Technically speaking, the Bleu de Chanel ingredients are the standard stuff you can find in any perfume: alcohol denat, essential oils and aromachemicals, and water.
The ingredients that give Bleu de Chanel its scent are the essential oils and aromachemicals the perfumer, Olivier Polge, blended.
Bleu de Chanel Ingredients: The Notes
This is how Chanel describes Bleu de Chanel on its website:
"BLEU DE CHANEL unites invigorating zest of Grapefruit, and the power of an aromatic accord with woody whisper of Dry Cedar. New Caledonian Sandalwood lends it a warm and sensual trail."
If you find this a bit vague and fluffy you are not the only one. Whether it's good or bad, this is the way many fragrance houses describe their creations.
So far, we've gathered that Bleu de Chanel has some grapefruit, cedar and sandalwood. To glean more into the composition, let's consult with Fragrantica. Its page on Bleu de Chanel lists the following notes:
Bleu de Chanel Notes
Grapefruit, Lemon, Ginger, Mint, Pink Pepper
Jasmine, Patchouli, Vetiver
Without running the juice through a gas chromatograph (a machine that tells us the molecular contents of a fragrance), it is hard to tell which notes in Bleu de Chanel are natural essential oils and which ones are synthetic aromachemicals.
Knowing a couple of things about the fragrance industry, we can deduce the following:
- The top notes (grapefruit in particular) are likely natural.
Most designer fragrances are designed top-heavy. Usually 80% to 90% of the perfume's budget is spent on high quality materials making up the opening. After all, first impressions matter. Most people buy a fragrance after a quick first sniff in the department store. This is why, it makes sense for the fragrance companies to put their best foot forward and create a top-heavy fragrance.
A simple sniff test also support this theory. The opening of Bleu de Chanel is rich and natural-smelling. I don't detect any synthetic elements.
- The sandalwood note is definitely an aromachemical. I suspect it is Javanol but it could be any other synthetic molecule approximating the smell of sandalwood.
Bleu de Chanel is not a sandalwood-based fragrance and I don't even detect any sandalwood. This is why, it is hard to tell what aromachemical Polge has used.
What makes me certain that the sandalwood note is synthetic, however, has nothing to do with the fragrance itself. It has to do with the price of the natural ingredient.
The sandalwood tree has been over-harvested for years. As a result of these unsound harvesting practices, the price of natural sandalwood oil is astronomical.
From a pure economic perspective, there is no way for Chanel to use real sandalwood in a fragrance they sell for less than $100.
- The jasmine note in the heart of the composition is likely synthetic too. Its purpose is to extend the longevity of the top notes and continue the fresh opening. It also provides a smooth transition to the woody dry-down.
Still, the price of natural jasmine is prohibitive for Chanel to use the real thing.
Even if Polge could afford it, he probably would still have opted for a high quality aroma chemical. This way, he would save himself the headache of neutering the indolic note (smelling like shit) present in the natural oil.
- I also suspect that the vetiver accord is also synthetic but it is harder to speculate about that one.
Regardless of the ingredients sources, Bleu de Chanel is an excellent fragrance. It is masterly blended and make a great every day scent.
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