Perfume Reviews

Reviews of No. 5 by Chanel

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Total Reviews: 198
The aldehydes are "crisp". Faint, but there, notes of citrus and neroli. Thankfully, the heart notes come quick enough. For some reason I don't care for the aldehydes in this. I used to. I used to love this perfume. However, I haven't worn this in over 21 years. I am thinking it must have changed.

I smell the jasmine, rose, ylang ylang, and lily of the valley in the heart. Later, a peak of iris that adds a powdery-ness. This redeems No. 5 for me, as I was beginning to feel very disappointed. The base reveals some amber, patchouli, musk, civet, and vanilla. Civet isn't too strong here, to my nose.

The eau de parfum version IS much better than the EDT. I'll finish my decant of the edp. A full bottle will not be on my radar. I had loved this at one time - perhaps it was because my father would always give me a bottle for special occasions and I associate No. 5 with those lovely memories.
23rd September, 2018
What a difference an age makes. When I first smelt Chanel No.5, I was in my teens and I didn't like it at all. In all honesty I thought it was over-rated. Now a few decades later I love it. The ylang ylang and iris, stand out first for me, and it dries down to a musky mix of sandalwood, a delicate hint of cedarwood and finally wraps up in a warm vanilla. I definitely feel this designed more for the older woman, perhaps because in our youth we tend to marinate in fragrances rather than appreciate the individual subtleties in a lighter spritz.
04th June, 2018
I've been a wearer of Chanel No 5 for several decades and of all the perfumes I have worn it varies more from one concentration or product or era to another than any other perfume in my experience. Therefore reviews of the scent in general leave me a bit in the dark as to which No 5 is being covered. The two products and concentrations I prefer and am reviewing here are the eau de toilette and parfum, which I find resemble each other most of all available formats, and which, although they have evolved over the years, retain the classic No 5 DNA the most.

I am a big ylang ylang fan and the parfum and edt seem to bring it out more than other versions. I think one also has to enjoy powder and aldehydes to like No. 5. The edp to me is an entirely different scent, in which the rose and jasmine stand out more. I also find it "louder." The edt and parfum do not project as much but seem to hover like an aura around the wearer and puff up from time to time during the day. The "Chanelade" drydown is evident still, although today's edt is lighter than in the past.

My mom didn't wear it but it was the signature scent of my best friend in college. During that time I abstained so as not to steal her thunder but once we went our separate ways it was all mine to enjoy! I find it discreet, refined and extremely easy to wear.

Oh--one more distinction: the edt available here is made in France and judging from former testing, is drier, not quite as sweet and powdery as the one made in USA.
03rd June, 2018
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MNX Show all reviews
United Kingdom
Absolutely horrible.

Chanel No5 is the most overrated awful perfume on the market. It couldn't get worse. Being exposed to this fragrance is equal to a violent attack. It's crude, loud, repellent, foul and completely unsophisticated. It's designed by a perfumer with no sense of smell, no refinement of any sort. The only imagination Chanel No5 can conjure is that of a worn-out Parisian brothel filled with workers long past their due date.

The bottle is beautiful though and the only reason it sells.
18th May, 2018
That grandmother smell.
17th February, 2018
This iconic, legendary behemoth of the perfume world is a mystery to me. Others speak in hushed tones of its brilliance, its sparkle, its ability to transport and transform the ordinary into the exquisite. I want(ed) so very much to love it, much like my desire to love seafood or The Tragically Hip. Alas, like them, it is not to be. I have tried it at very different times throughout my life, (EdP & EdT), and every time it is an exercise in aversion. To me it smells like I am trapped in an old lady's sitting room and she is repeatedly whacking me with a bundle of faded, blowsy flowers. Over and over. I remember my mother had a bottle of No 5 that sat, untouched, on her dresser--it was the source of my first "try". And the bottle then remained untouched by me as well. Maybe it's genetic? I give it a neutral instead of thumbs down, because I know in my secret heart that I will surreptitiously try it again...
30th December, 2017 (last edited: 15th January, 2018)
I really wanted to like this. I tried it several times and to no avail. It just doesn't smell good on me. Unfortunately instead of getting the florals in the heart notes or the woods, amber, vanilla etc in the base, I just get a big ole dose of Civet that shines through and trust me, it is not a pleasant scent. I wanted to like and wear it because it reminded me of my mother, but it doesn't smell on me the way it did on her. I am going to have to give this away to someone and hope it smells good on them.
13th December, 2017
This is a positive review. I haven't worn it during ten years of parfume passion. I just smelled the bottle once. I don't know what was pushing me off. The popularity. The myth. The "madame" side of it.

