Chanel Misia and A Visit To The Harrods Salon de Parfums – Plus A Giveaway!

By Tara

Last Autumn Harrods opened their luxurious Salon de Parfums on the sixth floor. It’s essentially a long row of fragrance boutiques – one for each brand – which highlight their most exclusive collections.


Other high-end lines (such as Cartier’s Les Heures de Parfum) are on shelves dotted the opposite wall. The Roja Dove Haute Parfumerie has moved up here from the Urban Retreat and has the largest space.

Les Exclusifs[1]

On arrival I made a bee-line for Chanel in order to try the new addition to Les Exclusifs: Misia (pronounced Me-sha). All the SAs I spoke to in the Salon de Parfums were extremely helpful and friendly and Sophie at Chanel was no exception. We sat down and she gave me the whole Misia backstory.


The Parfums de Chanel Boutique


As you may have read by now, Misia Sert was the best friend and confidante of Gabrielle Chanel. They were both born in impoverished circumstances and went on to improve their positions in life exponentially. Misia pulled Gabrielle out of her depression following the death of her great love, Captain Arthur Edward ‘Boy’ Capel. She was a great patron of the arts and was the muse for a number of artists.

Misia takes its inspiration from the aroma of the theatre’s backstage as well as Chanel’s iconic cosmetics. It was composed by Olivier Polge who took over the reins as Chanel’s in-house perfumer from his father, Jacques, on the 1st January this year.

The fragrance features violet, rose, orris, tonka bean, benzoin and a “hint of leather”.


The Misia Tray

Sophie laid out a tray of items which represent the main facets found in Misia. She gave me a violet crystal to taste (sweet!) and some iris scented face powder to put on my skin. She then passed me a lipstick which is portrayed by the waxy accord in Misia and I sniffed one of their blushers, which are all scented with May rose.

Finally, Sophie put some tonka bean and benzoin on paper strips which are used in Misia to capture the “soft heaviness” of velvet theatre curtains. It was a fun way to be introduced to the perfume.

Me chanel

Tara at Chanel


Misia is pretty much what I had imagined it would be: a lipstick smeared, powdery/creamy cosmetic fragrance with candied violets. It’s incredibly well blended with a refined playfulness about it. I’m sure it will be a winner for them, although Sophie did tell me it tends to polarise people.

If you like cosmetic perfumes I think Misia is a must-try. I would caution that I’ve found it rather quiet and short-lived, so consider giving it a good test-run before purchasing.


A wall of Bee Bottles

Aside from Chanel, I’m a big Guerlain fan so I had to pop into their boutique before I left. Here they had their newly released wedding perfume which is named Le Bouquet de la Mariée in extrait concentration and Le Plus Beau Jour de ma Vie in Eau de Parfum.

It includes notes of angelica, pink pepper, citrus, sugared almonds, rose, orange blossom, patchouli, vanilla, white musk and incense. On paper both came across to me as sweet white floral bouquets weighted towards orange blossom.

The Guerlain boutique also has the Harrods exclusive Royal Extract and their flavoured teas. Although they only had Habit Rouge and Orchidée Impériale in stock at the time, the tea collection also includes Shalimar, L’Heure Bleue, La Petit Robe Noire, Liu and Nérolia Bianca.


The Guerlain tea collection

The bespoke and semi-bespoke services at Guerlain are something else. They release five semi-bespoke fragrances a year and one of them can be exclusively yours for £27,000. For that you get 27 standard bottles as well as a 490ml Baccarat bottle.

Guerlain semi bespoke[1]

The Semi-Bespoke Collection

Le Parfum Sur Mesure costs £36,000 for which a Guerlain perfumer will meet with you in London or Paris in order to create your bespoke perfume. It will be completely tailored to your preferences and the process can take up to a year.

Other brands with their own boutique at the Salon de Parfums are Kilian, Tom Ford, Creed, Clive Christian, Xerjoff, Ex Nihilo, Henry Jacques and Dior.

Dior Amphores[1]


If you’re coming to London you may fancy going for a nose around. Considering the SAs are all so nice there’s no need to feel awkward if you don’t intend to buy anything. But yes, I did come away with a 75ml bottle of Misia.

