Égoïste / L'Égoïste 
Chanel (1990)

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Égoïste / L'Égoïste by Chanel

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About Égoïste / L'Égoïste by Chanel

People & Companies

Fragrance House
Jacques Polge

Launched in 1990. A woody, spicy fragrance with a vanilla and sandalwood drydown.The fragrance was originally launched in the USA as a limited edition called 'Bois Noir' in 1987.

Fragrance notes.

  1. Top Notes

  2. Heart Notes

  3. Base Notes

Where to buy Égoïste / L'Égoïste

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Reviews of Égoïste / L'Égoïste by Chanel

There are 222 reviews of Égoïste / L'Égoïste by Chanel.

No man is an Island.
And, to extend the John Donne metaphor,
Égoïste is not entire of himself
he is partly Antaeus.
And both of them have roots elsewhere.

Jacques Polge was wont to repeat himself - like many perfumers: Ernest Beaux with his Arctic bouquet of aldehydes, and Sophia Grojsman's Hug Me accord, developed across a whole career spanning Trésor, Paris and Sun Moon Stars, for example.

There is no shame in this, there are valid reasons for doing so.
Repetition allows an idea to be worked out, and techniques honed. Without repetition artists would have no signature style.
By repeating Mont Sainte-Victoire, Cézanne didn't have to think about what subject to paint and was free to discover new facets of the subject, and hone his impressionistic pre-cubist vision at the same time. Lowry's narrow palette and repeated subject matter make his landscapes of early industrial England highly distinctive. Picasso repeated himself many times over, with his collages, Blue and Rose Periods, harlequins and Cubism; he excelled in each.

Repetition is comprehensibility on a meta scale. Where ...
Comprehensibity is coherence on a large scale (or structure) and
Coherence is legibility on a small scale (an accord).

Luca Turin says coherence is akin to concentration in the martial arts, the ability to do miraculous things with the same materials as everyone else.
Jacques Polge was a master of coherence (he could make great accords), as well as comprehensibility (he knew how to string them together artfully), and was no slouch where repetition was concerned, all three of his fruity woods are masterpieces.

Antaeus (1981) and Égoïste (1990) are, as quite often happens in perfumery, both derived from a feminine source. Polge took the floral bouquet and fruity woods of Ungaro (1977), and adapted them to a masculine agenda.

In the light of this Égoïste and Antaeus are inevitably similar. You could liken them to tonic wines brewed by an order of monks on a remote hillside in Italy. Where Antaeus is the more straight-up woody-fruity one, dressed with a light powdery sweetness, Égoïste is more of a rich liqueur, with herbal-bitters, a prune-like fruitiness, mahogany and a myrrh-like balsamic.
It's more hearty, rounded, deeper; very nice; but myself, I prefer the softer drydown of Antaeus.

[Vintage sample from miniature square bottle]

If you want a good spicy fragrance you should try this. Egoiste composed of strong warm spices along with a gentle smell of rose and carnation on an elegant woody base. The dominant aroma of this fragrance is a combination of coriander, cinnamon, cardamom and chili peppers; (just like curry powder). It can't be said that it's a sweet scent (in the sense that sweetness prevails in it), its sweetness is only due to sweet spices, there is even a little sourness in it. Its smell evokes dark red color. Suitable for middle-aged people.

Egoiste by Chanel, for me, is one of the great and timeless classics that brings me straight back to my childhood. In 1990, when it came out, I was just over 6 years old and I still remember that smell.

1st version, 1990-94
It is a wonderful, warm, creamy, enveloping perfume, with a pungent and cutting aspect given by the citrus notes, very spicy and with a slightly sweet base. For sure when it came out it was an absolutely revolutionary perfume, perhaps the one that started all that vein of new spicy and sweet men fragrance that led, unfortunately, in an aberrant way, to those modern chemical bombs of coumarin and vanillin that make you smell like a walking cupcakes. What must be said is that, despite the tendency to be sweet, Egoiste never really becomes so, it maintains a spicy and woody connotation that is never overwhelmed by sweetness; the latter, in fact, remains constant but acts only as a base for the note of sandalwood and cinnamon that characterizes the perfume. Equally important are the floral notes of the heart, wonderful and brilliant. The new one, which I had the opportunity to smell a few months ago in perfumery, is not bad, on the contrary ... given the composition of the mixture I was expecting something scandalously obscene and instead ... it lets itself be appreciated. Of course, it is the "watered down" and a little dull version of the original, but I must admit that if I didn't have a decent stock of the first version I would buy the new one without too many worries. Finally, as for versatility, for me it is an evening perfume, for going out, for dating, when you are (as a rule should be) well dressed and ready to spend the evening in the company of a woman. Discrete performance, nothing exceptional, but it can be appreciated and spent the evening quietly; let's say 5-6 hours on skin quietly and discreet projection for the first hour, then it settles down to a skinscent or a little more.

