Perfume Reviews

Reviews of No. 19 by Chanel

I own a small amount of vintage juice from the 1980's. What a marvelous scent! As a dry chypre, it is quite suitable for a man to wear.
The signature green note of No. 19 is announced through galbanum, which adds a nice touch to the citrus opening. Among the floral notes, rose and iris are prominent, but all the florals are very attractive in the mix. Never sweet. Restrained and dry, with hints of wood. Very elegant and classy. Dry-down has lovely light musk, salty-minty moss and hints of leather. Yet I must stress that the scent is never heavy or dense, and wears very well through the day.
03rd November, 2014
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
29th October, 2014
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.
30th August, 2014
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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.
27th July, 2014
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.
21st June, 2014
EDT Review

No. 19 is a strange one... A lot of people label this as a cold, heartless, "ice queen/boardroom bitch", kind of fragrance. I don't get that at all. To me it smells like a bunch of freshly cut morning spring flowers being newly placed in a vase.

I find this to be very soft, slightly powdery, and sensual. I don't find it "unemotional" or whatever. To me I think Chanel Cristalle fulfills all of those previous labels, that is one that I see as more masculine (and one which as a man I happily wear). No. 19 EDT opens a little like the Cristalle EDT does (hyacinch and bergamot) but the galbanum really gives it an amazing quality (warm and sensual). The powdery iris is really beautiful here. It's clean and fresh and sexy at the same time. I do get Oakmoss and Vetiver and I think the earthiness of the Iris (orris root) and the dryness of the Vetiver compliment each other beautifully.

It's true that this fragrance is the opposite of "girly", as it definitely gives off a grown up vibe, but I wouldn't say it's a "cold-hearted bitch" kind of perfume. To me it's quite alive and soft. The kind of person I would see wearing this would be an intellectual, kind hearted young woman, the kind of girl who is really attractive with a sweater and glasses who always has her head in a book, but doesn't know just how beautiful she is kind of thing. Alternatively any woman who wears a suit to work or academic but deep down is still really kind and loving to those around her.

With reference to the unisex quality often attributed to this, I find Chanel Cristalle (also by Henri Robert) more masculine than this, but something like "Dior Homme" (also an iris leathery fragrance) more feminine than this, it being sweeter and more gourmand than No. 19. Coincidentally... I know that my grandfather sometimes wears on occasion so I think it certainly wouldn't be out of place being worn on a man.

As mentioned before, this was Gabrielle Chanel's signature scent. It was originally private and exclusive to her, before being released publicly just before she died. However, that being said... I'm now starting to get a pattern in late Chanel perfumer, Henri Robert's creations: Chanel Pour Monsieur (1955) is a green Chypre, No. 19 (1971) is a green floral, and Cristalle (1974) is floral Chypre. All have Citrus notes, all have Oakmoss, and all have Vetiver. But what sets No. 19 apart is the beautiful, sublime Iris note. Powdery, soft, warm and somehow elegantly clean... it undoubtedly makes No. 19 the plushest, most sensual, and most feminine of the trio. It really is a masterfully blended perfume.

I don't see Chanel No. 19 as a cold, "unemotional" fragrance, to me (a man's opinion) it's like meeting a very attractive yet quiet, shy, intellectual type of girl with a kind, warm, loving heart who you just want to cuddle up with on the sofa by the fire. This is just one gorgeously grown-up, well- balanced fragrance!
20th May, 2014
Fresh, green, unique

A lovely classic beauty Many years ago I wore this and remember it as being fresh, chilly, and green. I've recently received a bottle as a gift, in EDP formulation, and I'm enjoying the rediscovery of this beauty. Curious how our perceptions change over time. After 5 hours' wear, it's very different from my memories. The sharp bitterness of the opening notes put me off at first, but after 15 or 20 minutes, soft floral notes began to appear and the fragrance settled into a more feminine, less assertive version of the #19 I remember. Iris and rose is predominant, with a touch of powderiness appearing now and again. It's both warm and cool, a seemingly difficult balance to achieve, but this formulation pulls it off beautifully. The woody/mossy basenotes are warming in their effect. A touch of leather, nothing dominant, with the florals still playing their part in the development. The greeness seems to be gone; freshness replaced with earthiness. I think this is one of those go-to frags that can be worn in almost any situation. Sillage is average, longevity very good, about 8 hours. A good unisex fragrance.

