I was thrilled to receive a large spray bottle of this as a gift after having the original 20+ years ago. While it is only a pale shadow of itself, the longevity was even worse -- actually nonexistent. What a disappointment. This was one of the all-time greats in the '80s. It has now gone the way of YSL Rive Gauche, one of the other stars of the perfume world.
No. 19 is a strange one... A lot of people label this as a cold, heartless, "ice queen/boardroom bitch", kind of fragrance. I don't get that at all. To me it smells like a bunch of freshly cut morning spring flowers being newly placed in a vase.
I find this to be very soft, slightly powdery, and sensual. I don't find it "unemotional" or whatever. To me I think Chanel Cristalle fulfills all of those previous labels, that is one that I see as more masculine (and one which as a man I happily wear). No. 19 EDT opens a little like the Cristalle EDT does (hyacinch and bergamot) but the galbanum really gives it an amazing quality (warm and sensual). The powdery iris is really beautiful here. It's clean and fresh and sexy at the same time. I do get Oakmoss and Vetiver and I think the earthiness of the Iris (orris root) and the dryness of the Vetiver compliment each other beautifully.
It's true that this fragrance is the opposite of "girly", as it definitely gives off a grown up vibe, but I wouldn't say it's a "cold-hearted bitch" kind of perfume. To me it's quite alive and soft. The kind of person I would see wearing this would be an intellectual, kind hearted young woman, the kind of girl who is really attractive with a sweater and glasses who always has her head in a book, but doesn't know just how beautiful she is kind of thing. Alternatively any woman who wears a suit to work or academic but deep down is still really kind and loving to those around her.
With reference to the unisex quality often attributed to this, I find Chanel Cristalle (also by Henri Robert) more masculine than this, but something like "Dior Homme" (also an iris leathery fragrance) more feminine than this, it being sweeter and more gourmand than No. 19. Coincidentally... I know that my grandfather sometimes wears on occasion so I think it certainly wouldn't be out of place being worn on a man.
As mentioned before, this was Gabrielle Chanel's signature scent. It was originally private and exclusive to her, before being released publicly just before she died. However, that being said... I'm now starting to get a pattern in late Chanel perfumer, Henri Robert's creations: Chanel Pour Monsieur (1955) is a green Chypre, No. 19 (1971) is a green floral, and Cristalle (1974) is floral Chypre. All have Citrus notes, all have Oakmoss, and all have Vetiver. But what sets No. 19 apart is the beautiful, sublime Iris note. Powdery, soft, warm and somehow elegantly clean... it undoubtedly makes No. 19 the plushest, most sensual, and most feminine of the trio. It really is a masterfully blended perfume.
I don't see Chanel No. 19 as a cold, "unemotional" fragrance, to me (a man's opinion) it's like meeting a very attractive yet quiet, shy, intellectual type of girl with a kind, warm, loving heart who you just want to cuddle up with on the sofa by the fire. This is just one gorgeously grown-up, well- balanced fragrance!
I just found a tiny bottle of Chanel No. 19 and dabbed a little on my wrists. I keep smelling them now. I forgot how much I loved it. It was my favorite perfume when I was younger, and one of my favorite boyfriends bought me a bottle so it even has good memory association.
I think it's very soft and floral and green. It smells like spring to me, but it seems elegant too. It's not overpowering or strong. I had No. 5 also but I find it a lot more cloying and strong.
I thought they had stopped making this but was thrilled to find it online! :-) It's expensive but I really really love it. <3
Overall, I give this perfume 4.5/5. I have both the EDT and the EDP. I like fragrances that are soft, mellow, comfortable, divine, elegant, simple but unique. I do not like sharp notes as I find them headache-inducing and offensive. I wore this fragrance when I was in my early twenties and I went on a closet clearing spree one day and figured I'd give away some of my fragrances (I have a lot---shhh my husband hasn't clued in on my perfumery hoarding). Anyway, the "cleaning" or "clearing" made me feel good as I have a lot of perfumes I would rotate through and I had not worn Chanel no 19 in a while so I figured I'd share some of my fragrance wealth. I had forgotten all about my love for this scent. Now, in my 30's , I have recently rekindled my nose to the Chanel no 19 scent and I realize how I missed it. It is such a unique, classic, elegant smell. There is an initial sting to the smell right after spraying it...it smells a bit busy and chemical-reaction like, and you would think " ugh, what was I thinking??", then in about 3-5 minutes -- it smells absolutely amazing. There's a sweetness yet clean, sophisticated smell to it. Some people describe the scent as being a bitchy smell ... And I would agree. It's a bitchy smell in an assertive, "I have things under control" smell "and even if I momentarily lose control, I'll regain it back on my bloody own" kind-of smell. I could only wish to embody that image to its fullest but Chanel no 19 dupes you into thinking you are that kind of bitch, everytime you wear this fragrance. It's a soft, mellow, comfortable, divine, and elegant smell...but it's got so much character. You could tell the difference between the Chanel line of fragrances where most of the scents are classic VS some other designer perfumes where the smell seems to be very similar to other perfumes in the market.. very commercial. If you are looking for a unique scent; this would be it. I date most perfumes but I marry Chanel no 19.
