made the 2nd Chanel masculine Antaeus (1981), and would be the house perfumer for the designer well into the next century. Times had changed greatly since the release of Antaeus, and it's mossy, virile, and assertively masculine style were out to the pastures by the end of the 1980's, which is something Chanel was likely to be acutely aware of when development began on this in 1987 under a different name: Bois Noir. Most folks who follow Égoïste closely enough will sort this out in an evening, but it's impossible to review this without touching on the importance of the now-unicorn-status prototype which was the test bed for this. Bois Noir was sold only domestically in France at first upon launch in 1987, then rolled out a year later to the US as a limited-edition to presumably also test it's marketability to a larger western market, then retooled after feedback was given into what became Égoïste. May I also mention that this name was given only because Chanel thought "Bois Noir" sounded too boring for the male market? Otherwise, it may have just been reformulated and kept the name.

Some will say Bois Noir was a truer representation of a male equivalent to Bois de Iles, the superior version of Égoïste that should have never been changed, and others will say it was simply a heavier but ultimately less exciting prototype that is over-hyped due to it's rarity and expense in the second-hand market, but both arguments are the result of the eternal "haves and have nots" conflict found in any hobby based on collecting, and honestly neither answer is wrong depending on one's own experience whether that includes owning/sampling a bottle of Bois Noir or not. Égoïste is either a refinement or an alteration of Bois Noir depending on how you feel, but regardless, it is still a male interpretation of Bois de Iles all the same, which was the original intent. Bois Noir used a sweeter mandarin in it's head note, and paired the central rose heart with lavender, which is why many might see it as darker, more of a true oriental, compared to the brisker, slightly brighter Égoïste. The scent as most know it opens with tangerine and rosewood, neither of which stick around long because the focus here is damask rose and sandalwood. Fans of Azzaro Acteur (1989) will immediately recognize this dark, sweet rose in Égoïste, but its pairing with Égoïste's creamy woods in place of Acteur's leather does a better job of hiding the fact. Like many sandalwood-themed masculines, the ingredients surrounding the primary note are used to compliment, sustain, and project it out more, and such is the case here: the sandalwood appears within minutes and is supported by coriander, the damask rose, and held in place by dry vanilla and ambrette seed, which produces a sort of musk and used to be a source of synthetic nitro musk decades ago. Égoïste is one of the few masculines that has a dry vanilla which serves only to preserve warmth, and not ensconce the base in fatty sweetness (which is good in the right context mind you) but such richness wouldn't be balanced here so thankfully it was applied sensitively. Égoïste sort of presaged a movement of clean, semi-sweet psuedo-orientals throughout the 90's that ran alongside the aquatics, ozonics, and "fresh" fougères of the day, but with the years of research and testing going into this, it's unsurprising. Older vintages come across a little sweeter, middle vintages in the taller spray bottles are drier, and newer batches returning to the original square bottles are closer to deep vintage with the sweetness, but this fragrance has remained pretty consistent otherwise throughout it's life.

Égoïste helped ease the transition from the old guard of aromatic fougères, oakmoss powerhouses, heavy leather/tobacco/green chypres, orientals, and musks that plumed off shirt collars in the 70's and 80's, by being both friendly to guys endeared to them as well as younger fellas finding this first. Égoïste was the perfect sequel to Polge's own Antaeus, which would by 1990 seem too forceful to those younger folks who enjoyed Cool Water (1988) and Eternity for men (1989). Even if Bois Noir technically preceded Égoïste, it was a market experiment (and now a trophy item for rich collectors), while Égoïste was the final product of that experiment, so Chanel if nothing else could be credited with having foresight other houses did not at the time, as some were still pumping out powerhouses doomed to obscurity into the 90's. It's bright, clean, dry, and fireplace-warm presentation of rose and sandalwood smells just as appropriate in the 21st century as it did the late 20th, and much like Chanel Pour Monsieur (1955), will always be a classy timeless alternative to the "hip and now" for guys who want to smell composed without compromise. It's not entirely without sensuality, but I'm thinking Égoïste is more of a ballroom atmosphere than a night club, even though I'm sure it ended up in them when initially released due to the insane popularity resulting from what was then Chanel's biggest commercial push since No. 5. Chanel and Polge would also later make the Égoïste Platinum/Platinum Égoïste (1993) flanker as a reaction to the success of Eternity for Men's sharp lavender and sandalwood accord, and that one would actually become more popular than the original Égoïste itself for shamelessly catching such a trend. I see Égoïste as having one's cake and eating it too: it's inoffensive enough for any environment save maybe a sweltering summer day, but has more personality and charm than anything else in the market that could also be described as inoffensive. It's a warm hug from a dear friend, bottled and brought to you by Chanel. Enjoy.
19th February, 2018 (last edited: 02nd November, 2018)
Theodore Twombly
06th February, 2018

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