Chanel’s First Fragrance In 15 Years Has Landed – And It’s Pretty Great
It doesn't just look good. Fresh and floral, intoxicating yet light, the new Gabrielle fragrance is quite the crowd pleaser.| August 30, 2017
While Chanel has been steadily releasing new versions of its classic fragrances – such as last year’s Chanel Nº5 L’Eau – it took 15 long years for the house to finally release an official new fragrance. Quality takes time, you see. Chanel’s shiny new fragrance comes in the form of Gabrielle, named after who else but one Gabrielle Chanel.
Gabrielle was created with the every woman in mind, no matter her age, no matter her background. It is a fragrance for women who dare and for women to dare to be the boss of their own lives, much like its namesake. The name choice is an interesting one, because as we were told on our visit to Chanel’s archives in Paris, “Gabrielle” wasn’t Gabrielle Chanel’s favourite form of address. But then again, if there was no Gabrielle, there would be no Coco. This really is Gabrielle in a nutshell: a fragrance for the woman who is ready to become extraordinary.
At first glance, Gabrielle truly is sleek as heck. The bottle is all lines and defined angles, toeing the line between modern and vintage flacons. Where most glass fragrance bottles are clunky, Gabrielle is remarkably light and compact, the result of its deliberately thin glass body that apparently took years to perfect. The design is a little like the original Nº5, but more refined. It is exactly the kind of bottle you would want to have on your vanity.
But what of the fragrance? On first spray, you can immediately tell that Gabrielle is a distinctly floral fragrance. We were told what the main ingredients were at the launch party in Paris early last month and we still remember it today because it is made specifically from four white flowers: ylang ylang, jasmine, orange blossoms and tuberose. Very easy to remember. (There are no camellias involved here even though they are also white and were Gabrielle Chanel’s favourite flower. Camellias generally have no scent, a characteristic that Chanel actually liked.)
White musk, sandalwood and just hints of mandarin peel, grapefruit and blackcurrant play supporting roles. As the top notes slowly fade away, Gabrielle slowly melts down into a soothing, powdery scent. Marilyn Monroe famously wore Nº5 to bed, but we think she would have liked the calming base scent of Gabrielle just as much, if not even more.
Gabrielle’s floral character is fresh, feminine and intoxicating in a sense that it sort of draws you in, so much that you can almost smell the gold in the juice, yet it still manages to be rather light at the same time. If you need a gauge, we’d say it is somewhere between the heavier classic Nº 5 and the more youthful Nº5 L’Eau. In other words, quite the crowd pleaser. Whether it is a daytime or nighttime scent, though, that is a little harder to pin down. Its fresh, floral scent suggests daytime, but its finish and golden appearance say nighttime, so we’re going to go with both. Duality in a bottle – how Gabrielle is that?