The newest fragrance by Jacques Polge for the House of Chanel is a paradox, at once a masterful composition deftly weaving almost impossible elements together, and what must be an inside joke among those in-the-know, the scent of lavender baby wash, the kind that smells mostly of laundry detergent-esque white musk. Just as Givenchy Dahlia Noir put Givenchy back on the map as a house capable of delivering artistry despite composing with limited materials, Chanel has launched a great scent with Jersey, a modern lavender gourmand. The combination of lavender and vanilla has been around since Guerlain Jicky (1889), and the combination has been fabulous in such fragrances as Jean Patou Moment Suprême, MAC MV2, Caron pour un Homme and Serge Lutens Gris Clair.
First of all, the balsamic base note accord every fragrance house is using is really getting ubiquitous, but here, it's used in a sheer way, which, when combined with lavender, creates an herbaceous, aromatic and sugary yet dirty (somewhat like the "toxic New Jersey" note I find in Givenchy Dahlia Noir) accord that somehow works. This is in no way as strange as Hermès Brin de Réglisse, which is the opposite of a diaphanous lavender (it's more like a "flat Earth" woody scent). Chanel Jersey smells like it would appeal to some Gourmand lovers with a penchant for candy floss, as well as some classic lavender lovers who don't mind the baby wash feel of the pure white musk dry down.
For me, the generic white musk is off-putting, and I won't buy this scent because of it - however, I prefer it a thousand times over Chanel Beige, which I found too sharp, catering to the taste of the masses, and boring to boot, and at least as many times over Chanel Bleu, if not more. Despite the seams coming loose at the end, I feel it's a wonderful aromatic / gourmand addition to the Chanel Les Exclusifs collection.
The most interesting discovery for me, is that I understand that the direction Chanel went with this new launch is very much along the lines of European niche fragrances biehl parfumkunstwerke PC02 and Ego Facto Poopoo Pidoo.
Here are some other lavenders for you to try: Yardley English Lavender (the drugstore classic!), Caswell-Massey English Lavender and, probably not worth seeking out, but for s***s and giggles, I have to mention the very quickly discontinued Twilight perfume by Hot Topic.