I have tried Chanel No.5 several times over the past 25 years, but this is my last time. It repulses me more strongly each time. I first bought a small bottle in the duty-free shop as a souvenir of my first trip to Paris at age 15; I knew little about perfume but associated it with a particularly French style of beauty and sophistication. I liked it a little, wore a drop on special occasions, and thought that I might "grow into it." I didn't realize that I would grow in a completely different direction from it (much like many marriages). I wasn't especially disappointed, as there are many things I liked as a teenager that I don't like as much now; I don't have any other associations with it and no one I've known wore it. There are many perfumes that I can't stand, and I few that I have had to part company with, but No.5 is unique in its ability to make me feel physically ill. The slightest whiff gives me the dry mouth and shivers of nausea. It smells exactly the same on me as it does in the bottle, so it's not a case of its "turning" on my skin, it's something in my nose-brain connection that reacts to it. I like a few other aldehyde-based fragrances, I like powdery scents, I like many strong scents (natural and human-made), but I can't be near this one. I don't know what it is, but 5 is not my lucky number.
Whow! I read the below review by "thatwhitecat" and forget my own opinion.
OK. Now for Chanel No.5. It smells good but like an old lady.
It does remind me of my childhood. But I cannot stand it on my own skin.
I'm 44. I understand women not liking this. This is not a modern scent. It's a famous, old, and gloriously romantic IDEA. I think most of us who love this fragrance have been around it for so many years that it holds a lot of the past for us. We smelled it on an older sister or on our mothers or our ballet teachers. I reach for it very infrequently but I've had it around ever since high school. It's memoirs in a bottle.
Another one from my mom's Chanel fragrance collection ... Very sexy, just like most of Chanel fragrance. In my opinion (and my nose), I find it a bit strong compared to Allure, that's why I love Allure better, but of course I like this one too .. Unfortunately, just like other Chanel fragrances, the price is a bit steep too .. Have to think twice to purchase it :)
No. 5 has become an institution – and as such it is sometimes hard to actually enjoy it as a perfume.
However, a close look at the genius construction of the Parfum Extrait reveals a harmony that deserves more attention besides being a classic or a trend setter.
It is actually a work of art in the same way that Chanel’s fashion design has reached the heights of being an art form and at the same a concrete, useful piece of clothing.
To prove so, one must re-think it without being bound to olfactory memories and collective subconscious schemes that evolved around this perfume in the last 8 decades or so of its existence (i.e. the first perfume-fashion association; confident business women in pinstripe suits, Marilyn Monroe’s bedtime fragrance, etc. etc.).
A woman should wear No. 5 as if it was created for her alone, and she was the first woman on earth to wear it.
No. 5 is a truly feminine perfume, and is not bound to anything else but pure feminine beauty. It contains flowers, but does not smell quite like a flower garden. I believe Ernest Beaux definitely fulfilled Chanel’s dream of creating a perfume that will help women to smell like themselves, not like a flowers.
To my nose, No. 5 smells sweet and ambery, and is both sensual and seductive in a subtle and sophisticated way. The most dominant accord that comes forward on my particular skin is that of ylang ylang, amber and civet. It radiates a feminine warmth that when worn with confidence can be highly appreciated and enjoyed by both the woman who wears it and the people that are allowed to be close enough to smell her…
Top: Aldehydes, Bergamot, Rosewood, Neroli
Heart; Ylang ylang, Rose, Jasmine
Base: Amber, Civet, Sandalwood, Vetiver
How could one possibly write an unbiased review of Chanel No.5? It's the fragrance we all know, have a memory of, or at least a faint recollection. The theme frequently used and abused in various replicas and on various people. Like most of us, I know the theory behind it but find it hard to digest...
A gift from a person who cared deeply, this was (predictably) my first grown-up fragrance. I didn't give it much thought at the time, just wore it. It was the positive reaction to this scent from people around me that first spurred my interest in popular fragrances - the nature and downright charm of the dreaded "hype".
This magic mix of aldehydes still plays on my imagination. The perfume and EDP both breathe with my skin like being fuelled by each other's potency. To me and on me, it's a slightly soapy scent with rich development. Enshrouded in the initial burst of bold synthetics there's something in the background that whispers abstract roses and vetiver, a pinch of comforting cookie sweetness and sensual grandiosity. Yet I give this a four. Not because the EDT version is more transparent, but because I don't know what it would smell like if somebody took its great history and my own memories away - it's just overburdened by the past. continued >>
If you know how to wear it, it's one of the sexiest scents ever created. The jasmine and ylang-ylang are the only flowers I can single out, but the composition seems to suggest that they crafted an entirely new species of flower; it smells almost natural and obviously floral, but completely unlike any flower I've ever smelled. Like a hybrid of jasmine and French-maid.
The EDT is not long wearing, but it's very potent stuff. You have to be careful not to wear too much; it floats far above the skin and it's easy to overdo it. It smells somewhat like baby powder and jasmine, though not too sweet, and extremely dry and sparkling. For the first couple hours it’s so innocent it's indecent, like putting a curvy, sexy, sophisticated French woman in pigtails. Pornography so blatant as to disarm, but so subtle that no one could accuse you of being aware of it. The last hour of wear is a ghost of the initial effect, but with a sweeter, darker, ambery and still dry but more skin-like scent. Very comfortable and soft, and still obscenely innocent. The EDT seems to simply drift from top notes to base notes with no real middle notes to speak of.
The parfum is much like the base-notes of the EDT, though it wears for about eight hours on my skin, and smells little less dry. Similar effect, though not as extreme, and as with most parfums, not nearly as invasive, so you can get away with it where overt scents may not be tolerated.
The EDP can be extremely harsh and tinny at first, though in hot, muggy weather, that initial tinnyness fades very quickly and from there it acts more like the EDT though a lot longer lasting.
If you wear this one with the right brand of unapologetic, joyful nanchalants, it's simply the sexiest statement. This has been my signature fragrance from the time I first started to wear perfume.
I have it because it is a classic. I love its top note but then I am bored.
One of my HG perfumes. I adore this scent. It's very difficult to describe but to me it smells classic and beautiful. I can smell it a mile away and the staying power is the best! I have been using it for years and always.
I don't wear No.5, but I love it. It's been my mother's scent forever, and when I'm missing her, I smell the testers at the dept store and it's like she's right there next to me. It's wonderful to associate such a classic scent with someone I love.