Does that caption sound a little greedy? It's a symptom of CHANEL fever, a condition I have suffered from for years.
It's always exciting when CHANEL releases something new, especially when it's part of their Les Exclusifs collection. I wasn't impressed with 1932; and coupled with the absolutely horrific 2014 reformulations of their regular lineup, I felt heartbroken.
But then CHANEL redeemed itself with the absolutely stunning and simply perfect Misia, I didn't expect that they would release yet another Les Exclusifs so soon. You can imagine my excitement when my dear friend, Ishara, who was traveling in Europe, sent the above photo to me. She had nabbed a bottle of Boy for me at Galeries Lafayette in Paris, knowing it was not yet available in the United States (it is now, and you can get it from chanel.com)
I wore Boy many times before attempting to review it, as it demanded time to fully comprehend it. It behaves on my skin the way an Amouage does. It takes on different layers and develops over many hours. That being said, longevity is excellent. The longest I wore it was 16 hours before I had to go to bed, but it was still there when I woke up. Sillage is office-friendly.
I absolutely love the top notes--a classic, masculine combo of woods and citrus coupled with aromatic dried lavender. The citrus smells like sweet, juicy grapefruit. A mere ten minutes later the perfume becomes entirely different--a powdery, creamy heliotrope-dominant fragrance with an intense dose of musk.
The extent to which any masculine notes show up on the skin seems heavily dependent on chemistry. I have to painfully scrutinize it to detect them for the majority of time that it's on my skin, so it wears totally feminine on me. To be more specific about the masculine undercurrent, I smell a seriously gorgeous, smooth, creamy sandalwood coupled with a delicate, clean whisper of geranium. It smells like a classic fougère with woods, geranium, and even a bit of spice. The only thing I was hoping for in this perfume that did not manifest is a fresh, green element like oakmoss or perhaps mint.
Below: Photos of the CHANEL counter at Galeries Lafayette; ©2016, Ishara Kotagama, All rights reserved
Here is CHANEL's description: Gabrielle Chanel considered Arthur ‘Boy’ Capel as more than her soul mate; he was her double and her alter ego. Inspired by their love, BOY CHANEL is a vibrant, perfectly balanced scent that challenges tradition and transcends gender.
I think the description set up expectations that Boy would somehow smell more conspicuously masculine and really push the envelope as a gender-bending fragrance, but in this regard I don't see it as being avante-garde on any level. Almost anything from the Coco lineup (especially Coco Mademoiselle EDT) as well as the Allure lineup are equally masculine if not more so than this. If you are a man hoping to do some gender-bending, certainly try this out, but you might have more luck with some of the others I mentioned. Then there is the woody, green, powdery No. 19 EDT and the leather-heavy Cuir de Russie. I could go on.
II do feel that Boy successfully encapsulates the two lovers into one fragrance because it smells as if I layered two fragrances together. It's like I am wearing my usual, daily signature, but I put a dab of my boyfriend's cologne on my wrist as I rushed out to work. It's more of a memory of a boyfriend versus a unisex fragrance that a man and woman might share--but of course they can share if they want to, obviously.
I could not help but compare Boy to Jersey because IMHO CHANEL already had a lavender-centric perfume, and I didn't really think that lavender was the greatest note to build another Les Exclusifs around so soon, and I still feel that way after familiarizing myself with Boy. And there are certainly huge similarities. They both contain heaps of lavender, and they are both creamy and musky. I'm not sure its warranted to own both perfumes unless you are a big fan of this specific scent profile to the point where only minor differences will be enough for you to want them both. Otherwise I would suggest testing them first and choosing the one you like better.
They both have a luscious, vanillic creaminess, but if you happen to like an almond vibe, Boy contains a sweet, powdery almond scent whereas Jersey lacks it entirely. Also, the lavender isn't exactly the same. I get more of a fresh, herbal lavender in Jersey, which has more of a bite to it, a bit of sticky camphor, bitterness, and greenness, as though it is still on the plant. The lavender in Boy starts out that way, but over time as it develops into a feminine perfume, it becomes a strictly floral lavender.
I love musk, so the other thing I love about both perfumes is that they each have a giant musk note in them, but while Jersey is soft and fluffy, Boy's musk has fur on it and growls a little. The animalic musk heightens it to a fragrance that is truly sensual, a quality that ties in beautifully with its concept. I almost wondered if there could be a bit of a leather accord going on, but it's not leather, it's just furry musk. And to my nose it's synthetic, which is great.
Boy is a feminine heliotrope perfume, not a gender-bender nor a unisex fragrance. The individual notes in the perfume smell very beautiful and of exceptionally high quality. To my knowledge, CHANEL still has their own flower fields and also purchases some of the finest natural essences in existence, and that is evident in Boy Chanel.
While on the whole it might be a sweet, powdery, heliotrope scent, make no mistake: Boy is not "cute," and it is not "girly." It still exudes the elegance that we expect from CHANEL. Like Misia, I feel that Boy is destined to become a classic. Its soft, sweet, creamy, powdery aura of elegance is going to be irresistible to many people.
Boy is not my favorite CHANEL, but it's beautifully crafted. I appreciate the artistry.
If there are any men out there reading this who have sampled it, I would love to hear your impressions. Ladies too, for that matter ;)