In this new monthly column, our fragrance writer Adriana Ermter will have you spritzing and dishing on the latest must-have scents.
There are perfumes and then there’s perfume. I should know. My personal collection has been in the triple digits for over a decade. And even though I pride myself on being an equal opportunist — my 2014 Celine Dion All For Love has been spooning my 1954 Caron Poivre on my alphabetically organized shelf (I’m OCD like that), for three years — there are some fragrances that command a little extra R.E.S.P.E.C.T.
To start, the eau was born at the House of Chanel. (This is where we pause and take a moment/kneel before the perfume/fashion gods.) Home to heavyweight icons No. 5, Coco and Coromandel, Gabrielle is the first perfume the Parisian fashion house has introduced in over 15 years. It’s also the first liquid creation by long-esteemed perfumer Olivier Polges in his new post as Chanel’s Master Perfumer, and he’s steeped in its personality. Gabrielle’s of course.
The bottle’s namesake Gabrielle, a.k.a: Coco Chanel was renowned for her fierce independence, strong will, free spirit and impeccable style. The scent is intended to be her ethereal incarnation, captured in designer Sylvie Legastelois’ simple, yet elegant glass flacon replete with shades of soft gold.
Naturally, on first spritz it’s a little reminiscent of No. 5. We can thank the jasmine, tuberose and ylang-ylang for that. But as the scent dries down with an infusion of sweet orange blossom, milky sandalwood and tart blackcurrant, mandarin peel and grapefruit zest, No. 5’s DNA-based floral notes begin illuminating Gabrielle in a new, fresh and modern way. The result is as appealing as it is intriguing, with a smooth, intimate and velvety musk completing the experience and giving it a timeless feel. I, of course, will be giving it a place of honour between Chanel’s Coco Noire and La Pausa.
Chanel, Gabrielle $129 for 50 ml and $183 for 100 ml, available at Holt Renfrew.