CHANEL No 18 by Jacques Polge for CHANEL 1997

Hello Happy Huffers,

While in Vienna we dropped into the Douglas store near the Steffenplatz where the have a CHANEL room. I was quite naughty and grabbed a bottle each of Bois des Iles and Coromandel EdTs, only the small bottles and neither is opened yet. With my purchases though the girl who served us gave a wonderful bunch of samples. this then is one of those samples…

CHANEL No 18 by Jacques Polge for CHANEL 1997

Les Exclusifs de Chanel No 18 Chanel

Chanel No 18 FragranticaPhoto Stolen Fragrantica

Fragrantica gives these featured accords in one line:
Ambrette (musk mallow), fruity notes, iris, woody notes, flowers

That musk mallow and iris opening is so soft and warm and plush, dry, slightly herbal and wearable. There seems to be loose tea leaves, or a nod to them. CHANEL No 18 reminds me of the scent as you walk into a very plush furniture showroom during the week. Part wood, part leather, air conditioning and the idea of those expensive cleaning agents that mask bad odour and have a very low refreshing murmur of their own try so hard to be, yes, that’s it. CHANEL No 18 smells clean, expensive and luxe. As you wear No 18 it becomes more comfortable, as if your own scent has a wash over it. My skin does not give me hardly any fruit or flowers in the usual sense of the words as I expect them, they are hints, supporting and filling and smoothing the composition. Maybe rose? Maybe carnation?

 Chanel No 18 An-Elegant-Beauty WikiMediaPhoto Stolen WikiMedia

CHANEL No 18 is every inch an elegant beauty, not overpowering, fresh, modern, interesting and I can imagine it being a go-to scent for someone perfectly poised, or looking to smell that way, with a hidden warmth. The iris is cool and slightly carrot-ish, woods are an aromachemical(?) I wonder because when I smell them for a while they disappear to return as I bring my hand back within sniffing distance, and the musk mallow stays around playing fluffy, powder and hair at different times, though it’s not noted I think there are more musks too, clean white musks that continue pumping long after my skin has eaten the fragrance, maybe 2 hours fragrant and double that to nothing.

Chanel No 18 Herve Leger Christopher Macsurak  FlickrPhoto Stolen Flickr

Further reading: Olfactoria’s Travels and Perfume Posse
CHANEL No 18 is available at all CHANEL boutiques, especially the make-up ones and in Europe from some Douglas stores
Surrender To Chance has samples starting at $4/m

Les exclusives are so easy to wear, perfectly blended, don’t last forever. These can all be exactly what I’m looking for in a fragrance, sometimes, no I take that back, often. It makes it very easy to understand why they are so successful, everyone knows CHANEL can be trusted to have them smelling good.

Which is your favourite CHANEL Les Exclusive?

Portia xx

27 thoughts on “CHANEL No 18 by Jacques Polge for CHANEL 1997

  1. No 18 sounds posh. Have never tried this one.
    A while ago there was a question about whether you consider yourself a Chanel girl or a Guerlie girl, and I went oh Guerlain, duh. But then I looked at my collection and there is Cuir de Russie and No 28 FB’s. (In love with.) Plus minis of Sycomore and Coromandel. Oh and Bois des Isles.
    I think you have nailed the answer…Chanel always feels right.


    • Hey JackieB,
      I am definitely a Guerlain person but I have a CHANEL collection too that includes No 5s from many eras in all concentrations and a few of the others. My only exclusives FBs are Bois des Iles and Coromandel, so far.
      Portia x


  2. What a gorgeous description Portia! I must smell No 18 again. I am certain it must have been presented at Catherine’s Les Exclusive perfume meetup last year, but it did not signify at the time. I love (and own) 1932. I have read the most disparaging remarks about it (it’s often called “boring”) but to wear a truly workable and elegant white jasmine is such a gift–and not a boring one! When I wear it (which is often) I am transported to my childhood rummaging around antique shops at the Oregon coast, where so many old bottles of perfume, mostly empty, were sold for pennies. 1932 is a serene and modern version of the mysterious leftovers of those old, old bottles which you can no longer get for pennies since the advent of Ebay. I am also very partial to the one that smells like woodsmoke and vetiver, Sycomore. I am not however totally convinced that I want to wear it often, which prevents me from making the investment. I need a friend who wants to share a bottle! The fugitive nature of Les Exclusive has been totally remedied by your recommendation of Lush’s UltraBalm. 1932 will last much longer, because of you.


    • Hey Mary Jane,
      My only problem with 1932 was its ephemeral nature. So beautiful and a lovely cleaned-up hark back to old fashioned fragrance. I can especially understand it for those that want to smell good without causing offense. I never did try it with UltrBalm to see if it would linger but now you mention it I am going for another round.
      Portia xx


  3. Congrats on Bois des Iles and Coromandel, Portia. You’re going to really love wearing them once the weather cools where you are.

