The Les Exclusifs de Chanel collection is known for its groundbreaking fragrances that are as elegant as they are alluring. From the captivating Sycomore to the avant-garde Cuir de Russe, the simple Eau de Cologne to the scrumptious Coromandel, the quality of Chanel’s exclusives is unimpeachable. That is, until Boy.
Before its floral mid and vanillic base, Boy opens with an uncomfortably synthetic explosion of notes. For me, the first minute or two is a sinus-searing mashup of what smells like chemical-laden citruses and fixatives. Present in the opening is nearly the same cringe-worthy grapefruit note that is present at the opening of Bleu de Chanel. Sadly, the first few minutes always smell a bit cheap to my nose, and I can’t quite put my finger on why. Maybe it is the ingredient quality, the overall blend, or the perfumer’s particular style, but this fragrance does not belong in the exclusives range, smelling instead like a cross between a Chanel flanker and a Balenciaga fragrance. On that note, if this were a kind of modernized “fougere flanker” of Chanel No. 5, I doubt that anyone would be surprised. For what you get with Chanel Boy, many might agree that the significantly smaller price tag of the normal collection would more appropriate. Still, Boy is very pleasant, and I highly doubt that it will be a widely disliked fragrance. Performance is mediocre in all categories.