Reviews of Sycomore (new) by Chanel

    Find out more about Sycomore (new) by Chanel in the Basenotes Fragrance Directory


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    srmd22's avatar



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    Very nice notes, very similar to Encre Noir, which I like. For some reason the sillage and longevity were unimpressive the first time I sampled this, but this last time they were quite good! Maybe it was scent fatigue the first time. Anyway, that's why I am revising to thumbs up. I don't know if I will buy a bottle, probably not, as it is too similar to Encre Noir on my skin, and I already have a bottle of the latter. Otherwise, I would, and when/if the EN ever runs out, I will probably go for the Sycomore.

    Edit: Just want to add a couple of observations after another wearing. More floral/powdery then Encre Noir, which I think is an improvement. It shares a smoky, inky aspect, which is very well done in both versions. Also, more subtle, I think you need to be more liberal with the amount/# sprays-- or it might be that I am less sensitive to this fragrance. It seems a very close skin scent on me after an hour or two, and even right after spraying, the sillage seems modest on my skin. This is not a minus for me, as I want a few more refined, subtle scents in my wardrobe. I would re-apply this after work if I wanted it to last through a dinner or evening out, but it lasts well into the work day for me.

    I think it is well worth the price, just a lovely scent, and is now my favorite vetiver, though I still really like several others, particularly Tom Ford, Guerlain and Givenchy.

    29th January, 2012 (Last Edited: 12th April, 2012)

    unregistered's avatar

    United States United States

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    A smoky-yet-fresh vetiver, perfect for the guy aiming for the odor of "distinguished gentleman," or "I'm rich, or at least smell like I should be," understatement. If this pops your cork, I'd recommend the large bottle, because although it's long-lasting, it seems to improve if you really pile it on. It seems to have a "pre-dried down" effect, not so much that it is linear, but reaches that comfortable melded-to-skin state quite quickly. It is seamless, quality, perhaps boring, with no surprises or rough edges. It would work equally as well for a woman aiming to avoid the bubblegum confections that pass as women's perfumes these days. Would be a safe gift for a guy who works in a conservative setting. The antithesis of Drakkar Noir.

    23rd January, 2012

    odysseusm's avatar

    Canada Canada

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    This is a very, very fine scent.
    If you have any interest at all in vetiver, then you must try this.
    The scent starts with beautiful wood notes, along with the haunting traces of smoke from a distant fire. The combination is irresistible and lovely. At this point, the scent reminds me of Cartier's Declaration -- grassy, woody, but arguably leaner, more delicate and drier which suits me. There are grassy-earthy notes from the vetiver, along with a very light citrus note. I love the style: austere, intriguing, introspective yet at the same time warm and attractive. Not at all sweet or heavy, everything is handled with a light but sure touch. The scent settles into a very satisfying vetiver: lean and bright, and it wears well.
    Notes may be: vetiver, aldehydes, violet leaf, tobacco, wood, spice
    Update -- revised the above but the 5 stars continue. Truly an excellent scent. A classy vetiver. Lovely subtle smoke note.

    13th January, 2012 (Last Edited: 10th September, 2014)

    dollars&scents's avatar

    United States United States

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    Sycomore by Chanel - Upon application, one is treated to a stimulating wave of hesperidic notes, with their inherent tangerine, orange, bergamot and lemon flavors; aldehydes heigthen their sparkliness. Riding the crest of this citrus swell, haitian vetiver imparts its green and smoky facets. A faint anise bobs about. Carried to the waiting middle, fruity and shyly spicy pink pepper showers the airy and bitter vetiver, and is married with the fresh and clean woodiness of cypress, while a hint of sensual jasmine and haunting frankincense waft about. Transitioning to the welcoming base, creamy sandlewood, dry cedar and pine needle-like juniper encase the rooty vetiver, as delicate ylang-ylang lightly mists the lush and woodsy melange adding a trace of powder, and orris masterfully impregnates the concoction with its wet, earthy and slight violet-like facets. With a feebly sour and warm musk flickering, and a sweet and balsamic styrax adding a kiss of vanilla, an exquisite drydown ensues. This elegant composition befits a gentleman. A tasteful and refined, all-season fragrance, it has average projection and good longevity.

