Perfume Reviews

Reviews of Égoïste / L'Égoïste by Chanel

Total Reviews: 206
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, 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. The scent opens with tangerine and rosewood, which don't stick around long because the focus here is sandalwood. 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, rose, and held in place by dry vanilla and ambrette seed. It's one of the few masculines that has a dry vanilla that 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 left out. 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, but this fragrance has remained pretty consistent throughout it's life.

Égoïste helped ease the transition from the old guard of aromatic fougères, oakmoss powerhouses, heavy leather/tobacco 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 them both, it was a market experiment and Égoïste was the final product of that experiment, so Chanel if nothing else could be credited with having foresight other houses did not, as some were still pumping out powerhouses doomed to obscurity into the 90's. It's bright, clean, dry, and fireplace-warm presentation of 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 more of a ballroom atmosphere than a night club with this one, 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. I see it 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: 04th March, 2018)
Theodore Twombly
06th February, 2018
Spicy woods.

Egoiste is all about light, subtle woods, primarily an accord of sandalwood tempered finely with spices and florals. Rose is there, an abstract presence that brightens up the composition, while cinnamon and coriander accentuate the sandalwood. There's a delightful touch of dry vanilla in the base.

Egoiste, for all its charm and beauty, is somewhat fleeting on my skin, and sits close to skin throughout its lifespan. Sillage is close, but lovely. I find the current version to have a vague musky aspect (perhaps ambrette seed), while another version I'm familiar with (from the early 2000s) is brighter, more sparkling and has a greater emphasis on the woods. The earlier version isn't richer or deeper, but does last a tad longer.

Egoiste, especially if one looks past potential issues with sillage and duration, is one of the most charming perfumes out on the market. It is also often a reference for sandalwood. However, one might find Tam Dao EdP, Samsara EdP (preferably an earlier bottle), or even Bois des Iles to be more useful if specifically seeking a sandalwood. Tam Dao and Bois des Iles are more focussed, while Samsara is more opulent.

It's notable that Carven Homme (1999) and Gucci's Envy for Men (1998) are quite related to Egoiste in terms of composition. While Envy for Men (with a terrific ginger note) is more exotic and oriental, Carven Homme successfully bridges the two styles and is mandatory sampling for anyone interested in Egoiste.

It's best to approach Egoiste (or any perfume, for that matter) with an open mind. Just don't expect a big perfume, but maybe you can expect something beautiful.

16th January, 2018
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TeeEm Show all reviews
United Kingdom
I bought it in 1990

A strong scent (love it or hate it) to me it smells
(a) of cinammon which is not mentioned in the ingrediends
(b) very similar but stronger than the CK Obsession (which I also rate highly)

a strong spice perfume, good sillage and longevity, best worn in a winter evening in my opinion
A classic?!
In my top ten of all time
08th January, 2018
A nice fragrance, but it seems somehow restrained, cut off. Not sure if this is the fault of a reformulation (my bottle is from 2017, so, very recent) or if this is just what Égoiste was always like. I kind of like it, but this fragrance could be so pungent, clear, piercing. My bottle is none of these, which makes it "safe", but also boring.
12th December, 2017 (last edited: 30th January, 2018)
I can't believe i've discovered Égoïste so late, it's been there quietly waiting for me ever since 1990, i could have been wearing it at school if i'd only known to ask for it! Probably would have been told that it was too expensive mind you!

