Lean On Me – Review: Chanel Les Exclusifs Sycomore

Here we have a vetiver perfume again… Somehow that note grows on me. My initial vetiver scepticism has been turned into genuine appreciation by the likes of Guerlain (Vetiver Pour Elle), Serge Lutens (Vetiver Oriental), Vero Profumo (Onda) and Mona di Orio (Vètyver) and now Chanel is taking its turn.

Sycomore was created as part of the Les Exclusifs collection by Jacques Polge in 2008 and includes notes of vetiver, cypress, juniper, pink pepper, smoke and burning woods.

Sycomore is sturdy and clean, straight, free of embellishments and flourishes, like the tree its name is borrowed from.

Vetiver is indeed prominently featured from beginning to end. Sycomore opens with a salty vetiver that morphs into a more hazelnutty-gourmand facet over time. The drydown is darker and woodier, cypress and subtle smoke coming into their own.

Sycomore has excellent lasting power on me, which is saying something, since some Les Exclusifs are woefully shortlived, the sillage is average to good.

I always had Sycomore down as a very masculine scent, which it is, but that does not mean it should only be worn by men. Sycomore is androgynous, famous faces like Marlene Dietrich, Katherine Hepburne, Lauren Bacall  or Tilda Swinton come to mind when I smell this perfume. Sycomore demands wearing trousers and striding purposefully.

It is uncluttered and straightforward, it exudes strength, but a quiet purposeful strength. A conviction, a determination, a strong character, deeply rooted, not easily swayed or influenced.

Sycomore is utterly reliable. I can lean against this tree and feel its solid and reassuring presence. Why oh why, did I not try this sooner…

Aside: My little son has to go to the hospital for a small surgical procedure today. I’m wearing Sycomore and hoping for the best. Please send him your good thoughts.

More Les Exclusifs reviews: 28 La Pausa :: Bel Respiro :: 31 Rue Cambon :: Cuir de Russie :: Coromandel :: N°22 .

Image source: beautesse.at, hadrianswallcountrycottages.co.uk

About Olfactoria

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This entry was posted in Chanel, Fragrance Reviews, Les Exclusifs de Chanel, Vetiver, Woods and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

74 Responses to Lean On Me – Review: Chanel Les Exclusifs Sycomore

  1. cheesegan says:

    Have you tried Encre Noire for Men? It smells very similar to Sycomore, but the price is a bit friendlier.
    Best wishes to your son.

  2. Sending strength and healing thoughts for your son x

  3. Alexandra says:

    I would like to echo cheesegan – Encre Noir (for men) is one of my absolute favourites: it smells like an afternoon curled up by the fire in a panelled library. Sycomore did not grab me when I sampled it, must revisit – I’m sure I have a sample somewhere…

    And of course I am sending good vibes to both you and your son.

  4. Ines says:

    Dear B, I am sure all will go well today and I’m sending positive thoughts your way.
    Sycomore is a great choice for a perfumed back-up.

  5. Vanessa says:

    “Wearing trousers and striding purposefully” is just what is needed for this scent, I agree. I have also historically thought of this one as a bit masculine, but my view is changing. Maybe I am becoming more purposeful!

    Good luck to son No 2 for his op. He’s a “sturdy” little chap too and will take it in his “stride”, I am sure!

  6. First of all my warmest wishes to you and your son…

    You are slowly turning into a converted vetiverist! What a surprise!

    I find Sycomore a very bright, lively, happy vetiver. I agree that Encre Noire uses the same vetiver note but in a slightly darker and more urban way. The earliest release with this bright vetiver note was Kenzoair. It is almost discontinued now but if you see it in a discount store don’t miss the opportunity to try it.

  7. masha7 says:

    We’ll send prayers for you, your son and family- I know how stressed you feel, been there myself! But you have an excellent health care system, I know everything will go well.
    Vetiver does give one strength, it’s a good choice. It cools the emotions and calms one down. It’s my favorite base note!

    • Olfactoria says:

      That is so true, we are lucky to have such a great health system (and knowing many specialists personally is also an enormous relief and makes the situation a lot easier.)
      Niki is as good as new today. :)

  8. taratamarisk says:

    Sending Niki healing wishes and thinking of you both. It doesn’t matter how small the procedure is when it’s your child. I’m sure it will go well and be all over very soon.

    I agree with Marla that vetiver is a great choice for today. I hope Sycomore gives you strength and calms your frayed nerves.