    27th December, 2011

    Dernier_Cri's avatar

    United States United States

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    I have trouble with fragrances with prominent leather notes. One I don't really like to smell leather on myself. And two when I detect a leather note in a fragrance it distracts me from appreciating any other note that might be in there. Oftentimes all I can smell is leather, the other notes merely modulating the leather note to some (to my nose) insignificant degree. A notable exception to my leather phobia is Chanel Sycomore which upon sampling it always calls to my mind words and phrases like "refined", "elegant", "finely crafted" and "smells expensive." This leather scent is bright and evocative. The opening is beautifully smokey and though the smoke lessens as Sycomore dries down it never goes away completely. Like Annick Goutal Vetiver this is a leathery scent I prefer to smell on a woman than on myself. Sycomore is the more feminine fragrance and is marketed as such. AG Vetiver sometimes strikes me as a little sausage-y. If I were ever to wear a leather scent Sycomore would be it.

    17th December, 2011

    racuda's avatar

    United States United States

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    This is quite possibly the best scent I have ever smelled. It is soft and cuddly with rounded edges. It is the yin to Guerlain Vetiver's yang.

    10th December, 2011 (Last Edited: 08th September, 2012)

    Oproust's avatar

    United States United States

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    Sycomore has forced me to rethink my natural aversion to vetiver. I don't mind vetiver as a fixative, but not as the dominant note in a fragrance. The earthy, vegetal nature of vetiver is attractive in the same way that the smell of freshly plowed earth is, almost a spiritual olfactory experience that sustains us, and thereby, attracts us. That being said, I have no desire to rub top soil on my wrist and walk around all day. No worries with Sycomore. Sycomore is a silky smooth fragrance with a citrusy, smokey, floral (aldehydes) opening that blends quickly with the vetiver note that IS Sycomore. Sycomore develops into an inky, woody, tobacco fragrance with the vetiver note leading the team on to victory. Sycomore has excellent longevity and is not a feminine fragrance, but rather a unisex scent with a strong masculine lean. Definitely one of the best vetiver fragrances available. Nice work Polge and Sheldrake, you've created a champion.

    06th December, 2011

    WellGroomedGentleman's avatar

    Canada Canada

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    maybe I don't get it. it smells very heavy, strong,dirty. like smoke. not feminine at all. really wow. doesn't smell sophisticated or friendly to me. wow. Didn't give it a thumbs down becaue I just feel like I am missing something there are too many thumbs up. maybe my sample is spoiled who knows.

    01st December, 2011

    sacredsystem's avatar

    United States United States

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    I'm absolutely mesmerized by this masterpiece. A warm, sensual, graceful yet confident scent that exudes quality and class. Smoke, earthy tones, woods, hints of incense and a creamy undertone that whispers elegance to those around you. The classiest vetiver out there period!

    01st October, 2011

    Roper-Hall's avatar

    Canada Canada

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    Reminds me of Creed's Baie de Genievre, just not so "in your face". Satisfyingly Longlasting; robust and complex to its dying moment.

    29th August, 2011

    blood-orange's avatar

    Australia Australia

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    I absolutely adore rich, woodsy, smokey scents, especially those with tobacco as its most dominant note. Chanel's Sycomore fits this description, however in my opinion, this fragrance is far more masculine than feminine. I'm usually accustomed to gender-bending scents and I often wear fragrances marketed towards men, however Sycomore is far too masculine for me to even touch and the funny thing is, Sycomore is a female fragrance.

    Despite the initial surprise, Sycomore is rather enticing. The fragrance opens quite strong, with the vetiver and tobacco notes making a rather loud entrance. Once settled on the skin, the sandalwood and cypress blends in with the tobacco and vetiver creating an interesting dryness.

    Every time I brought my wrist to my nose I detected a powdery woods note, rather like the scent of fresh saw-dust. I was very relieved to see aldehydes as a listed note here, which proved that I had not been misled into making up ingredients.

    Smokey, and in some ways, bitter, Sycomore reminds me of a recently burnt Australian bushland after a rainstorm. It is the scent of a scorching hot Summer, however I can't say that I'd wear this anytime other than Winter.

    There are many words to describe Sycomore; dry, smokey, salty, earthy, masculine, nutty, dark, classy and balanced are only just the beginning. On each individual, Sycomore seems to differ. On a man, I'm certain that this fragrance would shine. I'll just put it out there that Chanel's Sycomore is and should be unisex.

    27th August, 2011

    thatbrownelf's avatar

    United States United States

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    Sycomore is all juicy dark greens and lush woods, like walking through a deep dense forest after a storm. I'm delighted to finally sniff a blend where vetiver is front and center, and not just an afterthought. In Sycomore it is lush and wet, like biting into a bitter under ripe fruit. To my nose it's a bit citrusy also, like the calamansi juice I've loved since childhood but minus all the sugar typically thrown into it. As I normally can't smell citrus on my skin as the notes turn to ash on my skin, I'm delighted. The sandalwood and tobacco prop up and support the vetiver, and overall I'm reminded of hot summer evenings in Florida chatting around my aunt's wood table as her numerous lime and lemon trees sway in the humid breeze.

