Just this week, I had one of the most interesting beauty experiences I’ve ever had and I just had to share it with you as soon as I possibly could, not because I had to (I was specifically told that I didn’t have to blog about this if I didn’t want to but hey, who tells me what to blog or not to blog about eh? :P ) but because you too can experience it for yourself! It’s not like a special blogger-only privilege and I know there are those amongst you who enjoy perfumes as well, or maybe just want to learn a little more like I did :)
What I did was go on a 3 hour Fragrance Journey with Chanel at their Espace Parfum boutique at Suria KLCC and I was enthralled. Ok, it’s not really a 3 hour journey. It was 3 hours for me because I kept interrupting and making strange statements like “It smells like a salad!” (Les Exclusifs Bel Respiro) that I’m sure quite exasperated Fragrance Specialist, Gwen Chew who was my fragrance guide. Sorry, Gwen :D
If you weren’t already aware (and I wasn’t), Chanel has a standalone fragrance boutique, Espace Parfum, at KLCC just outside of Parkson. In this store you will find all 56 Chanel perfumes available to date, including the Les Exclusifs range, which is only available here at this store.
It is also here that you can take an olfactory fragrance journey with the in-house Chanel Fragrance Specialist, who can help you pick YOUR Chanel scent or if you are like me, a Chanel fragrance virgin, take you through and see what you might like. The result can be very surprising (it was for me) and if you enjoy fragrances, a very insightful and interesting time, learning about fragrance, Coco Chanel and the influences behind each scent.
The most interesting thing is that the Fragrance Journey takes place, not at the counter filled with bottles of perfume, but at a table filled with these white things in them. You might be wondering what they are.
Well, my friends, these are the Chanel perfumes you and your nose will be sampling. They don’t look like the perfumes? Nope, not one bit, but that’s the brilliant part – you and your nose are erased of all prejudices of sight and design. You have really no idea what the scents are and you only have your nose (and fragrance specialist) to guide you.
These white things are ceramic blotters. Unlike paper blotters most of us are used to when sampling perfumes, the Chanel Fragrance Journey uses ceramic blotters, soaked in the perfumes. I was told that these ceramic blotters will not alter the scent and you will get the top, middle and base notes without having to wait for the dry-down.
Gwen, the resident Fragrance Specialist, taught me an interesting way to sample scents, especially fruity scents. When you breathe in, part your lips a little and draw the scent into your mouth. You will find a whole new sensory experience, and in some cases, almost taste the fruits in the fragrance. It is incredible and definitely something you have to experience.
These are what the ceramic blotters look like and they are only found in very selected boutiques where Fragrance Journeys are offered. As you go along, trying the scents, your Fragrance Specialist will set aside the ones you have an affinity for, for you to choose later.
Being a pure novice to Chanel fragrances, I was open to trying anything. So, my journey started with the fresh florals and went all the way to the strong woody orientals. I learned a few things in the process:-
- I have expensive tastes :P – My nose tended to gravitate to the Les Exclusifs or the pure Parfums. Oh boy!
- Chanel fragrances weren’t fluffy florals as I originally thought – a lot of them had a lot of depth and intricacies to them which you may not realise until you smell a few of them
- Eau de Toilette was not a mere watered down version of the Eau de Parfum. It was a whole different scent, even within the same line or family
- I didn’t like strong vanilla base scents – it made me feel sticky like I was dipped in syrup
- I didn’t like sweet, fruity scents – it felt too insipid and young and made me feel old :P
- I gravitate towards strange woody scents that no one else likes conventionally
- Some florals aren’t too bad, I could see myself wearing them (although I can’t remember the names now)
- I live in the wrong climate for the scents I like to wear :P
Unless you are going in there with the express intent of picking up a scent, I’d suggest that you keep an open mind. I knew the scents I did not like and we didn’t waste too much time on them. But it was interesting to have my prejudices reaffirmed, sometimes in quite a startling manner.
