Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Cristalle Eau Verte by Chanel: new fragrance

News in the perfume world erupt like Mini-Me clones in Austin Powers movies: spontaneously! An upcoming flanker ~or flankers~ by Chanel to its old classic, nicely unisex Cristalle had been reported on these pages some time ago:
"Cristalle is not only not showing signs of being discontinued as had been feared by many perfume bloggers and participants on online fora, but there seems to be a series of flankers programmed or at least in the process of thought to exploit its chic and insouciant pedigree. Variations, such as Eau Aromatic ~shouldn't it be Aromatique, though?~, Eau Citrus and Eau Rosée and/or perhaps also Bleu de Cristalle, which seems an older (abandoned?) trademark. Whether these will be issued under the collective name Cristalle Facettes (Facets of Cristalle) or the term Facettes is reserved for some makeup addendum is dubious. We will soon enough see for ourselves".

It seems that at least the first (?) one will see the light of day in late March-early April 2009 (at least across Europe). This time it is baptised Cristalle Eau Verte according to Sephora insiders, vert meaning of course "green" in French. One reporter has already tested it, and if my grasp of Latinogenic languages isn't too faulty the notes include: bergamot, Sicilian lemon, a magnolia accord, neroli, jasmine absolute, white musk and Florentine iris. Lubiana Mara Poli seems mildly positive about it, noticing the pronounced citrusy facets mollified by a soft touch. Hard-core fans however might be a little disappointed as there is no great relation to the classic 1974 Eau de Toilette Cristalle composition scent-wise, despite the notes, and neither to the intentionally different more floral chypre Eau de Pafum version from 1993.

The recipe for mainstream variations of Eaux for summer is nicely cottoning on it seems (as attested by Chanel's own version of Chance Eau Fraîche but also by the new Miss Dior Chérie L'Eau and L'Eau J'adore flankers for pafums Dior). I am excluding Eau Première by Chanel for our purposes here as although the tag "eau" is used, the rendition is one of very softened No.5, bearing no relation to citrus or aromatic notes but being almost a sibling in alcoholic form to the silicone-based No.5 Sensual Elixir.

It is of course a long-established tradition in the Mediterranean to have a type of Eau de Cologne scent at one's immediate grasp at summertime, as previously discussed and the hesperidic touches are an instant mood-enhancer, so it makes perfect sense that such a vogue has firm olfactory legs in time-honoured practices. It's especially interesting to note that this comes at a time when the economy, as well as global warming, necessitate a much-needed boost to the morale. The synergy of refreshment and optimism that hesperidia brings is irresistible, it seems!
The question focused on Cristalle Eau Verte is how much greener it can get ~and how different than all the other "greens" in Les Exclusifs upscale exclusive-Chanel-boutique line or their Eau de Cologne; and will it be a homonguous vat of a bottle which is so au courant?

In regards to the former issue, the optical relation with the similarly green-hued Chance Eau Fraîche (as well as the various concentrations of No.19) doesn't particularly play to its advantage, one would note. Too much green juice might confuse and deter the consumer. Whereas the shades of juice in Chanel had been beautifully varieted up to now between the straw-coloured older batches of Cristalle, the light emeralds of No.19 to the golden ambery of No.5 and the auburn tones of Coco Mademoiselle, suddenly there is an oversaturation of green (unless No.19 plays truant to Les Exclusifs side, but I don't want to get you into a panic just yet!).
Additionally, smell-wise there are already a few "green" fragrances in the stable, especially Les Exclusifs, with Bel Respiro, Sycomore and 28 La Pausa having that quiet, hushed foliage tone that hints at all things leafy. And an excellent Eau de Cologne too! But perhaps those are more exclusive scents for an in-the-know clientelle whereas the new fragrance aims at the regular Sephora customer. Which is not bad in itself, on the contrary!
As to the matter of the flacon embottling the new Cristalle Vert, judging by No.5 Eau Première it would go the same way of abundant yet sane sizes.

Photo of Cristalle bottle manipulated by Perfumeshrine


  1. I'm very fond of Cristalle and would not want them to devalue it's loveliness.

    That said if a flanker stops it's seeming decline then maybe it's a good thing.

    I STILL don't understand why this isn't more popular among the non obsessives. It's lovely but very wearable. Ah well.

  2. Anonymous16:08

    Thanks and congrats on the scoop!

    There seem to be a convergence of the ideas already: Bel Respiro, Eau de Cologne touches on the same ideas (plus a few more--ladies can even wear Allure Homme Sport if refreshing chic is what they are after). It would be hard to believe that marketing does not play into this. Then again I suppose there's a reason why the marketing research budget was tripled right after Ms. Maureen Chiquet was appointed the Global CEO of Chanel.

    Well, maybe I will give it a try when it hits the stores. So far the only Cristelle edition I like to wear is the eau de toilette: the EdP doesn't quite rest on my skin.

    BTW for a moment I thought your photo was the actual packaging--must admit that my eyes popped for a moment :-)

  3. How appropriate that you would be posting about Cristalle Vert on St. Patrick's Day, E!

    Please let us know how this one smells. And is the word "Green" really emblazoned across the front of the packaging? It looks a bit out of place, but whatever...


  4. Anonymous19:45

    Does Chanel do the same as Guerlain ? So many perfumes in so many times !!

  5. K,

    excellent points, all of them.