It won't become a favorite. But I'm here at the airport waiting for my flight and I feel pride and comfort for wearing it. It will follow me for twelve hours and I'm happy I chose it.
18th October, 2017
Anyone who has watched home shopping channels for any length of time has heard the phrase "you wear it-- it doesn't wear you." Now this is supposed to make you feel superior (with your whisper of scent) to those of us who still like to strut it (in the olfactory sense).

"The Five" does now, as it always has, wear me. And I don't mind a bit.

In my tiny wardrobe, I don't wear No. 5 or Panthere de Cartier as often as I do the others, but when I crave them, nothing else will do.

For what it's worth, I have never craved any of the 21st Century flankers-- they remind me of hearing the Blue Danube Waltz-- played on kazoos. Gimme the real thing, already!
30th May, 2017
Zowiee Show all reviews
United States
Timeless and extraordinary, say no more...
04th April, 2017
I feel like I should be writing some sort of complicated review comparing all the concentrations and versions of No. 5, but really, I love the extrait. That was the first version I tried and the version I ended up buying.

I think it's essentially an example of a perfect perfume. The topnotes (sparkly lemon champagne and powder), the mid notes (soapy flowers deepened with clove and spices), and the base (super-creamy, rich musks and sandalwood over a full chypre base) are all great. And the way the different themes interact with each other as the day goes on are always gorgeous and carry an engineered precision that is almost impossibly complex but also achingly beautiful.

Required sniffing.
17th October, 2016 (last edited: 11th February, 2018)
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.
01st October, 2016
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.
14th April, 2016
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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.
08th November, 2015
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.
23rd October, 2015
Marilyn Monroe always comes to mind.. I believe that should be enough to say about a timeless classic that is still a mainstream best seller and that has been talked about for just about a 100 years now. The epitome of sensual.
02nd October, 2015
I have several vintage bottles of the perfume. I still put this one on when I want to lounge around in the morning, drink my coffee and read a book. It smells so luscious. When I am ready to get going out the door. I spray some Eau Premiere on the top for some wake up energy.
06th September, 2015
Salutation.

To speak of the gorgeousness of No.5 is redundant,It is a goddess.Everyone who knows me well knows that i am not a big fan of CHANEL fragrances but as my reviews are truly then let me say this is supremely sophisticated.one of those fragrances that is absolutely unforgettable just like ANGEL,SHALIMAR and...one rooty perfume that is natural,queenly,fresh and just Fabulous.Sensual yet Laylike at the same time.

Striking and subtle notes of aldehyde and fresh air with weird undertones of precious woods and musk mixed into the perfect blend but the natural floral scent in the heart is more spectacular as it is very feminine and makes you think of a field of white flowers in the morning.it is not at all overpowering yet it stays with you really unique and beautiful and something you can totally imagine the creator smelling like.

The base notes are quite warm and musky on my skin. This timeless classic is excellent for anytime wear.one application to either neck is enough to cosume your entire body when you walk by another person for that person to notice you smelling great.A perfect fragrance for a perfect lady who so attend to class and tradition.


Sillage?Fantastic.

Longevity?Lasts and Lasts.

7.75/10
13th June, 2015
I do not think it makes sense to speak about the liquid of this perfume! My grandmother used this fragrance, and I suspect that even my mother uses both Laltrove 1002 and Chanel No. 5. This fragrance is a beginning, a total break with the past. For the first time a perfume was produced by someone who was not a brand of perfumery, for the first time the use of synthetic molecules becomes a point of strength, for the first time the packaging is not a pompous crystal amphora, but a simple bauhaus bottle. This fragrance was a really school for perfumery and also represented the key reference point for all movements of innovation in the field of fragrances. What happened then? Nothing. For nearly a century the whole perfumery has contented itself with one purpose: to sell. There are only two scents that have attempted to regenerate the dusty world of fragrances: Escentric Molecules 01 and Peety by O'driù. The rest is: tabula rasa!
“Fashion is made to become unfashionable.”
Coco Chanel

