The iconic Chanel No 5 is so iconic, so famous, so revered, that you really don’t need me to give you the history behind it. I will say that it was created in 1921 because it needs to be put into that context.
Chanel No 5 has so many lifelong world wide fans that I feel I may be treading on many angry toes in my criticism of it, but it has never been for me. I have tried it many times over the years and still it moves me not.
Twenty years ago, I thought it smelled like the inside of a powder compact that had long since passed its best. It was all dry, powdery, chemicals with nothing to slice through the deep creamy thickness of it.
As time has gone by, and as my scented education has progressed, I have learned a new appreciation of Aldehydes. I now see Chanel No 5 in a new, more favourable light. However, it’s still not for me.
It’s almost as if Chanel No 5 and I have agreed to disagree and reached an understanding. It still reminds me of gone off face powder, but the powderiness is now a note I seek out, rather than rebuff.
I could list the notes here, but they make no sense to me written down. If you read the notes blind, as if sight reading piano music, the tune you imagine will not be the one you end up with. Also, in listing the notes I would be assuming you had never smelled it, which I am sure you have, either at a counter , from a bottle or on the person next to you.
I also have a theory about why so many women wear it: When some men go and buy perfume for their wives or partners, Chanel No 5 is the one that most of them have heard of. There may also be something in the theory that they want to sleep with someone who smells like Marilyn Monroe! There is never a wrong reason to buy perfume.
Chanel No 5 smells great on those I know who wear it (and I hope they don’t read this. No- publish and be damned I say!) but if you ask me, and you didn’t, but I’m going to say it anyway, Chanel No 5 is good, great even, but the best perfume in the world it is not. That title will always be purely subjective.
Interestingly, I’m a huge fan of Coty’s L’Aimant which is a high quality much cheaper perfume that smells very similar indeed and was created in 1927. I am wearing it today in fact, apart from on my arms, which are always bare for testing. However, despite my L’Aimant Love I just cannot get on with No 5.
Chanel No 5 Eau Premiere however, is a different ball game. Watch this space.
What do you think of Chanel No 5? Love it? Loathe it? Or on the fence? Do let me know. I always love to hear from you.