From Passion to Inspiration: Introducing the Les Eaux de CHANEL Paris-Edimbourg
Updated: Jun 1
Written by Kaitlyn Chatwood and Sonny Neil
Luxury French fashion house, CHANEL, launches today a new fragrance that captures the fragrance of the Scottish landscape while paying homage to the history of Gabrielle Chanel.
The year is 1924. Gabrielle Chanel discovered Scotland through the Duke of Westminister and far from the society life, she sought refuge in this wild and majestic countryside.
Now in 2021, Les Eaux de CHANEL Paris-Edimbourg will be hitting store shelves including Edinburgh's Harvey Nichols. As part of the Les Eaux de CHANEL project, which celebrates Gabrielle Chanel’s favourite places, Paris-Edimbourg is the fifth entry in this olfactory tribute.
It started when Chanel was invited to dine with the Duke of Westminister. By 1924, they were having an affair and the Duke purchased the Reay Forest Estate in the northwest Sutherland which is located in the Highlands of Scotland.
The land was, and still is, an idyllic setting which Chanel described as an ‘absurd fairytale’. The forest supported deer stalking and salmon fishing, where Chanel bested many, including Churchill himself. She hunted, played cards and so thoroughly loved the land, the atmosphere, the freedom that the Duke bought Rosehall mansion in 1926 which she was able to decorate. Chanel adored the westminister tweed used by high society and sought her own source for the fabric in Scotland, which became her iconic tweed, or bouclé. She was also inspired by the tartan pattern and sought to incorporate both into her designs.
Olivier Polge is the creator behind the new scents for Les Eux de Chanel project and this fifth addition is a light scent with memories of Scotland’s great outdoors. Olivier is a well-known French perfumer - his father, Jacques Polge, was the in-house perfumer for Chanel for 37 years before his son took over. Olivier originally studied art history before taking the training courses as a perfumer and since then, he has created beautiful perfumes for CHANEL and other companies. In 2009, he won the international fragrance prize for artistic achievements in the field of perfumery.
During his experience in the Scottish countryside as part of the development of the cologne, Olivier was struck by the wild yet beautiful landscape. Throughout, his travels he discovered the two defining smells that would guide the project: the scent of juniper berries and peaty wood.
"The scent of juniper berry, beloved by hunters, is key to conveying this damp and
misty landscape" says Olivier. "There is something icy and gripping about it that does one good, like a walk in the great outdoors. But the Scottish countryside also evokes a slightly woody, peaty fougère that creates tension and complexity.
This tension between incisive freshness and warm shadows spurred the idea of utilizing the power of aromatic plants which British perfumes traditionally comprise of. He highlighted the lively and distinctive notes of juniper berry and cypress, added a hint of lavender, then chose cedar for its enveloping comfort and vetiver for its peaty and slightly smoky accents. Lastly, to counterbalance the strong aromatic scents, a touch of vanilla and musk were added to round out the fragrence.
"The eau de toilette builds strength with cypress and takes hold with the rooty, smoky and peaty facets of a timelessly elegant vetiver. There is a changing light that reflects the landscape, but also the English tradition of perfumery. And, lastly, since the harshness of the land influences the way of life, the scent is warmed with the comforting notes of vanilla and musk."
These elements combined provide a fresh, androgynous fragrance. The dominant aromas of juniper berry and cedar portray a masculine scent while the vanilla and musk provide a feminine touch. These elements provide a unisex scent that pays to tribute to the wild landscapes of Scotland.
The bottle itself is a nod to Chanel’s time in Scotland. The rounded shape recalls flasks people often wore in their waistcoats when travelling while the green perfume reminds us of the Scottish countryside. The bottle mirrors the rest of the collection as the cap is the same black thermoset engraved with the double C and shares the same clean, rounded lines.
Les Eaux de CHANEL Paris-Edimbourg launches today - 28th of May - across the UK and is available in store, such as Harvey Nichols in Edinburgh, as well as online. Check out https://www.chanel.com/gb/ now to purchase the fragrance of the Scottish wilderness for yourself.