Monday, February 16, 2009

News on Availability of exclusive Chanel

Sources intimate to Perfume Shrine let it be known that Beige by Chanel, the latest fragrance to join the upscale line Chanel Les Exclusifs, and up till now a NYC Saks exclusive in the US, will hit the Chanel boutiques on the 20th of February. Taking pride of place in the esteemed lineup, Beige comes in a 200ml/6.8 bottle of Eau de Toilette.

You can locate a store near you internationally using this link.

You can read a full review on Beige by Chanel and some backstory on its inspiration and history here.


  1. "Sources intimate" to you? Oh dear, you make it sound like you had to sleep with someone to get the info... Say it ain't so? ;-)

  2. Ah, my sweets, if I were indeed bedding Chanel I wouldn't need to be buying stuff I guess, which is good or bad depending of the way you see it! (Imagine being swamped with things not to my taste for instance! And required to wear them on top of that!! ~Now when will I find a little void to finally post a review of Eau Premiere, which I do like...I have been thinking of doing it for a couple of months.)
    Anyway,perhaps the word "intimate" has more nuance in English than its translation has in my native tongue.
    It was mentioned in a private mail, to set the record straight, but that part was not confidential. ;-)

    How's everything?

  3. Anonymous16:32

    Actually, I can confirm the story. A bottle of Beige was on display at my local Chanel boutique a few weeks ago and I sampled it.

    My Chanel SA told me that Beige was on a pre-order basis so if I wanted it then I had to put my name down on the waiting list. But I didn't think honeyed white floral would smell that fantastic on me so I gave it a pass. (No offense but still very indifferent to it so I kept my mouth shut.)

    Now that Helg has posted this news I thought I might as well add in my two cents

  4. This will make many folk happy !
    And that is goooood.

    Me- not so much.
    Awfully pretty, but not me at all.

  5. Dearest A,

    thanks for chimming in! How very interesting: I hadn't heard about that tidbit, which is telling in its own way. So, a waiting list. I suppose the cult following of Les Exclusifs is fueled through the Internet, huh? As they haven't been extensively covered and the Saks exclusivity made this one so very "obscure" up till now. Very interesting indeed. Thank you! :-)

  6. Sweet I,

    indeed many people will get happy over the news. It was weird how Saks had the exclusive in US for so long.
    "Awfully pretty, but not me at all" might describe my experience too.

  7. Anonymous01:49

    Dearest Helg,

    Thanks for the kind thoughts, but I don't think Chanel is purely setting up a waiting list because there's an overwhelming demand for Beige (we are in a recession, after all). My SA did say that the bottle was on display prior to the local launch (forgot when it was).

    So the list was more like a "we-don't-have-it-in-stock-but-we-have-a-tester" kind of waiting list. Simply put, it's more like Louis Vuitton starting a waiting list a few months before the newest bags hit the stores rather than ladies fighting for their Birkins. (No offense to one or another.)

    (You know I would report a massive demand if it's the truth but I don't have enough info to call it that way. All I knew was that my local Chanel got the tester before the goods arrive.)

    And as I was saying when it was released there are already a few white florals in the Les Exclusifs collection, though I realize niche gourmand white floral is perfectly in trend (judging by Vanille Galante and the latest SL).

    Mind you, I totally agree that Beige is a well-constructed, nuanced floral steeped in the idiom of Chanel...but a tad sweet for a dandy to show it off with a edge of sarcasm. (Which is, IMHO, the new way of wearing white florals.) Had there been a dash of some such elements (I'm thinking beige leather and infused with toasted wheat) I would have embraced it more--but I understand Chanel is not pitching it to me.

    No offense I'd rather Chanel fine-tuning Les Exclusifs during an economic downturn than releasing another crowd-pleasing fragrance...something like perfecting the persistence of 28 La Pausa and Bel Respiro (and, by extension, diffusion), or figuring out their version of the discovery/travel set. (Les Exclusifs is a pain to lug around if you ask me, and I don't have the patience to decant a bottle into multiple sprays--neither would Coco Chanel IMHO.)

    Anyhow, again it's my opinion.


    PS. I'm absolutely swamped so many apologies for not corresponding as frequently--I'm still reading your blog daily as usual. As you might know I was troubled by the service my local Chanel was providing but the quality of the service was restored last time I visited.

