Perfume Directory

No. 22 Parfum (1922)
by Chanel

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No. 22 Parfum information

Year of Launch1922
GenderFeminine
AvailabilityIn Production
Average Rating
(based on 313 votes)

People and companies

HouseChanel
PerfumerErnest Beaux
Parent CompanyWertheimer
Parent Company at launchChanel

About No. 22 Parfum

One of several Chanel scents available exclusively in Chanel boutiques.  Created in 1922, this is a light version of N°5, which was launched a year earlier by Coco Chanel and Ernest Beaux.

No. 22 Parfum fragrance notes

  1. Top Notes
  2. Heart Notes
  3. Base notes

Reviews of No. 22 Parfum

The jasmine was the first thing that I noticed with this one. Feminine, but can be pulled off by a confident fellow. A nice dose of ylang-ylang and rose is in this also. Slightly soapy and lasts all day. Pretty good.
05th January, 2017
In my non-perfume life, I'm a music producer and studio engineer, so I'm kind of a nerd about how music sounds (stick with me, this will be about perfume eventually...) In the 70's and 80's, music was generally mixed with a lot of midrange, with the highs and bass quieter in the mix. Now, years later, tastes have changed and music is released with loud highs and bass, with the midrange turned down. So, in order to fit with current tastes, old music is often "Digitally Remastered", which basically means that they turn down the midrange and turn up the bass and highs. When done poorly, this can make old songs sound shrieky and shrill and weirdly loud but still kind of hollow.

So, back to No. 22. It reminds me of a "Digital Remaster" of No. 5. It's got the same basic ingredients as No. 5, but with the highs turned up, so the powdery aldehydes are amplified into a loud blast while the flowers and wonderful No. 5 base get kind of lost. Meanwhile, the pink pepper and peach which are buried deep in No. 5 come to the forefront in No. 22, giving it a subtle whiff of "cheapness" while a lot of the beauty gets lost in the shrill powder.

All that being said, even a weirdly remixed version of No. 5 is better than 95% of the perfumes out there, so I still feel like I owe No. 22 a thumbs up, but I'd never buy a bottle of this when I could just wear No. 5 extrait...
12th December, 2016
A Basenoter sent me a sample of No. 22, perhaps a version from before the exclusive line was released, and it's a great Chanel fragrance as I have come to expect; a variation on Chanel No. 5, of which there are several, and this one is impeccable.
21st July, 2016
Damn Chanel and their absolute perfection in almost everything they do. Damn them all. I sprayed this on almost carelessly today, in a take-it-or-leave-it frame of mind, and prepared to go about my day. And then . . . No 22 snuck up and got me. I got past the aldehydes. I even made it beyond the tuberose (don't get me wrong; with tuberose in the mix, that stinky Chanel jasmine growls like Billie Holliday--very hard to pass up). Somewhere in there, as the heart was slipping away and the drydown began to emerge, the aldehydes kept bubbling, and I smelled something I haven't smelled in a long time . . . .

Years ago, I was judging a wine competition for a big city paper. We tasted everything blind, with only general categories to go by. This is really less fun than it sounds; after three days straight, you're out of your mind and just want a beer or something. On the last day, our table had the bubbles--*all* the bubbles. We had made it through a raft of what were clearly domestics, Prosecci, Cavas, whatever. All (well, most) pleasant, but only just. My head hurt and my notes got incoherent. Then the server came around with another set of glasses, and I remember picking one up and smelling, just for off notes--and this almost horrifically plush, luxuriant, rich, spicy, funky aroma bubbled up and grabbed me, and wouldn't me let go. I tried to set the glass down calmly and put my game face back on, but that glass sat there, sending the occasional bubble drifting up its side like it wanted my attention. Of course it was champagne, the first real champagne of the day, from a noble champagne house, with a distinct house style. I finally tasted it, politely spat the first sip, as you do in these things, and then held back my glass--no way was that server taking my good champagne away from me that day. In my accompanying notes to the gold medal our team awarded the house for their excellent juice, I compared the champagne to a Chanel suit. Well.

