FLANKERS!! Let’s Talk About Flankers

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Post by Anne-Marie

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Howdy folks, it’s Anne-Marie, here to chat about the issues that matter in this crazy perfume-y world. Today, it’s … yay! Flankers!

FLANKERS!! Let’s Talk About Flankers

A flanker, as I’m sure you know, is a perfume which ‘flanks’ a pillar release. It perpetuates the name of the original but otherwise they may have little in common. Often the flanker has much less money spent on it and will be chucked at the market to see if it sticks.
It tends to be a given that flankers are not worthy of the perfume lover’s attention, but here are some which I have enjoyed.

EauPremier stylefrizzStylefrizz

Chanel No 5 Eau Premiere (2007, and re-packaged in 2015). The first flanker (as opposed to different form or concentration) to the 1921 classic. It is beautiful variant, less aldehydic than No 5: sunshiny, and with a lovely lemony top note. A perfect all-occasion fragrance. Apparently sales were disappointing, and we have a new flanker to look forward to this year, No 5 L’Eau.

Shalimar: what can you say without making Shalimar lovers’ blood boil? Well, I love Eau de Shalimar (2008/9) and Shalimar Cologne Eau de Toilette (2015). The lime top-note in EdS is admittedly a little weird, but I find the fragrance very relaxing overall. The Cologne? Oh my – gorgeous! Lemon instead of lime, very bright but beautifully blended with vanilla. It’s addictive but not (for me at least) especially foodie. Neither these two flankers, nor any of the Shalimar flankers as far as I know, are as heavy on the smoke and leather as the original.

CHANEL

I bought Chanel No 19 Poudre (2011) when it came out but sold it eventually. The iris is superb, the powder is not stifling, and the fragrance wears like a silk slip. But the white musk in the base seems timid and produces a lack-lustre result overall.

Sometimes a flanker stands confidently next to its pillar. Hermes L’Ambre des Merveilles (2012) trounces the original Eau de Merveilles for me, perhaps because I simply have trouble smelling the Eau. L’Ambre has a miraculous floaty character: sweet but cool, warm but restrained. The only amber I truly love.

Kelly Caleche Hermes FragranticaFragrantica

I’ve reviewed Hermes Kelly Caleche (2007) on APJ, so will just note here that it is a cool, elegant leather with little resemblance to the original Caleche, which I never loved. I’ll come right out with it: Caleche smells dated to me, and too short-lived to bother with.

Finally, Lancome Magie Noire (1978). Yes, it’s a flanker to Magie, released in 1950 and re-released briefly in the mid-2000s. Magie was a classic amber: good but not great. Magie Noire is devastating. A witchy mix of chypre and oriental. Dark, sensual and animalic, it’s haunting if worn lightly, but all-consuming if spritzed heavily. You might pay for this one with your soul.

Over to you! There are LOADS of flankers that you have tried and I haven’t. The good, the bad and the forgettable. Do share!
Until next time, happy spritzing!

16 comments on “FLANKERS!! Let’s Talk About Flankers

  1. australianperfumejunkies says:

    Hey there Anne-Marie,
    I seem to go through moments of joy and rage when it comes to flakers. LOVED many of the Opium ones for example but loathed Coco Mademoiselle and Coco Noir until I let the flanker-ness go and just enjoyed them for themselves.
    There are some flankers that should stop at too many. DKNY, Givenchy, and a few others I’m looking at you….
    Portia xx

    • annemariec says:

      Oh and Lauder too: Lauder is a notorious flanker. 🙂 How many flankers for Pleasures and Beautiful has it done? Well, who cares …

      • australianperfumejunkies says:

        I have to tell you a secret Anne Marie,
        I have never smelled Pleasures, or any of its flankers.
        Portia xx

  2. Robert H. says:

    Hi Anne-Marie,

    I think you’re right that it’s many times best to seperate the flanker from the original, and as Portia said just enjoy them for themselves. To wit…. I am one of the 9 people on the planet who actually LOVES Shalimar Souffle! The secret, as Tresor pointed out is to think of it as a Guerlain AA, then it makes more sense.

