Coromandel refers to Chinese lacquered decorative folding screens of which mademoiselle Coco Chanel was a big enthusiast and collector (and which came to Europe from China in XVII century through ports located on Indian Coromandel cost). Jacques Polge and Christopher Sheldrake created this remarkable scent in 2007 and added it to the boutique and exclusive Les Exclusifs collection. Of course, the inspiration lies here only in the name as the scent does not consist of any wooden, paint or varnish notes, which I myself consider as an advantage.
I remember my first reaction to this smell – I was entranced. I saw a movie about Coco Chanel the next day featuring lovely Audrey Tautou and at the same time I tested the scent on my skin. The experience was exceptional. Synaesthesia worked perfectly. Till this day I am spellbound to it as Coromandel is really a special perfume and despite my proficiency it is really hard to describe it accurately enough. I will try my best nonetheless – still, this is what this blog is actually about.
Coromandel belongs to a woody-balsamic family of scents in which the main role plays patchouli together with resin (benzoin) and incense (olibanum) notes, accompanied by a subtle note of white chocolate. The effect of this composition – made with true perfumery mastery – is utterly resplendent. Patchouli is very charming in itself and can do perfumery wonders if used with moderation and intent. It likes to dominate the whole composition but it also has one magical property: despite its characteristic, bit mouldy, camphor, sour-earthy notes, it perfectly pairs, as it might sometimes seem, with uncommon partners (such as for example caramel ethyl maltol – thanks to which – in simple words – chocolate was achieved in famous Angel by T. Mugler). Polge and Sheldrake took this bit more culinary course but they achieved the balance, they soothed the patchouli oil sharp character with excellent quality resins and balms and – as I think – vanilla. The accord of white chocolate will cause palpitations to every perfumery aesthete and stands as a great counterpoint for patchouli. Luckily Coromandel does not boil over with sweetness. The authors did not overdo with anything apart from exaggerated beauty – this I cannot deny.
Coromandel has this “something” in it. Truly not many perfumes cause this kind of reaction in me. Maybe it simply reminds me of something that I really like or maybe it is just that perfect. The scent evolves slowly, over time the dominant patchouli note retreats, making space for amber note (but what kind of a note!). The patchouli note can still be smelled somewhere in the background though. Not much is happening here but that is good as what we have is absolutely sensational. Without any doubts this is the most beautiful scent with dominant patchouli I know and at the same time I have ever had a chance to wear and test. Absolutely top-end product.
In the Internet Coromandel is compared to Borneo 1834 by Serge Lutens, the difference between those two is that in the first one we find white chocolate note and in the other one dark chocolate note. I cannot say much about this as I cannot remember Serge’s composition that well (I tested its micro-sample long long time ago). Still, taking into consideration fact that Christopher Sheladrake took part in the creation of Coromandel, those two scents might indeed be quite similar. I will check that soon enough.
When it comes to quality and usage properties, Coromandel proves perfect here as well. The strength, projection, sillage and finally the lasting-power. Same as it was with Sycomore, we deal with a unisex type of a perfume. Personally I think they are even more for men than for women.
I waited with this review for a long time, being abashed with Coromandel’s beauty. This scent is perfect in every way. It smells luxury – that is for sure, at the same time it stands as an example of quality and moderation. For me everything is ideal here. People more familiar with Channel’s exclusive series name Coromandel as the best one from the whole series. I myself can only compare it to Sycomore and can say that if Polge/ Sheldrake had used in the same brilliant way vetiver as they did with patchouli in Coromandel, surely I would be down on my knees and stay like that from the delight. I must admit that this is what I actually expected as I put my hands on Coromandel first. On the other hand I would not like to diminish Sycomore as it is a great perfume as well.
Wearing Coromandel is an authentic pleasure. Pity that the availability of this scent is so limited, even though that we live in the era of Internet shopping and absolutely no boundaries whatsoever. Well almost…
main notes: patchouli, white chocolate, benzoin, vanilla
launched in: 2007
perfumers: Jacques Polge and Christopher Sheldrake