|Source: Tony Brierton via Wikimedia Commons|
But before I start, may I interject an update about train and air travel. From my limited experience to date during the pandemic of five trains, one tube journey and one flight, I can announce that it feels safe to use these modes of transport at the moment. Fares are cheap! There's no b****r on them! Moreover, if we don't rise up and use collective means of travel soon, I suspect many of the air and rail companies won't be there when we decide we are psychologically ready to come out from under our Covid-secure rocks and want to use them. So just as the Chancellor urged us all to "Eat out to help out", I would add: "Take the strain off the train/plane" by going on one. End of transport-related homily, sorry(!), and obviously this is very much an individual thing, but for anyone in two minds about the whole conundrum of getting from A to B I wanted to say that these modes of travel still seem to be lightly used and pretty consistently socially distanced. In my post about masks at the end of July I reported a more mixed experience on one leg of a train journey, but I think people are 'getting with the programme' as time goes on and mask wearing becomes more widespread and normalised. I would imagine you might actually be more likely to catch Covid in a gastropub where people are eating in even closer confines than on a three quarters empty train or plane, and with masks off (for obvious reasons).
So on to my Visor of Ennui, that was recently breached by the latest release from Chanel's Les Exclusifs range, Le Lion. Well, slightly released, as it is still a Middle East exclusive. As I know now, it is coming into general distribution in the early New Year, hopefully straight into the January sales, though I won't hold my breath, hehe. I am indebted to Val and Portia for the fact that a sample reached me via a highly circuitous route from Dubai to Australia to Austria to England. We won't consider the air miles involved in getting Le Lion to me, and however many they were, they were totally worth it. Which in these days of climate change concerns, you may rightly infer is praise indeed...
I don't propose to review Le Lion, as I am away at the moment and don't have my sample to hand. Also because Le Lion is a shapeshifter of a scent that skews differently on different people, and even differently on the same person(!); most of its key 'personae' have already been admirably covered by Val and Portia in their reviews (which I did originally link to, but a corrupt bit of blog code means they are not showing, sorry). From memory I can say that on me Le Lion is firstly a leather scent, with a warm hum of amber and vanilla, and the animalic vibe of PG L'Ombre Fauve asserting itself here and there, with which there is significant note crossover. Le Lion is lighter, less earthy, and more 'edible' (I use the term advisedly!) than L'Ombre Fauve, though I am a big fan of that one. Oh, and not forgetting Le Lion's hints of Shalimar thanks to the lemony facet. So yes, I love Le Lion, which has promptly shot to the No 1 spot on on my vanishingly small list of lemmings, along with Nars Audacious for which Val has also fallen hard, and back up bottles of a few things.
Notes (via Fragrantica): bergamot, lemon, labdanum, amber, vanilla, patchouli, sandalwood, musk
Notes (via MimiFroufrou): amber, musk, woods, vanilla, patchouli
No, this post is rather about my experience of the duty free at the unspecified airport in question. Perfume sampling in that excited state of anticipation before your holiday is a thing of the past now...there are no promotions ladies lying in wait with testers, trying to forcibly spray you as you pass. (see Scent Crime Series: No 5 - The Tester as Tommy Gun). You can't even try fragrances unilaterally, for the testers and blotters have long been put away. The perfume hall is more like a supermarket than the sensory playground of yore. There again, for the past several years I haven't been bothered to test things anymore (see Visor of Ennui above ;) ), so it doesn't make much of a difference to me in practice. At best I might have sprayed a familiar favourite to wear that day, having invariably got up too early to apply perfume before setting out.
On this occasion, I made a beeline for the Chanel concession, and approached the SA who was hovering with no role left other than to dispense product information to would-be customers. I asked her when Le Lion was coming to the UK and she said she hadn't heard of that one. "Have you tried 1957?" she countered cheerily. I assured her I had, and that I liked it a lot, notwithstanding its goodly percentage of musk.
The sales assistant inquired how I had come to try this new scent which was not yet on her radar, and I briefly explained its complicated itinerary to me, glossing over the controversial aspect of the homemade sample, hehe. I don't think the details quite registered, for she summoned a colleague over to answer my question, who was in the middle of training a new recruit. "When is Le Lion coming to Britain?"
The more senior SA said: "Next year", before turning in my direction and adding that she had tried it already.
"So has this lady - she was in Dubai", piped up her colleague. I feebly tried repeating a shorter version of the sample's backstory, before swiftly aborting the attempt.
Ignoring the fact that I could possibly have tried Le Lion - in its exclusive sales territory or by any other means - the senior SA proceeded to tell me what it smelt like:
"It's a cross between Coromandel and Sycamore."
Hey, I know I said Le Lion was a shapeshifter, but that is some shifting of shapes to come up with such a startling comparison. I am not sure whether it might have qualified as an additional 'crime' or not, but it certainly left me puzzling over the odd lovechild such a coupling would make.
Have you tried Le Lion? Were you in Dubai? If not, does it sound like your thing?