Perfume Reviews

Positive Reviews of Chamade by Guerlain

I guess Chamade stands as THE origin of my passion for fragrances. I recently found, in my childhood house, the box of minis and samples I began collecting since the age of nine or ten. Among a bunch of beautiful Guerlain miniature- Shalimar, Eau de Guerlain, Samsara, Mitsouko, Chamade- the only one that was almost finished was Chamade. Hence, I must have loved it, back then. After months of wearing the last tiniest drops from the precious, early 80ies vintage vial, and testing the current Chamade in various concentrations, I reached for the EdP. I'm not an expert on reformulation matters, so I trusted some people that granted the substantial goodness of this version (Luca Turin and Victoria Frolova, to cite a few) and decided that, since it was able to move me, again, it was right for me.
There's not much I can add on the notes or on the feel of such a widely known fragrance. To me, it smells of early spring days, when bulb flowers start pushing- hyacinths and narcissuses (LT mention narcissus in the Guide, hyacinth is officially listed- the two flowers share the same time of blooming and definitely share some facets, the oily, waxy ones, for example) and green things begin sprouting from the dormant soil. The green- floral opening turns into a soft, slightly powdery (better, pollen-y), resinous drydown, glowing quietly for hours and hours. Chamade has become my go-to fragrance, the one I can spray on when no other appeals to me, the one I find myself always happy to perceive, as I move, as I take off my scarf, or my jumper.
30th April, 2015
Chamade is a lovely scent, it really is. Unfortunately it was released on the heels of Norell, which does everything better, save the vanilla. Chamade smells like a feminine precursor to what would become Derby, with its leathery, ambery base and white-and-green floral theme, sort of a dirty version of Balmain's ingenious Ivoire. Now we have Catalyst for Women at a fraction of the cost, which takes this theme to grand new heights, and the original Nicole Miller, which is an intriguing jammy fruity variation. With these more rich and exciting options I don't see many people reaching for Chamade but there is really nothing I dislike about it.
18th March, 2015
Guerlain's Chamade was the first floral-oriental. It was one of Audrey Hepburn's favorite perfumes.

This is a somewhat heavy, very feminine floral which is held in balance with a dry spice. It is an excellent creation, but a little goes a long way. The heavy floral aspect can remind one of that category, "old woman's scent," so it must be applied lightly.

Still it is a winner.

Top notes: Galbanum, Bergamot, Hyacinth
Heart notes: Muguet, Rose, Jasmine, Lilac, Clove, Ylang
Base notes: Black Currant, Vanilla, Amber, Benzoin, Sandalwood, Vetiver, Orris, Ambergris, Tonka

Turin gives it five stars and dubs it a "powdery floral." Very worth trying.
22nd October, 2014
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I have a mini of the parfum from the 80s. Just a dab on the wrist produces a nuclear cloud of the most gorgeous scent, the unmistakable Guerlain iris with its bread-and-butter notes, and the jammy black currant. This part of Chamade reminds me of Eau de Camille in its almost cocoa notes. Then there are the white florals, impossible to tell where one begins and the other ends, just a symphony of jasmine and ylang ylang. It is loud, mature and opulent, and I would recognize it anywhere. Dries down powdery, the smell of a woman who went to bed in her make up and woke up alone.
01st September, 2014
Chamade (vintage mid-'80s bottle here) is a dark, powerful herbal chypre opening with a foggy, grey, masculine austerity all over: a bouquet of herbs, humid flowers, musky notes, a powdery side, a dry leather base. But most of all, herbs, like in a man's fougère. The reference here seems to be halfway classic chypres à la Guerlain or the (unfairly underrated) great Guy Laroche, and Cabochard or Habanita, that family of "bitchy", skanky feminine scents, although more refined and adorned here by a beautiful, impalpable cloud of lively, radiant, graceful hyacint-soapy talc notes which are not "on skin" but you can clearly smell them in the sillage (an "effect" I totally love). Basically a classic structure which recalls echoes of memorable chypres, with flowers, woods, herbs and resins, just fairly darker, greener, bitter, more ambiguously sensual and nastier, especially for the first hour or so, almost like a chypre for gentlemen if it wasn't for an overall subtle but perceivably soapy-talc softness and a dark, carnal but feminine sensuality running underneath the blend (aldehydes, flowers, vanilla, musky notes). Classy and compelling like "the great ones", perhaps a little less original as to me it smells pretty much a "déjà-vu" to most extents, but surely worth a try if you are a fan of the genre.

