December 10, 2010

Chanel Platinum Egoiste – The Prophet Biggie Smalls

By Daniel

How does an early 90s aromatic fougère get street cred?

“…easy, call em on the phone and Platinum Chanel cologne and I stay, dressed, to impress…”
-Notorious B.I.G., Nasty Girl

I’m fairly sure Platinum Egoiste is the only bottle in my collection that has been rapped about, but smelling it, it’s hard not to see that Biggie was on the right track. Platinum Egoiste is an aromatic fougère, meaning it combines the fern, lavender and oakmoss trio of a traditional fougère with additional woods and spices. 1993 was a transition year for the fragrance industry, some of the last few heavy-hitters and offbeat mainstream offerings before CK One and L’Eau d’Issey Miyake in 1994 set the stage for the aquatic-dominant industry we find ourselves in now. Where most current offerings are either soapy, inoffensive aquatics, or cloying sweet club scents, Platinum Egoiste is neither, and instead opens with a blast of rosemary, clary sage and vetiver that is herbal, slightly bitter, and very “aromatic”. Give it a bit to settle down and you see that the top notes have made some room for the cedar and even a fleeting floral hint, which Basenotes lists as geranium. This combination is unique to my collection, Pasha de Cartier comes close but Platinum Egoiste does a more classy job of it. It’s fairly linear from this point, drying down and losing some of that effervescent, sparkling quality but retaining the slightly sweeter herbal scent.

It’s my belief that fougères are some of the best out there when you need to show a professional, mature side. It’s my go-to scent for job interviews, for example. It rarely overpowers unless grossly overapplied, so it’s workplace friendly. Projection is right about where I’d want it, longevity is average at 5-8 hours.

The marketing campaign for the original Egoiste in 1990 was pure Chanel, dramatic and memorable. See below.

It was another four years before viewers saw the second half of it. A rough translation would be “Selfish, you’re just selfish. You know I follow your trail like a dog. Beware, some day I will steal your perfume to finally take your place, Egoiste.”

Creator and Chanel house perfumer Jacques Polge has no lack of perfumisto street cred, with Chanel icons like Antaeus, Coco, and Allure to his credit and also created Basenotes fan-favorites Ungaro III and Tiffany For Men.

So is Platinum Egoiste a celebration of the ego? The name would lead you to believe so, and the commercials don’t exactly help, but to me it’s not all that serious about it. It is serious, however, a straight-laced sort of scent that is there to put in a full day’s work with you. Given the near-worldwide availability of Chanel, this one is available to sample at pretty much any department store, and I highly recommend doing so if you don’t have a handle on what an aromatic fougère is, or how good they can be.