Celebrate Good Times – Chanel Sycomore (2008) and Nez à Nez Marron Chic (2010)

I was going to publish a post on some Guerlains today, but given the ’Monsieur-Guerlain Bloggate*’ I decided to wait with that one for next time.

Today is my birthday, the day where it’s even better than usual to have a lot of lovely friends older than yourself, being able to tell you that 40 is indeed the best time of your life, the new 30, the new black, the cat’s pyjamas etc. and who am I to argue with wise words of people who have lived longer than I.

I decided that it’s also a time in your life, where you happen to have accumulated a lot of the things already, so my wish list was for 2nd hand and homemade items, which worked out a treat, people coming up with all sorts of lovely things. Recently, I have even realised that I’ll probably not need back up perfumes of anything, save perhaps one or two favourites, and this together with my special occasion made me decide to do a little draw today, see the bottom of the post for this.

I had hoped to wear a special second-hand item on the eve of the party, but alas, it arrived late. I have had a complete crush on Sycomore of late, and this was the item I purchased from a ’wunderbar’ German perfume enthusiast.

Chanel’s Sycomore (perfumers Jacques Polge and Christopher Sheldrake) is that rare thing for me; a tough rather than masculine vetiver. I do love vetiver, but all too often it ends up smelling too much like after shave on me. This is a general issue with very dry and woody fragrances, they won’t really warm up and bloom on my skin, so finding one that does, a fragrance to embrace (what the h… – channel even) your inner Dietrich/ K. Hepburn/ S. Weaver et al. is rare for me. Perhaps it’s not least due to Sycomore’s floating quality, that it never becomes harsh. Its mixture of green woodiness, autumnal forests and camp fires just swirls around and becomes your fragrant aura, more than an actual perfume. What a turn-heads perfume for both males and females. The published notes are; vetiver, sandalwood, aldehydes, tobacco and violet. And let’s ad a signature song, for fun and straight out of my b-day playlist; Talking heads- Take me to the river, ultra cool and timeless.

sycomore marron


What I actually wore is a trusted go-to special occasion perfume of mine, and it never fails to deliver a certain ‘ooh-la-la’ –effect, or a feeling of a constant inner purr if you will. It’s the now DC’ed Nez à Nez perfume Marron Chic (Karine Chevallier). The regular reader of The Sounds of Scent will have one guess as to its main note. However, it isn’t as easy as that. Kumquat crosses wires with iris and chocolate and it’s not entirely pleasant, in fact had it not been for the look on the SA’s eyes when he sniffed it on me, it would probably not have gone home with me at that point. Like most of my best-loved perfumes, Marron Chic needed to ‘click’. The gourmand flair is something I am not always easy with, but here it’s not something you gluttonously eat, it’s something you crave and desire. The resins and labdanum ease the transition from the iris heart, and a subtle vetiver in the base creates a bit of an antipole to the ‘thickness’ of the other notes. Notes; kumquat, orange blossom, hesperidic notes, iris, cacao, karo-karounde, violet, benzoe, labdanum, vetiver. The purring soundtrack: Postmodern jukebox; All about that Bass.

And the little B-day draw: Draw closed there will be one winner, but since in so many countries you can no longer send or receive perfume you can choose between either a decant of my two birthday fragrances OR a personal drawing of your favourite perfume (or favourite 2 perfumes, depending on which you choose) – yes, done by me in the style seen here:boadicca, micallef sergeserge bas de soie

All you need to do is answer the following question in the comments and tell me which price you’d prefer to win. Make sure you comment from an e-mail address that I can contact.

What are your favourite special occasion fragrances?

*Read more here

Read Suzanne’s beautiful review of Marron Chic here

Pictures are mine.

32 thoughts on “Celebrate Good Times – Chanel Sycomore (2008) and Nez à Nez Marron Chic (2010)

  1. My favorite special occasion perfumes are the beautitul Passion by Annick Goutal, which reeks of classic French elegance and restraint. I love it! A very different but equally beautiful perfume is Acqua de Parma Profumo, which envelops me in its warmth and richness. It’s perfect for autumn, and I feel so happy when I wear it.

    I would love to receive decants of your two favorite birthday perfumes! Thank you for the draw.