I only wish i'd been able to meet the pre-reformulation incarnation because if it was even better than the current bottle i have i would be in absolute heaven! My only complaint - and it seems to sadly be a complaint with nearly every perfume i love these days - is that it could do with lasting just that few hours longer or projecting just a wee tad stronger because it's a scent i would love others to be able to notice on me, vain as that sounds.
As soon as i first smelled it, it felt like an old familiar friend, perhaps i'd smelt it before, long ago, and it also smelt very me and i instantly knew that this was a fragrance i would always love from then onwards. I guess we all know what we like don't we?!
It has that warmth and that woodsy, leathery spiciness that i've read about in other reviews but the other aspect of it that fascinates me is that it manages to do all of that but it also has this delicious freshness to it as well. Like the crisp air of a winters morning with the promise of a roaring wood fire waiting for you in the sitting room. And these different aspects of it make me feel that it is something i'll be happy to wear all year around. i've only owned it in the autumn so far but it's not heavy or thick in a way that would put you off wearing it on a summer's evening either.
It has a subtle sweetness to it and that it exactly the kind of sweetness i love in masculine-style perfumes. It's there but it doesn't dominate or make you want to puke. It's all so tastefully balanced and has quite a refined feeling to it and it smells like someone i'd want to fall in love with! With some perfumes you don't have to read what other people think to know that it's a classic, the fragrance tells you that all by itself.
Oh Égoïste where have you been all my life? Well i tell you what; it was worth the wait!
14th November, 2017
"Clarity!" she mused,
Holding the red rose aloft,
"Yet rich with wood's spice."
12th September, 2017
a nice Effervescent citrus that quickly takes on a vanilla note without being sweet. Coriander is a subtle spice, but I can smell it in this fragrance. A bit of a more spicy dry-down somehow I smell a peachy vanilla note
26th July, 2017
My immediate impression is that this smells just like Christmas, with notes of plum pudding, spices & woods. Slowly it dries down to a spiced sandalwood, perhaps less sweet than in Bois des Isles, definitely more spicy, & more on the masculine side. It projects & lasts well, still going after more than twelve hours.
I tried this on a hot day & it felt entirely out of place for me, but I could see myself really enjoying it in winter.
30th May, 2017
Egoïste is a deeply burgundy-red scent: stewed plums with a dusting of spice, a pane of medieval garnet stained glass, polished macassar ebony. Definitely one for a man or a woman. I prefer this to Bois des Iles, which is a lighter cola.
13th April, 2017
A classic. Cinnamon, wood and a bit of smoke. Very crisp and long lasting. Not complex, but it works. As I am over gourmands (I don't want to wear food anymore, sorry A-Men flankers), I am grateful that Egoiste's cinnamon and vanilla do not overtake the fragrance and let it remain cologne, as opposed to a confection. My wife is stingy with compliments in regard to fragrances. I own too many for her to take notice anymore. But, she mentions her approval when I take Egoiste out for a spin. It's in my top ten of all time fragrances. I have had it for years and hope Chanel never tampers with it. Indeed, Egoiste was my first Chanel fragrance and one of the fragrances that began a life-long love of perfume.
01st January, 2017
What beautiful fragrance, it once was.

Now - nothing more than - a watered down version of what Egoiste is supposed to be.

Very, very disappointed in Chanel because of these 'tricks'.

For lovers, get yourself an older version on E-bay.
22nd December, 2016
I have a 10ml bottle of the cologne, and boy is it ever fantastic, an herbal-y oriental with a punch of citrus up front and a creamy mix of sandalwood and vanilla at the back. In between, the dance of dusty rose, abstract herbs, pencil shavings, and cinnamon is assertive enough to keep you enveloped in scent for most of the day without getting you banished from the office or elevator.

I’m not being disingenuous when I call Egoiste one of the world’s great masculines (after all, it’s been marketed exclusively to men), but women who overlook it because of that are missing out on what is also one of the world’s great perfumes, period.
25th November, 2016 (last edited: 02nd December, 2016)
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Benchmark slightly spicy, slightly sweet-fizzy, slightly creamy sandalwood, everything coming together to form a roughly oriental masculine.

In fact, I don't find it that masculine, and after my sample wearing I'm in two minds: but these are buy / not buy, rather than good / bad. Egoiste provides the usual Chanel sense of high quality and the trail is gorgeous. An up-close sniff of myself, not quite so much.

A definite thumbs up.
14th November, 2016
A spicy dark woody creamy masculine scent.

This opens up very spicy with some rose which can be off putting for some. as it dries down the vanilla/ sandalwood and cinnamon combination kicks in. Smells like dark creamy woods and almost gets into the gourmand territory in the late drydown. Sandalwood with vanilla cream and cinnamon on top of that. its that stage that i love and wait for each time.
Performance is excellent: 9/10

overall score: 8.5/10
10th November, 2016
Stardate 20161110:

Warm, spices and Sandalwood. A nice unisex fragrance. Perfect for fall and winter.
It has not been ruined by reformulation. In the current form, Egoiste is the best (male marketed)fragrance from Chanel. In vintage form it would be Antaeus.

Longevity is decent - a whole workday.
10th November, 2016
My husband came to me the other day and told me that he’d seen Burberry Touch for Men for €20 at a local pharmacy and was thinking of getting it. I held my hand up in the universal sign language of “Lemme Stop You There”, remembering the last time he bought perfume on his own (Dior Sauvage, oh the horror, the HORROR), and glumly handed him over a big bottle of Egoiste. “You wear men’s perfumes?” he asked me, confused.