7,5-8/10
24th August, 2014
Genre: Floral

Chamade starts out as a surprisingly aggressive spicy floral with green overtones and more than a trace of sweet vanilla in the background. The spices settle down very quickly, while the green notes amp up to balance the florals in seamlessly blended off-dry and pleasantly bitter accord of great balance and beauty.

The spicy and vanillic components of the opening reassert themselves ever so slowly as Chamade evolves, moving the heart deeper at a rate that is nearly imperceptible. At the same time, a wave of soapy/powdery aldehydes wells up, and this keeps Chamade from growing overly heavy as it sweetens.

Following Chamade’s progress is like watching a slow, formal 18th century dance, the sort where the participants continually exchange positions while remaining in two lines. The end result is an accord that is extraordinarily soft and velvety, but at the same time light and bright, not ponderous or treacly.

The vanillic drydown that Chamade reaches after a few hours marks it clearly as a Guerlain product. It is an oddly “innocent” fragrance for Guerlain, but it upholds the house’s standard of complex development. It is a pretty, easily worn, and versatile scent that manages not to be trivial. A good thing.
11th June, 2014
This was, for a short while, 'my first ever Parfum' - and what a sensuous and sensual joy Chamade is! Bliss in a bottle...

The story of Chamade is well known, but worth re-visiting (albeit briefly). The drumbeat of surrender, the heart pierced, the world, the person, the heart all, literally, turned upside down - (and all captured in a brilliantly designed bottle, a miniature work of art in it's own right). Bottle and juice in perfect union. Such 'scent-ual' symbolism!

It's a rare rare thing - but when impossible things happen you need a perfume to capture the moment, something special, a touch of Guerlain genius to distil such a wondrous feeling into a fragrance that encapsulates the quintessence of 'a love like no other'...

Chamade is a complex, captivating floral - evanescent, enchanting, eternal. It is a perfume of indescribable beauty. For some things in this world, and Chamade is surely one, just are masterpieces - reveries that repay re-visiting, re-reading, re-feeling. Such joy!!

The words may, and do, come a-tumbling-out, but sometimes in life saying nothing says everything... Silence is eloquence... My Parfum was a gift - for the one woman in this world who has ever made me speechless... The-One who will always share the scent of my soul... "So eloquent... So charming... So adorable"... Chamade - a perfume that make souls glow... A masterpiece.
13th May, 2014 (last edited: 23rd May, 2014)
rbaker Show all reviews
United Kingdom
This review is for the vintage perfume:
The opening is simple but brilliant: hyacinth, one of the best, together with a very special jasmine, forms a wonderfully rich and intense initial impression. Absolutely gorgeous. In the dry down galbanum and ylang-ylang add to the floral character, enhanced by a fruity undertone. Gradually a vanilla of unsurpassed quality gradually grows in prominence, peaking in the early base where a soft woodsy note is added that has whiffs of hazel and of sandal passing by. At times I get a soft amber aroma. Eventually, the vanilla, never too sweet, is gradually fading out, accompanied by a soft and gentle powdery note in the background. The ingredients are of astounding quality, beautifully smoothly blended without losing structure, and of velvety richness and great purity, especially in the top notes. Good silage and projection with ten hours of longevity. One of the house's masterpieces.
24th March, 2014
Chamade

I can, with no hesitation, name Chamade as one of the greatest perfumes ever made. The basic idea seems simple enough, a green aldehydic floral among many. But it's how Chamade presents this theme that makes it so great, so instantly recognizable. On a horizontal axis, the perfume operates on the standard trope of cool to warm, from icy green to golden sunset, in the effortless grace that can only be described as French. The quality of every chord in this range is astounding, each steeped in the richness, abstraction, and homophonic mastery that is the hallmark of Jacques Guerlain's style. The greatness doesn't stop here. Chamade is special also in in that is has that rarest quality: surprise. Every time I put the stuff on, I am shocked by the moment when it sheds it hardened mein for an intense chord of rose, amber, and coffee-like wood that can only have been the product of divine intervention. And the drydown! Has there ever been a finale at once so comforting and interesting? Many perfumes are beautiful; many are interesting. But very few, Chamade included, can be considered both. Monumental.