  8. I spotted a Beige tester at the Chanel boutique in Boston today -- they are also taking pre-orders.

    It was a bit strange how Saks had the exclusive for so long, even before the flagship store at 31 Rue Cambon had it.

    An interesting thing about the "honeyed" floralcy of Beige. After sniffing it, I thought it would be instructive to compare it against Gardénia. In contrast, I got MUCH more of the honey note from Gardénia, and when I went back to Beige, could not perceive the honey any longer. Go figure.

  9. Anonymous07:21


    About Gardé has been reformulated a few times ever since it was re-introduced back in the 80's--to me it's the most tweaked among the in-store Ernest Beaux creations. Octavian will tell you that the current re-incarnation is a bit different compared to the original...

    And yes, I have a very keen memory of how Gardénia smelled like in the early 2003 (when I started Chanel boutique shopping) and, yes, it's sweeter now. I remembered how puzzled I was that Beaux would be so on trend compared to the new fragrances back then--I could easily pick up the tart floral element that was prevalent among the modern Chanel fragrances...

    Don't get me wrong--I enjoy the rest Beaux creations...but to me only buy Gardenia if you like the scent--not largely because of its historical awe (same as Sycomore I suppose).

    BTW, I just did a quick math: we now have at least 3 white florals in Les Exclusifs (Gardénia, No. 22, Beige)...that's 25% of the collection! I know white flowers are Coco's favorites, but isn't this a little much IMHO? Just a thought--a little bizarre.


  10. My dear and loyally supportive A,

    I appreciate all your contributions, in comment form no less than other forms :-)

    Yes, you're absolutely right that the waiting lists are not for the actual product but for "testing" the product! I wasn't sure it was selling that much, to be honest, and I am basing my suppositions on the marketability of Nuit de Cellophane on Beige's reception, so I find two things very intriguing:

    1) That Saks NYC was left to have the exclusivity for soooo long. In my mind this is no accident and from a marketing point of view it was because it would indeed create the sort of demand that something largely unattainable always creates, at least in the US where Saks has a certain image. Why they didn't do it with their boutiques? Because those are many, I believe if one gets it, then all should, while Saks is a different proposition, an individual distributor outside the core Chanel circuit and therefore the exclusivity COULD be retained to NYC (which again has a certain image to the eyes of the USD public).
    2)That the whole thing is Internet-driven. There was no advertising of Beige, no press, not even notifications from Saks itself to loyal customers. I believe it was an experiment to see how this would catch through the Net community. I am certain they're watching to see how word of mouth would create desire; and sales later on.

    Also I believe this is played for the US market. This is not unheard of as prior to Beige being first introduced there there was again Cruel Gardenia that was kept by another big house for an introductory rippling of the waters in US soil.
    Now that recession has caught on, however, the elegant way of doing things is keeping a low profile officially, not shouting from the rooftops that a gigantic bottle of a renowned line with snob appeal has emerged and let the Internet do the job of promoting it. It seems to work fine. Even I found the need to spread the news when being told, as I know there are people who were anxious to try it out!
    So Chanel is succeeding if that's the thought process behind it. Now whether they will actually sell a lot of bottles, that's another story. I believe customers ofthe boutiques will shortly get phone-calls to go by the shop and try out the newest thing, receive a complimentary sample with some purchase or even have some small "congregation" with some fashion/trends/luxury focus in which Beige will sneak in. ;-)

    You're again absolutely right about finetuning the existing line (I like many, but would prefer a more tenacious form in them) and the travel set. But you see, with the latter there is a problem of collision of objectives: the gigantic bottles were conceived de facto as uber-luxurious, shelli-out-now items, which excluded small, petty consumers of sharing a little slice of the "dream" in an affordable little item. That was very clearly left as a role to Chance and the No.5 at the department stores (and even Eau Premiere has a specific logic behind it but I am saving this for a future post focusing on my theory on that). Issuing small bottles now contradicts this strategy. It's ingenious of Hermes that they thought of it right ahead with the specific restrictions they have (4 of the same or 4 various but of the first 'set' of frags) for their own boutique project. ;-)

  11. J,
    how lovely you chimmed in with more info! thanks!
    So pre-orders means they're indeed relying on what I hypothesized: the power of the Internet and the prestige of Chanel to its customers.