Pros: sharp, greenish, with floral heart., nice woody drydown
Cons: None"

20th September, 2013
My signature over 30 years

Since 1983 I have this fragrance and it is always good. Chanel has made some changes in the past 30 years. I found the deodorant and the bodymilk/cream after the changing in 2012 better but it can more better. The longlivety is short and to soft from the bodymilk/cream.

The EDP is a bit different comparing with the EDT. I do love the EDT more.

Pros: You can always wear this fragrance
Cons: expensive (always) "

30th July, 2013
Beautiful, classic fragrance

Purchased a bottle of the EDP recently. The opening is a burst of earthy green foliage, reminiscent of a lush springtime garden after a downpour of rain. After a while, hints of leather and musk emerge, along with an aura of soft powder, but it never loses the green earthiness that makes this fragrance so memorable.

20th July, 2013
This is one of my favorite January - February scents, it powdery florals combined with a sharp green (ETD version purchased in 2011 has since been reformulated I hear, juice is emerald green) accord and a nice leather to give the scent backbone and keep it from going down soft and ladylike. It's lady like - but this is the scent of the ultimate bitch - the one with money and who knows what she wants.
It stays with me all day but isn't over powering. It will never make an entrance but I've been told lingers on clothes - and sheets. On my skin it dries down to a nice woody musk. This is by far one of my favorite perfumes for it's ability to both melt into something pleasing on my skin but also for wearability. It is not out of place anywhere - except maybe a nightclub, you might want something more seductive or flirty for that: No 19 is not a flirty, girly, come hither scent it's much more of a "I know what I want and if I want you; I will come and get you" scent.
28th November, 2012
Nefret Show all reviews
United States
This is my "austere bitch" fragrance. It's sharply green, tailored, smart. I love it in the fall/winter.
12th September, 2012
This is one truly bad fragrance. It smells like dead ladybugs. Anybody who has lived in Southern Ohio in the fall knows what I mean. I received a bottle of this as a gift one Christmas and I think it is still in the bottom of my closet.
02nd September, 2012
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these light, powdery florals with a slight hint of leather smells absolutely divine on my skin! Normally I have a strong dislike of Chanel perfumes but this one I really really like. It's not overpowering, it's not overly flowery or feminine. Just classy and subtle like a classic lady.
30th August, 2012
I had the EDP and the EDT and used to wear it regularly, although it is no longer "in collection."

I consider this the "entry-level chypre." Unlike some other chypres, you would never think twice about wearing it during the day, or to work, or in hot weather. (To me, that intensely green bergamot is summer in a bottle.) You could wear it with jeans, linen, or wool. No. 19 goes everywhere...except perhaps to bed, where maybe you'd like something a little less "tailored"...

Not too old, not too young, worn equally well by men or women, it seems to hit the right note every time. I highly recommend this if you think you might like the chypre accord, but are not quite sure. Classic.

06th August, 2012
I am basing this on the eau de parfum.

Luscious green and woody. Very crisp and dry. I think men could wear this, and women who do not like heavy floral 'girly' scents would love it.

I wouldn't call it a romantic or 'feminine' fragrance, but I would say that it's sophisticated. It's also one that I can (and do) wear to the office--it does not have major sillage so it won't get on the nerves of anyone who does not like smelling other people's perfume, but it stays on me for several hours.

One of my favorite Chanel fragrances.
11th June, 2012
Love it! Love the opening notes and the woody base notes. I like a fragrance that is a little masculine/strong and this one is quickly becoming a new favorite.
12th April, 2012
Emily Show all reviews
United States
This is probably the worlds most polite fragrance.

All green florals, powder and cedar. There's something about 19 that is both soft and serious. It must be the marriage of dry, sweet flowers with that friendly woodsy cooldown. It's almost like it's saying "I'm for women, but I will never offend you with cleavage or rouge."