This is for current formulation of EDP only.
Be warned: This is downright awful on the wrong skin. No question about it. Do test on skin before you purchase. Sniffing No19 on a strip or from the bottle repells me and tells me nothing about what's to come. Old lady perfume gone bad anyone? Those top notes are a wreck!
But I'm willing to suffer through this, because as soon as I'm rid of the top, the orris kicks in and softens the greens and the galbanum to a powdery spring forest filled with violets and lifts the leather to more of a living skin scent on me. It stays close to my person and doesn't demand a lot of space.
This is not a revolutionary or supersexy perfume. It's ideal for situations where I don't want to be perceived as sexy, flirty, shady/mysterious, odd or excentric. Where I just want to smell well groomed and professional. Relaxed yet clean. Classy but not attention grabbing. It's a classic for a good reason.
This used to be a five star perfume imo 20 years ago, it's now a four because it's been reformulated. It's a pity every reformulation is always a step down in quality (=aromachemicals replacing naturals). Never a step up. Sorry for the language but I mean it: D**n IFRA and what they do to perfumery!
I was first introduced to No. 19 when I was 21 and bought a bottle at the Chanel store on Rodeo Drive. From the first time I used the tester to try it out, I was hooked. It has a wonderfully clean, botanical fragrance -- the top notes are "green notes" and bergamot, middle notes of iris and rose, with the base notes being oak moss, vetiver, and leather. The base notes give No. 19 a natural, earthy tone without being overpowering, and they are wonderfully balanced out by the rose, iris, bergamot, and the green notes, giving it a fresh and clean fragrance that it sexy, understated, and extremely natural (or at least, with my skin's own chemistry, that was how it turned out after I applied it.
It's a wonderful fragrance for both day and night, and is an ideal fragrance during the Spring, Summer, and early Autumn -- in the Winter, however, it may be too light of a Fragrance during Winter.
I much prefer the vintage cut-glass bottle of the EDP to the boring rectanguar shape of the EDT Spray. Although it's definitely pricey, it is IMO worth every cent.
Simply stated it is sophistication in a bottle. Slight hints of leather among a fresh green scent. It is not a pretty floral scent. It is soft yet empowering and timeless
I've repurchased Chanel 19 Eau de Parfum and Eau de Toilette many times over the years because it smells heavently and it never goes out of fashion. It's green, it's fresh, it's sophisticated, exotic and uplifting! Love!
When I'm having a shitty day I spray on #19 and my mood is instantly lifted. Beautiful, timeless classic, especially in cold weather.
With No. 19 anybody enters the area of serious perfumery. The green, dry, yet immediately recognisable iris opening is one of the best top notes that are out there and its evolution into the middle and bottom notes is one of the more harmonious and seamless in transition that I ever experienced. Similar to only a very few, and different from the rest of the other perfurmes, I can never say about no. 19 that it evokes to me this or that picture, season, "cashmere feeling", "sunny day", or whatever any other impressions or images I could associate with other fragrances. I have a hard time finding such associations because this is such a solid piece of fragrance, so well done, so complete and round in itself that it does not need any images of embelishment. Actually, the perfect commercial for it would be just a picture of it and that's it. Bottom line, this is not a perfume that makes me daylight dream. But who needs to dream when such a solid beauty exists right there without dreaming. It speaks by itself, almost wears itself and I can't find a moment or occasion when it would not fit, as it if had always been there. It is not trying to be either too nice or too sweet, or too sexy or too dark or anything in fashion. And neither does it try too much to please everybody, so for me it beats No. 5 in the race. It's a back-to-(perfect)-basics perfume, to be enjoyed straight-up, no ice, no sugar.