Before the warm season ends, seize the chance.
Throw open shutters for soon they will be closed against the sadder colder months.
Let sunlight in.
Squinting in brilliance perceive a sea of lemon trees: leaves waxy, elliptical fruit vivid in their summer coats.
Pause to take in clear air still sharp with morning’s first coolness.
A crisp white cotton shirt on yesterday’s browned skin will guard against today’s rays.
Descend stairs and enter a world beyond the darkness within.
Here dew-dusted wild grasses are balm to life-sore, care worn feet and high, cultured hyacinths kiss breezes that caress a face that once turned from the wind.
A peerless note of Jasmine rises like a song from your host.
Working in the grove, she thins the crop to ensure a sweeter, more bountiful harvest and treats deciduous mosses cruelly to keep them from claiming too much ground.
You walk into the middlemost part of the citrus forest to be alone with sunlight, fruit, wood, flower, grass.
To be alone with sunlight.
To be alone.
Cristalle is the cleanest, purest and, perhaps, most piercing of the fragrances from the house of Chanel.
Like the atomically ordered masses from which it takes its name, it is easy to perceive, its lines clear and sharp, its heart transparent, legible.
So much Sicilian lemon and citrus bergamot to start, then hyacinth and the characteristic ‘Chanel Jasmine’ as recognisable in its own way as the ‘Guerlainade’.
Wild grasses and cut wood follow, then bark and moss compete with the higher notes that, on my skin at least, are never quite ready to let go.
It may be that over-familiarity with this journey from fruit to flower to stem and soil has made it contemptible to us.
And yet in this shimmering semi-precious gem of a perfume the classic narrative is magically rendered.
This is a real life fairytale of a fragrance.
Not gooey and hopelessly Hollywood saccharine, but sharp, taut and in the best possible way very Brothers Grimm.
Be sure not to disregard this Mediterranean marvel, to do so would be a great disservice both to it and to yourself.
For days when a clear head and a good conscience are required, this fragrance, be you man or woman, is a wonderful tonic.
The Perfumed Dandy.