    I 'll buy a bottle of Sycomore one day, should/when I run out of my decant. I think I've already established in my reviews I like a masculine slant to my scents, and Sycomore is no exception--no florals whatsoever here. This is what I wanted No.19 to be, but 19's sharpness pushed me away. I'll be using this when I take on the boardroom.

    27th August, 2011

    Jean-Maurice's avatar

    Canada Canada

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    Very very close to Encre Noire.
    On my skin this have better longevity than Encre Noire due to his smokiness and leathery base. I am very impressed by this juice. I like vetiver fragrances a lot but, unfortunately most of them are light on my skin. This one do slightly longer and with a more sophisticated manner (better blend and well rounded) than Encre Noire (more harsh and piquant vetiver).

    Sycomore is to Encre Noire what is Montale's Red Vetiver is to Terre d'Hermes, a knock out! Or should I say a technical knock out. Quality show itself!

    4/5 (same score as Encre Noire but with better longevity) 4/5 for longevity.

    22nd August, 2011

    eov8b's avatar

    United States United States

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    a creamier encre noire with a pepper note. it smells, for a lack of better words, more expensive

    30th July, 2011

    rickbr's avatar

    Brazil Brazil

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    A Vetiver focused fragrance done by Chanel. Sycomore makes me think of winter days, and something on its dry leafy woodiness it`s cozy in an expected way - like a dark green wool sweater. The vetiver here lacks the leathery/rubberized aspect that you sometimes see on vetiver fragrances, and seems to focus more on the dry, green inky part of it. The violet extends the leafy side of vetiver, while the tobacco and sandalwood creates a smoky and relaxed background that it`s there just to support the main aroma of vetiver. The pink pepper is the part that i only get sometimes, with a discreet sweetness wich usually go unnoticed on my skin. Sycomore is very minimalistic, dark, intense and longlasting, and one of the les exclusifs that i see beeing more appreciated by Man than Woman.

    07th July, 2011

    MonkeyBars's avatar

    United States United States

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    Lugubrious string orchestras and autumnal landscapes meet at the same intersection as sandalwood and vetiver. It's here, in golden gloaming, that Sycomore rules her sylvan subjects gently and with sober puissance.

    As in Maurice Ravel's minuet from Le Tombeau de Couperin, it seems just when you've had too much richness, the sumptuous melodies filling you like thick fois gras, the composer's rigid structure and cool mind return. Polge's creamy rich sandal and stark, stoic vetiver root combine with utterly natural precision into a new accord: the imaginary smell of sycamores, whose scent only dryads can perceive.

    Bassoons and oboes, in the form of aldehydes, balsams, and musk, provide pianissimo breezes, soft gauze over a sepia scene. Sycomore is the sighing dream of hazy, glowing afternoons. A distant figure reclines against a single tawny sycamore as their shadow sprawls onto a vast, arid plain.

    29th June, 2011 (Last Edited: 02nd August, 2011)

    Red Theodora's avatar

    United States United States

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    This is the last of the "Les Exculsifs" samples I have received. Last but certainly not least.

    At first I smelled vetiver and what I thought was patchouli. After more wearing and smelling I realized it's not patchouli. Then I looked up the note composition for Sycomore. What I first thought was patchouli is juniper and cypress. No wonder it reminds me of a distillery. Juniper berries are used to make gin. Some classy gin mill this smells like!

    And yes, it does have a masculine edge but I like it on demure, dainty, oh-so-feminine me as well. Maybe it should be marketed as a unisex fragrance. It's just too lovely for one sex to have sole domain!

    12th June, 2011 (Last Edited: 19th June, 2011)

    Dominic Grenouille's avatar

    United States United States

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    I find others think this creation to be a bit mislabeled as meant for the feminine gender. I agree that it veers towards what most would think a more masculine scent. The layers, one after an another, are stoic & of an earthy strength. But I would think this bravery to be similar to that of Jeanne d'Arc, if hinting at all of feminity.The Anima Animus of more wisely crafted scents from a maison that is known for making the seperation of sexes in scents to be a deep yet polite one. Being new to this Basenotes realm, this creation was the first of fresh & unknown treasures for me to find in the delightful format of sharing thoughts. I cannot remember whose review I read that led me to seek out this scent, but my gratitude is immense - somewhat like the scent itself.

