The funny thing about Chanel no 5 is that I seem to prefer the flankers. Whereas I spend a lot of time bemoaning too many flankers, or flankers gone wrong (I’m looking at you Black Opium), when it comes to Chanel No 5, I can’t get enough of those perfectly executed beauties. I loved Eau Première and now I love Chanel no 5 L’Eau . (Disclaimer- I haven’t tried the other flanker Chanel No 5 Eixir Sensuel so cannot comment)
My sample of Chanel No 5 L’Eau arrived in the post two days ago and I have been wearing it ever since. The original Chanel No 5 is far from my favourite perfume. It’s arguably the most famous, however, which is how many women end up having a bottle gifted to them, whether they like it or not. That’s not to exclude the many women ( or men) who made an informed choice to wear it. It’s high quality and a classic, but to me it’s always been as if I’m not in on the joke.
L’Eau is a different story. Where Chanel no 5 is the tweed suit, Chanel no 5 L’Eau is the lingerie you wear underneath. The best and prettiest ingredients from Chanel No 5 have been taken and used lightly here, leaving the heavy stuff behind. It’s as delicate as a silk slip, yet don’t be fooled by the metaphor of lightness. In it’s way L’Eau is as powerful as No 5, but without the stale face powder note I often get with the original. It’s the flowers I notice the most in L’Eau, not the amber, patchouli, civet or oakmoss of the original.
With L’Eau, the jasmine and roses are prominent to me, as are the aldehydes, but this is far more floral than No 5 and less sober. I’m pleased that the alleged vanilla is a no show. The orris has a buttery, rooty note and the citruses keep it light and cologne-y. The soapy powdery note that is the trademark of No 5 is still there, but not as cloying. This is fluffy like a talcum puff, with a hint of white musk in the base.
Chanel No 5 L’Eau is a Chanel No 5 I can get on board with, roll about in, and marinate in. It’s no weakling: it’s fragility is its strength. This is a delicate beauty with muscles.