    Please see above about my reasoning on Saks being kept the exclusive distributor till now in US.

    I'm afraid I have almost erased Gardenia from my mind. I had tested it years ago, about 2000 I think, and it always seemed like a not very interesting white floral that was mismatched in name. I know of course that it was not meant to smell like Gardenia in the first place, but it didn't impress me as a covetable white floral either (on the contrary No.22 was excellent back then and now). However after your observation I will go unearth my decants and compare side by side. It's funny you say that! Maybe you have a point!!

  12. On the matter of Gardenia, as I said to Jarvis above, I never was much impressed and it always struck me as odd that it was recommended on boards (MUA usually) as a gardenia rec. That simply means lots of people have never smelled an actual gardenia bush in their lives, but I digress.
    It's true that it's very very different from the old one, I am aware of that. After all it doesn't bode well with the perfumery of those times. Funny how the awe inspired by history however ensures interest and sales though, isn't it!! To me it smells like a modern synthetic white floral of generic disposition (IMHO, I might be wrong). Whether it has been sweetened some more as you say, I can't really say, as ir's been years I last sniffed it with some attention paid. You're urging me to go find some and see, though! It'd be interesting if it has, as it shows the response to tastes which have decisively veered to the sweeter.

    As to white florals, I believe they're eminently popular in general, so it was natural that every line should have one or two. Well, three are a bit much, but I think Beige with its anisaladehyde has a bit of a skewed direction, not a strickly white floral like Gardenia; and No.22 is too sweet and soapy-aldehydic to register with many modern women who are not keen on aldehydics, so enter Beige! It's also the sweet aspect and the more feminine touch which accounted for the introduction I feel. Many of Les Exclusifs were a bit unisex (not that I am complaining, myself I love Sycomore, even if I know it's not the old formula).

  13. And I forgot to say that there is a definite shampoo-lather-clean-woods base which reminds me of the bestseller Infusion d'Iris in Beige which I am sure is not an accident either.

  14. I did not find Chanel Gardénia to be terribly impressive, either, and am sorry that I have never been able to experience Monsieur Beaux's original formula.

    E: I find your thoughts on the marketing strategy behind Beige to be quite interesting. I think you may be right about it.

    And I do think this recent spate of clean white florals (soapy, sometimes aquatic, sometimes woodsy, sometimes white-musky) is going to continue for a while. Perhaps a response to heavy fruity florals and/or sugary-sweet vanillic gourmands? (My list of recent floral releases includes L'Artisan Fleur de Liane, Chanel Beige, SL Nuit de Cellophane, AG Un Matin D'Orage, Hermès Vanille Galante... to which we might add Prada Infusion D'Iris, which is more irisy-woodsy, but with a similar "light" feel).

  15. Anonymous17:27

    Dear Helg,

    I have a meeting in about 40 minutes but I'll quickly let you know a few things:

    1. There is no tester distributed for the Canadian boutiques for Les Exclusifs (bizarre policy, isn't it???) I got a sample of 31 Rue Cambon once but then my SA immediately informed me that she wasn't suppose to (and she was right). So based on Denyse's experience (I think she got nearly all the samples at the Paris flagship) I think it's going to be up to the appropriate manager's discretion in order to set up the policy.

    2. Hermes's discovery set is actually a bit pricier than the actual Hermessence (I have purchased both) and Chanel CAN make it as travel sets in the style of Hermes so again it's up to them to figure out how to do it without diluting the brand--otherwise managers are not managing demand (Chanel SAs have told me that many have requested travel sets)...(and you know how I feel about execs, directors, managers who are not meeting demands)

    3. My SA didn't know that Beige was a Saks exclusive until now--many Chanel SAs were told that it was a brand new release, so there's another perspective on why some people kept the news in the dark.


  16. Anonymous17:30

    Clarification: I was referring to the $/mL price of Hermessence's discovery set being higher than that of the 100mL editions.

  17. Anonymous02:04

    Oh, another stupid error on my part--samples, Canadian Chanel boutiques only hand out samples to customers unless one buys a full bottle of Les Exclusifs.


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