24th July, 2013
Another of my Guerlain Perfumes that I have been wearing since the Seventies
on and off.
To me there is something mesmerising about the aroma that I can't put my finger on.
I have Vintage Eau de Parfum ( my local pharmacy was stopping selling perfumes a good few years ago and saved a number of classics for me ).

On my skin this perfume settles into a warm classic vanilla scent with a twist.

I will leave the descriptions to others on site better than myself, as it has all been said before.
23rd December, 2012
A perfect, imaginary spring meadow – well, one rarely finds hyacinths in meadows and there is a dryness throughout that doesn’t fit either. But the feeling of space, light fresh floral airs drifting through, a green shade, that’s all there. Along with a smooth, powdery vanillic Guerlain base right from the start. The hyacinth is beautifully realized – soft and will-o-wispy, rather than blaring and headachy. There is a butteriness suggestive of the narcissus family. Everything is serenely in place.
Major problem with the EDT is that you are left with the base within about two hours – it’s beautifully done, but not that distinctive. Now to try and score some EDP…
23rd July, 2012

I used to visit Michele et File in San Francisco...

But sadly at that time I still smoked cigarettes & I needed a perfume that could accommodate wine & cigarettes. Chamade had a depth that my brain/nose still remembers, a sort of space between a touch of flowers and a firm smoky undertone where my own scents could fit in.

I think even after all these years & no wine & no cigarettes, I would love to wear Chamade. I suspect I like the mid-notes described by some of the reviewers, the black current bud & galbanum. I don't recall much ylang-ylang type scent, really...obviously I liked woody notes (woodsmoke)..
06th June, 2012
At this stage, I'd better come up with the truth!. Even though, I live in Ireland, I'm actually French and I have a sad compulsive disorder when it comes to buying Guerlain perfumes! I basically have to have them all- this can be tricky here in Ireland- but not anymore thanks to the Internet...It all started back in the 80's in Paris. My mum used to own two big bottles of Chamade and Shalimar. I'd say she only used them twice a year- at christmas and on her wedding anniversary. This suited me just fine: a spritz here and a spritz there and I must have been the most expensive scented teenager in town.
Bref, as we say, this must have been the start of it all. I am unashamedly biaised when it comes to Guerlain- must be the early neurone connections made at the time.
I have to admit that this perfume makes me sneeze when I spray it on: this is a small price to pay to smell both gorgeous and exceptional.
05th June, 2011
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I was fifteen and it was almost Christmas ... I was shopping in a busy department store, when suddenly I smelled the MOST BEAUTIFUL FRAGRANCE IN THE WORLD. I had to find out what it was and where it came from. In spite of the crowd, I made my way to the perfume section and I discovered Chamade de Guerlain. This happened ten years ago and Chamade is still the angel scent that follows me everywhere I go and that warms up my heart when I feel a little sad. (Toronto, Canada)
17th December, 2010
Chamade captures the olfactory gestalt of Springtime like no other perfume. It smells like fresh stems, flowers, moisture, soil and rot. Succulence and indolence. More than a summary of notes, though, it smells like the sensations of Spring. It combines the acceleration of exploding growth and the leisurely pace of a world thawing over time. The rush of hyacinth pushing against the constraint of snow and pollen exploding from flowering trees convey the good-natured horniness and impatience of youth, yet the rebirth of the season is a free pass to young and old alike. The juxtaposition of the cool, crisp greenness and the burnished languor of the base, create a tension, an indeterminacy. It comments on one season but refers to the cyclical nature of time, posing questions without offering conclusions.