Yes, husband. Yes, I do. When perfumes are as good as Egoiste, women will purloin them and claim them as their own. He doesn’t even know about my Dior Homme Intense habit yet.

Anyway, the great thing about my act of supreme generosity is that Egoiste now lives in our downstairs loo, where it gets splashed on with gay abandon onto the husband, me (whenever I go in there), and my two children upon whom I use it as a body spray. The very act of bringing it out into the light has meant that we are all currently luxuriating in the fabulousity of Egoiste.

Egoiste opens with a tight little nubbin of spice, its mandarin orange oil, cinnamon, rose, and lemon notes swirling together to form an effervescent coca-cola accord that never fails to lift the spirits. Sometimes the rose becomes very big, sometimes I barely notice it, as I think it knits itself into the smooth rosewood and tobacco very cleverly.

The new version is definitely weaker and thinner than how I remember it smelling in the late 1990’s, when I recall it being a big hit with several boyfriends. To my nose, the tobacco has been amped up, and it is the crumbling, dusty sort that can smell a little like earth and dried leaves – similar to the tobacco note in Journey Man.

Thank God, though, that the sandalwood in the drydown is still the rich, sweet, spicy gingerbread sandalwood that I love so much in Bois des Iles and Mona di Orio Vanille. Before I moved from Montenegro to Ireland last summer, I sent all my perfumes on ahead of me (strapped to donkeys, over the Alps), and I found I missed my sandalwoods the most. My Egoiste is therefore a bottle I bought in Montenegro a week before I left, procured solely to give me comfort during that tumultuous time of my life, and I clung to it despite the sweltering 40 degree heat. Of course, reunited with my perfumes back in Ireland, I kind of forgot about Egoiste. Until now.

Longevity is ok – about 4 hours and definitely not as strong or as rich as the older versions. It’s perfect for men AND WOMEN who love big, spicy woods perfumes with a coca cola twang and a creamy drydown. For me, it’s pure cold weather comfort in a bottle.
28th October, 2016
Oooh I love this! It's the perfect sweet but not too sweet, spicy, woody fragrance with just a hint of masculinity that I was craving from all the feminine woody orientals I've tried and written off.

I love that it manages to do warm and sweet without becoming too gourmand and overbearing, which Tom Ford's Black Orchid and Victor & Rolf's Spice Bomb were for me. With those fragrances, I was intrigued and excited for the first two hours of wear, but after that they became way too edible and unremittingly sweet for me; I became desperate for a very stiff gin and tonic, a bite of a fresh lime, bacon, a campfire, anything to relieve me of that syrupy sweetness.

Not so much with Egoiste, its sweetness is beautifully balanced and so, so sophisticated. It's so incredibly Chanel. I kept putting my nose to my forearm and inhaling deeply, aaaahhhh, bliss! I'd want to bath in this stuff it's so scrumptious.

I now have a sample, and have only managed to hold of from buying a bottle because I'm waiting for a sample of Bois des Iles, which, according to the reviewers here, should be even better. I can hardly imagine it.
02nd September, 2016
Égoïste is an interesting fragrance. It is overall cozy and almost food-like at times, but that's just one aspect. There's that strange smell of a recently dry-cleaned wool suit as well, which is not necessarily pleasant but blends oddly well with the bready notes. I always appreciate fragrances that don't smell like a thousand others and keep me sniffing my wrist.
19th July, 2016
Egoiste is an odd one. For me it goes through three distinct phases...

The first sharp spicy blast I don't like much (and seems disgusting to everyone I have asked to smell it), the second more woody spice phase is one I love and the third cheap nutty accord is one I hate. It's the third that kills it for me and makes it unwearable.

I'm in complete agreement with those online who say that Egoiste finishes up with a dry saliva smell on the skin. That's not a flattering trait in a fragrance. And one that you will have a tough job hiding if you can't hit a hot shower within a few hours of applying.

It's definitely a cooler weather fragrance, and even then should be applied sparingly. I've found that it cannot be applied discreetly, as it fills the room when applying. The comments from others who have smelled it being applied are unanimously negative.

I still have a bottle that I try every so often when I am not going anywhere, because I do love the second phase of Egoiste. It does seem to work better on clothes than skin according to a lot of people and I would tend to agree there.
18th June, 2016
This is a beautifully balanced fragrance, with one of the best sandalwood drydowns I've ever smelled. Egoiste is elegant and well-mannered, but not stuffy - it is warm, intriguing, inviting and self-assured: it knows who it is, and is effortlessly itself.

