Product review: Chanel Gabrielle

I think I was in an airport, of all places, when I first spotted that Chanel had released a new fragrance. Airport or not, I’m certain that the first thing I did was wander over to try it on. Because how could you not? FYI, Gabrielle was Coco’s real name.


I’ve always been a bit obsessed with Chanel’s Coco Mademoiselle perfume. Meanwhile, my sister tends to wear Chance. Sure, we’ll both wear other scents (apart from anything else, we’re not made of money) but we keep coming back to the Chanel. And it’s not every year that they release something new – the last time was Chance, 15 years ago. So when they do bring out a new fragrance you can be certain they’ve considered it carefully. Why hurry?

When P gave me a bottle for Christmas, I’m pretty sure I jumped up and down. I then tried a very tiny delicate spritz. The poor chap has a sensitive nose. Fortunately it passed the first test – it did not make P sneeze, neither did it make him headachey. Quite aside from already loving it, I now had free reign to actually, y’know, wear it. So we’re onto a winner!

Here’s why I want to:

It’s gorgeously sophisticated in scent, all white flowers and clean, spring air. The topnotes are grapefruit, organge blossom and jasmine, mid notes are ylang-ylang, pear and pink pepper and base notes are sandal wood and musk. No surprise then that Chanel describe it as β€œan imaginary flower β€” a radiant and sparkling, purely feminine Chanel blossom based on a bouquet of four white flowers: a rich, enveloping heart of exotic Jasmine shimmers with the fruity green notes of Ylang-Ylang, while fresh and sparkling Orange Blossom shines through, offering a glimpse of Grasse Tuberose captured at its finest.” I’m not getting the Tuberose, and there’s definitely more going on that I can’t quite identify, but I see what they’re saying.


Like all Chanel fragrances it has real staying power too – I can still detect it at the end of the day. Hapily this doesn’t come with the compromise of knocking out everyone within a 12 mile radius – I smell of the perfume, my home doesn’t, so while you might catch a whiff of it if I walk past you, you won’t know for sure what I’m wearing unless you get a hug (or they borrow my scarf). It’s aslo predictably beautifully presented – a square bottle shaped to appear quilted with a black-on-gold label and it’s reminiscent of Number 5 which is the only Chanel fragrance I could never wear, but I can’t deny it’s iconic status. In any case, this would look shiny on any dressing table.

It’s a clear sister fragrance to Coco Mademoiselle and I think Gabrielle is better for Spring and Summer, with Coco Mademoiselle being a little heavier, woodier and spicier, and hence being the better Autumn/Winter scent (at least, that will be my excuse for continuing to wear both). No surprise then, that Gabrielle was launched in August.

So perhaps this is everything you’d expect from a Chanel perfume. It’s very feminine, but also sophisticated and infinitely wearable. Plus, it looks as good as it smells. I’ve had it a fortnight and it’s a firm favourite. If you like Mademoiselle you’ll love this, but it’s worth grabbing a sample even if not.

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