Like most Chanel scents, 31 Rue Cambon is an abstraction of several things: there are hints of florals, woods citrus, pepper, etc., that really aren't there and that's what make scents from this house interesting. I can appreciate them more when I think of them as being composed by the perfumer like abstract paintings. However, I can't agree with this whole "modern chypre" thing. I feel that it's too revisionist and an historical category of perfumery like the chypre category, should not be redefined as a marketing tool. With that said, I love Rue Cambon for what it is.
31 Rue Cambon by Chanel, 2007
How could I have (almost) been so wrong about 31RC? At first testing, I felt the bergamot and florals in the opening were too sweet and feminine, and just over an hour later the entire fragrance seemed to completely vanish. Oh, well, not for me...or so I thought. What happened over the next 30 minutes, I had never experienced before -- the fragrance re-surfaced, bigger and fuller than its opening (!), supported by a beautiful, soft patchouli/woodiness. The slightly woody base creates an extremely sensual and well-blended dry down that lasts for about 6 hours and is fast becoming a favorite -- one that, amazingly, I initially almost passed over. Definitely male-friendly, and not too feminine.