Perfume Directory

Le Lion de Chanel (2020)
by Chanel

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Le Lion de Chanel information

Year of Launch2020
GenderShared / Unisex
AvailabilityIn Production
Average Rating
(based on 14 votes)

People and companies

HouseChanel
PerfumerOlivier Polge
Parent CompanyWertheimer

About Le Lion de Chanel

Exclusive to the Middle East until January 2021, when it will have a worldwide release.

Le Lion de Chanel fragrance notes

Reviews of Le Lion de Chanel

It seems that new house perfumer Olivier Polge wanted to do something quite bold and anachronistic with the Les Exclusifs range when he created Le Lion de Chanel (2020), an oriental leather chypre hybrid that was initially exclusive to the Middle East until January 2021. Shades of Histoires de Parfums Marquis de Sade (2000), Guerlain Shalimar (1925) and Chanel's own Coromandel Eau de Toilette (2007) all run through this fragrance, yet it speaks for itself in the end. Although to be honest, it had better speak loud and clear considering both the price of this range, and that the primary buyers of this line outside the usual apathetic bourgeoise are the hyped-up Chanel fans in the online fragrance community; the latter of these two groups really could not shut up about this one until they finally got their nose on it, and so far it seems like another winner. For me personally, this is good, very good even, but the stiff price point and near-fascist way Chanel polices the market to remove discounts (in there somewhere is a jab at Gabriele "Coco" Chanel), means the other things this remind me of seem like a better deal since they do go on sale, particularly the HdP fragrance I mentioned. The fact that Olivier would be willing to reach so far back in time stylistically is probably why this got sent to the Middle East first, where they tend to like heavier and more classically opulent scents, before being tested on the Karens who douse themselves in Chanel Chance (2007) because it smells "pretty".

Speaking of that, Le Lion de Chanel does open with a similar, but unlisted davana leather suede note just like 1740, but smoothed and slightly defanged with added softness from a creamy lemon like that found in Chanel Allure Homme Edition Blanche (2008), plus some slight aldehydes for the "classic Chanel" opening. The heart brings in the most similarity to Coromandel or even Shalimar, with a powdery rose and iris mixed with patchouli, but there are no fougŤre elements here like in Coromandel, so that likeness is evanescent on both counts. Labdanum brings in the chypre feel, along with a smidge of IFRA-approved oakmoss padded with evernyl, the "Polge sandalwood" accord Olivier's father Jacques perfected over his career lifetime at Chanel, and some dry vanilla. There is a bit of old-school civetone musk or something similar, which also adds a bit more of a grandiose animalic regality to really bring in those "lion" aesthetics Coco favored, which is the point of the scent. Wear time is about 8 hours, with projection good for the first two, then quieter as an eau de Parfum tends to be for the rest. Best use here is in formal situations, cooler weather or whenever you feel like it really, since this is one of those "statement fragrances" the likes of which most of the modern designer market seems to avoid anymore in favor of AI composed focus group-tested niceties that everyone is expected to wear. Lion de Chanel is marketed unisex, but veers more masculine to my nose in later stages of the wear, especially as the opening leather merges with the patchouli in the late dry down stage.

Le Lion de Chanel is supposed to be emblematic of the Chanel lion and it indeed is as a big-boned oriental leather chypre, but before anyone runs off to say "this is son's Olivier's take on his father's Antaeus (1981)", you need to remember that Antaeus is available for standard designer retail and this is not, plus Olivier has been flying solo on the Les Exclusifs and women's ranges since 2015. I highly doubt in today's profit-maximized risk-minimized perfume-by-demographic-studies designer world that Olivier Polge will ever get to crash the gates of public expectation as his father did with "an Antaeus" of his own for the standard lines, or even a Coco Chanel (1984), but I do think Le Lion de Chanel is a good example of what kind of perfumer Olivier still is, regardless of who he works for. This is the man who brought you Dior Homme (2005) and Guerlain Cuir Beluga (2005) in the same year, after all. If nothing else, Le Lion de Chanel shows a brand only growing bolder and more willing to experiment with its premium ranges, which is exactly counter to what one of Polge's old employers (Dior) is doing with their exclusive range, axing all the interesting stuff in favor of adding more watercolor fruity florals to make little difference between standard and prestige lines. Circling back, if a smoother and slightly more-redolent take on the vibes of 1740 sounds like your cuppa, or if you like Coromandel but wish it had more chutzpah, then go ahead and pull on the lion's tail if you're okay with the consequences of having your pocket book mauled to death. Thumbs up.
26th February, 2021
FISS80 Show all reviews
United States
This one starts very promising. On my skin I get a nice suede/leather blast which is weird because leather is not listed in the notes. There is also a nice bright citrus that fades as quickly as it presented itself. What I'm left with for the remaining 8-10 hours of the fragrance is sweet amber and patchouli.The amber accord is very well done here. The patchouli in this is the dry earthy kind and gives off a metallic overtone that is not to my liking. Many have compared this to one of my absolute favorites, Coromandel, but I see no resemblance. A well done fragrance from Chanel but unfortunately not for me.

*Edit
Upon wearing both Coromandel and Le Lion alternately I can say there is a resemblance in the drydown. Although the Le Lion is less sweet and more ambery, powdery.
19th February, 2021 (last edited: 26th February, 2021)
From a sample. Different than I expected. It has a very similar character to Coromandel, IMO and it smells familiar. I had heard it was much like Shalimar, but I am not familiar with that scent like I am with Coromandel. There's amber & patchouli and perhaps a smoky incense or leather underneath that isn't listed in the scent pyramid, but it's there. Definitely masculine and has a strong sillage and longevity (I went light on the application). A very nice fragrance that feels like a Chanel IMO. I'm not sure I'd buy it, but it will do very well. Thumbs up.
07th January, 2021
RHM Show all reviews
United States
Pretty boring actually.

The dry down on my skin was very herbal. Strange, I know but there you have it.

26th December, 2020
Brisk citrus opening, accompanied by a massive amount of incense, amber and birch tar. Strange, because Russian Leather is supposed to be about birch tar, but Le Lion absolutely whups Cuir de Russie in that department. The eventual, more traditionally Chanel-like dry down, featuring vanilla and the sumptuous patchouli from Coromandel, is most welcome. Several hours later youíre left with a skin scent thatís reminiscent of Ambre Sultan. Overall, a nervy success among several stellar Les Exclusifs. Bonus points for being quite different from the rest of the collection.
15th December, 2020 (last edited: 26th December, 2020)

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