Springtime is classically the season of potential and therefore, expectation. It suggests wide-open horizons and dreams of love and success, but a crocus blooms only briefly and not all the chicks that hatch survive. Spring is equally passionate and cruel.

And I thought opera was melodramatic.

Chamade expounds on all of the above better than I could ever hope to. I avoid describing artwork as great because the ‘greats’ are usually a tally of opinions and ‘musts’. Greatness is held out as a threshold, a line to be crossed. Still, greatness in art has precedent. Great works are perennially rediscovered by individuals and generations because they are significant and remarkable. They express the meaning of their times at the same time that they offer advice to future generations.

Chamade is a great perfume and it can be read on many levels, another attribute of great work. Its meaning for you could be Springtime, the story and the era of the novel after which it is named (Francoise Sagan’s La Chamade) or the excellence of its composition. Most ‘great’ perfumes are cited for the measurable effect they had on the state of the art. Chamade didn’t spawn movements and artistic trends in that way that Fougère Royale, Mitsouko, Shalimar and other iconic perfumes did. Its lasting influence is its capacity to frame broader meanings through expert composition.

I know that my take on Chamade comes off like a litany of cheap platitudes, and I apologize for that. I’ve tried to write about Chamade numerous time, each time throwing out what I’ve written as it never seemed to capture the pertinence of Chamade. I still don’t do Chamade justice, but I’ve changed my goal from understanding it to acknowledging it.

froms scenthurdle.com
11th December, 2010 (last edited: 17th May, 2015)
I agree with Mimi Gardenia who said, "Sweet Holy Mother ! If there is a smell of heaven ,angels ,clouds and The Light of God - this is it."
It is the smell of sacred forests as well. It's what a green fairy in the sacred forest would wear. It's divine.
23rd August, 2010
Total agreement with mysticknot...this is what Heaven must smell like.

Years ago, I had a tiny EDT sample of this...it had the top that looked like a little silver acorn. My mother only wore Estee, then White Linen, so I was lucky enough to get her rejects...and there were lots of them! This one, though captivated me then and captivates me still. The green, fresh opening leading into the most subtly sexy drydown; reminiscent of a pollen-y full-blown bouquet and just a whiff of the Guerlinade vanillic funk...oh my. In it, I'm Catherine Deneuve, or Julie Christie. Classy and hella sexy. Chamade just might be the fragrance I'd take to a desert island with me.
05th May, 2010
Reading the reviews of Chamade published on Base Notes, I sometimes wondered if I was the same scent that I own. I have a bottle of "Eau de Parfum" and its main feature is to be my very warmest winter scent - my other winter favourite being Coco. No trace of lightness or green, Chamade to me is hot, orangey (the color, not the fruit) sunny, heavy but very cosy, elegant and above all, extrovert!
All right, I may not have the type to wear this kind of perfume, being very light of skin petite... and not very extovert. I spray it sparsely on my wrists, It is quite enough for me.

I agree with Taliaseki who finds the entry too harsh - but I do smell Hyacinth, strongly so, and it is the part I dislike about Chamade. Afterwards (a short time, thanks god) it gets all creamy and powdery ,like a luxury coat. Then I can go out even if it freezes hard!
28th April, 2010
Sweet Holy Mother ! If there is a smell of heaven ,angels ,clouds and The Light of God - this is it.
The opening is a burst of sweet goodness- innocence, like a smile,tinged with some green - it's strong ,memorable. The opening hit 'the good part' in me straight away . it becomes more powdery as it progresses, some what sweet floral ,clean ,still half green. Vanilla is more apparent in the drydown . Few perfumes have this effect on me . I tell you Jean Paul Guerlain was inspired by an angel .Thanks to Haunani who gifted me a sample. My own angel here ! :)
17th April, 2010
(Parfum): The first few minutes feature an intense green topnote, but within ten minutes a narcissus-based, spicy floral heart emerges, with the soft vanilla notes of the Guerlinade chiming in quietly underneath. Others have described this fragrance as "powdery," and while I see what they're getting at, it is not at all the typical baby powder or soapy aldehydic sparkle of other green scents but rather a richer, spicier and almost oily note that grows in strength through the drydown. This is much crisper than I had expected, and though it is a floral oriental it doesn't have a single trace of sweetness, which means that daring guys can probably pull it off.