    25th May, 2011

    FumeHood's avatar

    Brazil Brazil

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    Not quite sure where the listing gets off naming this a feminine scent, as the verdict seems to be that it lies on the masculine side of unisex, but I guess most of us don't seem to care about those labels anyway.

    Salty and dry, smokey and absolutely mesmerizing. A bonfire at the shore. I'd make it my everyday feel-good scent if not so expensive. Screams FALL season, but warms you up in the winter and might be perfect on a cool summer night. Not sure if it runs the risk of smelling like the wearer is a smoker. It shouldn't... this smoke is an incredible beauty, not a stank.

    I wish it projected a bit more, to share the incredible comfort that it exudes when I bury my nose wherever I've sprayed it (which can make for some interesting neck contortions).

    22nd April, 2011

    hollyc's avatar

    Canada Canada

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    Delicate, smokey, vetiver and demure florals. Really, can't pick out the individual notes on this one other than the vetiver, but it is glorious and has jumped to the top of my "must possess in largest size possible and as soon as possible" list. Very good sillage, delicately wafts for hours. Beautiful, refined, intriquing and deserving of its place as an exclusif. Highly, highly recommend.

    07th April, 2011

    alfarom's avatar

    Italy Italy

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    I won't spend many words on Sycomore as it deserves at least a try. This is an absolute masterpiece, one of a kind type of stuff and should be a mandatory purchase for any true fragrance lover. An outstanding and superbly crafted, smoky yet fresh vetiver centered composition enriched by hints of incense and a considerable dose of sandalwood. The usual aldehydes/iris roots "signature" bu Chanel is there but works subtly to provide the right amount of sophistication. Dry yet plush, immensely satisfying. Together with Vetiver Exctraordinaire and Route Du Vetiver possibly one of the best around. Absolutely intoxicating and addicting, don't look any further.

    26th March, 2011 (Last Edited: 25th January, 2012)

    vitaman's avatar

    United States United States

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    Was expecting to love this. I'm fond of Incense and of Vetiver. Can't get enough of Incense Extreme, Encre Noir, Vetiver Fill in the Blank (Route, Extraordinaire, Dance).
    Sycomore certainly contains a nice Vetiver note, but it's civilized with enough muted musk and sophisticated smoke that it just misses the mark. Although it is marketed to Women as many have pointed out it has a decidedly masculine edge. In this regard it sits too much on the fence. It either needs to get a touch more floral and go female, or go for broke and tear its shirt off. Clearly expensive but too careful for me.

    24th March, 2011

    venusinfurs's avatar

    United Kingdom United Kingdom

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    Your sophisticated and elegant as you drift through the smoke filled room that is Sycamore, nothing can touch you. You don't get sillage as much as you get a trail of class. This is my go to if I'm not sure what to wear. If only it had more tobacco.

    17th February, 2011

    Grottola's avatar

    United States United States

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    Sycomore is my favorite fragrance.

    It's basically a more sophisticated version of Encre Noire -- it lasts for ages, projects well, and basically says "Don't f*ck with me, I can and will poop on you."

    Sorry. Anyway, if you have smelled either Encre Noire or Terre d'Hermes, then you'd have a basic idea of Sycomore. It's just really well-composed and masculine, NOT feminine in any way. Smokey vetiver, leather, and some pepper. The best vetiver fragrance I've ever smelled, as well.

    22nd January, 2011 (Last Edited: 06th March, 2011)

    blueyezz's avatar

    United Kingdom United Kingdom

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    I’ve been on a quest to find my perfect incense fragrance and I may have found it in Sycomore.

    From the monochrome architectural box to the tactile flagon with minimalist label and magnetised stopper, everything about this is quality.

    On me this is a linear scent, rarely straying from the grassy, woody vetiver, incense and unlit cigarette tobacco those dry/moist-magic materials suggest.

    There is a simplicity not given to flights of fancy or historical recreation like other frags in this line. When I wear it I feel like I radiate a warm aura of smokey, pungent intensity.

    To my nose this comes from the same incense-y family as Ormonde Jayne Man, but without the cloying sweetness. It could also be compared to Malle’s French Lover, which goes flat on my skin but can be intoxicating on others. C d G’s Avignon is a too literal for me, no interpretation, just High Mass and pew polish. Beautiful in a church - and extraordinary to have available to sniff from a bottle - but too fancy-dress for me to wear with confidence.