I find it markedly less bold than 22 and 5 which are outwardly feminine, while this is like a gamine tomboy.
14th March, 2012
I think the re-formulated No. 19 is a success. I'm basing it on the EDT, which I bought. I can't speak to the EDP. It retains the older classic No. 19 undertones, but the reformulation is a lighter, less dense version of that.
The galbanum is reduced in the top notes. which makes it less bitter on opening, and allows the warmer elements of the fragrance to come forth from the start-up. But what I call warm is actually a curious mix of very greeened-down florals and old-style feminine leather, non-airy, non-expansive, and thank god, non-citrusy. It seems citrus is one of the things they grab when they want to contemporize a fragrance. That's not what 19's about, and they seem to understand and not mess with that. Which is one reason I call it a success.
Another is that it is a very wearable fragrance - I can see it becoming a staple. Subtle and subdued enough for day, but with the slightly non-feminine muted galbanum edge, it retains a certain amount of character - this is an intelligent perfume because of that sense of character and will. Also, it's feel of coolness, which in fact isn't borne out if you smell it with focus at different phases, creates a subtle juxtaposition, as does the combination of bitter green, earthy floral and warm leather. It engages more than smell in trying to embrace it, heightening its sense of intelligence.
It becomes a close to the skin fragrance after several hours, though its sillage is never large. It doesn't disappear though. It's one you'd smell coming off someone at close range in an elevator, something on that order. And really, who wants their fragrance to intrude on someone further away than that?
28th January, 2012 (last edited: 04th February, 2012)
This is fast becoming my favourite Chanel fragrance, the twilight counterpart to the sun of No. 5. It is bitter only in its opening, and I find it a very comfortable fragrance to wear all day. I prefer the restraint of the eau de toilette to the more feminine development of the eau de parfum.
08th January, 2012
Easily one of the classiest feminine scent ever. Chanel n.19, despite its durable angular and mossy crispiness, is mysterious and decadent as a court inside an abandoned and decrepit nobiliar building. The smell is extremely classy, cold (in a rooty/grassy/lymphatic way), almost sinister, shadowy, moody and silent. This scent pushes in a corner the great part of the feminine scents today on the market regardless the range. The smell, as underlined by many, is multifaceted, mossy/boise, aldehydic, floral and slightly leathery (in the dry down tail). The beginning is crisp and angular with a powerful galbanum (providing a botanical sense of mossy coldness), some herbs, the final moss echo, bitter orange and the bergamot (providing algid hesperidic angularity). The grassy and almost retro initial whiff is soon "florally" mild because of the central floral bouquet where the main role is played by a victorian rose, a rooty royal iris (orris root, the real musky protagonist) and a romantic muguet with the reverberation by an ylang-ylang's almost detergent soapiness. The central part is the sweetest in the body of a faintly mild scent and in this stage is barely detectable the work performed by hints of aldehydes with their typical cool, sparkling and projecting effect. Receding the sweetness starts blooming up a sort of wet, crisp and botanic woody temperament of the aroma with the leathery undertone and a plain mossy atmosphere. There are some roots in the general grassy-floral ambience although in the final stage is perceivable a touch of woody/floral powder (with a faint influence by iris itself), some leathery trait and a bit of musky smoothness. Bold, severe, sophisticated and distant.
05th January, 2012 (last edited: 11th January, 2014)
I don't understand why this scent was marketed as a women's fragrance because it smells completely masculine to me. It seems to lack depth and reminds me of nothing more than alfalfa sprouts with dry, dusty, cardboard. It's not a stinky fragrance, so I can't say it's downright bad- therefore, I"m giving it a neutral rating.
24th December, 2011
Stunning opening of green bouquets and woodsy promises... but the drydown on my skin is too bitter, like rancid dandelion roots.

The "poudre" version had a better drydown, but it was absolutely not the same - overall too polite for my taste.

22nd December, 2011
An iconic/ aloof/ hissing and venomous green chypre of a fragrance that beckons admiration but only from afar. The anti-thesis of the voluptuously powdery rose-jasmine No. 5, this fragrance is for a woman now characterized by angularity and prismatic sharpness, like a crone, still beautiful but now older and "more handsome" -- even butch. Feminine still, but almost heartless.

