This is the ultimate example of a fragrance that's basically nice but is just so overused and imitated that I can't stand to smell it anymore.
It seems to me that some perfumes are liable to become the victims of their own success, and this perhaps more than most. It invariably reminds us of someone or something we have known before, and so necessarily we end up prejudiced, either against or in favour of it.
My own association is certainly a happy one. My grandmother wore it and my mother equally used to wear it - in pure parfum form, when she was about to go out with my father. She had an elaborate, elegant way of taking the crystal square-shaped flacon out of its large, heavy carton box, the epitome of a getting-ready-for-a-grand-evening ritual.
And definitely, it smelled divine, even to my humble, ignorant 5-year-old nose.
Growing up, I remembered this scent only too well and was in awe of it to such a degree that I did not dare wear it until I was 29 - just gives you an idea of how timid I was! - I clearly recall my pride at finally wearing it, like a supremely feminine badge of honour, and feeling that perhaps, at last, I was indeed worthy of it.
I think, in retrospect, that probably I was right to wait.
No way I could have pulled it off earlier. This is not a young
girl's perfume. You have to sort of DESERVE it, having developed that confident, joyful, unapologetic, womanly aroma that comes only with age. You must understand what being a woman is all about, and still keep some of your childlike, youthful, enthusiastic innocence intact.
Talking about perfumes for "duchesses, bourgeoises, and cocottes" (it will take me several centuries to get past the unmitigated snobbery of that statement), this is a fragrance fit for a Queen. Totally dignified, yet understated and respectful of others; regal, yet warm and approachable; fully conscious of its own worth, yet humorous, unpretentious and unstuffy; mature, yet remembering just what it felt like being sixteen; stunningly attractive, yet immaculate, flawless, perfectly clean.
I've loved it ever since I first discovered it, and often wear it as an evening scent, hardly ever during the day. I own it in both EDT and PARFUM forms, but do not care for the EDP,
which I find rather linear, too aggressively aldehydic, and lacking in compelxity.
Reading some of your reviews I was impressed by the strength of emotion this perfume commands, and felt, I must admit, sympathetic to both camps.
This fragrance goes bad or "turns" easily in warm weather, so I should think it's possible that some of you may have been unlucky, sampling a bad bottle.
Much as I admire it, a musty smell of a spoiled perfume is beyond even my powers of endurance. - And just to be on the safe side, I keep my entire Chanel No. 5 collection in the fridge, for a full 6 months, starting in early May
and ending with the the first cool days of blissful October.
Secondly, I have found that Chanel No. 5 (Made in the USA) and the same scent (Made in France) are NOT the same.
The American edition has a bizarre top note that I do not understand, a buttery, almost cloying accord. It improves after a while and becomes the dear familiar scent I know and appreciate, but why go through the agonies of that first stage? - - - Chanel, are you hearing me? - - -
The French version however is true to form, the first accord of the top notes being
bitter-sweet, seriously grown-up, supremely elegant, before developing into the famous flowery, powdery bouquet of rose, jasmine, iris, violet, ylang-ylang, sandalwood, and amber, that has conquered the world.
This is happiness in a bottle for me, I am always delighted to wear it again, but never, ever, overdo it - just for that reason. The world has seen so much of Chanel No. 5, that rather than live in dread of becoming associated with the million clichés
it evokes, I prefer the lightest, most effervescent trail of scent around me that I can more easily make my own, recognizing my treasured memories of it.
The added bonus is feeling secure in the knowledge that this is one privileged, protected area where TIME does indeed stand still. I confess there is some solace to it, in this fast-changing, frantically-moving, impossibly-paced world of ours.
ADDENDUM: My mother is at this moment valiantly struggling to regain her strength, following a stroke. It is to her that I would like to dedicate this review.
I have never worn Chanel no.5, my younger sister wore it when she was in high school.She would liberally spray herself in our bedroom and for hours the scent permeated the room.I did not care for it,but did not want to say anything,I let her enjoy it,even though it was rather strong.Smelled "nice" on her, too mature though.Thankfully she moved on to lighter fresher frags. and these days wears anything with green tea.She's come a long way!
I've only tried the edt and would like to try different concentrations of this. The edt starts out VERY sharp on me. I dabbed some onto my wrist, sniffed, and my nose and throat actually stung. This lasts for about 20 minutes and then there's a lovely, soft, ambery floral. It smells refined, unpretentious, and natural.
I have had a a tendency to switch fragrances every two years or so for the past 20 years (fragrance junkie - you should see my incense collection) I have switched every 2 years until I switched to this. It is my everyday fragrance for - I don't know - 5 years? It never smells alcoholy - just soft, feminine, classy and sexy, sweet and spicy at the same time. Haven't gotten sick of it yet! It's truly a classic.
The bottle alone is the very epitome of elegance and sophistication; a true classic fragrance. While Chanel No 5 isn't my all time favorite, it is one of those timeless perfumes that never go out of style and that linger long after the scent is first spritzed on. Although I prefer Coco, Allure and Chance, I will always wear this fragrance and it will never be discontinued of that you can be sure!
Fragrance is such an incredibly difficult thing for me to review, as I'm not well-versed in "fragrance-speak" -- I don't know top notes from dry downs, so all I can offer are my personal thoughts on a personal subject. Take it for what it's worth.I bought my very first bottle of Chanel No. 5 when I was 19 years old and in college. I thought it was THE most sophisticated scent I'd ever worn, and it made me feel worldly and elegant. Amazing what a scented liquid in a pretty bottle can do for a person, isn't it?I don't know what made this call out to me again after all these years, but I recently bought another bottle of the EDT, and all of a sudden, I'm worldly, sophisticated, and elegant again, instead of a 9-months-pregnant mom of 3 living in a chaotic suburban environment LOL.As I said, it's amazing what a scented liquid in a pretty bottle can do for a person ;-) ... continued >>
I have mixed feelings on this, it's not my fave fragrance but I think it's really sophisticated and the bottle is quite glamourous, it does have that clean soapy scent which I'm not to keen on but I would make an exception for this.
Firstly, I love this scent. I've never gotten so many compliments on how nice I smell than when wearing this. I guess with my body chemistry, it gets a little spicy and exotic instead of super soft and floral. I don't think it's too "old" of a scent and it doesn't remind me of the elderly at all like some people have implied, but that just might be because all of the elderly women I know wear super musky cheap perfumes. I have a problem with the bottle, it's a pretty big eau de toilette bottle that looks like it has a lid but you actually just press the top of it and I've had a few friends who've nearly yanked it in half. The straight perfume bottles are better than the toilette bottles. Anyway, I just love it in all seasons and apparently everyone around me loves it too, which is always good. I could bathe in it and it is never overpowering. I'll probably keep wearing it for so long that in 60 years I'll be one of the old ladies who gives it a bad reputation with the younger crowd.
There's a reason why this is THE classic perfume. It has survived my love affair with BPAL, which is saying something. Beautiful and well-blended floral.