A superb fragrance!
The aldehydes immediately take flight with the hyacinth, backed up with the soft sensuality of rose and jasmine, but with the brightness of bergamot: this first effect is one of gentle freshness, an ideal introduction to the rest of the composition.
In the heart is an another paradoxical combination: the fullness of lilac and lily and the valley, the green bite of galbanum, with a hint of spice (some clove, yes, but something else as well... I'm just not sure what) that seems to underscore the slightly spicy edge of the hyacinth from the top.
The base, oddly enough for a floral, could be perfect for any typical oriental scent, yet Jean Paul Guerlain found it appropriate for Chamade, and he was right: while on its own, it would be a warm, sweet, full bodied concoction, in this case it gives the earlier notes an unparalleled voluptuous feel.
(though I think that while all the basenotes have their role and place, the star trio here is the Peru Balsam/sandalwood/vetiver, it prevents the scent from getting too sweet, tones down the florals while carrying their sillage)
Chamade arrives almost muffled in its tone, a slow and steady rhythmic beat, not particularly melodious but impossible to get out of one's head. It's a cello, or a barytone, deeply hued, warm and glowing. Dramatic and compelling in that it really doesn't come off as a scent that wants to be noticed but its substance and texture are truly artful.
I do believe that all scents are appropriate for just about anything if you happen to be in the mood for it, but Chamade really has that top drawer classic feel that speaks more of 7 figure fund raisers than dashes to the local convenience store.