Chanel – Bel Respiro



The Blossom

Merry, merry sparrow!
Under leaves so green
A happy blossom 
Sees you, swift as arrow,
Seek your cradle narrow,
Near my bosom.
Pretty, pretty robin!
Under leaves so green
A happy blossom
Hears you sobbing, sobbing,
Pretty, pretty robin,
Near my bosom. 

– William Blake

Bel Respiro is a perfume that I’d describe as training wheels for people who haven’t really explored green notes in perfumeland. Despite the blast of bitter galbanum and hyacinth in its opening movement, Bel Respiro freshens up considerably soon after to become a breath of fresh air as one inhales while standing in the middle of a vast and expansive grass field on a clear spring day. Bel Respiro‘s verdancy is diffuse and airy, and runs in stark contrast to some others in the genre, such as Estee Lauder‘s Private Collection, which remains intensely bittergreen throughout.


Despite its indistinct, abstract and watercolor feel, Bel Respiro nevertheless doesn’t ever step into Jean-Claude Ellena territory, but instead retains the distinct Chanel DNA that perfumer Jacques Polge weaves into each of his creations for Chanel – a hint of aldehydes to lift the mixture and to remind the wearer that he/she is wearing a perfume, a smidgeon of orris to suggest sophisticated elegance, and a touch of woody musk to ‘keep it clean’.

Bel Respiro is unapologetically inoffensive, but remarkably modern and chic at the same time. As a fragrance, it doesn’t exactly push boundaries, but who really cares when it is so darn pretty? It is certainly well-deserving of its place amongst the other Chanel exclusives, which as a line presents tremendous coherence and clarity, despite occasional duds such as 1932.

I bought a 10ml decant of Bel Respiro from someone on a Facebook group; if he’s reading this, I just wanted to say thank you because it’s made me very happy indeed, and that I’m depleting my decant at an alarming rate, which is kinda scary, because the prospect of getting a full bottle seems very real at present. Oh, the wallet doth cry.

~ The Smelly Vagabond

4 thoughts on “Chanel – Bel Respiro

  1. I absolutely love, love, love Bel Respiro. But unlike BdI, CdR, and 31RC, all of which I own, all of which last hours, BR is gone in 30 mins. Hmmmmmn. Must try again. I have a sample somewhere. Hugs Josh. xxxx

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