A forgotten gem – Chanel Coromandel

At least for me.

I bought the big bottle when I was in Paris for the first time, and since I was getting lost all the time, it took me a while to locate the Chanel boutique. Now the bottle has lingered several years in my closet until I got reminded of it through a perfumista friend a few days ago.

I still understand why I didn’t blink an eye buying that 200 ml for what was my most expensive perfume purchase up to then. Now I think about it, possibly ever.

Basically, what I think of it is that it smells like a dry, ambery pashmina bolstered by patchouli.

Now, if I concentrate, I can smell the citrusy peel note in the opening, the frankincense being hidden in profile-chanel-mademoiselle-privee-collection-_6there (that’s a good thing in my book) and the little sunshine hidden in the petals of jasmine and rose.

The longer you wear it, the more the resiny base comes through and the dryness becomes even more apparent. Incense is peeking out of its hidey-hole and the patchouli takes center stage but the resiny warmth never leaves.

And that’s it. It’s a perfect example of elegant simplicity while not being simple at all.

So, what are your forgotten gems?


And while on the subject of Coromandel, these days, I see Les Exclusifs everywhere. ;)

So if you haven’t already, go play the detective over at Denyse’s blog (one of those places).


P.S. While searching for pics, I noticed Chanel has a nail polish of the same name in red color. Is it me, or Coromandel just doesn’t smell even remotely?


Notes: citruses, neroli, bitter oranger, jasmine, rose, orris, patchouli, woody notes, amber, benzoin, and frankincense

30 thoughts on “A forgotten gem – Chanel Coromandel

  1. I love Coromandel passionately. I’m going to get the big vat that you have because a “tiny” 2.5 oz simply won’t do! It’s at the top of my To Buy list, and I should probably do it soon. Given Chanel’s 2 recent price hikes in 8 months alone, god only knows what they will do to its cost this year. lol

    • Oh, so there was a price hike?! A friend told me how much it costs now and I kept thinking that I don’t remember it as being so expensive when I was buying it (even for a 200 ml bottle).
      Nice to see we have some shared loves. ;)

      • Not one, but TWO, and in less than 7 months! Coromandel in the small size started off being $105 or so at the start of last year, then went up to something I can’t recall ($140?), and then 4 months after that went to $160. So, from January to mid-summer, about a $55 increase in what was originally a $105 perfume. That’s pretty massive. The big vat is now $280, but I think it was around $200 at the start of last year. I would not be surprised if it went to $310, in the next 6 months, in line with the new Lutens bell jar prices.

        We have a few shared loves besides this one, I think. :)

        • That’s basically a 50% hike in price for the small one. Who the hell does stuff like that?! I mean, really, it might make sense if you want a quick influx of money but I am not going to be spending that much money on a bottle on principle. And I wonder how soon will it backfire (because I do think it might).
          I think in Croatia the big one is almost 300 Euros. But then perfumes here generally cost more due to some internal Croatian taxes.

          Yes, I used to think we don’t share much, but the further we go, the more perfumes crop up being in common. ;)

  2. There is a lipstick in Coromandel too! :)
    Coromandel is one of those perfumes that are simply perfect. Glad you have a big bottle to enjoy. Beautiful scent description!!!

  3. I fell in love with with this recently at the airport of all places.. It is on top of my buy list too..so understated (by my vintage Shalimar loving standards) and elegant, yet satisfying.

    • He, he, he, by your vintage Shalimar standards, yes, it would seem understated. ;)
      Airports are in my opinion great places for new perfume discoveries. I know I made some there (CK Secret Obsession comes to mind, my cheap guilty pleasure).

    • Yes, isn’t it? :) I’m so glad I decided to write about it – I didn’t realize so many people loved it. And it is very deserving of that love.

  4. I love my Coromandel…it took me ages to finally buy my bottle, as it isn’t available here. It is my most prized perfume! I feel honored having this lovely fragrance!

    • Jennie, it took me a day to decide to buy it.
      Well, if I hadn’t bought it then, I wouldn’t have been able to buy it for years to come (as it wasn’t available here).
      But I basically knew it wouldn’t be much of a struggle to convince myself to buy as soon as I left the Chanel boutique. ;)

  5. Great description, Ines! When I was still decanting, Coromandel was quite requested, more so than any other perfume, I think. I agree with you that it smells simple and complex both … or maybe I should say that I find it effortless to wear, yet it’s incredibly arresting. I love that the patchouli in it smells different in summer than it does in winter. In humidity, the patchouli is more chocolate-like, and in winter, more dry and amber-y.

    • Actually Suzanne, you summed it up very well – “effortless to wear, yet it’s incredibly arresting”. Probably the reason it was so well requested.
      I never wear it in the summer but now I will definitely try it – you convinced me. :)

      • It’s gorgeous in summer, I can attest to that. The patchouli blooms beautifully, and it positively smolders. I had to stop myself from wearing out my large decant, because I think I prefer Coromandel in summer than in winter. It is so much more opulently oriental for me in summer.

  6. This is very timely, Ines, because I’ve had a hankering for Coromandel lately. Your wonderful, evocative review will keep me going until I get to sniff it again at the shops next Saturday.

  7. I tried this too early in my perfume hobby, and was put off by the (to my nose back then) heavy patchouli and general spiciness. Five years on, now that I am so drawn to spicy / woody orientals, I must be ready – and due – for a retrial!

  8. I like Coromandel and wear it from time to time from a small decant that I bought a couple of years ago. I’m sorry that I’m that late to the post but I have to ask (since nobody else did): how did you manage to “lose” it? It’s a huge bottle! :)
    No hidden jems in my collection since everything’s cataloged in the database – I’m boring, I know ;)

    • He, he, I didn’t actually lose it, I always knew where it was (if I stopped to think about it). as it’s such a huge bottle, I decided to share it with my mother so I left it in her bathroom cabinet where it lingered in the back for years, until I got reminded of it.

      I was getting lost in Paris a lot though… :)

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