I found the current and vintage (original formulation) to be different. To my nose the current formulation, my large decant is from 2014/15, was difficult to wear. Specifically it was rather disjointed, unsmooth so to speak. It had the elements of Egoiste there - you could identify some of the notes like the vanilla, spices, florals, woods, but it just didn't feel natural. Early on after application it wasn't appealing at all, it wasn't until several hours after did things kind of fall into place where I get the familiar Egoiste base. Now for the original formulation from the 1990s, all of the notes :vanilla, spices, tobacco, rose, and sandalwood were all distinctively noticeable at different stages of the scent. It was smooth, comforting, pleasing to the nose. With the vintage, I enjoyed the entire aspect of the scent from start to finish with the drydown being excellent. Fortunately vintage Egoiste EDT bottles are still readily available to come by and good deals can be found with a little patience. It's cousin Egoiste Cologne Concentree is another beauty. If you want the spice notes to be amped up a notch higher this is worth looking at it. The dry downs in the EDT and Cologne Concentree are comparable. For more vanilla the EDT is the one to look at, for more spice the cologne concetree is the one to look at. Cologne Concentree has a slightly higher premium but the scent compositions are different enough to justify owning both. Egoiste is quite versatile, it's one of my stables at the office or casual going out during the day.

Arguably a perfect scent, but clearly not for everyone. I sampled this on a whim, didn't know what to make of it at first, but wound up head over heels in love with it. I've now had a chance to compare a 2021 bottle with a deep vintage decant and have lots of thoughts. In short: vintage and modern revolve around the same heart notes but have almost unrecognizable top notes and a very different take on the sandalwood base; but each version has its each with advantages, and they're both among my favorite scents.

VINTAGE EGOISTE: I have a "vintage" decant that i can't date with precision, but I'm almost positive it's very early 90s. The decant opens with bright, almost photo-realistic tangerine and an almost nuclear-strength clove / carnation note (feels like a megadose of eugenol). It is intensely spicy, and the first few times I wore it I didn't know what to make of it. Quite challenging! But I've never smelled anything like it, and after my expectations adjusted, I'd start to crave that opening.

As the initial salvo fades, we segue to the heart with a beautiful rose, coriander, and rosewood accord, and the sharp clove softens to something closer to a non-foodie cinnamon note with a faint whiff of tobacco and mahogany. I always describe this as the scent of a cherished vintage guitar; like opening a vintage instrument case and taking out a well-maintained but heavily played late 60s Gibson; it's seen its share of smoky venues, but it's got a freshly oiled rosewood fingerboard and plays like a dream. A perfect sense memory wrapped up in a timeless "rosewood fingerboard" accord.

As it dries down even further, the vintage settles into one of the best sandalwood notes I've ever smelled. Dry, woody, rich... and padded out with ambrette seed and just a hint of vanilla. It's not particularly sweet or gourmand, but just rich enough cast the genuine mysore sandalwood with a radiant amber glow. From top to bottom, vintage Egoiste is distinctive at every stage. The opening is sharp, the heart is gorgeous, and the base is unreal; performance is solid, eventually settling into a lovely sandalwood skin scent that dies off after 8-10 hours.

MODERN EGOISTE: a lot has changed in 30 years! Mysore sandalwood is basically extinct for perfumerie purposes due to overharvesting, and I understand there are now heavy restrictions on key Egoiste ingredients like clove (eugenol), citrus (citral), and rose. What this means is that the modern version is by necessity quite different, particularly in the opening and deep dry down. But it still captures the heart of what makes Egoiste so distinctive, and in some ways the modern is easier to wear. I'll walk through the specific changes below.

