So many lines were written about this legendary perfume… I think that everybody already knows its story and scent, and I, a long-time owner of CHANEL N°5, fondly ready any review dedicated to it, each time I have the chance. I love perfumes, but I love most those with a story in their background and, fortunately, perfumes launch nowadays, although sporadically, which will have similar inedited journeys in the future like CHANEL N°5. First of all, its birth was not expected because, as it happens in art, a new trend denies the previous one, or before the appearance of CHANEL N°5 the European bourgeoisie was heavily covered by baroque, animal, powdered, and intoxicating perfume notes.
Miss Coco wanted a revolution, not just in fashion but also in perfumery. Thus, she wanted a perfume that could powerfully come in contrast with those that were popular during those days and opted, for this matter, for the help offered by perfumer Ernest Beaux. The rectangular bottle, of an amazing simplicity, came in contrast with the complicated and heavily adorned bottles of those days, and the perfume housed by the bottle had to be, at the same time, a novelty.
CHANEL N°5 is (I hope I don’t get this wrong) the first famous perfume made with aldehydes and remained the most popular up to our days. That ozone note, of a polar coolness, polished the rest of the notes in a fascinating manner, giving them a precious shine. If I recall it well, the scent of the actual EDT would come closer to how it was back in the 20s, rather than that of the EDP. This is something I discovered after purchasing the EDP, of course, being convinced I am getting a stronger perfume this way…
The EDP is rounder and warmer, warm in contrast with EDT not per se, but because it is filled with aldehydes itself, but significantly mellowed by a generous presence of ylang-ylang and amber. Followed closely, the perfume has 3 chapters: the first part, the introduction, is marked by the brief appearance of bergamot, but especially neroli. The ylang-ylang and rose come next (Chanel cares about traditions and has, even today, plantations of Grasse roses, and I will mention in this bracket what Serge Lutens used to say in an interview connected to why the same perfume can smell slightly different from one bottle to another: the production of natural ingredients can vary from year to year, which translates in a feeble dose, yet quite noticeable for some, in the scent of the perfume).
The flowers are present throughout the entire development of the mixture on the skin, being accompanied, in the 3rd stage, by the iris and a rather generous amber. All of these are covered continuously by a veil of aldehydes. Toward the base, the perfume starts to powder itself in a refined manner. It radiates beautifully and has a distinct and elegant aura. Even if you leave home wearing no makeup, it will decorate you sufficiently. I cannot place it in my top 5 favorite perfumes, because I feel more comfortable wrapped in gourmand and sensual notes, but I can’t live without it either. It’s the kind of perfume that fits every woman without a doubt if owned at the right age, which is something each of us decides when the time is right.