I started my exploration of Égoïste by purchasing a bottle of its current formulation and was blown away by its gorgeous opening. Confusion came about after reading Turin's warning to "Go easy when wearing it, though: this stuff is strong." The delicious opening of sparkling, candied fruits and Christmas spices with its underlying sandalwood promise had me thrilled. The idea that one would need to "take it easy" with it had me at a loss however. The tease of sandalwood all but disappeared into a flat, "tan" base and the exquisite top notes disappeared along with it, quite rapidly.
I wore this formulation for a good part of the year, always hoping to see it deliver on its promise of a stunning ride. I set this one aside as a "lost opportunity" and reverted back to Bois des Îles as it is a finer representation of Chanel sandalwood (especially for the summer months) but found myself wanting to experience Égoïste's opening over and over again. I began wearing Bois des Îles as a "base" and topping it off with Égoïste as an "EdC refresher" until I discovered...
Égoïste Cologne Concentrée. Without even a single spray, just sniffing the cap, I knew I would end up falling in love. Thick, rich, and enveloping before it ever left bottle. Upon taking on my first actual application I'm sure I made some type of ungentlemanly grunt. Here was the realization of the promise made by Polge with Égoïste to deliver a booming, symphonic, swirling perfume that envelopes you in the richness of beyond-elegant citrus, deep spicy notes of freshly baked gingerbread, plum puddings and...sandalwood. Sandalwood that screams quality and intensity in a note that has been debilitated by lack or resources, restrictions and/or poor craftsmanship in the last decade and a half's releases to the masses (though Bois des Îles does a beautiful job recreating the effects of the wood's magical, relaxing, soothing effects without using the actual component).
I subsequently opened a bottle of Égoïste in its first-year-of-issue formulation (a bottle dated to 1990). Sweet, candied fruitiness with a brighter, more sparkling feel than the deep richness of ÉCC but anchored by what makes or breaks this composition...high quality sandalwood. Is there a significant difference between the newer bottle and the one released in 1990? Absolutely, without question: Yes. The earlier version feels "finished." It's complete. It provides the full ride from the intoxicating, bright, candied opening all the way through its intended ride...warm, "holiday spices" in the heart with flits and flickers of the top and base weaving through all the way to its soft, soothing sandalwood base.
The quality differences between pre- and post-reformulation Égoïste are as clear as day to my nose, but my true love will forever lie with Égoïste Cologne Concentrée, a mammoth work of liquid richness and elegance. It ranks near the top of my all-time favorites list and was one of my most satisfying "finds" of 2016.
I read enough hype about this one to pay big money on ebay, but I don't like it more than Egoiste. It's a darker, maybe slightly sweeter, less-projecting version of Egoiste, similar in performance to the parfum versions of Bois des Iles and Cuir de Russie; where I also prefer the less concentrated, greater projecting eau de toilette versions.
If you can find this and you like Egoiste, buy it. Smells close to the original but more refined and fuller. Very rich smelling. Could probably have any girl you wanted if you wore this.
I own all 3 verisons of Egoiste and the CC is in a league of it's own. It is heaven in a bottle from the first spray down to the final faint mist many hours later. Buy it while you can as it is getting hader and more expensive to find even on eBay. 10/10!
One of the great masterpieces - a tale of two scents
As a brother of the original Egoïste EdT, it is no surprise there are lots of similarities, but this is in many aspects a creation in its own rights. The intensive mandarine blast at the beginning give way to the hallmark intensive rose-cum-rosewood core note, which reminds me a lot of the EdT. Then the Cologne Concentré (CC) develops more of a glowing flowery carnation character than the EdT ever offers, and in general it is more flowery after the first couple of hours. Later in both the rosewood dominates, but the wood notes is darker in the EdT even with a touch of pencil shavings, which I never really get in the CC. In the first few hours the EdT is spicier, darker, and later with a touch of vanilla, but the CC is more intense and has more of a cinnamon note. Both are developing beautifully with varying shades and nuances providing constant olfactory entertainment. Both are bold, confident and strong scents and have excellent silage and projection.
Comparing the longitudinal strength, in the first hours they are equal, but then the CC is stronger. Around five hours the EdT becomes stronger with the most gorgeous rosewood, and then the CC' s flowery carnation-and-rose dominates. At the seventh hour the EdT has a rebound that lasts for several hours. At hour ten the CC gradually comes back stronger again, and around the twelfth hour the CC now is superior in strength, although both are close to my skin now. The EdT is gone after fifteen hours, the CC lasts seventeen.
The CC deserves the full five stars, which I have not doled out for a while, yet if I learnt one thing form this comparison, it is what a wonderful fragrance the EdT is. The CC is eventually the winner, but the humble EdT that we can by in the shops today is not far behind the perfection of the CC. Both are masterpieces.
I've been at this game about three years, and there is only one bottle that has stayed in my cabinet the whole time. Egoiste Cologne Concentree, is such a unique, compelling concoction, that it never fails to please. Even my wife, who is pretty much hands-off my little fragrance mini-obsession, enjoys ECC each time it's my SOTD. You would think I would learn, that perfect is perfect and can't be improved on, but what fun would that be? Bottom line, my signature scent even when I refuse to admit it
Perfection in a bottle.