Now smell this
Les Exclusifs de Chanel: 28 La Pausa fragrance review
28 La Pausa, like yesterday’s subject, Bel Respiro, is one of the new niche fragrances from Chanel’s Les Exclusifs de Chanel. It was also named for one of Coco Chanel’s houses, in this case, an estate on the French Riviera outside Roquebrune Cap Martin:
Chanel spent her vacations at La Pausa, surrounded by friends including the Duke of Westminster, Salvador Dali and Jean Cocteau, in an atmosphere of happy relaxation and refinement. "Irises grew in the garden and the iris is also a very round, calm and soft fragrance", [perfumer Christopher] Sheldrake says.
I have not seen a list of notes anywhere, but it doesn’t matter: 28 La Pausa is all about iris, and if you love iris as I do, it is a must-try.
The top notes are bright and mildly citrusy. It is cold, but doesn’t quite reach the metallic heights of some iris fragrances. It dries down to an simply gorgeous iris, creamy-buttery smooth, and in a considerably less adorned style than my usual iris favorites (Serge Lutens Iris Silver Mist, Divine L’Homme de Coeur, Hermès Hiris, The Different Company Bois d’Iris). It warms up slightly as it develops, but only slightly, and it is only mildly earthy-peppery. I find it the finish to be more velvety than powdery.
The minimalist style accentuates the calming aspect of iris that Sheldrake noted (see above); 28 La Pausa is an extraordinarily soothing fragrance. Still, it smells (as befits a Chanel) like quiet extravagance; the materials are the best that money can buy, and nothing has been added to render it showy or gaudy. The corollary to that, I suppose, is that if you don’t adore iris, you may well find it the dullest of the collection.
I said yesterday that Bel Respiro wasn’t the show-stopper of the collection, and nor is 28 La Pausa — I’d give that honor to 31 Rue Cambon. But 28 La Pausa is the one that has me closest to reaching for my wallet; I can actually imagine running through 200 ml, and given my current perfume collection, that is no small matter.
I have seen a number of complaints about the lasting power, and they aren’t off-base. Like Bel Respiro, it needs several sprays (ok, more like 5 or 6), and even then, don’t expect it to last longer than a few hours. If you want an all day scent, you’re going to have to decant into a travel atomizer and touch it up during the day.