For your chance to win a 4ml mini of Misia please leave a comment letting me know what your favourite Chanel fragrance is and why.

Misia mini[1]

The giveaway is open to all until next Tuesday April 28, midnight and the winner will be announced on the blog on Wednesday, April 29.

It has become ridiculously difficult to post perfume to and from the UK so I cannot be responsible if the package goes astray but I will do my best.

Good luck!


About Olfactoria

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This entry was posted in By Tara, Chanel, Fragrance Reviews, Giveaway, Powdery, Rose and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

87 Responses to Chanel Misia and A Visit To The Harrods Salon de Parfums – Plus A Giveaway!

  1. ainslie says:

    Hi and thanks for the fantastic article! I had been curious about how Harrods had done the new perfume section and if it was all squished in near Urban Retreat or on a different level – now I feel you’ve saved me a few $1000 in flights! 🙂 So cute the way Chanel demonstrated the notes in Misia. I am keen to see if they will do this in Australia too. I am forever swapping my favourite Chanels around..for the moment it is Coromandel and Sycamore. A year ago Beige. A few years ago Crystalle and Chanel No 5 Eau Premiere…!! X

    • Tara says:

      Hi Ainslie,
      Glad to have saved you a trip! It was interesting to see how the new Salon had been done. Chanel have so many great frags that it’s no surprise your favourite keeps changing.

  2. Alica says:

    I love almost all Chanels I had opportunity to test, incl. No. 5, No. 19 (all offspring), Cristalle, and No. 22. I would really be extremely happy to get this one ;-), many thanks!!!

  3. Azar says:

    Such an interesting article. Loved the photos too! My favorite Chanel is No. 19. I like the cold, sweet, green scent of the cool, green liquid! Thank you for this draw.

  4. Hey there Tara,
    So sad to read Misia didn’t last on you. What a shame. DNEM I have a sample.
    It seems I will be seeing you at the end of January, Jin will be with me too. We MUST organise an adventure to this fabulous newly renovated frag palace please. Swooning with the green eyed monster here in South Korea.
    Portia x

  5. Anka says:

    It was such a delight to read your review and look at the beautiful pictures (you fit in the Chanel boutique very well)!
    I tested Misia twice and as a big fan of violets loved it straightaway, thinking of Misia, I can immediately recall my olfactory impressions which is not always the case: It felt very uncomplicated, yet complex enough to be interesting, easy to wear, warm slightly sweet but still transparent (not too powdery). It could become addictive, I guess, at least I would like to try it again now…
    But you are right it was rather short-lived, so it would be good to give it an in-depth testing. Thanks for the draw!
    Oh, and my favoirte Chanel is (probably) Bois des Iles because I love the very smooth and real (?) sandal note in it.

    • Tara says:

      Ha! Thanks Anka – I should move in 🙂
      You’re right about your impressions of Misia sticking are just two tries. They are all spot on.
      The sandalwood in Bois des Iles is sublime.

  6. Ines says:

    My favorite Chanel is No 18. I wish they made that one in parfum version.
    No need to enter me in the draw, I tried Misia and didn’t really like it.

    • Tara says:

      Nice to have a mention of No.18, Ines. I hope they bring out a parfum for you.
      Considering our tastes are so different I guess it’s no surprise you didn’t take to Misia 🙂

  7. Lavanya says:

    My comment got eaten!! Posting again.

    Ha- you got a bottle! I didn’t expect that after reading that it didn’t last on you. Did you love it? Most people seemed to have loved Misia and I am dying to try it but haven’t gotten to the boutique yet- hopefully some weekend. My current favorite Chanel is Coromandel (which is on my to-buy list. )

    • Tara says:

      I’m sorry your comment got eaten Lavanya. It’s lovely to see you.

      Well, I bought the bottle before even stepping out of the boutique so no time to check longevity. I don’t regret buying it but it is a lesson to test properly. No doubt I’ll do it again though 🙂

      I have a 75ml bottle of Coromandel. Love it.