Ideal for those that want to project elegance tinged with masked steeliness and severity.

Highly recommended and a masterpiece!
10th November, 2011
I thought of this one as very green. Maybe crisp is a better word. I get the florals and tart citrus, then the slightly warmer drydown.

I don't get the sex appeal part at all. This is almost cold to me, distant. I'm just not that kind of gal.

I find the overall result to be interesting, but shortlived.
22nd September, 2011
I have been using this perfume since it was first launched, last week I bought a new bottle of edp, is this the same product, I feel at a loss, I know it has changed over the years but this is nothing like my last bottle.... help
12th August, 2011
The best women's perfume ever made.
06th July, 2011 (last edited: 29th July, 2011)
This is Chanel how we know it! Classic, unique, comfortable yet misterious, dangerous, and very serious. No.19 is outstandingly timeless with its bitter explosion of sharp green notes, floral patterns and a powdery vibe that is never the same. Anytime you wear No.19 you discover the countless facets of this masterfully crafted composition that is able to be at the same time cold and warm, lovely and aggressive, reassuring and scary as only one great woman can be.

My only concern (if I can call it so) is that in the reformulated version leather is playing a very marginal role while I've been told in the vintage version was way more relevant. Nothing that really changes my mind on this masterpiece, but I will surely do all it's possible to put my hands (an nose) on a vintage bottle. An all time favourite.
14th June, 2011 (last edited: 06th January, 2012)
The opening of Chanel 19 edt is one of my favorite experiences. It is a focused demonstration of the iris. I agree with many of the characterizations of 19: venomous, aloof, off-putting. 19 is powdery, but coldly and bluntly so. Up top, other notes, especially galbanum and hyacinth, accentuate the iris root and add to the wonderfully acetone, dry-cardboard smell of 19. Chanel 19 edt is a floral fragrance, but far les so in the topnotes than in the heart. The chill remains, but the acetone and paper recede, and the rose/jasmine heart continues the green trend right through to a grassy, vetiver drydown that I would ultimately categorize as woody-floral.

If I could make any perfume moment last forever it would be the topnotes of 19 edt. (Aside: I feel similarly about Cristalle and Pour Monsieur. Love them. Just want to drink them in. But, sadly, all three edts are brief experiences.) Despite its passing nature, though, I love the whole shape of 19. It is a beautifully worked-out fragrance and has a coherence of tone from start to finish that is both effusive and logical.

My dilemma: the concentration. The various Chanel concentrations are notorious for their qualitative differences. The edt is not a dilute version of the edp or of the extrait. It is a different formulation. I’ve fallen in easily with one concentration of the other Chanels. No 5: I understand the edp; I enjoy the edt. Cristalle: I don’t quite understand the edp (it has a niceness that defeats the pretty brutality of the edt) and want to live in the edt. For 19 I want both the edt and the edp.

While there is a similar componentry, the edp is leathery and warm where the edt is a cool, rooty/grassy floral. The evolution of the edp has a much slower timeframe, and gives a warm treatment to its flowers, rose in particular. Though distinctive, the edp winds up a broken-in green, leathery chypre not far from the drydown of Scherrer’s Scherrer.
18th May, 2011 (last edited: 05th April, 2012)
I've never had any luck with Chanel fragrances and I definitely didn't fall in love with Chanel No.19 when I tested it today in the fragrance department.

Green is an excellent word to describe this scent. It's a mixture of wet sand, freshly cut grass and alfalfa sprouts to my nose. Something that I adore in nature but not on my skin.

This fragrance is fresh yet sharp and quite soapy. Although the floral notes are present in this fragrance, they aren't soft and feminine like other Chanel perfumes, instead they are sour and overpowering.

In the drydown I sensed the familiar soapy/powdery notes that are present in every single Chanel fragrance I've tried. I could easily pick a Chanel fragrance out of 100 other scents with my eyes closed.

I don't entirely dislike this scent; I do admire its individuality and freshness, however I'm more attracted to florals and sweeter scents. The lasting power is excellent, but that is to be expected from Chanel. On the right person this scent could be very distinctive, sophisticated and unique.

26th April, 2011