    • Olfactoria says:

      Thank you, dear Tara!
      Sycomore was an excellent choice, in the evening I went for Beloved, it worked like an embrace. (One from Christopher Chong apparently. ;) )

  9. Sending Niki lots of good thoughts today!

    Vetiver is a good old staple choice I find. I really need to spend some more time with Les Exclusifs, I just cannot find any love for them yet.

  10. andreawilko says:

    Sending both yourself and Niki good thoughts, I have been through two small surigal procedures with my son, I know it is not an easy thing to go through for either of you.
    I must try sycomore again, I hope it worked for you today. :-)

  11. Connie says:

    Sending love and light to you and your son.

  12. Suzanne says:

    Loving thoughts and fragrant hugs to you and Niki, Birgit. <3

  13. arline says:

    Sending positive thoughts and energy your way. :)

  14. Dionne says:

    Many, many good thoughts for Niki, and for you. I’ve been there in spades myself. (If you find yourself tired afterwards, just go easy for a bit. Even though as parents it seems we don’t do much except sit, there’s something about waiting in a hospital that can be very wearying.)

    Sycomore is OK on me, but absolute magic on The Engineer. He’s been working his way through the vetiver note, and Sycomore is still at the top of the list: a perfect combo of green freshness and subtle smokiness.

    • Olfactoria says:

      Thank you Dionne. It was indeed wearying and I went to bed at 8.30pm (a hospital bed, since we had to stay the night, but Niki slept like and angel for 12 hours straight.) :)

  15. Amy Bella says:

    Oh! Thank you for reminding me of this. I love Sycamore and have been out for while. It is such a great warm weather scent… I especially love it for the office. This might be my next full bottle purchase – we’ll see how fast I go through the next decant.

    Sending healing wishes your way.

  16. Olfactoria says:

    Thank you for all your thoughts and prayers and lovely comments!
    I’ll be answering each one tomorrow.
    Niki is fine, all went well, but it was a very looooong day. :)

  17. susan says:

    Good wishes for Niki! My little one got ear tubes put in last August and honestly it was probably more stressful for ME than for her. She was playing by the afternoon! Their resilience at that age amazes me.

  18. Bee says:

    good to know that all went well! I am a new convert to vetiver too (since last year), after sycomore and guerlain’s vetiver pour elle the next step could be malle’s vetiver extraordinaire (I layer it with the guerlain). A nice summer option is escentric molecule 3 (the blended scent) The toughest vetiver option I’ve seen for the moment is the les nez turtle front…

    • Olfactoria says:

      I’m still not so enamored with vetiver that I go looking for it in a perfume, but there are more and more that I found very, very nice. Who would have thought? :)

  19. behemot12 says:

    I was sure Niki would do well. I am really happy his Mom miraculously survived the procedure.(I am myself a mother :)
    By the way, happy Mother’s Day! (May 13 in the US and Canada)

  20. Undina says:

    Warm thoughts to you, Birgit, and Niki – I hope you both got some rest.

    I haven’t tried Sycomore yet but I definitely should: I like both vetiver and your review.

  21. Irina says:

    all my best thoughts for today, I’m sure all will be well and easier than you fear

  22. Civava says:

    I hope your son is well and that Sycomore somehow made it easiser for you to survive this day. It is the worst time for mum to have a child in a hospital, whatever the reason is. Sending you both positive vibrations.

  23. Nana says:

    Hey B, glad all went well with the procedure and wishing Niki a speedy recovery!
    Sycomore is on my wish list…and so is n#22!
    Take care

  24. I still have to give this a good try! I haven’t found the vetiver for me :(
    I came close with Les Nez’s bone dry Turlte Vetiver Front (I wish I got to try Exercise 1), and recently sampled Fat Electrition which just didn’t work… I think vetiver for me has to make a major statement for it to be even remotely interesting to me.
    This gets so much praise, I will crack out a sample soon!

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  27. Pahge says:

    Awesome review….Sycomore is my #1, my signature scent :)

    You should do Youtube perfume reviews and start with Sycomore :)

  28. jamesdennard says:

    After spending some time on your blog this evening, I’m surprised to see I haven’t commented on this one. Sycomore is one of the Chanels I know I will like, if I will only just try it already :) The vetiver note is always a winner with me. No. 19 is also on my list, too. I’ve ordered some samples this week, so I think I’ll add these two to my next order.

  29. jamesdennard says:

    It would be nice if Sycomore could give me those qualities. :)

  30. jamesdennard says:

    Oh thank you, dear Birgit. I certainly aspire to that. (hugs).

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