The name Bel Respiro, comes from a country house that Coco Chanel owned.
This vegetal fragrance starts off with a rather abstract green note, fresh and like a breeze, then settles down to an accord of resinous galbanum, reminding one of sap, broken twigs and even deeper still a earthy and leathery note.
Immediately, it reminds me of the great classic, the original Vent Vert, but that was not all, it also reminded me of Miss Balmain. The green top notes, merged with a herbal aromatic middle, and then an almost castoreum like leathery note in the base.
This fragrance is a leather fragrance in hiding within the green lushness. All this reminds me of an imagery of Coco taking a horse ride in her estate. When she walks out of her house, the lush vibrancy of the flowers, their tender spring green greet her. But then, she climbs onto her horse and decides to take a ride into the grassland, into the woods. The resinous hay (labdanum and salicylate accords (familiar in Miss Balmain(Balmain), but more famous in the smoky Je Reviens(Worth)) give way to the sap and dark green of lush undergrowth, trampled on grass and broken twigs. All the while, the subtle notes of the saddle of her horse keeps her grounded.
It is an almost impressionistic fragrance, with sudden abstract notes fleeting in and out. With a strong program to follow, you can really relive the times in that villa. However, the strong green vegetal notes will never allow it to be very commercial. Interesting to follow, but not easy to wear on the skin. I think I will smell like the incredible green hulk if I somehow wore this, or someone will mistaken me for someone who has just wondered out of a forest. Perhaps the twigs should have been toned down somewhat, and the floral salicylate and leather notes increased somewhat…the balance will still not be spoiled, yet making it immensely much more commercial.
Photo from Chanel.com