This scent differs quite a lot in its formulations, which seem to get spicier as the strength increases. The EdT is the greenest and crispest of the lot. The (now vintage) PdT is significantly more floral, and to my nose has a much more identifiable rose note than the other formulations. (I haven't tried the EdP that has since replaced it). The parfum is definitely the spiciest of the three.
25th February, 2010 (last edited: 17th December, 2010)
BayKAT Show all reviews
United States
(Pure Parum review, 2008 production)
I"ve been searching for a 'Green' scent for over six months. I liked the EDT version, and was curious to compare that to the modern pure parfum.
The PP is more of a skin scent, and retains the heavenly, powdery dry down. I thought the EDT opening was 'too strong', but in PP hte opening is crisp and vibrant.

The EDT lasts a good 6-8 hours on me, and the PP 10-12.

This is one of the few scents that I recieved an unsolicited compliment on, and I can imagine why. It's very uplifting, energizing, and clean. Many greens that I try are either too sharp (Chanel 19), too course (Harris Miller's Fleur du Matin), too fleeting (MDCI's En Coeur en Mai) or too forgetable (???)

But this is Baby Bear's bed. It's just right. Mmm!

12th February, 2010
I really envy the noses who would smell any hyacinth in it. The introduction notes mean much to me and i find hyacinth smell very inspiring. But the first note in Chamade to me is bitter painful galbanum. Thanks god it does not persist long and sweet and alluring blackcurrant vanilla takes place to show me what Chamade has its reputation for. Though not mentioned in notes I get a hint of bergamot or orange sourness at all stages. This is a special scent and would be one of my favorite winter scents with a smoother entry.
10th February, 2010
angelica Show all reviews
United Kingdom
So Chamade was created by Jean-Paul Guerlain, who sounds like one of the biggest romantics of all time. In various interviews, I've come across snippets such as: "a woman should not change her scent too often; her lover should recognize her in the dark." I think that's what this is all about. He wasn't so interested in those top-notes, or even the heart, but that never-ending soft, slightly spicy, balsamic drydown, which also seems to have a good dose of the slightly-scandalous orris butter. And if you're curious what that smells like, google it along with Bryan Ferry.
02nd August, 2009
Lovely and assured, Chamade starts out with a burst of cool florals -- hyacinth and jasmine, and I swear I smell narcissus, too. You often hear this described as a green floral, but to me is smells yellow somehow. A certain iciness in the top notes begins to warm in the heart, with the yling ylang and softly resinous galbanum, but Chamade retains an air of poise, never quite becoming intimate -- perhaps because it lacks any true animal notes. The final balsamic/vanilla dry-down is pure Guerlain, and lovely, but there is a sort of post-dry-down phase on my skin where a faint urinous note lurks around on my skin for a while, outlasting anything else. Lasts 3-4 hours, with modest silage.

