Les Coffret Aux Souvenirs
image from hprints by Charles Martin 1916
The new year brings a wealth of dreary work related challenges and too little time for perfume pursuits; the weather bites, too. Seeking escape through frequent trips to the vault, I find myself pulling the little old Chanel coffret out. Favorites Cuir de Russie and No 22 are ignored; lately another Chanel has caught my heart. it is just the last of the quartet to really make my heart sing. And high time, too! Since falling under its spell, I've discovered that this is apparently a most highly regarded and universally loved, sought after vintage Chanel perfume. Which one? Well, you may have guessed already but...
Coco Chanel: dressing perhaps a little young, yet looking fiercely divine.
...I can't imagine Coco wouldn't approve of this new favorite. I won't hold you in suspense any longer; of course I'm talking about the incomparable Bois des Iles. Scarce and generally the priciest of vintage Chanel perfumes, BdI translates as Island Woods or perhaps Island Forest is better. Chanel's ode to the exotic is built around a gorgeous sandalwood. The perfume shifts and evolves from its traditional powdery aldehyde laden opening to a refined nutty sandalwood that sweetens to end with a sigh of vanilla. It smells wonderfully worn out in the cold morning fog but wait until it opens up near the welcoming crackle of a winter fire.
Manavanshola, part of the Marayoor Sandalwood Forest.
BdI is rare and hard to find. As I've worn it the past few days something tickled the back of my mind and sure enough I found another perfume in my collection built very similarly to BdI, the stunning Sublime. The two aren't completely identical but share to a high degree the same notes and the same spirit. If you're craving BdI but can't find it, vintage Sublime might be worth a try.
Bois des Iles Chanel/Ernest Beaux 1926:
top: aldehydes, bergamot, neroli and peach
heart: rose, jasmine, ylang-ylang, lily of the valley, woody iris (vs gingerbread, bitter almond)
base: sandalwood, vanilla/tonka, vetiver, and musk.
(notes: basenotes and fragrantica)
Sublime Jean Patou/Jean Kerleo 1992
top: aldehydes, bergamot, tangerine, coriander, green accords.
heart: rose, jasmine, ylang-ylang, neroli oil.
base: sandalwood, vanilla, vetiver, oakmoss, cedar and civet.
The Vintage Perfume Vault, where the scent of yesterday's vogue lives.