    First of all, I believe a flanker is meant to rekindle interest in a brand (and I don't mean a company when I say brand this time). So this is good.
    Now, if that means that Cristalle the old one is going to be semi-obscure at the back of the shelf in favour of the newer one, then this might be bad. On the other hand it wasn't exactly promoted, so it really doesn't make any difference in the negative direction, so I am leaning on the "it's for the best" school of thought.
    I have always been baffled by why Cistalle isn't much mentioned/pomoted: I have proposed it to completely different people with or without scented interests to monitor reactions over the years and no one has said anything bad about it; ever! It's a crowd pleaser.

  6. Thank you A!

    I can't know how Maureen Chiquet thinks about this, but I do believe there is a scheme of "continuity" within the pefume line which was also apparent in Les Exclusifs: segments of green in BR and LP (taken from No.19), the patchouli and vetiver from Allure Sensuelle and Coco Mlle injected in Coromandel, to a lesser degree in RC and then mostly the latter in Sycomore, the iris like a weave though everything...The whole line seems as if to breathe within a certain style (very few exceptions)which makes me think there is a deliberate thinking behind this, it can't be just random!

    I kinda prefer the EDP of Cristalle because it's more feminine. But I do enjoy very much the EDT as well.

    LOL, the bottle would be a little crude if it relied on my "Paint" editing, no? ;-)

  7. R,

    actually it wasn't completely random. I thought about posting it on Monday in tandem with my Spring list post, but then rethought about it and opted for its own, green day :-)

    The bottle is all my own handiwork's sacrilege ;-) LOL!! I confess!

  8. Anon,

    it seems that oversaturation with juice is the only way to go these days....Gone are the times when perfume developping took a year or two and then launches were every decade or at least five or six years. Now, we have new things every three months within the same brand!
    That said, Chanel has kept a certain "level" up till now. I hope they continue to upkeep that level, although I can't say I am impressed with each and every one of them "exclusives"; but then again, that's the trouble with these "line-ups" of many scents: one or two are bound to appeal, but it applies in reverse as well ~ some are bound NOT to appeal!
    A company can't have it both ways, obviously ;-)

  9. I'll have to re-check Cristalle, I don't really remember it.

    And, someone with the right connexions, tell the damn Chanel people to relaunch Une Fleur!

  10. L,

    Cristalle is quite lovable, very easy to adopt. The edt is simpler, the edp a bit more floral and "feminine".
    Une Fleur was a limited edition to begin with, I believe. If someone reads here, I hope they hear you ;-)

  11. I know that Une Fleur was limited but hey, it's marketing people. Marketing people wantz money. If people with money shout that they want things.... off to the curb with limited editions:D

    I seem to fall in love with discontinued fragrances. Today, I got some of the old version of Magie Noire and I'm totally happy that I like the new one more.

  12. You got a point there, L! Who can argue with that? ;-)

    You prefer the new Magie Noire? I haven't given it the time of day to be honest; maybe I should re-test it with some attention this time. I like the old one in miniscule doses, though.

  13. Anonymous16:40


    You all seem to be knowledgeable about Cristalle - have any of you noticed how both the Eau de Toilette and Eau de Parfum have been changed recently? It seems to be imperceptible to most people, but not everyone, and the most shocking difference is in the lack of "zinginess" in the EdT. Chanel have denied any reformulation, but interestingly the testers in some stores smell like the old fragrance - it's only the new bottles that smell strange. (And no, my nose hasn't gone wrong!) I can't tell you how many places I have been to sniffing and testing and have come to the conclusion that something strange is happening at Chanel.

  14. Anon,

    I can't say I have bought any new batches of Cristalle lately so I haven't noticed anything like what you descibe.
    If you're saying Chanel is denying any reformulation, I assume you have emailed them with your question on Cristalle directly? Because if you're talking in general about their scents it might not be the same thing. (one could claim a "no reformulations" policy in general, but not on every single concentration of every single perfume)
    Barring that, it might be a very recent thing, since you mention the difference with the testers (which can't be that old). In any case, I will make a concentated effort to see what happens if someone I know buys a new bottle of Cristalle and is willing to send me samples for comparison's sake. You're welcome to do so yourself, if you mail me using the email addy on the right hand column under Profile.

  15. Anonymous17:46

    Thank you so much for your very prompt response! Yes, I spoke to Chanel's customer services direct, and they replaced two of my bottles for two identically smelling bottles. I explained what I felt was wrong and begged them for feedback, but I suspect that they just send returned items back to France and don't take anything further. I demonstrated in the stores I went to that I could identify which was "good" and which was "bad" Cristalle with my eyes shut, and it has been frustrating when only two other people have also detected the difference. I've used the term that the current fragrances seem almost to be ghosts of the originals, and if this is what they are going to be like permanently, I will have to stop wearing what was once my favourite perfume.

    I will definitely send you samples to see what you think - I've been in such a rush that I haven't concentrated on you properly yet, but am I right in thinking you are in the States? I'm in the UK.

    Thank you again for your interest, and I will be in touch again soon.



  16. Dear Jill,

    you're very welcome and thanks for the additional info. It does help!
    Well, if they can't see what is wrong then it can't be defective product (it smells rather off, doesn't it), so reformulation might be afoot (it wouldn't surprise me). It's interesting to say the least!

    No, I am not in the States but actually in the European Union, so it would be fightfully easy to send back and forth things among ourselves. You can email me directly using the email provided under my profile on the right hand column and I will be glad to continue this further on at your convenience :-)

    Talk again!

  17. I got the Eau Verte and it rocks. Too bad that they didn't make a green bottle for it, just for the heck of it.


Type your comment in the box, choose the Profile option you prefer from the drop down menu, below text box (Anonymous is fine too!) and hit Publish.
And you're set!

This Month's Popular Posts on Perfume Shrine