No. 22 smells like that champagne smelled. It has the vanilla and spice of the cask, the indole of the dead lees, the richness and florals and acid of the grapes in the ylang and tuberose and jasmine, the talc of the limestone soil in the iris, and of course it has the bubbles in the aldehydes. But like champagne, it's so much more than the sum of its parts: it's yeasty, it's funky, and it tickles. The texture is right. All the great champagne houses keep a huge barrel of ancient, oxidized wine on the premises for blending purposes: you wouldn't want to drink it, but a little of this goes into every bottle of new wine. The new wine needs this stuff to carry the house DNA; with it, it has that distinct taste of controlled spoilage that makes so many French things so good. No. 22 has that in spades: it's a pure expression of the mother house, and it's as close as you can get in perfumery to real-deal, old-school champagne--champagne you can wear. Champagne conjured from flowers, or the idea of flowers.

Damn Chanel. Seriously. No. 22 hijacked my day, and my carefully planned wish list. I guess it's what you call one of those good problems . . . .
06th June, 2016 (last edited: 29th June, 2016)
A pink satin-clad version of No.5.

The romantic floral bouquet, exquisitely captured by Ernest Beaux's mastery of aldehydes, is what makes No.22 more embraceable than her older sister.

There is no particular aspect to the scent that makes it stand out, but a simple keen loveliness that stays in the memory.

A product of the Roaring Twenties which reflects in its streamlined profile the boyish androgyne silhouette that was the fashion of the day.

A heritage masterpiece.

*****
26th April, 2016
Writing about Chanel No. 22 is difficult because if you want to describe what the fragrance smells like, then you have to describe what aldehydes smell like. I have been struggling for months to find the right words, until I realized a few days ago that aldehydes are less of a smell and more of a physical sensation.

Aldehydes erupt into the air with such force that they change the shape of the air molecules before your very nose. It is somewhat akin to the air change that occurs when you pull a tab on a can of soda, your nose right on the lip of the can. Actually, correction: aldehydes smell like the excitement in the air just before you release the tab like the air itself is being pulled back in a slingshot and about to be propelled forward.

The massive amount of aldehydes stuffed into Chanel No. 22 means that, for me, the perfume is an exciting and uplifting experience. The buzzing, fizzing start invariably reminds me of the joy of anticipation I felt as a child, smelling the change in the air right before the first snow of the season fell or the way I felt in the church right before Midnight Mass began on Christmas Eve, as the priest lifted the censer and the hush descended. If anticipation has a smell, then that smell is aldehydes.

Underneath the sparkle of aldehydes lies creamy white florals - mainly neroli and orange blossom, but also a hint of tuberose. There is a light touch of incense in the base too, with smoky vetiver root and nutmeg acting in consort with each other to conjure up a phantom note of snuffed-out frankincense. However, recently a friend of mine pointed out that the incense smoke could well be a result of the aldehydes interacting with the florals, vanilla, and woods in the base. This makes sense to me, too. After all, aldehydes define Chanel No. 22 and mark it from top to bottom there is no stage at its development that I do not feel their energizing effect.

I dont understand why some people paint No. 22 as a starchy, old-fashioned relation of No. 5. To me, Chanel No. 22 is full of movement, excitement, and bristling happiness. It is also considerably more streamlined and legible to me than Chanel No. 5, which remains, for me, a beautiful but overly abstract expression of what luxury is supposed to smell like. Chanel No. 22, in contrast, doesn't come to the table with any such grand aspirations it exists merely to show you how a perfume can change the shape of the air in front of you.

Recommended for anyone who wishes to remember what it felt like to stand outside in the cold, waiting with your tongue out to catch the first snowflake as it fell from the sky.
28th February, 2015

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