The opening with its green notes gives way to a more floral drydown and a fresh leathery accord. Quite restrained, it never develops into anything more than average on my skin. Adequate sillage and projection with four hours of longevity. 2.5/5
Along with Coromandel this is the worst of the Exclusifs: Coromandel is an extremely sickly and sweet gourmand scent; Bel Respiro is an equally sickly green one. Aggressive, brash and far too green, it certainly doesn't smell like an expensive fragrance. There are very few Polge perfumes that I like; but whereas I would say fragrances like Allure simply aren't my type, Bel Respiro and Coromandel are really nasty. For a far more pleasant green Chanel, try No18 (in my opinion, Polge at his best), or trusty old (but far from dated) No19.
It smells to me like Bel Respiro is Chanel's entry in the "aquatic floral" genre, typified by mixes of melon and lily. As a genre, these are usually fairly simple and often quite similar, but Bel Respiro breaks the mold by adding in a lot of intricacy. For a start, there's citrus on top, as well as a pinch of tomato leaf for added green. It's a bit peppery, and the florals are much more nuanced that the simple lily mixes that usually characterize this style.
There's also a strong chemical component to the smell - both an undertone of fabric softener musks and a thick "watery" sheen that's almost the star of the scent. As such, Bel Respiro isn't very literal - it's an abstract expression of a shaded pond surrounded by flowers, or maybe an Elizabethan garden on a hot morning just after its been watered and everything is dripping wet. Not that it smells like these in a specific scientific sense, but more in a theoretical sense.
All in all, I think Bel Respiro is an intelligent, artful perfume, very much deserving of a thumbs up, just for its artistic and symbolic complexity, but I'm not really a fan of melon and I don't particularly enjoy smelling like weird "limpid watery" chemicals, so it's not really the perfume for me.
By now Iíve tried all of the Chanel Les Exclusifs range save Beige, and I have mixed feelings about them as a group. All are beautiful, all are superbly blended, and all smell of quality. Some, including Cuir de Russie, Sycomore, Bois des Iles, and 31 Rue Cambon, grip me as unique and brilliant. Others, including No. 18, 28 La Pausa, and No. 22, while just as lovely, strike me as somewhat interchangeable variations on a single theme Ė that theme being iris. Iris root is wonderful, but I donít need that many iris scents.
Bel Respiro is a crisp, yet extremely smooth, floral green scent of exquisite poise and delicacy. The balance between sharp, grassy galbanum and velvet soft floral notes achieved in Bel Respiro is nothing short of perfect to my nose. If you enjoy Vent Vert, Calandre, or Chanelís own No. 19, try Bel Respiro. Itís transparent Ė even ethereal - compared to these, but also more sophisticated and complex, and I think it would make a great introduction to the green fragrance family.
Bel respiro opens with quite a classic accord of flowers, green notes and aldehydes on a slight powdery/vanilla base, quite "glamour" and elegant, accurately rounded and cleared from all ambiguities Ė no sensuality, no earthiness, no "natural" nuances, just the perfect, sharp, clean, anonymous elegant scent for the (anonymous) "modern woman" which chooses her new signature scent every year by browsing fashion magazines. It then evolves on a softer orris-carnation accord with a slight leather base which is barely noticeable (it emerges better on the drydown, but don't expect anything amazing). A nice scent overall, an inoffensive, refined, wearable feminine crowdpleaser.