  8. Tina G says:

    What a fabulous day, Tara! I loved the way Misia was introduced to you, how fun. I have a sample and am still giving it a run through (so no need to include me in the draw) but am enjoying it so far. My fave is 22, and I wear Coromandel a fair bit in Winter. Thanks for the report, will put a visit on my list. 🙂

    Tina G xx

    • Tara says:

      It was a fab day Tina G!
      Sophie did the whole thing really well. I’m hoping she will talk at Perfume Lovers London.
      Nice to hear you are enjoying Misia. I love all that up-front iris.
      The Salon de Parfums is definitely worth a visit when you come to London.

  9. Hamamelis says:

    How nice to sit on your shoulder and have a look around while you visited the Salon de Parfums!
    My favourite Chanels are my late mother’s (vintage) Chanel 5 EDT (in the splash bottle, it survived exquisitly sitting neglected on a shelf in full light and bathroom temps for years and years) and Chanel 5 parfum which I acquired here! Bois des Iles and Cristalle very close runners-up. But at the moment no competition for Hiris 😉 !

    • Tara says:

      I totally know how you feel about Hiris, Hamamelis. When I first got my bottle, I just wore it day after day after day.

      How wonderful that your mother’s No.5 has survived so well under the circumstances.

  10. citramanica says:

    Sounds like you had fun! Nice review, and what beautiful photos…. My favourite is no 5, because it’s my first perfume ever! I bought it when I was 17, with my own pocket money, and I didn’t get a lot of pocket money, so I had to save… I actually don’t wear it anymore, but I keep a miniature bottle just for a sniff now and then!

  11. poodle says:

    My favorite is 22 but I also have a soft spot for Cristalle. Coco is always wonderful too. Actually it might be easier to list the ones I don’t like since I seem to like a lot of them.

  12. Sandra says:

    Hi Tara. I loved reading about your whole experience from the Harrods salon down to testing Misia. You look very galmorous. No need to enter me in the draw. I will try it again but was so sad to have it almost disappear from my skin so quickly. xo

  13. Vanessa says:

    Wow! I had no idea the new Salon des Parfums was a little street like that. With marble columns! Make that a Roman street. I love the way the SA presented Misia to you and broke down all the elements like that. The evocation of a heavy theatre curtain by tonka and benzoin was a clever touch. I think Misia sounds lovely, shortlived or not. And a woman who comforts another on the untimely death of her great love sounds like a good egg.

    As for the semi-bespoke perfumes, who needs 27 bottles of the same scent? Are you meant to give one to everybody you know? Maybe that’s what is meant by semi-bespoke? However, I wouldn’t pay £27000 to smell like half of Stafford, hehe. Those other Guerlains sounded nice and the bee bottle wall is stunning? As are you in that photo! Fave Chanel has to be Bois des Iles. So snuggly in winter with lots of sandalwood.

    • Vanessa says:

      ‘Salon de Parfums’, sorry!

    • Tara says:

      Well V, a close mutual friend of ours did liken it to a first class airport lounge 🙂
      Misia Sert sounded like an amazing woman. The more I read, the more I like her.

      I presume with the semi-bespoke fragrance you’re buying a life-time supply of something only you will have. Giving it away to half of Stafford would kind of defeat the object 🙂

      Bois des Iles is super snuggly!

  14. Love how she introduced the perfume! I haven’t had to opportunity to try it in so long but I remember liking 31 rue Cambon – irisy, warm and light.

  15. Line says:

    My all time Chanel favorite is No 19. Its so fresh, green and crisp, but still smells like a classy perfume. I can use No 19 during all seasons, it never fails to impress me.
    I also have a great crush on No 5 Eau Premier and Cristalle Eau Verte.

    • Tara says:

      Line, I can see you have a preference for the greener perfumes in Chanel’s line-up. All very classy. I think No.19 is a year-round fragrance too.

  16. Lady Jane Grey says:

    Lovely (and perfectly informative !) post,Tara – thank you. In fact, I quite liked Misia, but it was a rather quick test at Heathrow. I could imagine to have a FB of it, joining my Bel Respiro.
    You made me want to visit the Salon at Harrods – sofar I thought it must be a rather pretentious place with a strange vibe…

    • Tara says:

      Hello dear LDJ,
      Well, the vibe was very quiet when I went but then it was a weekday. There’s a lot of incredibly expensive stuff on show. More ostentatious than pretentious, really. No charge for looking though and I never felt uncomfortable.
      I bet Bel Respiro is lovely during Spring.

