Cristalle Continues Wearing O’ the Green


Cristalle.  The name suggests something youthful, sparkling and bright. Something you get a bit of color out of filtered sun, something that is not heavy and certainly not cloying or sweet.  This Chanel perfume fits the imagery very very well. 

Lauren Stover author of  The Bombshell Manual of Style says of Cristalle “exciting, electric green and alert, a Bombshell splashes on Cristalle when she doesn’t have time for coffee and simply smells her wrist when she needs a pick me up.  It elevates her spirits without making her jittery.”  Much like a cool breeze on a sunny spring day, this is a bit energizing, as the citrus is refreshing and the florals are quite lovely the drydown relaxing. 

With Cristalle EDT, you must use a heavy spray to get a longer lasting dose of the ‘fume. I feel my forehead relax as the juicy citrus and dry green herbs cut through the Houston heat and humidity, lasting a good 20 minutes or so until the top notes finally fly off my wrist and chest to release the heart of oak moss and florals. 

Let’s have a moment about oak moss, shall we?  First of all, many perfumes either do not include oak moss or reformulate the accord to simulate the oak moss smell in our beloved chypres.  This is a crying shame as it has rendered many modern perfumes paler shadows of their former glory.  Supposedly the stuff is an allergen that causes violent reactions in about maybe 5 people and a bunch of overdosed lab rats.  So, like many other materials; ambergris, civet, etc, oak moss is no longer PC to use.  How do I get down from the soap box?

     Anyhow, next we get some glorious greenness with oak moss, some lily and possibly honeysuckle/jonquil/rosewood.  I can detect jasmine and even the honeysuckle.  (I’ve seen a lot of variation on the note.  I took the listing at the bottom form  Whatever it is they use, my nose swings from rapture in the floral elegance to horror when it melds into a melon/hairspray note to mild annoyance when I get what I like to call “the Mrs. Meyers accord.”  Pleasant florals occur when sniffed closest to my skin, the other two occurrences seem to be in my wafting aura, so I ponder what people around me smell.  While the thought of smelling like hair-sprayed melon scares me, the Mrs. Meyers accord is a less worse fate.  I bought the lemon-verbena cleaning products at the store a few weeks ago because they smelled so spring-like and energetic.  I thought it would encourage me to clean and remind me a bit of my vacation in Greece where I soaked in the smell of verbena all over the place.  So, it’s not exactly a bad thing, unless you are familiar with Mrs Meyers and could confuse my perfume with the scent of cleaning.  yikes. 

Cristalle  is very wet and green smelling in places and would be very lovely in the rain.  Drydown is very, very nice and comforting in a green way.  Like the piles of mowed grass cooling from a hot day in the cool of the evening. This must be the tail ends of the oak moss and vetiver which makes it ALMOST masculine-ish, which is just the way I like to smell after a girl perfume.  Reminds me of nature’s duality and makes an otherwise ingénue scent more interesting and slightly sexy.  Very clean linen sheets on a summer day in Greece. 

I can see it as “elegant” for a young woman, in a garden party sort of way.  However I wouldn’t wear this for a night out.  The blue hour of twilight would be the very latest and only if I was kissing a first date on the porch-swing, hoping my parents don’t flicker the lights at us to come in.  There is an air of innocence, if fleeting.  I don’t see men really commenting on this one.  It’s the one your girlfriends tell you is sexy, just like they tell you “you look really hot with short, dark hair and glasses.  If I were a lesbian I’d be all about you.”  Cristalle is semi cerebral, the kind of perfume a woman would wear to please only herself, never mind what her lover thinks of it. 

Overall, this perfume is kind of clean and fresh, in a perfumista friendly way.  I’d like to think of it as a palate cleanser, the ginger on the side of your sushi.  Great for days I’d like to smell less dirty and less interesting. It makes an excellent segway drug into the world of perfume for a young woman.  If only I could escape the hairsprayed melon aspect, I would definitely reach for this more often than I do, which is still more often than before.  After wearing off and on for a few weeks, my thoughts have gone from GACK swamp mess! To bleh, hairspray to oooh, refreshing citrus and floral greens, which is a long way.

One last mention. At some point, Cristalle was flanked with an EDP verion.  The EDP is completely different from the EDT.


Notes: lemon, fresh herbs, oakmoss, bergamot, jonquil, jasmine, honeysuckle, rosewood, hyacinth and vetiver

Published in: on March 11, 2008 at 3:47 am  Comments (3)  

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3 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Usually I love a chypre but Cristalle (and No 19) on me are, what did you call it? Swamp gunk? That about sums it up. I love, love, love the older Chanels (Ernest Beaux) and the Les Exclusives, influenced by Chris Sheldrake. But the in between years? No go on my skin! Great review though, I guess we aren’t perfume twins!

  2. Greece is a great place for vacations, especially in summer. I really love the beach there

    • Yes, the water was absolutely amazing! Warmish and so clear you could see down into the water forever. Sigh. It’s been so hard to go to Galveston Bay after being spoiled on a place like that.

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