Perfume Reviews

Reviews of No. 5 by Chanel

Total Reviews: 189
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 version 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
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
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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
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

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 of those fragrances that is absolutely unforgettable just like ANGEL,SHALIMAR 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 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 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.


Longevity?Lasts and Lasts.

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
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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
Review for the Vintage EDT.

A truly perfectly balanced floral done in the way only Chanel could do. It is delicate and classy as well as being alluring and sensual, as if giving off a warm glow around the person who wears it, like a soft, golden "aura" following them.

It is subtle, but it compliments your own natural skin beautifully and it a natural way... as if enhancing your presence and making you feel beautiful and confident at the same time.

Ernest Beaux, the genius that he was, knew women so well, this fragrance seems to work and adapt differently on each persons skin. It has universal appeal... and works well with women of ANY culture, creed or generation. There is a reason why this one is hard to beat, even after 90 years, and why it will still be around 90 years from now.
21st November, 2013
For mature women only !

When I was in my twenties I would have never thought to go to the chanel counter in my shopping center. Because I just thought to myself Chanel no way. In my thirties as well. But now in my forties I decided to give Chanel no.5 a try all I can say is I love it. The is really for a mature lady who can figure out its not about a old lady scent that most imature people would say but a scent for a big lady lol. A mature woman. Ive been wearing and alot of people ask me what iam wearing I tell them its a sercet.

Pros: classic, mysterious, alluring
Cons: none"

13th October, 2013
Poster child of Aldehyde perfumes

If you like aldehydes, this is for you. Despite the one-star negative reviews, this fragrance has been around for nearly 100 years. It is a classic. The aldehyde theme is neither cloying nor floral, but sharp and clean. If you like fruity, floral, or sweet fragrances, stay away. 100 years of satisfied customers can't all be wrong...

24th July, 2013
Gary F Show all reviews
United States

Received this as a free sample with a Chanel order.I wish my wife loved this as much as I do. Sexy without being trashy, sophisticated without being stodgy. There's a reason it's been around as long as it has. Timeless.

Pros: Sexy and sophisicated
Cons: None

21st June, 2013
Chanel No. 5 edp (***)

No. 5 edp is great until you realize it smells like Baghari, only with a heady floral section to make it float and a Polysantol slab to weigh it back down.
19th February, 2013 (last edited: 11th March, 2013)

That body chemistry should differ greatly from one individual to another should come as no surprise.
But after reading so many reviews - not just here, of course - praising or lamenting, whatever the case may be, this perfume's "greenness" or "freshness" I have no choice but to conclude that some noses are from Mars and others from Pluto. (Even though "sex symbols" have been traditionally used it in its marketing, I could not bring myself to associate it with Venus.)

To my nose, there is more "greenness" and "freshness" in a whiff of olive oil (or any oil, for that matter) - and I am not exaggerating for comic purposes.
It is not an entirely off-the-cuff simile, either, because that's what Nro 5 reminds me of spontaneously: of an almost solid greasy substance, reminiscent of a lump of lard, in which a cloyingly sweet flower scent drowned a while ago, dying an agonising death, and has been decomposing ever since. (I suppose it is the precisely the hint of organic decomposition, a common impression conveyed by Bulgarian rose, not to mention civet etc., that makes it so appealing to others.)

To make matters worse, there is its famous longevity. It jumps you as you walk by and then clings to you, come hell or high water. (Literally: every time I had tried to give it a chance, from different bottles, no amount of water and scrubbing could get it off, not completely. It may not be a coincidence that each time I was also overcome by a powerful headache and faint nausea.)

In case anyone is wondering about my skin type (which is relevant, of course): it is on the dry side (not overly so), the kind with almost invisible pores, that rarely sweats. My sweat often smells honey-like. Even acidulous scents turn sweet(ish) on my skin.

On others, it fares no better, as far as my nose is concerned. It's greasy, dull, cloying and utterly uninteresting. Worse: due to its over-marketing, now it has the unpleasant added effect of branding the wearer with an aura of conventionality in my eyes. As much as I try to fight the thought (and I really do try hard), my first impression of a Nro 5 wearer is that she is a lady who is easily swayed by advertising and possibly cares a LOT about other people's opinions.

As a serious collector and perfume lover, I know all about this perfume's history, and I couldn't care less about its historical value, except in the context of, well, the history of perfume. Wearing it for its historical value would be tantamount to wearing a 1906 bathing suit because it was oh-so-modern in its day.

Interestingly enough, this is the only Chanel that I hate. There are a few that I am indifferent to, and two or three that I positively love and wear.

09th February, 2013
I have to admit, I didn't want to love this one. My mother wears it and has for my entire life and at first spray I can't shake the sensation that any second she's going to catch me in her bathroom and usher me to the babysitter while she and my dad get ready for a night on the town. I wanted to casually try it and then move on, leaving No. 5 in the care of my mother and countless other ladies.

Yes, at first it is everything that I associate with my mother and perfume. That extravagant opulence of the 80's, the carefully constructed hair laden with hairspray, the tinge of something unnatural that may be a cigarette or perhaps a drink, the strong invasion of flowers too profuse to fit within a vessel. Then something very interesting happens, after an hour this sculpted Venus began to respond to my own chemistry and emerged as something I had not expected. No. 5 takes on a fresh and vital chracter on me with perdominant rose, a faint rich cream, and powder, but surprisingly vetiver has become the star. Wow, it is beautiful! Suddenly I begin to see how Coco herself, Marilyn Monroe, and my elegant-but-nononsense mother can all wear this sparkling, striking, masterpiece.

If you've never tried this for yourself for fear of smelling too much like someone else, you may want to consider giving No. 5 a test run. You may be amazed at what she has to say about you!
09th January, 2013
It was Christmas, I was 16 and my poor Mother had been nagged to weariness over the past 3 months about L'heure Bleue,I'd never smelt it, but I fell in love with the romance of it. It took such a leap of faith for my Mum to spend so much on a perfume for a child, that I pretended to love it. But I didn't.I resolved to wear it for a week, and put it in a drawer, never to be smelt again.The next day, leaving the house, to go out to the cold, dry dark I thought, Casmir? Van Cleef? No, I'll HAVE to wear it.So I did, and in the cold, dark night, it came alive and I fell in love.
Its a cold, dark night,20 years later, and I left the house hoping to fall in love with the slighty clove medicinal floral greeness that I get from my chemistry with No 5. But I can't.It doesn't warm, it doesn't change and then dazzle on me, it's just kind of, meh, and may go in a drawer, never to be smelt again.But, although I certainly didn't nag for this one, don't tell my Mum.
17th November, 2012
OK, this is going to be different. I'm reviewing this based on how it smells on friends & family. Some wonderful scents go rancid with my body chemistry or don't match up with my personality and lifestyle, this is one. But I love smelling it on others who are lucky enough to be able to wear it.

It has a light floral scent to me, and maybe something like powder. Expensive powder! Pleasant & soothing, it seems like a year round evening scent.
17th September, 2012 (last edited: 01st October, 2012)