    • Hi Robin, classic French elegance is always a good choice.

  2. Dear Asali,

    Happiest of birthdays to you – I hope that it was lovely! I love the idea of secondhand and handmade gifts. I’m not sure what my best special occasion perfumes are… I guess I don’t have many special occasions, ha! My birthday was last week and unfortunately I was (and still am) so sick that I don’t even think I wore anything. :/ But if I were to try to come up with some, I think I might’ve worn Do Son on my wedding – had I been more involved with perfumery then. I’ve also recently taken to Douce Amere, and while I can see myself wearing it frequently, I can also see myself wearing it on special occasions as well. 🙂

    I’d absolutely love to try both of your two favorite birthday perfumes. I’ve heard such wonderful things about Sycamore – and I must say I’m quite intrigued about the look on the SA’s face when you wore Marron Chic. 😉

    • Thank you Sun Mi, and I’m so sorry to hear you were ill on your birthday. I hope you get well soon.
      Douce Amere is a favourite of mine too, it’s quite a special perfume, and definitely not an ‘everyday-perfume’ to me, so I can see that working out great for special occasions.
      Ha! The look was one of those where there’s no mistaking a winner…

  3. Happy Birthday! I am heading to Vienna in a couple of hours to meet up with Portia.
    Included in our activities will be the Chanel Exclusif counter. I will spritz the Sycamore in your honour. I have somehow missed out on giving it a proper go.
    Not familiar with the Nez à Nez at all.
    Hmmmmm. Special occasion scent? Depends on where or what. Vero Profumo Mito Voile or Chanel Cuir de Russie Extrait are way high up on the list.
    DNEM. Just have a fabulous birthday and embrace the excitement of a new decade.
    Lots of love. Val xxxxxx

    • PS. I love Talking Heads and have them on a perma-loop in the gym!

      • Ah, I’m glad to hear it. They are superb, so timelessly cool.

    • Thank you Val <3 I shall do my best to embrase and be embraced. I think you should like Sycomore, it does have that bit of quirkiness which I also associate with your favourite Vero Profumo. Although of cause still quite 'Chanel'. I do love CdR as well, although perhaps it's a little too cosy for me to be wearing for a special occasion.
      I hope you're having a fab time with Portia, send my love.

  4. Happy birthday! Your post sounds so joyful that it makes me almost look forward to turning 40 (almost, I will be turning 30 in a few months and I am still getting ready for that….). I also love Sycomore, and Marron Chic sounds very interesting. My own special occasion scents are 10 Corso Como and Mohur EDP, and I would love to win decants of your birthday perfumes 🙂

    • Nemo, Thank you 🙂 30 is very good as well, so no worry 40 will come soon enough 😉 Ah, two woody orientals, so you’ve come to the right place, as it’s one of my favourite genres too.

  5. Dear Asali,

    Happy-happy birthday to you! I hope your favorite perfumes will brighten your life – and not only for special occasions!

    Have you heard this version of PMJ’s Al About That Bass? Probably because I heard it first I like it more though I enjoyed the one from your link as well.

    Though somehow I missed Sycamore (I couldn’t believe that when I went to check in my database!), don’t enter me into the draw: I hope I’ll get a chance to test it in the next couple of months at the Chanel counter at Saks (and I have a generous decant of Marron Chic from Suzanne) – so I’ll leave chances to others.

    I have several “special occasion” perfumes: Lancome Climat, Ormonde Jayne Ta’if, Amouage Ubar and Frederic Malle Portrait of a Lady.

    • Thank you dear fellow Aquarian. For some reason I can’t open the link, but assume you mean the one with the three singers, Haley Reinhart one of them? I love that version too, only that double bass girl on my link is too cool. I would like to say ‘I want to be her when I grow up’, but it’s probably a little late for that 😉
      I don’t think Sycomore will be an immediate winner for you, though it might sneak up on you?
      And I’m not surprised at your great choices, but at the fact that I actually still haven’t tried PoaL.

      • It was late when I posted that comment, so I probably messed up with the link. But yes, you got to which version I referred.

        Believe it or not, I’m still planning on sending a package to you (soon!), so I added PoaL to the list of what to send.

        • Aw, that’s so sweet. With everything going on your end, I didn’t think you’d remember. Probably needless to say 😉 but no stress.