In between scents, you get a little “coffee break” by sniffing some coffee which is a way to neutralise and clear your head of all the heady fragrances, and it does get headier as you go along. Of course, if you know for a fact that woody, spicy, warm, oriental scents aren’t your thing, feel free to stop the journey and get off the fragrance train because it’s easy to get overwhelmed.
At the end of the day, my choices came down to 2 fragrances that were starkly different in character and scent. It, I suppose, just proved to me what a contradiction I am and can be :D
The 2 scents I ended up with were Platinum Egoiste EdT and Allure Sensuelle Parfum. Platinum is a men’s perfume, in case you’re wondering, and it opens up with a very sharp, crisp note that is very decidedly masculine. However, when I sprayed it on my skin, it mellowed down quite quickly and took on a rounder, slightly more floral note, and felt light enough for use in the day. I might try to score myself a sample to see if it does work for daily use, because it is definitely an interesting scent (and one that no other woman would wear – hopefully!)
By stark contrast, the other scent I seemed to take to was Allure Sensuelle Parfum. We’re talking here about the pure parfum, not the EdT or EdP, both of which I wasn’t too keen on. They do smell quite different, with different notes taking centrestage and I just preferred how the Parfum smelled.
Allure Sensuelle as the name implies, is a 100% woman’s perfume. It is also very strong, with a strong, spicy, oriental slant rounding down to warm floral notes. It is a fragrance that can quite easily overwhelm and wear you instead of the other way around, and it is a fragrance that I know few women will go for locally simply because the weather here doesn’t quite allow for such strong, sensual scents to be worn. But for an evening, in the cool air, with a tiny dab of parfum on the wrists, this is a scent is heady and sensuous and all woman.
Chanel Espace Parfum at Suria KLCC (outside Parkson)
I found the journey fascinating and it is one I’m happy to go on again. Perhaps on another day, I might find myself preferring a different scent, who’s to say. I’d suggest that you go alone and make an afternoon of it, just you and your journey with fragrances.
At the end of the journey, experience the perfume you just chose, almost blind, and they may let you have a sample of the scent, or a ceramic token of your experience so you can truly see how you feel about the scent as the day wears on.
The only thing I would caution you is to go easy on the fragrances. For some reason, I found that my nose and sense of smell was heightened after this experience for the rest of the evening and the whole of the next day, which can be quite unnerving and uncomfortable. So be sure to take lots of “coffee breaks”, drink the lovely tea offered to you and relax and enjoy the one of a kind experience :)
The Fragrance Journey is a complimentary service at the Chanel Espace Parfum and you can experience it at any time, although I’d recommend that you make an appointment as the store can get a little busy on certain days. In Malaysia, you can only experience it at KLCC, and in Singapore, at Marina Bay Sands and Ion Orchard, although I’d suggest you go to the MBS one to experience the ceramic blotters. The full journey I undertook will take about 2 hours at minimum, but if you want something quicker, they can do you a 45-minute to 1 hour session which is the “express” train, as it were. I recommend taking the scenic route but I understand not all of us have the time :)
At KLCC, the Fragrance Specialist Gwen is a fountain of information about each of the different scents available and how they can work or not, for you. She is incredibly passionate about the brand and the fragrances and is herself, a fan of Chanel perfumes so there is a lot to learn from her and I’ll be darned if she didn’t make me all excited about the perfumes available. So I plan to return and if I blow my next beauty budget on a bottle of parfum, it’ll all be her fault (although I’d smell good so really, it’ll be win-win LOL! :D )
Have you been to the Chanel Espace Parfum fragrance boutique? Have you been on a similar fragrance journey before?
The store has been there for years, I learned. I always walked by because I thought it was just the regular Chanel boutique but I’ve now learned to open my eyes a little more :P I can’t say all the Chanel scents appeal to me, but there are definitely some that do and I’m glad I went on the journey to find out! :)
The Chanel Fragrance Journey is a complimentary service and available at the Chanel Espace Parfum fragrance boutique at Suria KLCC only, Ground Level, outside of Parkson. It’s best to make an appointment before going so you will have the necessary time and attention. Tel: 03-2181 1546