Niche Fragrance Magazine

Chanel Sycomore: A Few of My Favorite Things

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I’m a freelance writer-slash-odd-jobber, which means that I write articles and blog posts about all sorts of things, like retinoic acid, how to sell your own home without a real estate agent, and the top ten things you can learn about social media dominance from Don Draper. Seriously. Those are all articles I have written. You will not find me half as ridiculous as I find myself, believe me.


Freelance writing is soul-destroying work for the most part, because most clients don’t value writing and they are always pissed off that they have to pay someone to do it. Plus, nobody feels bad about being mean or rude to a freelance writer. The one thing I do like about it, though, is that you get to learn things you didn’t know before.


For example, I recently started work translating the content of a vaping website from German into English. Now, I know nothing about vaporizers and vaping, but after translating the advantages of several models as avoiding the risk of burning “your precious plant material”, I began to be curious as to the nature of this precious plant material they kept referring to. I have my head so stuck in the fragrance clouds, I kind of thought precious plant material meant a rare variety of vetiver root or something.


Well, turns out it’s not vetiver!


You know, it’s funny, but ever since I found this out, I get a powerful urge to smoke a little something something when I’m translating this website’s content. And then I get the munchies. It’s not good either for my concentration or my waistline, this job. It’s been a long time since I’ve, um, indulged in this particular activity and I don’t know why it’s come upon me. But what can I say? Ich habe hunger, as they put it in German.



Sycomore also sparks a kind of hunger in me for all the unhealthy, unwise things. It’s not in the least bit sweet or gourmand. But like all very, very dry things – salted plums, vermouth, etc – Sycomore makes my mouth water. It’s an involuntary reflex – monkey smell, monkey do.


Sycomore opens as cool, damp green woods and then segues quickly into a dry, smoky vetiver that smells to me very much like the smoke from a joint. It smells sweet and grassy and oh so good. Damn, now I wish I were 18 again, living in digs and with absolutely none of the respect for law enforcement I now have.


The pot note jives nicely with the juniper berry, creating what I think of as the “gin-and-tonic” note. If No. 18 reminds me of a martini, complete with bitter vermouth and juicy olives – pitched high enough to suck your mouth dry, then Sycomore definitely smells like gin and tonic, infused with smoke from a joint.


Damn, now I want a cocktail.


My mouth waters when I wear Sycomore. Yes, yes – it is cool, crisp, and as elegant as everyone says. But don’t confuse clarity (or linearity) with simple-mindedness – Sycomore has a rich, velvety depth to it. Peel back the smoke and the woods, and you find a creamy sandalwood, which merges with the nutty vetiver to create the fine-grained, melting texture of the finest torta gianduia you’ve ever tasted.


Damn, now I want cake.


Luca Turin, in his review of Sycomore in The Guide, said that, “If putting it on does not make you shiver with pleasure, see a doctor.” I think that sentence perfectly captures the sheer sensory, tactile, gustatory pleasure of wearing Sycomore – the same satisfaction you get from a good cocktail. Or cake. Or…you know.



My name is Claire, I'm a 39-year old mother of two, and I am a freelance writer and consultant. I love perfume, any perfume, practically all of 'em. Other interests such as writing, reading, and painting fall tragically behind the perfume. It's a hobby that tends to be all-consuming (of both my time and my money).

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