  6. Dear Asali,

    Happy birthday ! What a beautiful post. It sounds like you had a wonderful party. My special occasion fragrances are MDCI Enlevement Au Serail and Jean Patou Sublime extrait. Love your draw thank you for offering, would love to try Marron Chic.

    Enjoy your day today!


    • Dear Esperanza, I did have a wonderful party, thank you. Oh fabulous choices, so ultra classical French and chic but also warm, I could definitely wear those two for special occasions too.

  7. This is such a lovely post for your birthday. 🙂
    My special occasion perfume is actually also a Chanel – No 18.
    And speaking of Chanel (are we synchronized today or what) – I’m wearing Cuir de Russie. 😀 For some reason this works so well for me these days.

    Off to read more about the bloggate. Honestly though, which idiot at LMVH thought this would be a smart idea?!

    Oh, and no need to enter me in the draw. 🙂

    • Thank you sweet Ines. (enjoy your day 🙂 ) No 18, I wouldn’t have guessed, now I need to retry that with you in mind 🙂
      Another Cuir de Russie lover, that one is amazing.
      Ah, the bloggate, breach of copyright re names and such things. Had it been anyone else I might understand it, but seriously his blog surely only spurs on sales and interest in the brand and its history. For my next post I was trying to look up some details, which are impossible to find now they closed him down. Tut-tut!

  8. Dear Asali
    Many happy returns on your birthday.
    My very special occasion perfumes would be Puredistance ‘White’ or ‘Opardu’ – I only have little sample of them but will save for VERY special occasions – of which i hope there will be some in the near future – maybe a birthday!
    If i was lucky enough to win, i would love the decants of your favourite perfumes.
    Ps, another Talking Heads lover here – Psycho killer being one of my favourites! lol

    • Patsy; Thank you! Puredistance is a special brand, so I can see why they make you happy. Hopefully you’ll have full bottles of them one day so you can wear them for those upcoming special days 🙂
      And another TH afficionada, good to know I’m in great company.

  9. Many Happy Returns! They say life begins at 40 and in my case it really did.

    Great idea to ask for second-hand or homemade items as gifts. What fun for your friends too.

    Love this line “a feeling of a constant inner purr”!
    I think Sycomore is achingly chic on women so I bet it’s knock-out on you.

    Please enter me for the personalised drawing!

    • Thank you Tara, hehe, so sweet, people have been asking me to draw for them, but the moment it comes to choosing between perfume and print, most will still take perfume. Which is absolutely fine, so don’t feel you have to make me happy, but of course should you win I’d be delighted at making you a wonderful picture of your favourites 🙂
      You know, with regard to presents, it really was great. Somehow you can never be disappointed by something someone made, or search out especially for you.
      ‘Achingly chic’ is the perfect expression, it’s exactly what it is.
      And about the 40, I’m really beginning to think everyone is right, so extra glad to hear it from you too <3

  10. Happy birthday, Asali! Joining a little bit late… I’m in Geneva and enjoying my few days off so I have limited Internet access. I really enjoyed this post. So special. When I turned 40, I think I became more “me”. 😉 I hope life brings you even greater things!
    My special occasion perfumes are Puredistance White and Chanel Cuir de Russie.
    Don’t need to enter me, I already received a great gift from your blog! x

    • Thank you Magpie. Geneva sounds lovely. Yes, the more me I can definitely relate too. I suppose from 30-39 there are all these things one is expected to achieve in life, and reaching 40 somehow that race is no longer there…
      CdR is getting a lot of love today 🙂 It is of course a great perfume. And White too, mentioned for the 2nd time I need to try it again, I only tested it quickly in a shop.

  11. Happy Birthday, Asali! I’ll echo what many of your older friends have told you: the 40s are wonderful, it was the decade I enjoyed most. It’s so lovely to hear that you wore Marron Chic on your birthday (it’s artistic AND beautiful, like you), and thanks to you, it has become one of my most treasured perfumes. So happy I got a bottle while I could. I love your illustration of MC and Sycomore.

    No need to include me in the draw, but to answer your question for the fun of it, Annick Goutal Heure Exquise and Clive Christian C for Women are my special occasion perfumes (because somehow I never have purchased bottles of them, so I reserve my decants for special use).

