More often than not, a spray of a new men's perfume leaves me sorely disappointed. Most of the recipes follow the same, cardboard-cutout pattern: a mono-dimensional burst of citrus leading to an overdose of lavender and Iso E Super before settling into an unremarkable drydown of thin woods, as though the juice actually wants to be forgettable. This is precisely the type of perfumery that I now, sadly, consider to be standard fare from the likes of Dolce & Gabbana, Davidoff and Ralph Lauren, but I genuinely didn't think I'd ever feel so let down by a release from the house of Chanel. Allure For Men certainly wasn't a masterpiece either, but I'm sorry to report that Jacques Polge et al have reached new depths of depressing predictability with Bleu. The fragrance's advertising tagline is "Be Unexpected." Well, guess what, they sure aren't kidding, because I certainly never expected something so downright ordinary to be graced by the double-C logo.
There really isn't very much one can say about it apart from the fact that it features an overly long bergamot opening and a quasi-woody-spicy middle section with no hint of originality whatsoever. From start to finish, it is an exercise in the most dismaying type of generic 'pleasantness', a timid perfume designed for a person determined not to make an individual mark on the world. Perhaps we, as blog-devouring perfume fanatics, have simply come to expect too much from what are, after all, massive, multi-national firms with unabashed commercial intentions. Perhaps the more we indulge our love of our bottled treasures, the more we'll feel compelled to turn away from releases that wish to play it safe. Perhaps Bleu is just a very uninspiring piece of work. Either way, I'm sure it'll make millions for Chanel and set back mainstream men's perfumery by a good few years.
[Review based on a sample of eau de toilette obtained in 2010; fragrance tested on skin.]