Powerhouse Fragrances: Antonio Puig Quorum EDT, Elizabeth Taylor White Diamonds EDT, Lancôme Trésor EDP, YSL Opium EDP, Chanel Antaeus EDT, YSL Kouros EDT

Powerhouse Fragrances - Chanel Antaeus EDT

Clean and reserved fragrances certainly have a place. But sometimes I just want to reach for one of the classic powerhouse fragrances from previous decades that leave an indelible trail wherever you go. These powerhouse fragrances are probably OI (olfactorily incorrect) in these times of open-plan office sensitivities. So finding the right time and environment to wear them is crucial.

Powerhouse Fragrances - Elizabeth Taylor White Diamonds EDT

This list of mine is just a snapshot of possible powerhouse fragrances. What are your favourite powerhouse fragrances? Do you have the vintages of any of these?

“These powerhouse fragrances are probably OI (olfactorily incorrect) in these times of open-plan office sensitivities.”


Originally launched in 1981, Quorum packs an old-school power punch with dominant notes of oakmoss, leather, tobacco, artemisia and sandalwood. This bargain fragrance is super-masculine stuff, irresistibly earthy and is as far from generic as you can get. It’s not often you will find quality at this price, so hunt it down now. R245 for 50ml and R360 for 100ml.

Powerhouse Fragrances - Antonio Puig Quorum EDT


If you think celebrity fragrances lack staying power in both sense of the phrase, you need to wear Elizabeth Taylor White Diamonds EDT. Launched in 1991, it takes me back to a time of big-time glamour (big hair, lots of hairspray and smoke). It’s a white floral and the aldehydes-o-meter is turned up very high. Bold and audacious! R750 for 100ml.

Powerhouse Fragrances - Elizabeth Taylor White Diamonds EDT


So your mom might have worn this back in 1990 when it was launched. But please don’t let that “mature” label put you off this sweet floriental that could teach most of today’s fruity-florals a thing or two. It features a large and luscious rose note at is heart. Little wonder it has spawned over 20 flankers and limited editions. R1 350 for 50ml.

Powerhouse Fragrances - Lancome Tresor EDP


It’s not a coincidence that so many powerhouses were released in the 70s and 80s. Those decades were not a time for shy, reserved fragrances. YSL Opium EDP is one of the perfect examples of this “big is best” is philosophy. Although this spicy oriental may have lost some strength between the 1977 and 2009 versions, the latter is still an elaborate oriental staple for any perfume-lover’s collection. R2 030.00 for 90ml.

Powerhouse Fragrances - Yves Saint Laurent Opium EDP


This is one of the classics of modern perfumery. All perfumers looking to create a new masculine fragrance beyond today’s formulaic releases should study this one. Macho yet sophisticated at the time, it’s one of the best male powerhouses around, even 18 years after its original release. Unashamedly woody and smoky, it’s animalic a-go-go. R1 600 for 100ml.

Powerhouse Fragrances - Chanel Antaeus EDT

YSL KOUROS EDT (pierre bourdon)

Another big-hitter from the 80s with seductive musky and animalic overtones that’s still going strong almost 40 years later. Featuring 20 listed notes, it’s a complex thing of beauty, with standout notes of coriander, patchouli, aldehydes, honey, musk and leather creating a powerfully seductive effect. R1 330.00 for 100 ml.

Powerhouse Fragrances - Yves Saint Laurent Kouros EDT


Les Eaux de Chanel Review: Paris-Biarritz EDT and Paris-Venise EDT

Les Eaux de Chanel Paris-Venise EDP

I’m normally very immune to hype (me a jaded journalist?), but I do make an exception for Chanel fragrance launches. Partly because the French luxury company is so darn good at hype. But more importantly, because Chanel continues to release fragrances that are worthy of our attention and wallets. I first started hearing the hype about Chanel’s new collection, Les Eaux de Chanel, about five months ago when it was launched internationally. And more recently that hype gathered momentum when it was released in South Africa.

Les Eaux de Chanel Paris-Biarritz EDP

To get straight to the point, I had to have it! I was thrilled when I received two of the three fragrances from the range, Les Eaux de Chanel Paris-Biarritz and Les Eaux de Chanel Paris-Venise. I haven’t smelled Paris-Deauville yet, so this review will focus on the other two.

Les Eaux de Chanel Paris-Venise EDP

Before I go into that specifically, here’s some essential info on this collection created by Olivier Polge. Chanel’s in-house perfumer took his initial inspiration from three destinations that featured prominently in Madamoiselle’s remarkable life: Biarritz, Venise and Deauville.

Les Eaux de Chanel

WORK IN PROGRESS: Chanel in-house perfumer Olivier Polge in the lab. Image courtesy of Chanel.

