Angular, crisp and non-accommodating, allure eau de toilette never appealed to me. I tried to fall for it, but it didn’t happen. There was something just so harshly chemical at first, and than bland through and through – I kept waiting for a surprise to happen, and it never did.
While reviewing Dune, I realized how similar the two fragrances are, and how much Allure was influenced by Dune. So I’ve given Allure another chance, and tried it in the pure parfum (I have a mini that was sent to me by a fellow perfumista – to this day I can’t remember if it was a trade, a gift or one of those “thinning the herd” sales…). Either way, I’m glad I had (and still have) the opportunity to smell Allure in the parfum concentration. Traditionally, perfumers will design a new fragrance in parfum extrait first, which means this is their truest intention. Now you’ll sometimes see perfumes released first in other concentrations: Cristalle, for example, was first created as an eau de toilette, and was never offered in extrait.
Allure parfum is slightly a different animal: It opens with a similar crisp, angular tonality – but it is actually recognizable as bergamot, even though a very crystalline version of it. Than a slightly peachy note comes in, as well as the musky, oily-scalp type aldehyde C-11 (Perhaps a reference to No. 5?; overall, Allure brings to mind the soapy cleanliness of No. 22) as well as the full-fledged floral bouquet of rose with underlining green hints, and supported by white floral notes - jasmine and magnolia. Together with the aldehydes it gets quite a "perfumey" personality - very French and not nearly as modern (read: thin and one-dimensional) as the EDT.
It is a little smoother, sweeter and warmer than the eau de toilette, which is a good thing in my book and there is more depth to it. There are crystalline vanilla notes as well, nothing syrupy or pastry-like about it; sheer woods and musks, and an ever so quiet whisper of vetiver – which is probably the best part about Allure (although it's not really all that obvious, it creates an effect that really saves it from being too cloyingly floral and chemical), which gets stronger over time once the aldehydes and florals tone down a bit. It's a clean, bitter, gorgeous vetiver, and smells Haitian alright! At the very end, Allure dries into a pleasant powdery musk, though not nearly as generic as you’d expect (musk is so over used nowadays, in florals like any other genre).
Still, there is a certain acrid, harsh note lurking underneath Allure’s innocent and agreeable purr; and that is something that disturbed me in all other concentrations. It’s not nearly as apparent in the parfum, but it’s still there – making me wonder – what were they thinking including that thing?! And what IS it? It might be the waterlily accord – as it is a very chemical smell (and most “waterlily” scents heavily rely on watery synthetics. It could be this with the vetiver. I smelled a similar note in Dune, and I'm not sure if it's one raw materials or just the result of combining similar notes with some natural vetiver in the mix.
Allure’s olfactory structure is described as a “faceted” one, with illustrated by a hexagon, divided into 6 triangles:
1) Fresh : Citron note.
2) Fruity : Sicilian Mandarin.
3) Timeless Floral : May Rose, Oriental Jasmine.
4) Imaginary Floral : Magnolia accord, Honeysuckle accord, Water lily accord.
5) Woody : Haitian Vetiver.
6) Oriental : Vanilla from Réunion.
A quick glance at this makes one wonder. After all: citron and mandarin (Sicilian or otherwise) are both top notes. The florals in facets 3 and 4 are all heart notes; and lastly, vetiver and vanilla (facets 5 and 6) are both base notes. So it does not exactly convince me that it’s any different form a “pyramid”. The one thing I do get from this illustration of a 6-faceted is the angular quality of the perfume. It is softer than the EDT, and and softens more over time in the parfum version. But there is something sharp and angular, crips and faceted about its personality. I experience it mostly as a linear scent. There is none of the complex evolution that can be found in other Chanel perfumes (say, Bois des Îles) and it’s pretty much offers what its got right from the start, with very little surprises.