Beige Eau de Toilette by Chanel (2008) is a ressurected and reconstructed early Chanel fragrance from the prolific first period of Parfums Chanel prior to World War II, when Ernest Beaux pretty much made any and all perfumes that suited Gabrielle "Coco" Chanel's muse, regardless of any marketability. The original Le Beige de Chanel (1931) serves as the base inspiration for the newer Jacques Polge creation, and itself was an homage to Coco's favorite color. Like the color beige was to Chanel herself, the perfume was meant to be a comforting retreat, and was presented as a simple white floral aldehyde chypre sweetened with a bit of honey. Jacques Polge does very little to change that theme with his recreated version first presented here in the Les Exclusifs collection as an eau de toilette, although how accurate of a reconstruction (if accuracy was even intended) is impossible to say since I've never seen nor smelled surviving bottles of Le Beige de Chanel, nor likely will (but this review will change if that happens). For what it's worth, Beige Eau de Toilette is an honest fragrance, albeit a bit overpriced due to its status as part of the Les Exclusifs range, as something this pleasant and non-challenging could have been bottled and sold alongside mainstays like Chanel No. 5 (1921) as well.
Speaking of No. 5, Beige Eau de Toilette opens just like it, with those resplendent Chanel aldehydes offering a golden introduction to what is quickly announced as a white floral bouquet, different from the rose pasty yellow floral core of No. 5 itself. Hawthorne and frangipani are the star players according to the company blurb, but I also get among this "tuberose lite" display of bitter hawthorne and sweet frangipani a woosh of ionones including the violet and iris quality, building into the white floral whole with a clean freesia as the heart rests on a soft Chanel leather (not a isobutyl quinoline leather, more like a clove/birch leather approximation). There's labdanum here, Polge's Chanel house sandalwood compound, oakmoss, a bit of vetiver, and some dry woody aromachemicals with limonenes and other clean sharpening agents. Beige is deliberately girly, petite, the old-school definition of a youthful fragrance for women, but served up against cheaper modern fruity florals of the competitors. Wear time is about 8 hours but Beige is no screamer like its older sibling No. 5. This reads feminine to my nose but floral fans of any gender can wear it if they really want to, just in spring or summer where I think Beige fits best. Also, Beige feels comforting and very casual to my nose, so this is not for the office or formal event where you need to be taken seriously.
The next big question is: How this now-discontinued version stacks up to the eau de parfum version released in 2016 to replace it? Well, for all intents and purposes they have the same dry down, so the end result is the same smooth soft white floral chypre glow, with a bit of musk and powder over smooth leathery buttery tones and wood. The opening is much rounder and sweeter in the EdP, with the honey coming on sooner and giving the whole composition a more linear feel as the EdP starts mostly as it finishes, so a bit of complexity and development in lost in the concentration upgrade in exchange for better density and longevity. If this trade off doesn't seem fair, there is still a bit of Beige Eau de Toilette popping up here and there in the aftermarket for prices not a ton above it's already-high original retail, as Beige was not so popular compared to other early Les Exclusifs EdT launches. Soft and girly white florals the classic Chanel way is what you get with Beige Eau de Toilette, but you'll pay a premium for the experience, so I'd find an old carded sample or purchase a decant before diving in, even if you're otherwise a fan of the house. There are so many perfumes that do what this does, but none that do it the way this does. Thumbs up.
The sparkly, powdery aldehydes from No. 5 over the violets and suede from Cuir De Russie, enriched with the iris from 28 La Pausa. Beige is exactingly Chanel, deftly combining the brand's favorite recurring tropes.
That being said, it feels to me more like a particularly good flanker than an essential release of its own. I'm not sure why - it smells great and fantastically combines many of my favorite smells, but I just can't seem to fall in love. Oh well, it still deserves an enthusiastic thumbs up for quality.
I'm a fan of this one. It transports me back to being younger, smelling this floral bouquet at various times in the past. I get great performance from Beige, as it forms a cloud of flowers around me for hours.
My first reactions were "sweet, powdery, floral" and... familiar. Oddly, it reminded me of Love's Baby Soft, though I don't remember smelling that particular scent for over a decade! But after 15 minutes or so it settled into a lovely light fragrance that I can't get enough of. As I'm working, I keep getting a whiff of this and it's just so pleasant.
Unfortunately it fades very quickly on me, so I re-applied several times during the day, and right before bedtime, to keep that subdued sweetness continuing.