This reviewer may have conflicts of interest

10th May, 2015 (last edited: 12th May, 2015)
Beautiful. Have been fascinated with this perfume since I was small, and finally at 40 bought myself a bottle of the EDT. Actually, I bought the EDP first but was nearly knocked over by the strength of it. The EDT is much softer and just gorgeous. As the Chanel website says, you can spray it liberally and it just envelops you in this lovely cloud. Lasts all workday and I've never had a complaint, stays fairly close to my skin but I catch little delicious whiffs of it all day. The bottle is nice and feels luxurious, and the scent is pure luxury itself. I just love it. Soft but interesting, with different notes developing all day long. I never get tired of it.
30th April, 2015
rbaker Show all reviews
United Kingdom
This has always been the first fragrance using, besides neroli and ylang-ylang, aldehydes heavily in the top notes and afterwards, and whilst it gives a certain sparkle to it I am not sure whether it is necessarily a sign of quality, but it certainly was a novel and creative idea. The main wonder of this creation, especially in its original perfume version any years ago, has been the supreme quality of the roses; so delicious, natural and beautifully balanced by the classic jasmine notes. The sandal in the base used to be of great quality, but over the years it has become a bit less special.

I get very good sillage and projection with a longevity of about nine hours in the perfume.

The original perfume is a classic - 4.5/5.
28th December, 2014
Oviatt Show all reviews
United States
This wonderful fragrance deserves its iconic status. Men love it on women and women love to wear it--for a reason. The sparkling aldehydes, the floral heart, the musky, vetiver base--it is beautiful through and through. It must have been mind-blowingly original when it first came out and the way that Chanel has developed the brand--which has become a cult--is amazing. Comforting yet elegant, totally feminine, it is as the Catherine Deneuve tagline went: "one of the pleasures of being a woman." And yet..... Is this the greatest perfume of all time? Is this the quintessence of the perfumer's art? Is this truly timeless, or a time capsule? I wonder. What I do know, though, is that the world is a better place because of it and women smell great in it and I am happy for Chanel's success in continuing to find new generations of wearers of this classic French scent.
03rd December, 2014
I come at No. 5 unhindered by any associations with female family members or acquaintances wearing it - nobody I know is that classy. I had been testing the EDP for years now, just a random spritz here and there when I was in a perfume store, just to make sure it was as deeply repellent as I had remembered it. The EDP never disappointed, in that regard.

But recently, I was on my way back home from a holiday and realized I had forgotten to pack my precious little decant of Bois des Iles for the plane ride home. I am an extremely anxious flyer and have found that the calming scent of sandalwood is practically the only thing standing between me sitting quietly in my seat with clenched buttocks, a silent moan of terror trapped in my throat, and running down the aisles butt naked screaming "We're all going to f*^$#&ÎNG DIE!!!!". It is safe to say that I was mildly disconcerted to find that I had no sandalwood on my person. As was my husband. Anyway, in desperation, I looked at the bottle of No. 5 EDT on the duty free shelf, figured there had to be some good sandalwood in the base, and so spritzed it on liberally. It worked. The EDT has a rather short performance trajectory, so I was well into a glorious sandalwood dry-down by the time I was boarding, maybe 90 minutes later. It is true that I may have bruised my husband's forearm during take-off, but at least there was no screaming and naked antics from me, for which we are all truly grateful.

The slight similarity to Bois des Iles in the far dry-down had me intrigued. Was it possible, I wondered, that I could get my ruinously expensive sandalwood fix through plain old No. 5, which is, compared to BdI extremely easy to find and not as hard on the wallet? I conducted a little investigation. I bought a small bottle of 1940s/50s pure parfum from a Basenotes member, as well as a small purse spray of the EDT (current version). Here are my thoughts:

The Good: The vintage pure parfum is simply exquisite. It is a smooth, round thing of beauty. They say that Chanel has secured the harvest rights to all the best jasmine and roses in Grasse for generations, and you can tell. I would not be surprised if they have St. Peter under contract to collect the tears of angels in heaven for this too. The florals are deeply abstract, super-blended, and buttery in the way only Chanel can pull off. I can't identify a single one of the flowers used here - it's like they picked some flowers, dipped them into liquid gold, waited for them to dry, then broke them up into little pieces and put them back together all mismatched, like a sort of Picasso's Desmoiselles d'Avignon, with the the bottom part of the jasmine welded to the top of a rose. It is all very fuzzy and abstract. Later on, I detect something pleasingly animalic in the dry down, as well as that soothing sandalwood.

