Perfume Directory

No. 19 (1971)
by Chanel


No. 19 information

Year of Launch1971
AvailabilityIn Production
Average Rating
(based on 786 votes)

People and companies

PerfumerHenri Robert
Parent CompanyWertheimer

About No. 19

Named after Chanel's birthday (19th August). A sophisticated scent which was created especially for Coco Chanel to use and to give to friends and favourite clients.

Reviews of No. 19

It is disfigured since it was discontinued and reformulated ..... after the powdered 19 .... The color of the liquid is changed too ,it went from yellow to green and they removed the vetiver galbanum and the oak moos by some white musks (they did the same with the N ° 5) If you have the chance to own the 1980 version of the perfume (the yellow one) the vintage, estimate yourself happy, you know the true version of the 19 ... Les others who want to be "modern" are pale copies of a perfume that was iconic and wonderful, really cold "heat under the ice" .... A little "bitch" and terribly attractive .... They made a banal version that does not even deserve to be sprayed in the curtains.

 Find the vintage version or forget this new erzats, this substitute who wants to be modern and is nothing good, it does not even deserve to be used to clean your windows. this review is for perfume extrait.
Edt & edp are worse. La Maison Chanel ( Chanel House)trying to regain lost customers by doing "Modern" .... lost her soul./

23rd August, 2019
A few weeks back, a wonderful BN friend (thank you, Maggie!), sent me samples of vintage No. 19, and one evening while watching The Third Man for the umpteenth time, I absently sprayed on a bit of the extrait. As Joseph Cotten proceeded to fall ever deeper for the mysterious Anna, I became subliminally aware of the most bewitching, mossy-green scent--a sophisticated and seemingly morally-ambiguous fragrance that felt utterly a part of the whispery, rain-shadowed streets and alleyways of vintage Vienna. The only question was whether Anna would ever forget Harry and how had I lived for so long without this intriguing and extraordinary scent.

And since I haven't seen it posted much anywhere, I just have to repeat Luca Turin's summation of No. 19 here: "Chanel's mastery of raw materials and orchestration shines through. Starting with a tremendous leafy-peppery green as of the earthy breath of a lush jungle after a storm, the genius of 19 lies in maintaining this unripe greenness like a tense unresolved musical chord to the very end, without succumbing to sweetness. The rigor of intellectual elegance and restraint. An absolute masterpiece."

For once, I agree with LT unequivocally.
27th January, 2019 (last edited: 07th October, 2019)
First minute or two I get that good old aldehydic blast from the past that , to my nose , reminds me a little of rubbing alcohol...then it shifts gears to a earth fresh green smell that reminds me a lot of Amouage Opus VII...i get smell of herbs crushed and green twigs breaking and exposing their inner greeness...a little powdery...a feminine/yin version of Macassar...faintly sweetish...smells of high class 50's and 60's to me...type of fragrance that friends of my mom smelled like when I was a kid...very exquisitely blended...a smooth ride, no it develops it gets even more gorgeous as the delicate fragrance of different flowers flavor the greenery...the flowers are not overpowering but just blend in perfectly... just little nuances and accents...nice and smooth relaxing drydown...slightly musky and woody continuation of the it...would definitely rock this...
18th September, 2018
Heavy on the powdery iris in the opening and after about 2 hours it finally settles into a very clean but yet piercing green and musky scent. Sadly it also gave me a headache for a short time. I can see where the younger crowd would equate this to an 'old lady perfume', but I prefer this scent on a guy rather than myself. I agree that No. 19 is a very masculine fragrance. Although I cannot wear it myself, I love the smell of No. 19 on others.
03rd July, 2018
vivien leigh ( Blanche DuBois ) : A Streetcar named Desire
26th February, 2018
Legend has it that this was made by the famed perfumer Henri Robert for Gabrielle "Coco" Chanel's birthday. Originally this was a bespoke fragrance for her to use and give away to her friends and personal clients in 1970, then released to the public upon her death just a year later in 1971. Robert succeeded Earnest Beaux as lead perfumer for Gabrielle from 1952 until her death, then as Master Perfumer of Les Perfums Chanel until 1978, when Jacques Polge took over and reshaped everything we now know about Chanel perfumes. Like Robert's creation for Chanel's debut into masculine territory, this fragrance doesn't perfectly adhere to it's gender assignment. Make no mistake, the bulk and majority of Chanel Pour Monsieur (1955) users are men as intended, and so too are most people spraying on No. 19 women, but the fact remains that the lines here are soft and fuzzy enough for folks from the opposite side of the fence to ignore them. There really isn't much here separating this from Penhaligon's Hammam Bouquet (1872) outside the galbanum, and the same for Aramis 900 from the same year as No. 19, which also relies heavily on balsamic notes combined with a floral heart. Arguably this is more masculine than Robert's Le Dandy (1926), created for perfume house D'Orsay and also used by both sexes despite being pitched to men. But regardless of subjective opinions, No. 19 is universally appealing enough to even create such debate, like Guerlain's own Jicky from 1889.

The point is, this is objectively beautiful from any angle. It's green galbanum-powered opening rolls in with neroli, bergamot, and hyacinthe to just "pop" right in place, with the rose sneaking up like an expected old friend coming around without calling first like they always do. The base of leather, oakmoss, cedar, sandalwood, and musk are strait out of textbook masculine perfumery, and if not for the very flighty heart, would pull this in line with stuff like Monsieur Givenchy (1959). It's really the jasmine, orris, lily of the valley, narcissus, ylang ylang and rose in the heart that tug this into the feminine camp, because separately they're found all over, but all together they form a traditionally feminine floral bouquet in the heart of what is otherwise a green aromatic chypre that could go either way. Certainly, any guy daring to wear this is of the classic dandy persuasion, or just very free and liberal-minded, whichever it may be, but assuming green floral aromatics are of one's taste, this would be fantastic on just about anyone. No. 19 isn't without it's failings however, as it's very light and dry nature at time when aldehydes rulled the earth is comparatively weak next to older sister No. 5 (1921), and this affects it's performance. Nowadays, this dry and green femme fatale seems rather dated, just like Lauder's Azure (1969) and Alliage (1972) in the modern era of super sweet, super ozonic, high-pitch and low-complexity perfume. No. 19 was even briefly retired to be replaced by the re-orchestrated No. 19 Poudré (2011) by Polge before an outcry of fans convinced Chanel to bring it back.

Before anybody gets too excited I must make a few disclaimers: this entire review is based off a vintage column-bottle Eau de Toilette of No 19. Various formats outside the revised "Poudré" have existed, and some say the retired Eau de Cologne and original Eau de Parfum smelled entirely different from this version, which is not unlike Chanel to do. Modern EdT is supposed to more or less be the same, while modern parfum is much more vividly floral, which may appeal more to women seeking not to have the gender of their fragrance questioned, or just in general wanting something with less of the dated dryness (which I love). Regardless of what version one gets, there is nothing modern about this, and the gentle meadowy texture leading into the aromatic base will either be one's galbanum-powered salvation from modern style, or make one run screaming back to it for safety. My two scents here is everything made for or by Coco is of a timeless style that exists outside of the necessity for relevance, and the legions of fans from all genders that worship both this and Chanel No. 5 don't stop to think who this is meant for, they just see it for the art that it is. How functional that art is depends on the beholder: for some it may be a quaint piece of vintage perfumery to be respected but not worn, and for others it is a mental day trip to the fields of southern France every time they spray it on. That's all I got.
23rd February, 2018 (last edited: 24th February, 2018)

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