    Bois des Iles is my fave and I have it in the edt and parfum. The parfum really is to die for. I also have Cuir de Russie edt. I did own 31 Rue Cambon but sold it on when my tastes changed and I suddenly found it a bit cloying. I still think it’s great though.


    • Hey there Tara,
      You came in just as I was writing a post for Olfactoria’s Travels and I was wondering how you are. Coincidence much!
      I was given a vial of Bois de Iles Extrait on my travels and I have worn it a couple of times and SWOONED. Currently eeking it out because I’m trying to be sensible and save for the crews next holiday in May to Korea and Burma. I have only purchased 3 frag bottles since my return and one was a 15ml Hermes Epice Marine, thanks to YOU!!
      When I get back though…..
      Portia xx


  4. Well I’ve not yet tried Bois de Iles, Coromandel, or Sycamore… The ones I marked to try first.
    My favourites, in order, are Cuir de Russie, No18 and 31 Rue Cambon, although I also have a soft spot for 1932.


    • Elia,
      You have super taste, I have not spent much time, maybe 4 or 5 wears, with 31 but I have a hefty decant of it somewhere. Maybe I should remedy that.
      Thanks for dropping in and good luck sampling the rest of the line.
      How did you get the others but not the ones you’d marked as firsts?
      Portia xx


      • Well I’d found a decanter with samples of Coromandel and Bois de Iles, but he went on hiatus forever.
        And I got the rest through the kindness of others. Which is great!! And has been helpful beyond the Chanels, because it is quite secluded here scent wise.


        • Yes Elia,
          I know all about scent seclusion. Australia doesn’t get much of the world’s niche offerings but we do get the CHANEL Exclusives.
          Next time try Surrender To Chance.
          Portia x


    • Did they Poodle? WOW! We never had such luck in my memory.
      I tried 22 for the first time in Paris at the 31 Rue Cambon shop. Thinking it was a CHANEL it would be soft and fleeting I sprayed 5 big spritzes down my shirt as Michael looked on in HORROR! I was basically radioactive for the next 6-8 hours.
      Portia xx


  5. Hi, Portia —

    Your descriptions always make me mad to try the scent described – I’m off to Nordstrom today to get a sample of No. 18! My favorite Les Exclusive is, weirdly enough, Gardenia, something I would normally not even try as the word “gardenia” conjures up images of sickly sweet colognes sold at tourist shops in Honolulu. But the Chanel one is not a bit of that. I love it.
    With much aloha!


    • Ha ha ha! Much aloha back, you can be sure.
      Sadly gardenia is soft and fleeting on my skin. I’ve only tried it once though, maybe I should give her another whirl. I have a decant here.
      Portia xx


    • Hey Ferris!
      Nice to see you, and thanks.
      Will it fit you? I think you need to try it, stranger things have happened in the world of fragrance. It may be a little too prim for you but maybe you need a cool and collected scent?
      Portia xx


  6. Congrats on obtaining the Coromandel and Bois des Iles. Two of my many favorites from Les Exclusifs. I am definitely a Chanel girl. Thanks for this review of No.18, it reminded me that I have a decant from my daughter. She claims this is one of her two signature scents, the other being SL Fille en Aiguilles.
    Anyway, it’s nice to be wearing this today and think that I am connected to my child so many miles away.


    • WOW Tatiana,
      Your daughter has good taste. Lucky you having a perfumista baby, so often it skips a generation.
      Portia xx


  7. I love Chanel! Of the exclusives Bois des Iles is my favourite in winter, La Pausa in spring, the Eau de Cologne in summer and No 22 in autumn 🙂 I found No 18 intriguing and nearly lovely, but it develops a pickly note on my skin that wasn’t the best.


  8. No. 18 is actually my favourite of the Chanel Exclusifs, although I don’t own any of them. Well, I have two tiny little bottles of Bois des Isles and Cuir de Russie extracts, but I never seem to reach for them. No. 18 smells just like a gin and tonic on opening to me! Very festive.


  9. Lovely review Portia! I have to go to Douglas and give it a test one of these days. My Exclusive faves are 31 Rue Cambon, No. 22, Gardenia and Bois de Isles. Now i want to try my luck with Cuir de Russie. xo


    • Heya sandra,
      So nice to see you. I think if that many CHANEL’s work for you then the base is your friend, you will at least like them all. I have longevity issues with Cuir de Russie unless I spray like a mad person.
      Portia xx


  10. Oh…. Twice now we’ve been standing at the Les exclusives counter, and I’ve been wanting to invest but I’ve had great difficulty deciding…. 22, cologne, and Coromandel… But the SA took pity on my indecision and gave me a sample of Cuir de Russe, which was my first choice. Just trying not to go back now this side of May. Danger zone… xx


  11. Pingback: Chanel Les Exclusifs No. 18 EDT Perfume Review | EauMG

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