31 Rue Cambon was inspired by Chanel's legendary boutique.
Chypres, known in its present form since the creation of the great La Chypre (Coty) has been taken in all directions due to the ease at which a chypre can be defined. But ultimately, chypres find its core in the mousse de saxe (oakmoss) note, which smelt by itself is one of great wonder.
The moss note is at once dark, with an algae & tar note, a bit sticky. Enveloped within this is the ripen fruit note of sometimes prunes, berries or peach. The tar note sometimes extends to a burnt note or a tabac note, and the algae note extends to a slightly floral effect accorded with a resinous effect, reminiscent of rich heavy florals, with lots of styrax, myrrh or frankincense.
From this theme, the basic chypre accord is defined eloquently by La Chypre, building on the moss note upwards would be a jasmine note, which in its happy top notes of benzyl acetate link really week within a citrus accord. Downwards, the mandatory woody and resinous/balsamic notes, with a touch of dark chocolaty patchouli. Within this, the moss completes the fruity and mossy background to the chypre accord.
Variations of course stem from this, the earliest was to take the fruity note of oakmoss and accentuate it, and accord it with things like peach aldehyde (undecalactone) in Mitsouko (Guerlain), with gamma methyl ionone plus patchouli in Femme (Rochas), jasmine in Rumeur original (Lanvin), citrus / green in Miss Dior (Dior) to finally the modern strawberry/chypre accord in Miss Dior Cherie.
It is from this heritage, the 31 rue Cambon is conceived. It is the rich jasmine aspect that has been greatly accentuated in this case. Reminds me of Rumeur or My Sin of Lanvin. The jasmine is very classic and very rich, full of indoles and built on a classic base of woods and resins.
What is modern about it, is that it also reminds me of Miss Dior Cherie (Dior), although rue Cambon is vastly superior to Cherie in its execution, the fruity notes at the top of peach and berries is similar, but much more toned down, less in your face.
Downwards, in the base, a good, subtle patchouli note, pushing the rest of composition up, more so than Cherie, giving it a oldish, yet very opulent, very sensual, and faux oriental feel, reminding me always of Femme (Rochas).
The fragrance is quite interesting. It does not smell pungent up front, rather, it is friendly and refined. But take a step back, 3-5 centimenters from the skin, and immediately the opulent jasmine, fruity and patchouli accord explodes to its fullness. I think the sillage of this fragrance will be great, and quite unforgettable.
In this fragrance, I see the opulence and haute couture of Mme Chanel. I also see stubborn, dominant character of Coco, defiant and very independent. At the same time, something sexy and dark and sinful right in the core. Really very complex, very well put together.
While it is not of great originality, since it takes its precedence from so may other greats and not so greats, it is wonderfully executed. I think the fragrance signals another great era of chypres (in its more classical sense) making a comeback. Great…
Photo from Chanel.com