The Bad: The extreme abstraction comes close to feeling synthetic at times, and there is this weird plasticky netting cast over the florals, as if the golden, fluid smoothness has been pushed to the brink. In the parfum, this plasticky feel manifests itself as a semi-pleasing sort of nuttiness, like unsweetened almond essence. It is an odd effect, like I said, half-pleasing but half-unsettling and synthetic, and I am not sure that it belongs. I perceive this plasticky, almond thing in the parfum to a small but noticeable extent in the pure parfum, but not at all in the EDT, leading me to think the effect is due to taking the abstract richness a step too far.

The Ugly: The EDP takes this plasticky effect to the florals and pushes it to the limit of my tolerance. Actually, the EDP smells like burning plastic for much of its development on me, and it is quite unpleasant. It is joined by a synthetic note from the laundry or household detergents aisle in the supermarket.

I enjoy the EDT a great deal, perhaps the best out of all the versions. But it is surprisingly light and last for only three hours on my skin. What I have taken to doing is dabbing the pure parfum on pulse points, and then spritzing the EDT all over my body, so that I get both concentration and volume. Then I am surrounded by a lovely fug of golden scent all day long.

I have to add two important things, though. First of all, putting on No. 5 is a conscious act of melding with the madding crowd - there is nothing to tell you apart from the legions of women who put it on just because either their mothers did before them, or just to wear something famous. There is nothing about it that says "Hey! I am wearing No. 5 because I choose to, based on the notes!" You will just smell like everyone else (well, of a certain age). For those of us who like to express some aspect of their individuality through choice of perfume, putting on No. 5 feels like you are willing accepting to be an anonymous face in the crowd. It is so recognizable and such a cultural shorthand for luxury, class, and "poshness" that it has, I find, a depressing sort of flattening effect on your own individuality. And you can't bend No, 5 to your own personality either - forget about it. You can wear it defiantly with shorts and flip-flops, but your smell will still say "I am a posh woman, slumming it today. I have my pearls and twin-set waiting for me at home".

Lastly, I discovered that although No.5 is an acceptable short term alternative to Bois des Iles for a plane ride home, it really cannot replace Bois des Iles in the long run. Note to self: Just buy Bois des Iles and be done with it.
11th July, 2014
bFlay Show all reviews
United States
Thumbs way up for a beautiful classic! This is the singular exquisite fragrance for women...floral and sparking with true read fragrance oils and a wonderful base of sandalwood and aldehydes. Feminine and dignified. Lasts for hours (8+). Exquisite!
11th June, 2014
Vogue's august editor, Diana Vreeland, as with many other of her pronouncements related to fashion, was spot on when she said that Chanel No. 5 really is the greatest fragrance for women. And although, in the nearly 40 years since she made that statement, there have been other excellent fragrances, it's hard to think of a scent that says "formal" and "ready" like Chanel No. 5. Others work fine for casual wear, but none I think come close to supplanting this fragrance as a woman's armor for the most important and intensely scrutinized of life's activities, engagements, and occasions. The fact that most wearers don't see it as an everyday scent only serves to reinforce this. It is truly a regal fragrance.
18th May, 2014
My mom gave me this perfume as my wedding gift in 2007 and I'm still halfway through. It is and still is my mom's all time favorite though. Honestly it wasn't my total favorite but the scent is acceptable and I usually wear it for special occasions like dinner parties or weddings due to it high silage and superb long lasting power. It is seriously a very strong perfume, so use sparingly. It lasts all day so only a little is needed. Smells as if there is a billion types of flowers being squeezed in a bottle. Classically powdery but nice and warmth. It surely made me feel classy and in control. Super pricey indeed for me but will buy it again if I ran out. Reserved only for special occasions only.
09th May, 2014
Mistakenly received this in the place of Allure Sport. I had a good fifteen minutes before noticing the sample's label. Plenty enough time to be hooked. Even though my typical favorites are very powerful masculine scents via 70's, 80's, 90's, I will gladly wear this out the door with no fears.
03rd April, 2014
I couldn't afford it in my youth and always borrowed my mothers. It was my something borrowed on my wedding day. I have always got some in now that I can afford it.
31st January, 2014
Not my style, smells o.k., not memorable to me. Best left for my Mom to wear but don't love it/hate it either way. Obviously a timeless classic for so many people so worth having in a collection, just not mine.
22nd January, 2014