    I wear Sycomore more than any other fragrance in my collection. Sillage is average and a couple of sprays lasts about 6 hours, which is fine for an edt and remarkable on my perfume eating skin.

    25th December, 2010 (Last Edited: 07th January, 2011)

    nsamadi's avatar



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    A nice smokey vetiver, balanced with some wood notes, cypress, and a touch of pink pepper. I honestly get more cypress in this than vetiver. I think the cypress was used in the scent to imitate vetiver. Sycomore gives off a gray color. I see a rich artsy type who dresses in all black wearing this as an everyday scent, maybe one who sketches with charcoal sticks. I like how it opens, but after a few hours, the complexity of the scents wears off, and then it just smells like smoke. The kind of smoke you get maybe from burning pine leaves.

    15th December, 2010 (Last Edited: 11th February, 2011)

    qwerty73's avatar



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    5 STARS!!! I absolutely agree with Luca Turin on this one. Smokey vetiver with woods and spice. No flowers in this juice. Sophisticated indeed.

    14th December, 2010

    Oh_Hedgehog's avatar

    United Kingdom United Kingdom

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    It is the great triumph of Polge and Sheldrake, in their update of the original 1930's Sycomore, to have coaxed vetiver into a harmony and to showcase it as a team player, preserving its distinction without allowing it to dominate. What they've done is given the vetiver a gourmand twist and a properly delicious one at that, rather than the kind of curious, though entirely unappetising, chimerical hash of vetiver-vanilla that is Molinard's Habanita. In Sycomore, the vetiver is allied with a dark, smoky incense accord and a caramel note of buttery warmth – the fragrance of maple leaves crisping on a bonfire comes to mind and can be compared against Christopher Brosius' Burning Leaves. It's quite a feat to make a vetiver scent *smoulder*, but that is just what Sycomore does. Whereas its peers, the Givenchy and Guerlain vetivers, are chilly fragrances – the latter in particular could populate a boardroom with icicles – the Chanel has a benign glow without any of the austerity so conveniently obvious in the vetiver note itself. With less persistence and radiance than most vetivers, Polge and Sheldrake make the whole ensemble whisper in that confidential volume typical of Chanel, and arrange a drydown that slides effortlessly into the Chanel iris/sandalwood theme.

    Vetiver fragrances make me think of cleansing, of something needing to be set aright in the wearer ('air freshener for the soul', as someone once put it). With Sycomore, world and wearer share in a state of exquisite, serene repose.

    30th November, 2010 (Last Edited: 26th February, 2011)

    vintage*red's avatar

    United States United States

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    Sycomore's cypress/juniper/vetiver accord is the first thing that I notice. This is followed by white flowers (with a nod to iris) and incense. I can smell styrax. The styrax, along with the white flowers, provides a touch of sweetness. The fragrance has that Chanel clarity and austerity. In many ways, it reminds me of "Passage D"Enfer" by L'Artisan. However, on this particular "highway to hell", Sycomore takes a limosine. Classy, lovely, unisex and definately Chanel.

    16th October, 2010

    Turko's avatar

    Canada Canada

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    I accidentally discovered this fragrance from a trip to New York City when in Saks Fifth Avenue at 49th street, a sales associate handed me a sample of this. Knowing this is being marketed to women, I just put away the sample. Once I am back in Canada, I tried to smell it, first with the intention of giving it to my lady, however the scent I detect is something that tells me this could not be a woman's fragrance...no way. So I tested it on my skin. I can smell a smokey vetiver---vetiver even better that Hermessence Vetiver Tonka or Creed's Original Vetiver or Guerlain's or Tom Ford's. I could detect a hint of pot (marijuana) and a scent of guava leaves (I used to climb guava trees when I was a child in the tropical country where I was born).

    The more I use it, the more I crave it. Today, I bought myself a bottle which is $240, a bit expensive but considering this one comes in 200 ml....that is coming out as around $120 per 100 ml. Average price of ordinary colognes are $70-80 per 100 ml. Sycomore is an extra ordinary fragrance because there are no headache inducing top notes, the notes are seamless and not fighting each other as in some colognes and there is no synthetic smell. Just the smell of unlit cigars, tobacco, wood, smoke, incense. I just can't believe I am using a woman's fragrance but there is nothing feminine in this scent other than it is being marketed to women. Honestly, i would not want to meet women wearing this fragrance because this is definitely a man's scent----very masculine. There are a lot of men's fragrances out there that would smell feminine if compared to this Sycomore. In my opinion, Chanel should sell this to men.

    15th August, 2010

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