I am a great champion of delicate perfumes because I think they're misunderstood. Nonetheless, sometimes you want a beast, and when you do, there's no point in messing around. I don't know why people say Coromandel smells like Chanel. If this has "Chanel DNA," I'm Naomi Cambpell (well, I wish . . .). This is an ultra-neo-semi-gourmand-powerhouse. It's a beast. But who cares? Coromandel rocks the house like a Led Zepplin track--"Kashmir" to be precise, with its "trippy" drum effects and eastern affectations--and, like Kashmir, is basically the same thing over and over, but the hook is so great, it doesn't matter.
Actually, that's not entirely true. Coromandel unfolds in stages, modulations on the same theme of jasmine, patchouli, a highly modified amber, benzoin and frankincense. The opening gathers the notes under a burst of jasmine, and then an extremely full-throated patchouli unrolls underneath all the other elements like a carpet. This patchouli holds the stage for about an hour, then slowly recedes to leave an amber that is almost entirely shorn of its animalic qualities, intensely sweetened and then pulverized to bits. Lashed with vanilla and benzoin, kissed with the citrus of frankincense, clinging to what I suspect is a bit of white musk, what would have been a dusty amber is now a slow unfolding of stages of white chocolate powder with gradually fading bits of patchouli still clinging to it. Jasmine weaves in and out through these in a lazy striptease.
This tension between pale chocolate and almost (but not quite) nasty patchouli is fabulous, an analogue Angel. It works on my skin even at very low volume; I can do a tiny 1/2 spray in warm weather and let it bloom. But, honestly, that's no fun. Cool weather suits it best. To paraphrase the French writer Colette, if I can't wear a lot of Coromandel, I don't wear Coromandel; I recommend the same (Colette was talking about eating truffles, but you get the idea). Spray with abandon, but look out. This one goes to 11.
29th June, 2016 (last edited: 09th July, 2016)
Honestly, Coromandel and I just don't get along. On its best days, it's an old fashioned amber with a hint of that weird Knize Ten gasoline note, along with some mossy greens that fuse with the gasoline to smell kind of sour and sickly in the background of the pretty amber. On its worst days, it's just an explosion of dirty tonka mixed with gasoline, with a hint of bile in the background.
Frankly, after years of trying, I've given up trying to love Coromandel. I understand in theory that this is a great perfume, but I just don't like the way it smells on me. Don't get me wrong, it's always pleasant, but with gross undertones, like a room that's been cleaned and scented, but in which someone has been sick. And with so many fantastic ambers and mossy "oriental" scents out there that I like better, I guess this just means there's more Coromandel for everyone else...
Hell's bells and little fishes....what a magnificent scent is this little (could only afford the 75ml) gem. I only wish that I had more thumbs that I could point upwards to recommend this. Wearing this is like bathing in a luxurious mist of lacquered gold, frankincense, patchouli and amber. When I wear this, I have a definite sense of an olfactory halo illuminating the way, establishing my 'Chanel' aura. This is what number 5 should have been. Don't tell me that this is a feminine scent - halos work well on men too!
With the exception of Cuir de Russie, longevity of the Chanel Les Exclusifs line is disappointing for me - my skin seems to gobble it up. But WOW, is Coromandel the exception! I had decided not to purchase it, in view of this performance issue, but it was still on my wishlist and my dear husband bought me a bottle for my birthday. I am thrilled! As others have noted in reviews and posts, Coromandel doesn't even wash off in the shower - it goes on and on and on, developing its patchouli-and-incense, vanillic richness, curling around one like a column of smoke. I do get the gourmand white chocolate note that others have noted, but the overall balance of notes in this beauty prevents it from being cloying. Coromandel is voluptuous, commanding, fully realized and simply stunning.
Although I occasionally wore "colognes" in the past, it is only recently that I really became interested in fragrances. This was one of the first I tried. More experienced fragheads and perfumistas have described the scent far better than I could, but I will say this: for the first time in my life, I was so overcome by the sheer, sublime beauty of a "mere" smell that my eyes literally welled up with tears. It probably sounds crazy, but I can honestly say that it was one of the most emotionally moving experiences I've had in a long time. And it made me want to invest a lot more time and effort investigating this world of olfactory art. Too bad that, on me, Coromandel is a bit too feminine (at least until the dry-down), but I love it on my wife.
P.S., I think the name "Coromandel" itself simply sounds beautifully mellifluous, a perfect match for the fragrance.
26th February, 2016 (last edited: 02nd March, 2016)