The biggest change is probably the aggressive opening notes... which are no longer aggressive at all. The juicy tangerine is replaced with a vague citrus note; the clove and carnation are dialed waaaay back, to more of a light baking cinnamon. It's by no means quiet, but it lacks the intensity of the original. In some ways this makes for an easier wearing opening, but for anyone addicted to the explosive spiced tangerine of the original, it may feel a lot less exciting unless you struggled with the opening to begin with.

If you love the heart notes of the original Egoiste, the good news is that the modern version gets to them much faster and holds focus on that central rosewood accord for the vast majority of the wear. The rose now feels subdued, blended directly into the rosewood note. It's a bit flatter overall, but the heart note is still fantastic and absolutely the Egoiste we know and love. Not only does this central accord arrive much sooner, it now lasts much longer and persists well into the deep dry down.

Speaking of the base, the perfect mysore sandalwood note is sadly no more. Instead we get a very convincing captive sandalwood note, in line with the creamy sandalwood in the base of Bleu de Chanel Parfum and Sycomore EDP. I suspect there's some kind of synthetic amber molecules padding this out for better performance, but it's not at all an ambrox overdose (which I'm sensitive to any time it's dialed too high, such as in modern blue scents). The vanilla is also a bit more prominent than before. The result is an everlasting glowing sandalwood base that actually does a passing impersonation of the original, though it lacks the depth, even as it lasts quite a bit longer on my skin. Performance on the modern bottle is outstanding. A single spray goes for 10-12 hours. Two or three sprays goes all day and then some (my laundry pile is that much richer for it).

IN SUMMARY: the vintage feels like a work of art. Vibrant, strange, kaleidoscopic, and rich in ways that are hard to articulate until you've experienced it yourself. I'm now hoarding the remains of my decant, and at some point I'll need to pony up for a full vintage bottle even if it means eating vintage prices. It's just too good to pass up. The modern is still excellent, more versatile overall, better performing, and slightly easier to wear. It lacks some of the nuance and texture that makes the original so compelling, but it delivers the central Egoiste accord in spades and is absolutely worth the current Chanel prices. I wear the modern bottle more often, and at this point... I'd say it's worth owning a bottle of each to wear in different situations (and save the vintage for really special occasions). It's frankly amazing Chanel is still producing the modern version at all, given how different this is from most designer fragrances, and we should all keep buying it to ensure production never stops!

Chanel Egoiste Review:

Egoiste's opening is highlighted by the Brazilian rosewood note on my skin. It's a woody and rosy smell, with just a hint of fruit in the background. I've heard many people say that the opening to this fragrance is harsh and musky. It was quite the opposite for me. This may have to deal with the fact that I have a newer formulation. I really can't say for sure because this is the only one I've tried. It's something to keep in mind though.

The opening fades fairly quickly, beautifully transitioning to the rose note. This note is the key player for the next hour or so on my skin. This isn't your typical rose note either. It certainly doesn't smell like what you would find in Noir de Noir. Instead, it smells darker and a bit damp. The image that immediately comes to mind is smelling a rose petal after a heavy rain. It's an absolutely beautiful and masculine take on rose.

After an hour, the cinnamon note takes center stage. This note smells less sweet and more dry than what you would find in Spicebomb or Carven Homme. It reminds me more of the note from HiM by Hanae Mori. Sitting behind the cinnamon are a dry tobacco leaf, powdery vanilla, sandalwood, and a little bit of creamy amber. The combination makes for a wonderful rich, spicy, and woody smell.

The first time I smelled Egoiste I was completely blown away. I tried this fragrance because it has many notes that I love in fragrances. It has such a unique take on these notes and that's really what makes it such a special scent.

I'm sure that if you read several of these reviews you'll be uncertain of what to expect. Some people will call this musky and others will call this fruity. Some will find cinnamon to be the dominate note, while others will say the sandalwood is the key player. The truth is, Egoiste's beautiful smell can be a bit hard to describe to someone. It defies expectations and is a unique experience for everyone. That's why I highly recommend at least sampling it. Especially if you like fragrances such as LIDGE, Carven Homme, or Gucci Envy.

Best Age Group- 30+
Best Season(s)- Fall/Winter
Occasions- Formal, Dates, Casual, Work
Projection- Medium
Longevity- 10 Hours
Smell- 10/10
Overall- 10/10

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