For about 20 years I occasionally sprayed some of this from a tester, and what I got was somewhere between 'bottom of the fridge' and 'nothing', and I thought of it as actively unpleasant. What was wrong with me? It's glorious, but for some reason it never clicked for me until last year, when it sneaked up on me and showed its true beautiful nature. Now, almost without me realising, it's my second-most-worn, after my great love, Mitsouko.
To paraphrase Cameron Crowe's Almost Famous, I'm about to go where many, many others have gone before, and try to say something insightful about Chanel No. 5.
I hadn't owned a bottle of No. 5 in so long that I was afraid I might not even recognize it, when I found a bottle of the discontinues Elixir Sensuelle on eBay. I missed that train the first time, so I snatched it up. To be honest, I was worried that it might be old, or even fake. But I popped the top off, and there it was--that same, strange, elusive, weird, tickle.
How to describe it? Actually, trotting out the old Marilyn Monroe warhorse can be helpful, because Marilyn was a lady of very particular tastes. She loved the color white to the point of obsession. She loved Champagne. She loved going without underclothes. She did not love the "Happy Birthday, Mr. President" dress, but she knew it was a dress that "only Marilyn Monroe could wear."
Wearing Chanel No. 5 feels like fizzy skin of microscopic fireworks on the sheerest layer of silky golden white. (Describing the scent is like describing the sound of something that's almost beyond your range of hearing. It's the wearing that counts.). It's like wearing the stuff of Marilyn's Mr. President dress, but you don't have to be sewn into it. And you can wear it for whomever you want. It feels like electricity. It feels like magic.
This is the perfume that my life partner seduced me with. Chanel flats. Black and gold outfit and all.
Have often sneaked some of hers. I think though, it is better suited to the Feminine.
I wear Bois des Iles and Cuir de Russie often. They are better suited to my skin.
To this day, when I pick this up, on any woman,
it has me stand up to attention.
14th January, 2016 (last edited: 26th January, 2016)
I'm so pleased that I have waited this long to experience one of the great classics. Chanel's No. 5 is almost indescribable. It brings tears to the eyes. I won't try to explain the ethereal effect, the simultaneous depth and lightness of this great perfume.
What I wanted so to do was to run to my records and see how Coty's classic L'Aimant fared date-wise with the Chanel. They are so similar, but the Chanel has a depth in its base notes that so anchors the elusive whisps of Ylang, Neroli, Jasmine and Rose, so between the two, it does come out the winner.
I found that Coty's L'Aimant (1927) trailed Chanel's No. 5 (1921) by three years. I am humbled.
I love them both.
I actually got a sample of the super expensive pure Parfum version of this scent, just so I could actually compare it with the EDP formulation I sprayed on my wrists a few days ago. The pure Parfum version of Chanel No. 5 is definitely one of the most perfect and beautiful feminine perfumes that has ever been made, hands down. I didn't really think so until I smelled it in that particular concentration, but yes, in the actual Parfum (Not the EDP) I think this perfume is a masterpiece. Unfortunately it IS prohibitively expensive, but I think it's worth splurging on if you can afford it and have the chance to buy it. I'm not as crazy about the EDP formulation that I tried on at the drug store the other day. It is essentially the same scent, but it doesn't come across the same way. Mostly, with the EDP my main thought is just "soapy, clean scent." Which is nice, there's nothing wrong with it, but I wouldn't pay a lot of money for it. With the pure Parfum formulation my first and immediate thought is: "beautiful, perfect perfume." Definitely worth the price. I probably should have tried the EDT formulation as well before writing this, but wasn't able to yet for comparison. But yes, the Parfum is gorgeous. Five stars, definitely.