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I can agree with reviews that say this scent is not earth-shatteringly original, but I've found that each time I wear it, it earns more future wearings.
There was once a trend of "blue" mens scents-- I don't mean the "aquatic/marine" scents but rather those that were kind of an icy blue thing. They dominated the drugstore scene for a while but most of them were cheap-- I recall some cheapo scent called "Actif Blue" by Brut that was cheap, but kind of interesting in its crisp blue signature.
I think Bleu de Chanel is an attempt to go back and revisit this somewhat forgotten era of the "blue" fragrances which came after Cool Water and before Acqua di Gio--yet do it with much higher quality materials. Bleu de Chanel strikes me as a somewhat fresh, youthful "blue" scent with a nice steely structure and most importantly, a quality drydown.
I think Jacques Polge has tucked a little bit of Antaeus' leather accord into the base, along with some suede. The vetiver is one of the strangest parts of the base. Standard note, I know, but for some reason I cannot smell it at all inside the composition of Bleu de Chanel-- until the next day, when the rest of the scent has vanished and a glorious vetiver note comes strutting out. It reminds me of the vetiver note in Lanvin's somewhat underappreciated Vetyver-- probably because of the grapefruit/vetiver combination which leans toward the wet earthy type, rather than the dry cedary.
While Bleu de Chanel was a bit of an impulse buy for me, I warmed up to it rather quickly and I find that it's a serious contender on any given night. The way it performs on my skin is more than acceptable. I get compliments and I think it goes well with my style. It isn't ostentatious--it's a bit reserved but sturdy and not at all shy.
I think what people dislike about it is that it somehow doesn't smell "French"-- to me, its character seems a bit German-- like something Jil Sander, Wolfgang Joop or one of the older Hugo Boss releases (yes, Hugo Boss used to make good stuff). I think of some of the bits Bleu de Chanel remind me variously of pieces of Boss #1, Elements, Dark Blue--and then some. A lot of the German scents have that macho, steely (yes, I'll use that descriptor a second time) fresh synthetic (dihydromyrcenol) top over a leathery base with a kind of clinical toilet water middle. Sounds bad but I kind of like it in practice.
A very good scent, but hard to judge on one or two wearings. Not a mindblower on its own but can be the perfect complement to the right wearer.
30th October, 2010 (Last Edited: 03 December, 2010)