Monday, January 18, 2016

Sycomore by Chanel; pioneer or follower?

Sycomore by Chanel

Penleigh Boyd, Morning, 1920

One material that I'm still uncertain to come along with in a straight moral is vetiver. This root is a rigid, earthy, and totally materialistic note but at the same time it sometimes goes outrageous and breaks into calculations. Vetiver is like a frenzy troublesome in perfume composition. Once tamed, it shows humility and in collaboration with calm notes as grapefruit can surprisingly turn into an aristocratic luxury.

To talk about Sycomore is merely to talk about vetiver. I've known this perfume after I bought a bottle of underestimated masterpiece; Lalique Encre Noire (this perfume over sold in the Middle East and spoiled); and heard rumors about a hundred percent similarity with a Chanel that hit the markets two years after Lalique. Last year I received a big sample of this perfume from a precious friend who has taken the picture below and now I'm here...


Special thanks to Victor Wong for sharing his photo with me and for the sample

Last week, as usual, I was working on a wooden frame in studio for a new painting. The timber was sycamore this time. While sawing the timbers under screaming machine, the hazy urinal/aldehydic golden smell of the timber spread over the studio.

The house cites they first released a stand-apart woody perfume in 1930. I haven't even seen that, and I'm a bit skeptical about its formula to be the same we're smelling today in the actual fragrance cause this is truly modern. On the other hand, why a perfume in the time of aldehydes, after Chanel's aldehydic giant success must be composed around vetiver and named after a tree that smells like L.T. Piver RĂªve d'Or? By mean, I'm apparently saying Chanel's original Sycomore would most probably smell aldehydic and the new one is a replica and refinement of Lalique Encre Noire! Of course, this is a big statement and I better hang it there to approve it... 

The current Sycomore is under Chanel Les Exclusifs collection and it is structured by Jacques Polge and Christopher Sheldrake in 2008. 


Photo from Fragrantica

Sycomore unfurls with fresh matte fuel-like vetiver on my skin. A faint hint of a soft fuel brings kind of fossilization smell to it and I like it so much. Unlike many vetiver-oriented fragrances that spin around humble eastern feelings, Sycomore likes to show it totally western and rich. I like this feature cause normally vetiver-spinned fragrances like Guerlain's are rigid like a thousand years old lion sculpture covered with mosses and this linearity exhausts me.

Another win-win feature of vetiver in Sycomore is its androgynous manner. Vetiver, once dominates a fragrance, appears as highly masculine note. It is dusty, earthy, soily, woody and somehow resembles spice and tobacco leaf. What else needed to be a manly note. Yet, Haitian vetiver has shades of sweetness and faint floral pitch. It's the one used in Sycomore and for it's softer aspect the fragrance dangles somewhere between masculinity and femininity.

From the beginning I also acquire pure smell of dry junipers (It's like a first class gin, yet not punchy as in gin) and cypress that beside vetiver, is apparently the same inky smell of Encre Noire. This postmodern feature is intensified by violet to enhance earthy and soil-like smell. If the original Sycomore was the same, or approximate to the current composition, there is no surprise that it has faced failures and quickly disappeared from boutiques.



But Chanel knows what to release. Specially Les Exclusifs collection carry Chanel's very pedigree and Sycomore is its rich woody member. It is also distinct from the rest of collection in many ways.

The grown fragrance presents shady and foggy evergreen cypress and vetiver that now is intermerged with the conifers. Also a negligible hint of some incense/resin layer ornaments the fragrance's foundation beside very pale sandalwood. Sycomore envisions a modern, casual, woodsy atmosphere that dangles between urban classy style and log fire resort. But I pick the first touch cause Sycomore expose leisurely aristocratic welfare and high class fluency and I love it as I do Frederic Malle's vetiver.

On my skin Sycomore stays for about 8 hours but all this period is supported by mediocre projection, no trail of smell, nor punchy vetiver assault. It's an casual indoor party fragrance. It's mandatory for a first class fragrance lover!

Carpe Odor!

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