These are where Chanel launched her first collection in her shop; where she journeyed after the death of her beloved Boy Capel; and the Basque resort town where she opened another shop, respectively.

Les Eaux de Chanel - Chanel in Deauville

STYLE STORE: Chanel in front of her Deauville shop in 1913. Image courtesy of Chanel.

While these locations were the starting point for Polge, none of the fragrances are meant to be about these places per se. Instead, he wanted the EDTs to be all about the idea of travel and the possibilities that accompany it.

Les Eaux de Chanel - Coco Chanel in Venice

SUN GODDESS: Chanel at Villa Maatena, Venice, in 1924. Image courtesy of Chanel.

So what do Les Eaux de Chanel Paris-Biarritz and Paris-Venise smell like?

Les Eaux de Chanel Paris-Biarritz EDP


It opens with a superb citrus character (notes of grapefruit and mandarin). This is supported by an aquatic note, apparently – truth be told, I don’t pick that up. It doesn’t really matter, though, as the lily-of-the-valley accord puts any of my quibbles in their place pronto. What follows next is a seductive blend of vetiver and white musk notes. The overall effect is one of fresh crispness that sees me smelling my wrists longingly after applying it there.

R2 070 for 125ml.  

Les Eaux de Chanel Paris-Biarritz EDP


Featuring a definite oriental vibe, iris features prominently in the fragrance’s top notes, with a hint of neroli. Glorious stuff! Notes of red berry and Grasse geranium add to the immediate appeal. Cedar, amber, vanilla and tonka notes are also present, but in a subtle manner. While this EDT may be classified as a luxurious oriental fragrance, it’s a gentle take on the genre, not a full-on affair. It’s beautiful from start to finish.

R2 070 for 125ml.  

Les Eaux de Chanel Paris-Venise EDP

In conclusion, I highly recommend both of these unisex fragrances. Yes, they are fairly light on my skin, but such objects of fleeting beauty are worth every cent. Now, all I need to do is get a whiff of Les Eaux de Chanel Paris-Deauville asap.

I’ve included some more archive pics of Chanel below. Hope they will fascinate you too!

Les Eaux de Chanel - Chanel in Biarritz in 1928

DRIVEN: Chanel in Biarritz in 1928. Image courtesy of Chanel.

Les Eaux de Chanel - Chanel in Deauville

FASHION REVOLUTION: Chanel and aunt Adrienne In front of the Chanel boutique, Deauville, in 1913. Image courtesy of Chanel.

Bleu de Chanel Parfum Review


Bleu de Chanel Parfum

I’ve noticed there’s a growing trend for men’s fragrances to be given the parfum treatment. So it’s no surprise to see Bleu de Chanel Parfum being launched recently. It makes even more sense when you consider that Bleu de Chanel EDT and Bleu de Chanel EDP have been phenomenal successes for the French luxury brand.

Both of these versions of Bleu de Chanel (created by in-house perfumer Jacques Polge) are defined by their refined take on citrus and cedar notes, among others. While they have different emphases, they are not radically different fragrances. And so it is with Bleu de Chanel EDP, created by in-house perfumer Olivier Polge. It’s not a reinvention of this modern aromatic-woody classic, but it certainly offers a new dimension to it.

Bleu de Chanel - Olivier Polge

A STUDY IN BLUE: Chanel’s in-house perfumer, Olivier Polge, at work in the laboratory. Image courtesy of Chanel.


The opening of the fragrance pulls you in immediately, with addictive fresh notes of artemisia, bergamot, lemon zest and mint. It’s one of those openings you want again and again, so I have found myself doing more re-sprays than usual.

Bleu de Chanel Parfum According to Fragrantica, there’s a pineapple note at the heart of this fragrance. I don’t detect this fruity aspect at all, but I do pick up hints of lavender and geranium.

“It’s a grown-up, big boy treatment of sandalwood. Super-seductive stuff!”

However, it’s the base of sandalwood (sustainably sourced from New Caledonia, we are told) that really sets this fragrance apart from its predecessors. It’s a grown-up, big boy treatment of sandalwood. Super-seductive stuff! Cedar is also present in the dry-down, which further enhances the woody character of this fragrance.

Bleu de Chanel Parfum

The Fragroom verdict? Bleu de Chanel Parfum is supremely smooth and elegant, with the creamy sandalwood sealing the deal. It will be another huge seller for Chanel. And justifiably so. Like all of the Bleu de Chanel iterations, it nails versatility, wearability and elegance.

Bleu de Chanel Parfum, R1 655 for 50ml and R2 325 for 100ml.

Bleu de Chanel Parfum