I've heard "chamade" translated as drumbeat, and marketing copy indicates that this perfume is created to symbolize passionate love, but I think that's a bit misleading. "Chamade" means specifically the beat that signals an army to retreat or surrender. The Francoise Sagan novel La Chamade -- made into a movie starring Catherine Deneuve the year this perfume came out -- tells the story of a young woman who chooses life as the mistress of a wealthy man rather than pursuing a love of her own. Rather than give in to passion, she cuts off her own emotions for pragmatic reasons. Probably I'm being suggestible, but this perfume makes sense to me in the context of this story. It smells cool, chic, lovely -- and not quite happy.
22nd July, 2009
The extrait de parfum is heavier than the eau de toilette as the top notes are almost non existent. The green notes are hidden behind a smell of pollen, and the impression is mellow, comfortable but definitely grown-up. It smells womanly, as if you had approached just a little too much.
And what is gorgeous about the extrait is that it radiates in the depths, in a humble and absolutely self-confident way, as if it knew it smelled exactly right.
26th January, 2009
AnnS Show all reviews
United States
Chamade is a beautiful, classic style, green floral. I've recently discovered this one, and happy I have! The edt is thinner than the rich parfum, but it still has an enjoyable feminine quality. Each version is beautiful in its own right. I think the edt presents more aldehydes than the parfum. For me it "works" in the same manner as I enjoy other green, classic style aldehydes, such as Givenchy III, Chanel No. 19, or Annick Goutal Heure Exquise. The parfum has more of a compact structure than the edt and more lasting power in the vanillic-balsamic drydown. Both versions are very good - even though reformulation has apparently diminished the composition. Since I've never smelled the original, I can only wonder about it. I still like the current Chamade very much, and I think as with all Guerlain's that sampling is a must for anyone interested -- the edt is just as enjoyable as the rich parfum (and slightly different). I am also an aldehyde lover, so for me there is no problem with that classic blast - those who are wary of aldehydes would be best to sample this one, and note that they don't stick around very long.

When I apply the edt, I feel a tiny bit of abandon, but the parfum requires more of a light hand otherwise it would be overwhelming. This fragrance smells of abundant springtime - mostly due to it's green-ness and the rich floral hyacinth and galbanum notes. Although it is very classic and elegant, it can still be worn for day, just as Givenchy III or Chanel No. 19, etc. It has excellent staying power in general, medium to strong sillage, and the scent will remain on clothes well after it is worn. I will also suggest that the right man could wear the parfum version for the prolonged spicy vanilla-balsamic drydown, esp. if he had some time to kill waiting for the top notes to burn off.
25th January, 2009
JaimeB Show all reviews
United States
A classic scent from Guerlain with a rich floral palette balanced by green galbanum, spices, and oriental base notes. Looking at the pyramid, one imagines something very rich, perhaps even heavy, but this is blended with a very light hand. The overall impression is ultimately fresh, airy, slightly spicy, and green with a lingering hint of the florals. Good longevity and decent sillage characterize this fragrance. I think most men wouldn't find this impoassible to wear — in the EdT form, at least (on which this review is based).
29th December, 2008
First off, I'd like to get it off my chest that I'm not a Guerlain-o-phile, Guerlain-a-holic, or fan of Guerlain frags in general...in fact, most offerings from this house that DO appeal to me are not the popular ones. Whew! Now THAT'S out of the way, let me tell you Chamade is an absolute masterpiece! Yep, the blend of notes here is sheer genius. Chamade's florals are singular, yet immediately form a bouquet, that evolves sweetly, with fluid motion. 'Balsamic notes' in the base just send me over the top for this juice! I am sampling the EDT version and find it possesses quite ample sillage and good longevity. After this, I may become a Guerlain lover after all!
16th September, 2008
I haven't owned Chamade for about 35 years, but I still miss it. On me (I used the EDT), it pretty much stayed the same throughout the day, a very sparkly, peppery floral. The sparkliness and pepperiness were more predominant. I did have some friends who were surprised it was Chamade I was wearing, so apparently it's one of those that reacts quite differently to one's body chemistry.

It's one of the few scents I have ever worn that had strange men ask me what it was - including one guy who owned a ritzy little art shop in New Orleans, and decided he wanted to sell it as the only scent he would carry! Someday, I will splurge again; in the meantime, I have to settle for Chamade's working-class cousin Vanderbilt (which to me is Chamade with a few drops of Organza - could be worse!).
29th August, 2008
I tried this in 1969 when it was introduced and was wildly popular with young women. So many years later, I tried it again because I had no memory of it. Now I understand the reason. To me it is a nice but unremarkable floral. I know "The Guide" says that it is a masterpiece, but to me it is a fragrance that doesn't take any chances. It just doesn't stand out in any way, good or bad. It's pretty but I'll pass. PS I have revisited Chamade and now understand that it is all about the drydown, which is beautiful. However, I still prefer Tocade in the "floriental" category.
04th August, 2008 (last edited: 20th January, 2010)