  17. Dorothy Gardner says:

    Chanel No22 as it’s a Chanel No5 sibling that doesn’t turn to something a naughty cat has bestowed upon me. It’s the tuberose that’s the difference which is strange as I’m no tuberose gal

    • Tara says:

      Dorothy, I never got to know No.22 well because it’s too soapy for me (my mum loves it for that reason!), so I never realised there wes tuberose in there.

  18. Sabine says:

    Hi Tara, please don’t include me in the draw, I’ll get my Misia fix elsewhere 🙂
    It’s so beautiful, but it doesn’t last. Frankly, none of the Chanel Exclusives do on me. Because I loved it while it was around I am happy with a decant. But why oh why can’t they make them last?

    • Tara says:

      Hi Sabine,
      I was surprised about its longevity because in the reviews I read before buying no one mentioned it. Since then lots of people have said it didn’t last on them either so I know it’s not just me. Longevity isn’t something I usually have issues with.
      It does seem odd that this wasn’t tackled before release but perhaps they think their customers can afford to keep re-spraying 🙂

  19. Connie says:

    Because I’m wearing Coromandel at the moment, I’d have to say that that one is my favorite- it would be too hard to choose unless I made my choice arbitrary! Other Chanel loves include Bois des Iles, 31 Rue Cambon, and No. 22. Misia sounds lovely, and it sounds like it was if you came away with a bottle!

  20. Monika says:

    My favorite Chanel perfumes are Coco and No5 Elixir Sensuel (which I am currently wearing). I had Beige but it was not for me so I gave it to my mum and I would like to buy me Bois des Iles. Coco was my first perfume love btw and because of Chanel no5 I am a big fan of aldehydic perfumes like Dia, Gold and Aria di Capri 🙂

  21. Brainfodder says:

    Hello Tara

    Thank you for the review! I was interested to read your take on Misia and description of it as a quiet fragrance… I have had one light spray (the SAs in the Manchester Selfridges are usually very helpful and enthusiastic… but not quite so on that particular day!) and found it sweet, soft and so very fleeting.

    I tried the cologne on my other wrist (slightly more liberal application) and it blew my socks off – why had I not tried it before?!? But it’s a cologne – is it really worth the money?!? Lord knows, but it’s bloody good and it lasted…

    My other Chanel faves – argh, pretty much all of the exclusifs, which leads to a perpetual state of analysis paralysis and no actual purchases! Bois des Iles is the one I have actually repeat purchased, Coco was the one I used to repeat purchase, No 18 fascinates me, 31RC is loved by my husband (and by me) but not purchased yet, No 22 oozes grown-up quality, Bel Respiro and 28LP are delcious but so terribly fleeting, and CdR is the most gorgeous smell, but I can’t imagine wearing it on a daily basis.

    No need to enter me into the draw – I’m close enough to be able to go and get another sniff some time soon 🙂

    • Tara says:

      Hi Brainfodder,
      You know I’ve resisted the Eau de Cologne because I don’t want to fall in love with something expensive that doesn’t last. Seeing as I’ve just done that with Misia anyway, maybe I should give it a whlrl 🙂

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts on the other Chanels. I gave away my Cuir de Russie edt to someone I knew would wear it more but the parfum tempts it. It’s sublime.

  22. Anita says:

    Love violets in my scents and really looking forward to trying! I love CHanel! Coromandel, Cristalle, Coco Mad and #19!

    • Tara says:

      Anita, I really hope you like Misia when you get to try it. The violet note is sweet but not tooth-achingly so. The iris helps to keep it in check.

  23. Asali says:

    Dear Tara, Amazing, can’t wait to explore all that extraordinariness for myself 🙂 may I add, you look completely at home in that luxe environment. As for Misia, I instantly liked it very much, and had I not already had quite a lot of other iris’es in the same sort of style, I would definitely have sprung for a FB, I still might, but it isn’t urgent. How about you, a FB calling? I love my cuir de russie extract, and quite enjoy my Bois des Iles at the right time.
    The guerlain store OMG!
    Thank you for this visual and literal tour, wonderful as always.

