Chanel is synonymous with class, simple luxury, and elegance. Undoubtedly, the ubiquitous presence and undying fame of Chanel No. 5, has forever anchored the brand into the modern world’s psyche. Although undoubtedly focused on a primarily female clientele, this designer house also boasts some incredible unisex and men’s fragrances that have won the hearts of many.
Probably one of the most renowned fragrance selections for men offered by Chanel is Égoïste, with the nose behind this masterpiece being Jacques Polge. This Chanel exclusive debuted in 1990 and was originally named L’ Égoïste, subsequently losing the definite article. By definition, an “Égoïste” is someone who is self-centered, haughty, arrogant, selfish, etc. But here I think it should be understood more as someone who is exceedingly confident, self-assured, marked with an exceptional individualism.
What could be more individualistic than a men’s fragrance featuring rose as a main player? Thus was the case when Égoïste emerged on the world stage, at a time when roses were seldom used in fragrances considered “masculine”.
Along with rose, woods are also a central theme to the composition of Égoïste. In the initial stages of the fragrance’s life on skin, it is quite spicy and almost fruity with a combination of luxurious Brazilian rosewood, coriander, mahogany, and mandarin. Whenever I encounter rosewood in a fragrance, it always imparts a marked warmth full of soft, crimson hues, tinged with a slight peppery facet. Here in Égoïste, it is no different. You know that your skin has put on something special.
Gradually an elegant, well-tempered rose blooms, further enhancing those crimson tones so prominent in the beginning. The spiciness is also reinforced with some fiery cinnamon, softened ever so slightly with the presence of powdery, sophisticated carnation. But even here, Égoïste’s woody character shines through as suave hints of sandalwood embellished with indulgent brushes of a somewhat sweet vanilla peek through the rosy, spicy texture.
Every now and then, some tantalizing glimpses of tobacco make themselves known to the nose, rendering an effect almost on the verge of smokiness, yet I wouldn’t say Égoïste is a smoky fragrance by any means. The star of the show in dry down is the smooth sandalwood and ambery vanilla marked with streaks of tobacco and leather. Here, the leather is more like a suede leather, yet it still gives Égoïste this rugged, bold finish on skin as a contrasting accord to the sandalwood, amber, and vanilla. Even in the dry down, traces of spicy cinnamon and rose linger in the background, giving Égoïste almost a romantic appeal.
This fantastic fragrance has great longevity, with decent sillage for the first 2-3 hours, before sitting closer to the skin. It easily lasts all day and makes for an easy reach any time of the year. I could see Égoïste working as a classy accouterment at a formal suit and tie event, or as a sexy date night fragrance. If you are looking for something to add to your fragrance wardrobe featuring a masculine profile and the soul of a Chanel, look no further than Égoïste.