This review is for the pure perfume.
For years now I have been searching for my "signature" fragrance. After reading the great book Perfumes the Guide by Luca Turin and Tania Sanchez, I spent the big bucks and bought No. 5 pure perfume based on both thier reviews. They could not say more about the absolute beauty of No 5. Well, I have been wearing it for 3 days now and I am disappointed. First big complaint - after 3 hours I can barely detect a memory of it on me. And this is the pure perfume! It goes on very bright full of aldehydes - crisp, pungent a bit disturbing. After 30 minutes it melds into the most beautiful, rose floral - dreamy, warm, caressing, lovely, you can almost imagine your lover snuggling your neck. That lasts for about 2 hours - pure heaven - and then it is gone. Nothing but a very, very faint hint of what seems like a white musk. If it wasn't for the fact that I purchased this in the NYC Chanel boutique, I would have suspected that I purchased a fake. A pure perfume, especially No. 5 with its strong presence, should last more than 3 hours! I will use it and enjoy what is left, but would not invest in it again. I'm not sure if body chemistry truly plays a part in the longevity of scent, but if so, No 5 and I are not a good match.
So much has been said about *what* Chanel no. 5 smells like that I would rather talk about the less quantifiable qualities that make it possibly my favorite scent ever produced within my lifetime.
I wear the EDT, to be specific, as I find the EDP has an odd metalic twinge and an 'eighties feel to it and lacks the true character of the scent, and the parfum, while truly stunning in quality, is less versatile (it reads as a grand and formal fragrance to me) and too expensive for me to indulge in right now.
The reason this is the scent I've come back to again and again since I was a teenager, is that it lends a sense of luxurious beauty to every possible situation. It's a very sexy scent to wear with lingerie, but it also reads as perfectly appropriate worn to work or with jeans. At the same time, it's fancy enough to wear to any kind of event from a dinner date to the opera. It's cold, it's warm, it's bright, it's sharp, it's velvety, sweetly floral, dry, spicy, smooth, it's youthful, it's sophisticated, it's nonchalant.
I think it's because of the blend of the highest possible quality natural ingredients with the blatant artificiality of the aldehydic sparkle that it's able to encompass all of these paradoxes and suit any kind of mood and personality. After all, it has been just as believable a signature fragrance for the dark-haired brainy business woman Coco Chanel herself as for the sexed up public persona of sensitive, sweet blonde bombshell Marilyn Monroe.
Above all, I love this because it's addictively appealing in the same way that gasoline or skunk spray is appealing to those odd ducks who've found themselves secretly enjoying those smells, only as ugly as gasoline and skunk spray are, Chanel no. 5 is beautiful instead. In the same way, you know while you eagerly sniff at it that it's not quite natural to love this smell, but you do anyway. That's how I feel about really exquisitely crafted aldehydic scents, and this one is by far my favorite of them. And from the reviews, it looks like you either get that secret appeal or you don't, just like with gasoline and skunk.
Of course I think this has a little to do with skin chemistry as well -- I know some people who find it to smell offensive on the bottle, but enjoy smelling it on me. I love it on the bottle as well as on myself, but I have smelled it turning sour or cloying on some people, too. Thankfully, because aldehydes in general aren't popular for my age bracket and area, it works for me as a non-ubiquitous staple signature fragrance (I can have more than one signature scent, no?) that can't be confused for any old mainstream perfume out right now.
I have worn Chanel no. 5 off and on for enough years now that it has come to smell like me, and I think I finally get how wonderful it feels to associate a scent with myself after about 15 years in this fragrance. It's as comforting to me now as it is luxurious and exquisite, and Chanel has another lifelong customer in me.
I love this! There is something very alluring about this fragrance. I used to wear it all the time, and it is definitely something I keep coming back to. Classy & elegant, and timeless. Love it!
I've sampled the EDP twice now, and still don't see what the fuss is all about. The initial blast of aldehydes just makes me feel like I've stuck my nose into a just-opened can of ginger ale. It's really, really fizzy and that's mostly all I get for the next 30 min or so. At this point I don't understand at all the appeal of spending so much to smell like soda pop! :) The perfume doesn't stay very strong on me after the first hour. Thankfully the fizziness goes away and it's just some pretty, fairly mild, soapy white flowers for several hours. I like that the drydown is clean, elegant and not too sweet, but it also doesn't particularly interest me. No 5 is definitely not for me (a shame as the bottle is beautiful!). I did try Eau Premiere before I tried No 5 -- I liked that a lot and will possibly pick it up some day.
way too expensive for the price and honestly it doesn't even smell that great
A beautiful classic bottle and a lovely scent, but at times it can be a bit too sharp. I only wear this at night or during the winter/autumn times, it makes me feel elegant and beautiful when I wear it! Very expensive, but in my opinion worth it. The bottle will last me a long long time!
Too commonly worn (by everyone and their mother- literally), too aldehyde, too stuffy. Not as soft and sensual as it could be.
Oscar makes an improvement on this one. Oscar isn't a favorite of mine but I do wear it for formal occasions. Oscar de la Renta definitely perfected this recipe.
To me this situation is kind of like soda: People generally say they are loyal to and love Coca-cola but in a taste test they actually prefer Pepsi. Same thing with Chanel and Oscar.
I have a feeling if this fragrance didn't have the design house, history and romance behind it that it does, it might just well be a relative flop, available in drugstores as a special during the holidays on the same shelf as White Shoulders and Emeraude.
i really wanted to like this!but honestly it has an awful smell.
Oh, Chanel no 5. For a long time, I thought I "knew" what this smelled like. I was so wrong.
The aldehydes make this absolutely sparkle. I love rose, but jasmine is a so-so for me. In this perfume, it is exquisite. It stays close to the skin and smells so feminine, so absolutely womanly, that I feel it is exactly what Coco Chanel wanted it to be: the scent of a woman.
I have worn no.5, the EDT, not the perfume, for over thirty years as my signature scent. I have lost count of the number of times people have asked me what scent I am wearing. It seems universally pleasant. It is essentially a floral, but manages to be clean and crisp nonetheless.
If I have one complaint, it is not the product but in general the "ladies" who work the Chanel counters. Despite having worn the EDT all these years, and knowing exactly what I want, each and every time I try to purchase it the old warhorses behind the counter insist I upgrade to the perfume.
[ps, they insist it is "parfum", to which I point out "parfum" is simply French for "perfume" get a life] So, yeah, a bit overbearing. Still, I'll put up with the snotty staff to get my no. 5 fix.