Chanel No 5: The Best Perfume Ever?


Chanel No 5: who can deny the elegance of this perfume?

Recently, I have been trying all sorts of perfumes usually via perfume samples from various websites for affordable prices. After all, some luxury perfumes are hundreds of dollars just for one bottle. The samples, on the other hand, are only a fraction of the price. When I saw that a small sample for Chanel No 5 was only a few dollars, I knew I had to try it.

After all, who wouldn’t want to try this Coco Chanel perfume without needing to spend an arm and a leg for it? This is arguably one of the most famous perfumes of all time. Most people have smelled it whether they realize it or not. But why is this perfume so iconic and timeless?

It might have to do with its unique scent notes.

What Is Chanel No 5?

Chanel No 5 perfume first came out in 1921. Coincidentally, Emeraude by Coty also came out in 1921 but Emeraude is widely considered an “old lady” perfume today while Chanel perfume No 5 is still praised as much as any modern perfume. But why? Is this Chanel perfume some kind of magical elixir that we still have yet to understand?

Not necessarily.

Chanel No 5 perfume.

This perfume has a long and interesting history starting with the master perfumer Ernest Beaux. Beaux created this perfume for Coco Chanel. Initially, there were three versions of this perfume: eau de cologne, parfum, and eau de toilette. Parfum, traditionally, is the strongest perfume concentration while eau de cologne is the weakest.

This perfume was one of the first aldehyde perfumes of all time. Aldehydes are organic compounds of oxygen and carbon that can smell like almonds, wax, citrus, or flowers (and often all of these at once). Aldehydes are particularly good for preserving and enhancing scents.

This particular fragrance was specifically designed to appeal to the flappers of the 1920s who preferred to avoid the “respectable” flowery and traditional fragrances of yesteryear in favor of musky and rich scents.

Master perfumer Beaux provided several perfume samples for Coco Chanel to try to see which ones were the most attractive. Chanel was immediately enchanted by the fifth sample and since 5 was her lucky number, she decided to stick that number in the name of the perfume.

I go into more details in this Chanel No 5 review.

The Details

Everything about Chanel No 5 was unique for its time. Even the design of its bottle was specifically made as minimalistic as possible to counteract the very lavish bottle designs of other manufacturers.

Its scent was also very unique and carefully considered. The master perfumer Ernest Beaux was not chosen by accident. Coco Chanel happened to be in a romantic relationship with the Grand Duke Dmitri Pavlovich Romanov of Russia at the time (the same Grand Duke who murdered the infamous Rasputin).

Coco Chanel and Ernest Beaux.
Coco Chanel and Ernest Beaux.

The Grand Duke introduced Chanel to Beaux who already had an impressive reputation as the master perfumer of A. Rallet and Company, a company which provided high-quality perfumes to the Russian Imperial family.

Beaux worked for months in a lab coming up with a select number of perfume samples for Chanel. All of his samples used aldehydes since he had recently learned how to utilize these organic compounds in perfumes. It was, in fact, the presence of these aldehydes that made Chanel No 5 eau de parfum so unique for its time.

Allegedly, after smelling the fifth sample of perfume, Chanel said that it was “A perfume like nothing else. A woman’s perfume, with the scent of a woman.”

The Notes of Chanel No. 5

For me, the history behind this perfume is tantalizing enough to put this near the top of my list of favorite perfumes. But what about the scent?

The top notes, unsurprisingly, consist of aldehydes. Besides that, you can also sense ylang-ylang, neroli, and lemon. I find the citrus notes to be particularly noticeable but not overpowering.

The middle notes consist of orris root, rose, iris, and jasmine. The base notes are sandalwood, amber, musk, vanilla, and patchouli. Together, the perfume is powerful but not too powerful.

While it does have rich and musky notes, it is still feminine and elegant. The woody notes are especially noticeable to me and give the perfume a unique warmth. Anyone can tell that this perfume is luxurious just by smelling it.

Vintage ad for Chanel No 5.

The sillage is moderate to strong. Any time I forgot I was wearing this perfume, I would occasionally be reminded of its presence by a gentle whiff of rich and barely sweet notes. I love that this perfume lasts a very long time, around 6 to 8 hours. The price for a full bottle is around $90 which I think is a reasonable price for such a high-quality perfume.

Although, if you’re not willing to spend so much, you can always by a much cheaper travel or sample size instead.

Final Thoughts

While I don’t think there is any single “best perfume” in the world, Chanel No 5 certainly is on the list for one of the best and most luxurious choices. This perfume is unique for being the first aldehyde perfume and its classic elegance and mystery still persists and enchants people today.

If you’d like to get an irresistible bottle of this perfume for yourself, click here.

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