    • Tara says:

      We will go when you make it to London. The Guerlain boutique is fab. The closest thing to the Mothership in Paris.
      I didn’t know you have the Cuir de Russie extrait. You have such great taste!
      I don’t yet have my fill of irises so yes, I did come away with a bottle.

      I really should be surrounded by Chanel at all times 🙂

  24. anatu13 says:

    I’ve never even tried a Chanel perfume. I think I would love No. 19–Azar’s description is gorgeous!

  25. chynnagaby says:

    My favorite is Gardenia Chanel perfume. Favorite everyday, summer scent. I adore the lightness of the scent, very sexy, very feminine. I spray it on as soon as I get out of the shower, and reapply midday. At night, if I want something a little heavier, it layers well with other more intense florals, like my other favorite Le Perfum by Elie Saab. I get compliments from men and women alike.

    • Tara says:

      chynnagaby, I enjoyed reading about why you love Gardenia and how you wear it. I think it’s good that you make a point of reapplying at midday. I never get round to doing that with my lighter perfumes.

      It’s always special when you get compliments on your perfume.

  26. mamamuseme says:

    I like Chanel No. 5 because it’s a classic.

  27. Ariane says:

    Tara,thank you so much for this lovely,lovely article,and I am glad you brought up the issue with longevity with this one,because I have fallen for it completely,have drained a decant and several samples,but I am still a bit hesitant,it is so fleeting-I don’t have that issue with Bel Respiro,which is one that people often complain about,but this one upsets me with its disappearing act!Still, I don’t think I can live without it…
    Love your photo!

    • Tara says:

      Thank you so much Ariane!
      I know exactly how you feel. I don’t regret my rash purpose because it is so very lovely but I wonder if I would have gone back for a bottle if I’d waited. Sometimes you just have to weigh up the fleeting nature with how much you love it. Value for money doesn’t always win out when it comes to perfume 🙂

  28. shelly says:

    I have long been a fan of cuir de russie and longed for a bottle of bois d’ille and rue cambon (please pardon spelling). I stopped by the San Francisco store to smell miasa and was impressed and it may move up my list. The little blotter was in my purse and the next day I opened it to get out keys and the left over scent was so pretty. From its background I feel like I should say glamourous but it was pretty, maybe with a capital p.

    • Tara says:

      I think pretty with a capital P is a lovely description, shelly. I hope you get one of those longed for Chanel bottles before too long.

  29. Kaia says:

    What a fun way to spend a day, I need to visit Harrods soon. My favourite Chanel is 31 rue Cambon, It’s just so lovely on a colder day!

  30. Annette says:

    Lovely article and lovely photo of you. I got to try Misia at the airport 2 weeks ago, and it was very lovely, quite old-fashioned and extremely boudoiry! It has jumped to the top of my (v.v.long) wish list, The salon does look amazing and I will have to pop in soon. Most of the Chanel’s are beautiful and I have owned several but my favourite is Coco and for a very romantic reason – it was my wedding day perfume, so it reminds of that wonderful day and the beautiful scenery of Sorrento and Capri where we had our honeymoon!

    • Tara says:

      Thanks Annette!
      Misia is absolutely boudoir-y and retro but doesn’t feel old-fashioned somehow.
      What a super lovely reason to have Coco as your favourite Chanel. I long to visit the Neopolitan Riviera one day.

  31. Hana says:

    I would love to try favourite Chanel must be No. 5 eau première. Smells like a day in the sun to me;)

  32. Aww, the Guerlain store!! I’d love to be there!
    Misia doesn’t last long on me either but I’m so enjoying my decant. I love both violet and iris, Misia has plenty of both!
    My favourite Chanel? That’s an incredibly difficult question. It changes from season to season. The one I enjoy all year round is 31 Rue Cambon. 🙂

    • Tara says:

      The Guerlain boutique is my fave!
      There is lots of iris and violet in Misia. The iris is what swung it for me. I didn’t pick up on the rose so much.
      I completely get how your favourite Chanel changes with the seasons. 31RC is a great “Go-to” frag.

