Chanel's last creation, with perfumer Henri Robert, was almost as big a hit as her iconic No. 5.
Robert, as Roja Dove tells us, tempered galbanum, bergamot and neroli with orris. The chypre base of sandalwood, oak moss, leather and musk, similar to Robert's nephew's Caleche, tempers the muguet, rose, jasmine and hyacinth.
Turin calls it a "green floral" and gives it four stars. He says it may be one of "the cruelest" of the hard scent motifs. He notes the "silvery hiss of its nail-polish-remover beginnings to its poisonously beautiful green-floral heart." "Haughty and immune to sweetness, with a somewhat antiseptic air…."
Barbara Herman notes its "diluted, earthy, vegetal transparency" with "incredibly subtle leather and woods." Appropriate for "the evil witch from Snow White."
One wonders why such an austere, cold, hard, unforgiving scent is praised by anyone, let alone the olfactory experts, and why it was a hit.
My impression was that of an effervescent dry leather, which disappears almost instantly, leaving nothing in its wake. An emperor's new clothes scent - praise is for Chanel, afraid to be found wanting in taste, to say, it's not very nice at all.
Top notes: Galbanum, Neroli, Bergamot, Hyacinth
Heart notes: Jasmine, Rose, Muguet, Orris
Base notes: Vetiver, Sandalwood, Leather, Musk, Oak Moss
I get a strong rose-dominated top note with galbanum, bergamot and floral notes, mainly hyacinth and a wtouch of lily-of-the-valley. Later ylang-ylang is added. This top is rich, intensive but not too cloying and well blended. Alas it collapsed on my skin after the first hour, giving way to a scent very close to my skin and has a touch of white musk with cedarwood. Initially good silage and projection with over three hours of longevity. Neutral but might be quite different on someone else. This review is for the most recent EdP version.
My citrus period is over. I realized that after countless efforts to find a deep hesperidic EdP to satisfy my taste, I had started to appreciate instead the depth of some perfumes labeled as green-woody-balsamic. I loved Charmes & Feuilles by the Different Company, and currently cherish Fille en aiguilles by Serge Lutens. So I started testing so called green perfumes and No. 19 was so often mentioned that I gave it a go yesterday at my local department store. I was blown away by its character and tenacity. At times I find it a bit too floral for my taste but it is so well made and of such a high quality ingredients that it is no wonder it has lasted the test of time so well. A must-try for perfume lovers.
This is the only "green" fragrance I have ever liked. I think it is just lovely. The drawbacks are it does not last long and for the price it needs to be with me longer than an hour or two. That said, I think it is unique and is by a landslide my favorite Chanel fragrance. Given my preference for oriental/woodsy/stronger fragrances, my favorite should be Coco, but this is my favorite by Chanel.
03rd July, 2014 (last edited: 07th September, 2014)
Genre: Green Floral
No. 19 starts out with green notes supported by rich, sweet florals and the signature Chanel aldehydes, then quickly begins to brighten. Suggestions of sweet cut grass and frsh hay float around the aldehydic flowers, which in turn coalesce into a bold and well-rendered rose accord.
The sweetened green notes retreat slowly as No. 19 ages on the skin, leaving in their wake the rose note and some crisp woods. (Perhaps sandalwood and cedar?) The rose an woods become progressively drier over time, and after an hour or so on the skin No. 19 reads primarily as a rose-focused scent. By the third hour of wear the rose itself bows out to leave a soft, dry base of vanillic notes and sandalwood. This simple but gratifying drydown fades slowly until after no more than four or five hours on the skin, by which point it is barely perceptible. No. 19's merit lies in its, simple, clear accords and smooth progression, but I really wish it didn't leave in such a hurry.