Perfume Directory

No. 19 (1971)
by Chanel


No. 19 information

Year of Launch1971
AvailabilityIn Production
Average Rating
(based on 776 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

I had forgotten how surprisingly floral this is! Because I don't wear this with any regularity, and hadn't put my nose on it in a while, I'd been misremembering it and thinking this was more typically "green." In fact, however, instead of the bitter, mossy, galbanum-iciness I'd been expecting, I got quite a bit of iris and rose and yellow florals. Wow, who knew? This is gorgeous stuff and in the vintage parfum concentration it is surprisingly rich and tenderly floral. So much for Luca's (or was it Tania's) ice-queen epithet.
27th January, 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)
This standard of green
Seven twice from golden mean
Deep beauty unseen

Except in eye's mind
Where perfumes speak to the blind
Their way we might find

We look at it long
Nose hearing so much so wrong
Yet feel its sweet song

Your story to tell
In words you thought you knew well
That somehow you smell

Now ask selves' self why
If off means' mean this should lie
Mean's many should sigh

Lest answer be feared
That perfume's essence be steered
From timelessness weird

By masses of we
From the uniqueness of thee
Where taste and taste see

That formula's pins
Into eternity's spins
Fall to we's wee sins

Take heart in This juice
This Coco secret set loose
This green cash caboose

Approaching some point
Odd and common not disjoint
Prime's primes to anoint

Perspective, my friends
Never begins, stops or ends
But to looker lends

A magic mirror
In which no bottle's queerer
Meaner or dearer

Yet none are the same
By multiplicity's game
Of hide and go frame

So boys take a clue
From what the girls always knew
When looking at you

We dudes are quite green
At beauty properly seen
In mystery's mean

Which spreads out beauty
So it's all rather Cuty
Glitt'rin' da booty

Conversely I say
In a most relative way
Mean's mean has its day

Find gold thus you will
Mountain, plateau, valley, hill
Says this all's none's shill

No place on the chart
Evades both beauty and art
As each plays it part

The Coco you know
Gabrielle through lens of L'Eau
Fine angles will show

Take it to the bank
From some worthless perfumed crank
Whose heart they all sank

It's not just the eye
Where beauty's beauty will lie
If seeing we try

Beauty's fine lever
Is abolishing never
Through vantage clever

Beauty lets you find
You never had to be blind
Sweet poison of mind

Nineteen is the key
Let odd commonality
Set even yours free.
18th January, 2018

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