Vintage: No.5 – Chanel

My sample of Chanel No.5 was gifted to me by a generous Facebook-er and her bottle is from the 50′s :)
I admit my review is totally pointless, but it was something I wanted to jot down for myself.

Chanel No.5

No.5 opens with aldehydes galore, unlike the sterile, soapy aldehydes of Stephen Jones – more the jasmine-laden cleanliness of First. A bright bergamot, ylang ylang and jasmine are the first to appear for me – “floralizing” the aldehydes into something that now smells dated (ironic). It’s not quite soap-y, but almost – hyper clean, tainted slightly with the indoles of jasmine and subtle narcotics of the tropical ylang ylang. It’s a sterile smelling floral bouquet (at first – and not in a negative way), and whilst still lush – totally refined (as expected).

No.5 is actually relatively linear on me, and because of that I struggle to describe it. After the aldehydes settle and burn off,, diminishing any of the overt cleanliness at the beginning, what’s left is something that smells familiar to the opening, with the distorted floral heart of jasmine, a pinch of rose – a faint memory of ylang and a crisper pinch of lily of the valley, sitting in a soft, plush, skin-like layer. There’s a touch of powder from iris, giving off a suede-like texture, and a beautiful sandalwood in the base, reminding me of Bois Des Iles which I’m a little more familiar with. It gives No.5 a dry quality without smelling charred or jarring, with hints of butter and even the faintest touch of liqourice. It’s perfectly balanced of course, and a classic for a reason, but there is honestly little more I can say about it. At the end of the day, everything has been said about it already – everyone’s tried it, and is familiar with it. So this is my very, very brief review on something that I can’t impart much more in to. It’s wonderful.

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19 thoughts on “Vintage: No.5 – Chanel

  1. I love this description; “sterile smelling floral bouquet” – you nailed it with that one!

    • Thanks Thomas! There really was no point writing about this, but it’s not something I’m passionate enough to ramble on about – it’s beautiful and everyone knows it is :’) I edited that a couple times, worried it sounded negative, but there was no other way of putting it :’) it’s not a particular “human” fragrance… you know? It’s about as “perfume” as perfume can get.

  2. poodle says:

    You are so right. It really is a perfume lovers perfume. It doesn’t smell like anything except No.5.

  3. Does this mean that you’re going to go vintage?…hell, it happened to me :)

  4. You are AWESOME. Just because everyone wrote about it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t, and you brought something totally new to the discussion as always. Thanks,
    Portia xx

  5. scudder99 says:

    It’s important for you to review because it’s YOU. Freddie, you have a wonderful skill, and listening to you describe a fragrance it pure delight. I hope you review more Chanels in the future, and treat them as though no one has ever heard of it before. Your enthusiasm for something, even though it’s been around awhile, is infectious, and we all haven’t had the chance to really analyze all the classics. I’m fairly new to this, and I love your insight, honesty, your facial expressions, and your thrilling take. You …and the other Freddie. Keep them coming, and please don’t be brief. It’s a small pleasure in my life that I always look forward to.

  6. laniersmith says:

    I loved your review. No.5 is so entwined in my life from when I was a child so it means more to me thank just a perfume with a history. Freddie I am so glad that you found it to be wonderful. To me that is wonderful.

  7. simone says:

    How does this compare to noontide petals. I’m thinking of getting Noontide, but I already have No. 5 EDP and I don’t want my collection to be redundant. Thanks!

    • They are different enough for sure. Noontide is definitely more modern, with a Tauer signature running throughout. It is classical, but not at all “dated” – which I No.5 however lovely, is undoubtedly. Hope this helps – sample first!

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