  33. stina says:

    What a fun introduction to Misia! I fell in love with this one; like you said, it’s so well-balanced that it doesn’t drown you in overly-sweet violets or suffocate you with old-school cosmetics powder. It’s long-lived on me; up to eight hours, and well into the next day as a skin scent. Oddly enough, I get that kind of longevity from 28 La Pausa as well (talk about incentive to buy an FB!). Bel Respiro, on the other hand, waves goodbye after 15 minutes. Apparently my skin is (mostly) tuned to the Chanel wavelength.

    No need to enter me in the drawing, I splurged on an FB of Misia and have been happily dousing myself with it two or three times a week (and have gotten lots of compliments; non-perfumistas seem to like it as well).

    • Tara says:

      stina, it’s really nice to get your take on Misia. It is really well balanced. I so envy how long it lasts on you! Amazing that it’s the same with 28 La Pausa which is also notoriously fleeting. Maybe the iris in both clings to you? Who knows.
      Lovely to hear you are getting compliments from “civilians” too 🙂

  34. E Kay says:

    Chanel No.5 is my favorite because it’s been worn by three generations of women before me in my family. It’s a very comforting scent for me. I also love Une Fleur de Chanel, but I have to use it sparingly since it was limited edition and I’m down to my last bottle.

    • Tara says:

      E Kay, that reason for loving No.5 almost made me well up! How wonderful to have that connection with other generations of your family through perfume. May it continue.
      I’ve never heard of Fleur de Chanel, it must be rare indeed. Use it sparingly but do wear and enjoy it.

  35. Nemo says:

    Violet crystal sounds delicious 🙂 My favorite Chanel is a toss-up between Cristalle and No. 19 (in all their versions that I have tried, I can’t pick one!). In general, I find some of the classic Chanel perfumes rather difficult but I do love the bitter earthy, yet wonderfully lady-like quality of no. 19 and Cristalle.

    • Tara says:

      Nemo, “bitter earthy yet wonderfully lady-like” is such a fab description of those two.
      The violet crystals were an amazing colour too!

  36. Undina says:

    I soooo want to go there! (and to London in general) Thank you for the report.

    No need to enter me into the giveaway – I just won a mini bottle on Scent of Self blog – but I still want to answer your question: my absolute favorite Chanel is No 19 EdT, followed by Cuir de Russie and Bois de Iles.

    • Tara says:

      I SO want you to come to London! One day.
      I bet No.19 suits you perfectly. Cuir de Russie and Bois des Iles are two of my faves.
      I look forward to reading your take on Misia if you write about it. Enjoy your mini.

  37. boringzlifez says:

    My favorite chanel perfume is Chanel’s Coco Mademoiselle, really brings back good memories which is why i love it.

  38. glamourinna says:

    Somehow the regular Chanel line hasn’t resonated with me, the only exception being No5 Eau Premiere, which has been on my “FB buy list” since some time. The list is really long of course 🙂

    The exclusives are well, to exclusive and I didn’t bother to hunt them down by ordering samples. However Misia has been in the back of my head after reading all the glowing reviews. The blogosphere really got me interested in this one.

    • Tara says:

      glamourinna, the regular line never clicked with me either. It’s funny. I only fell in love with Chanel fragrances once I discovered the Exclusifs. Typical 🙂

  39. Kelly says:

    My favorite Chanel has to be Coromandel! It was the first exclusif I ever smelled, and one of my first niche scents. The rich scent was so DIFFERENT than anything I had every smelled before, and I was hooked (until I found out how much the big bottle cost!).

  40. rusthawk says:

    My favorite is No 5, as that is the one my grandmother wore and would gift to me when she was alive. It’s one of my favorite scents.

  41. Zeljka says:

    my favorite Chanel is No 19. I like how different and yet the same it smells through his versions and editions. it’s chypre for me and that’s how I like my perfume 🙂

  42. Hayley says:

    I love coromandel for winter as it’s warm, cosy and chocolatey, 28 la pausa for spring summer for cool and classy, just wish I could afford full bottles! would love to try misia, thanks for the giveaway offer

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