    • Thank you so much Suzanne. I’m very glad that you like Marron Chic as much as I do, and that you managed to get your bottle. How I know that feeling of saving something for special days, I seem to have a thing about starting to ‘reserve’ a fragrance as soon as I’m down to the last 10-15ml… Silly really, and I do try to get better at just spraying and enjoying 🙂

  12. Dear Asali,
    A very happy Birthday!
    Your description of Sycomore is so apt, now I know why it didn’t really click with me, on my skin it didn’t warm up and bloom! What I like most about Sycomore is its camp fire part.
    Thank you for he draw, I would love to win a personal drawing of Mohur. It’s one of my favorites and I can picture how beautiful the bottle looked in a painting, hehe. The Sycomore and Marron Chic painting looks like a postcard, what a good idea to pair yellow with pink! Btw, I love what you created for Purple Reign, so cool with Prince really in the picture, and am absolutely eager to try the fragrance as soon as it arrives at the Kadewe. I am a violet lover after all!
    A special occasion scent for me is Betrothal from Grossmith, I buy a sample of it each year and really only wear it on special days or when I need something to comfort me.
    Have a nice weekend!

    • Dear Anka, thanks to you I have the wonderful Sycomore. Yes, it’s a strict perfume, and if it stays that way I agree that it doesn’t work, it has to become elegant and warm. I love the camp fire bit too.
      Mohur- I need to go back to that one, because to be honest I hardly remember anything about it now, apart from all three of the first launches being very well made and received. The bottle is gorgeous.
      Thank you for the compliments <3 I need to warn you that Purple Reign although there is violet there, has more violet leaf so a green shade. However, you should definitely try it, as it is not likely to be like any other perfume with violet out there. Surely it should be at KaDeWe soon?
      What an excellent idea with the sample of your special fragrance, that way it stays very special.

  13. It may be late for Happy Birthday, but Happy Valentine’s Day instead! I have recently sniffed and acquired Chanel No 22, Coromandel and 31 rue Cambon. (Of course, this is another sad fragrance story in the style of M. G). Chanel decants are no longer available due to a Cease + Desist letter from Chanel. When the decanters got the letters, they quickly sold off their Chanel’s at big discounts. Some of us bought those discounts – YAY. But now what? These are all my new favorites for special days. I would love a print! I so enjoy going through your blog looking at these delicious paintings.

    • In that case Rachel, you were also my only Valentine’s greeting 😀 Although Valentine’s is big in the media, in effect I know no one who actually celebrates the day with romantic gestures. Yes, the ‘cease and desist’, what can you say… Decants are such a great way of getting acquainted with a fragrance, especially as most people live far from retailers of niche and more exclusive fragrances. Perhaps I understand the wanted to control decant sales from the bay and such, but certainly not reputable online decanters. Luckily Monsieur Guerlain blog is up and running again, good to know that massive internet community pressure does work.
      Thank you very much for the compliments, that’s the best Valentine’s <3

  14. Hi Asali,

    I am so sorry I am late catching up with blog reading, but it’s been a bit of a crazy week for me. I am glad you had a good birthday and I do indeed believe that 40 is the new 30, black etc, haha.

    I must say I have never tried Marron Chic and it sounds unusual to say the least – glad it hit the spot for your party. Certainly you could be sure no one else was wearing it, which is usually not the case with Coco Mlle etc.

    My special occasion perfumes are Ormonde Jayne Ta’if (as for Undina), Dior Ambre Nuit and Puredistance BLACK, also Diptyque Volutes edt and Papillon Salome, if I am feeling bold, which I increasingly am these days!

    • Ha, no need for excuses, these days I’m even worse myself, and anyway always glad of comments, however ‘late’. Salome! you are getting bold, I always say I hope the older I get, the more I hope to get outrageous. As a senior citizen I should like to be one of those fabulous elderly ladies in crazy coloured sets, leopard print and hat wearing and definitely reeking of perfume 🙂 NO Coco Mlle for me. Isn’t it funny though, I know I smell it everywhere, and although I can recall most of my perfume collection by thinking of a perfume, perfumes like Coco Mlle remains indistinct and foggy to me.

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