Egoiste is frequently compared to another Chanel masterpiece, Bois des Iles. I recognize the family resemblance, but they are not replicants. Each is gorgeous in its own way, with Bois des Iles being the more floral of the two. On my skin, Egoiste has greater longevity and sillage than Bois des Iles.
30th April, 2016
This stuff is great. It's complex and balanced, an interesting mix that's great left alone but fun to pick apart and study.

So what does it smell like? It's got that mix of cloves and cinnamon that reminds me of Christmas potpourri, but balanced by a buttery smell. There's sawdusty sandalwood and the whole thing is given a vaguely foody undertone by a mix of roses, berries, and patchouli. There's also a rubbery, gasoline-tinged hot car smell in there, as well as some pie spices that come in later.

It all comes together to smell warm and spicy and buttery, but also woody and a bit rubbery. It's sort of foody, but never gourmand or edible. There are echos of a classic rose/sandalwood/patchouli attar, but the best way I can describe this is a mix of Spicebomb, Portrait Of A Lady, and Mure Et Musk Extreme all perfectly combined and drenched in buttery sandalwood. All the contradictory elements shouldn't work together, but they completely do, and it's great.

My one caveat is that Egoiste fanatics should make a point of checking out Chanel's Bois Des Ils, especially the extrait, if you can get your hands on it, which is the same basic ingredients combined with Chanel's legendary hyper-luxurious vanilla musk sandalwood base, which takes the whole Egoiste experience and ups the luxury factor tenfold.
28th April, 2016 (last edited: 18th July, 2016)
What can you say - this is the classic, the Cadillac, the Prime Rib. I wear this when I wear a suit - it just feels natural. Great masculine scent that I believe is timeless.
22nd April, 2016
The current Egoiste 2015-2016 seems an improvement to previous offerings. A recent test against a 2000
presents a slight drying out of sweetness I noticed in the earlier. The spiciness of Cinnamon no longer directs my mind to an "Apple Pie" accord. Coriander seems in better balance. It still doesn't beat the bliss that is Bois Noir though. My girl loves when I wear it.
03rd March, 2016
A superb composition of tangerine, cinammon and rosewood. Smells deep and juicy, almost delicious. A warm and comforting fragrance I really enjoy wearing, especially during the colder seasons.
13th December, 2015
I absolutely adore this scent and think it is the best of all Chanel commercial scents.

It is a smooth operator and it fits me both day and night and I would even wear it during summer. It melts into my skin and it is not longer like wearing a perfume it just turns into how I smell. Warm, soft and smooth. Unisex for sure!
02nd December, 2015
Egoiste is one of my favorites: a sweet, fruity, woody oriental. The original release and current release are both thumbs up for me. Egoiste has held up well.

Compared to Fahrenheit from a couple years earlier, a co-favorite, I think the mossy Fahrenheit was even more brilliant in the initial release. Since the restrictions on moss, Egoiste has overtaken Fahrenheit as my preference among perfumes from this decade.
19th November, 2015 (last edited: 02nd April, 2016)
Oviatt Show all reviews
United States
This has strong similarities to Jacques Polge’s Tiffany for men (1989), removing the nutmeg and replacing the cardamom with coriander, the ylang with rose and the tonka and amber with vanilla. Égoïste, which started life as the wonderful, tobacco-rich Bois Noir, is a dense, warm oriental that is self-aware, self-confident and very distinguished. Aptly named, Polge’s wonderful Égoïste was never a hit in the U.S. and paved the way for the much more mainstream (and, to me, boring) platinum flanker. Europe, however, loved Égoïste and I well remember smelling it in the 90s on well-dressed men in London and Paris. I have a friend in London who always had a bottle of this in his guest lavatory on the landing. Whenever he had a party, as the evening wore on, the room would smell of the rich heady scent of Égoïste, as men went to the loo and inevitably came out smelling better than they did going in, thanks to Égoïste. Possibly the last great masculine from Chanel.
18th November, 2015 (last edited: 23rd January, 2016)
Very spicy. Strong for a while, then becomes a skin scent. Very very spicy.
16th October, 2015
Thumbs up for longevity and sillage.
Perfect office perfume: sprayed in the morning and I can feel it on me after 5 hours (this doesn't happen with many other frags incl. many recognised longevity/sillage champions). The opening is a bit of harsh/poisonous for me, but after a could of minutes great sweet (mostly) and spicy scent is developed and stays for a long time.
It's not so young, however - but so am I.
Great frag to approach you're 50's...
24th September, 2015 (last edited: 26th September, 2015)