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Chanel Les Exclusifs Boy - A Fougere That Is Certainly Not A Child

Chanel Boy

Fougeres, being one of the main olfactive families, is certainly a category that you would find difficult to evade as you delve deeper into fragrances.


This Olivier Polge creation, being one of the first two Les Exclusifs that he concocted for Chanel is a great representation of a fougere, although not in the strictly classical form.


Opening with a blanket of lavender, geranium and citruses with coumarin trickling in just at the half hour mark, this ticks off all the hallmarks of a typical fougere. Sandalwood comes on at mid wear marking this as an aromatic, as woods, spices and herbs would do to a fougere.


What sets this off as a noticeably unique fougere is the modern composition and the sparkling powdery, aldehydic Chanel DNA toning down the usual masculinity of a fougere and thus making it more appealing to the fairer sex and also to those looking for a less robust, less aggressive form of a traditional barbershop. This is a great starting point to explore the wonderful world of fougeres. 


One thing that I have always thought of as being off the mark for this Les Exclusif, is its name. 


The perfume industry is notorious in building pre-conceptions to their products. Similar to the gastronomic community where the saying “that you eat first with your eyes” is common, so too is the olfactive industry where pre-conceptions are crucial in helping steer olfactive expectations before you get your nose on the scent. 


For example, although in form colourless unless it is from prohibitively expensive natural extracts, the colour of a fragrance is important in helping to classify its olfactive family, with yellow/beige for citruses, red/orange for ambers and heavy woods, greens for herby/earthy and so on. Thus, naming a fragrance is also crucial in setting expectations towards a scent.


Unfortunately, the name Boy does not give any indication to what this fragrance would likely smell like and without knowing the backstory, it would remain a complete mystery. 


Olivier Polge decided that for his first two creations for the Les Exclusif line, he would name two figures that were of significance to Coco Chanel, with 2016’s Boy as a tribute to Arthur “Boy’ Capel, an English polo playing nobleman from more than a century ago who would have been a totally anonymous character if he had not been Coco Chanel’s long-time, not so secret lover. The other tribute is 2015’s Misia, being a tribute to the art patron Misia Sert.

Try a decant here.

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