    Love the Shali Cologne from last year, btw! Gorgeous! I also think that TF’s Fleur De Portofino is a million times more interesting than the original NP. A huge compliment getter. And Magie Noir….yup! Less is more, a fantastic nuclear mushroom cloud of fabulousness! xoxo Robert

    • annemariec says:

      Right, good point, I’ll try Shalimar Soofle with that in mind. 🙂 It’s a pity when you have to mentally work AGAINST the marketing of a product, but there we have it. Thanks Guerlain. 🙁

      One can overuse Shali Cologne, I’ve discovered. It smells so vivid and distinctive that if I spritz too much or wear it too often it gets a bit tiresome. Eau de Shalimar, on the other hand, is better at just humming in the background.

  3. Fazal says:

    Kelly Caleche is quite different from caleche but I like Kelly Caleche nevertheless. Magie Noire is one of those flankers that are far better than the original. I have original magie, too which is not a challenging creation unlike Magie Noire which may overwhelm some though I love it

    • Fazal says:

      forgot to add but some of the flankers I love include Kouros Fraicheur and Kouros Eau de Sport, vintage Eau Sauvage Extreme, and vintage Dior Homme Intense. Dior Homme Intense reformulation of the year 2013 was also quite amazing unlike the ones in 2012 or something like that.

      • annemariec says:

        It can be hard to keep up, can’t it? So many flankers, so little time. I really feel sorry for people who set out to buy a loved fragrance for a friend/partner etc, and are confronted with all those ‘Sport’, ‘Noire’, ‘Intense’, ‘Florale’ flankers. Which is the one? Ack!

  4. Ceil says:

    Sometimes I much prefer the flanker version of a scent. One that I prefer is Shalimar souffle, What I don’t like is when they bring out a flanker by name…but it really should have been a separate fragrance because it really doesn’t have anything in common with it’s original scent. I also like Coco mademoiselle and noir, the Angel leather flanker, Hypnotic poison, No. 5 sensual elixir. I personally preferred Magie over Magie noire, but I liked them both.

    • annemariec says:

      I think just about all the flankers you mention have actually had some time and thought put in them, unlike so many other flankers. Glad you mention No 5 Sensual Elixir. I liked that one too.

  5. Azar says:

    Hi Anne-Marie,
    I agree with Ceil about Hypnotic Poison. I much prefer it to the original. It is a totally different fragrance. Also Jean Paul Gaultier Classique Intense is much more interesting than the original Classique. Francis Kurkdian did a great remake of the older fragrance, but there is still something of the original left in this flanker. Thanks for this fun post!
    Azar xx

    • annemariec says:

      Hypnotic Poison is the Annick Mernado one, right? No wonder it’s so good. I must give it another try. 🙂 I’ll give Classique Intense a go to, if I find it. The trouble with flankers, of course, is that they don’t always stay on the market very long …

  6. willa says:

    The J’adore flankers are pretty good – better than the original since they’ve changed the original formulation.

  7. Tim says:

    Hi Anne-Marie,
    Looking at my perfume collection it does appear I have only a small percentage of flankers. This might mean I am a) a flanker snob or b) flankers are often less ‘interesting’.
    I have and love Kelly Caleche and No.5 EP. Others I have are ELdO Rien II, DSquared2 He Wood Rocky Mountain Wood (quite unexpected), Agent Provacateur DD (although it is said this is not a flanker) and Angel Leather. I have to say that both Mugler and Hermes have a great track records for decent flankers!
    One thing about flankers is that they are so often Limited Edition and it annoys me to no end when you find a good flankers, that wasn’t marked as LE, only to find it disappear or reformulated (No.5 EP I am looking at you).
    I had no idea Magie Noir is even a flanker. Thank you for the education.
    Cheers,
    Tim

    • annemariec says:

      Technically Magie Noire might be a flanker but with 28 years between releases, the relationship is lost on nearly everyone I suppose.

      It sounds like you are discerning in your choice of flankers. It is indeed frustrating when they disappear.

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