Perfume Reviews

Reviews of No. 19 by Chanel

Total Reviews: 115
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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The EdT in particular is a great unisex scent. For all the youtube reviews obsessed about "compliment getters", I've had more compliments from both sexes when wearing no. 19 than pretty much any other scent. If you can wear Dior Homme then you can wear No. 19. Come on guys, don't let the ladies hog this one.
07th January, 2018
Today's EDT is Sexy. Period.
Vintage Parfum is Super Sexy. Period.
All Ages and Genders. Period.
That's my subjective view. Period.

Wearing the 88 Extrait today has me cognizant of the High Quality of the ingredients and composition.
Most recent tasted similar. Henry Jacques carries this quality.
16th September, 2017 (last edited: 19th November, 2017)
Very sexy Male fragrance ....
04th September, 2017
Stardate 20170725:
Another great floral from Chanel.
Starts green and while it has the dreaded galbanum, I enjoy it. Very well blended.
The green gives way to florals - soft and beautiful.
I think unless one is a frag head one does not realize how rare and beautiful this soft ethereal floral accord is. Not many can do it.
I think this is better than the big brother No. 5
A big thumbs up.
25th July, 2017
I ordered a back up bottle today, the equivalent of building a bunker at the edge of the millennium, I fear world war and pestilence. I'm told there is a movie where Adolf HItler wakes up, bemused, and finds that the bullet that blitzed his brain simply sent him to sleep for 70 years.
He's back, and I imagine the fields of Iris pallida and Rose de Mai as scorched earth. Coco, no angel where the Nazi's were concerned, inspired the perfume that is No 19 and I adore it. As many others vocalise this is my one and only, if I wasn't totally unfaithful to any one perfume.

For a more detailed breakdown of what No 19 is driven by (no aldehydes, no labdanum, little oak moss) see Elena from Perfume Shrine's article. It's a perfume that is driven as much by what it doesn't contain as what it does contain, It is a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma; but perhaps there is a key. It's beautiful, just beautiful, forever and a day, until the 12th of never.
07th July, 2017
This for the current EDT.
Powdery and green with white florals, iris providing a cold, dusty and slightly medicinal note, which sits well with the rounder woods. The galbanum green is dry but not bitter, the florals are clear and bright and the whole thing dries down through soapiness into a lovely creamy base. This is a gorgeous fragrance, striking and daring without losing any of its femininity. While it's not a bouncy, skipping, overtly friendly fragrance, I don't find it at all aloof - it's mature and confident, elegant but very accessible. Definitely a good interview or work fragrance, where one needs to feel self-possessed and confident. It made me think of a first-time meeting with a mother-in-law - it's approachable and refined but very definitely indicates to those who catch a glimpse of it that you'll be no walkover.
11th March, 2017
There are several versions of this. This entry in the Basenotes directory seems to cover the edc, edt, edp, and parfum. I have had samples of the edt, edp, and parfum. I like them, very much, slightly preferring the edt, which I also find more unisex and less powdery.

The edt has a crisp, creamy, and more natural floral smell to it.

The edp smells more feminine to me, and I would enjoy being around women wearing it. The edp is heavy and intoxicating, a good date night scent for women.

The parfum is the most powdery, but it's not necessarily as feminine as the edp. The parfum has a darker aspect to it that makes it feel more unisex to me, but more feminine than the edt; but overall much closer to the edp, as may be expected.

I'm hoping to try the edc.
30th October, 2016 (last edited: 03rd February, 2017)
Oh No. 19, what a surprise you turned out to be!

I distinctly remember sniffing this scent in my younger years. I had just fallen in love with No. 5, and very curious about Chanel's other offerings. It's not an overstatement to say that I severely disliked No. 19 then; harsh, green, dry, and so much less friendly to my nose than her older sister. I never gave her a second glance.

Fast forward 20 years, and I'm newly embarking on a journey to expand my meager fragrance collection and educate my nose. Upon reading around here, I felt the need to revisit this scent, if only to find out my current tolerance for the wryer, greener side of the fragrance worlds.

Upon spraying this on a tester strip, I was met with the same sharp, somewhat harsh green notes I remembered, but for some reason they now seemed intriguing and a little less hostile.

Perhaps it's my years of exposure to the Chanel DNA present in No. 5, or perhaps the years have made me less frightened and more accepting of the less warm and fuzzy parts of my own personality, but I felt like this fragrance warranted a test wear.

I'm glad I did give it a second chance, because the more often I wear it (the SAs in my local perfume store are starting to look at me funny), the more I like it.

On my skin, the harshness that is present on the tester strip is almost completely absent. In its stead I get a dry, unapologetic iris, and a sharply clear version of that soapy note present in so many Chanels. The effect is cool, crystalline, and energizing, and I understand why people associate this fragrance with powerful business women/men and a take-no-prisoners attitude. And that's just what I was missing in my fragrance wardrobe.

For me, this is an instant confidence booster, and a way to highlight a part of my personality that I'm only now beginning to discover.

I'm definitely going for a full bottle of the EdP soon.

I find the EdP stronger and more fierce than the EdT, unlike most reviewers seem to do. Longevity and sillage are quite good!

07th October, 2016
I was never able to fall in love with No. 19 in its ubiquitous EDP format. It came very close to what I like, but always struck me as a slow fade from bright green to dull green that, while technically adequate, lacked the panache required to draw me in.

Then I tried the parfum. What a game changer - it's awesome! The parfum concentration places the legendary topnotes alongside a rich dollop of iris and vetiver, while a heavier helping of that galbanum/moss mix are amplified by Chanel's signature creamy base. The end result is a perfect mix of green and rich. All told, it's almost like a vetiver perfume with a really complex soapy green iris support system.

I really love the parfum (and, for the record, the Poudre version, which goes the opposite direction and amplifies the brightness instead of the richness and also improves greatly on the EDP). Please do try the parfum version - it's worth tracking down.
01st October, 2016
Among the green floral fragrances still with us, Chanel No.19 is a marvel. Where many 60s and 70s green florals have either fallen out of production or been reformulated beyond recognition, No. 19 remains with us, and recognizably itself. I see this a balancing act, one that keeps its appeal broad enough to remain on Chanel's endless mainstream counters in every major department store. It's fresh but not girly, green but not soapy, assertive but not loud, and classy but not pretentious. It once had a leather base (likely supporting the oakmoss that it no longer contains), but in its modern incarnation it dries down from a carroty orris to a powdery musk--a textbook no-nonsense phantom chypre that also covers some of the same ground as a niche iris.

Although I appreciate the story behind No. 19, I don't really understand the "icy," "bitchy," and "heartless" descriptions of its current formulation. To me, it's refreshing and wearable. Maybe I'm not easily intimidated, or maybe I just don't recognize the stony-hearted wench in the mirror.
13th March, 2016
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Rarely can a perfume be so daringly flirtatious and yet as cool and tingling as Chanel No 19.but cool and tingling doesn't mean citrusy in this case.far from it.amidst's a paradox as it doesn't smell flowery fact this novel formula doesn't recall any exciting smell in particular and we would be hard pressed to pigeonhole,it's that independent. Sophisticated,Rich,Cool,Confident,Classic;Impressive and Very French.

It's a little strong at first but the dry down reveals a soft,smooth woody with hints of moss and leather and a powdery floral overtone that emphasizes,fulfills the's the scent of a sassy,chic woman who knows her own mind comforting and evocative as well as classic and's classic that manages to feel modern at the same time,and it's best suited for women of strength and character.a must try for floral green lovers.


Longevity?Superb on my skin.

12th January, 2016
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
rbaker Show all reviews
United Kingdom
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
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
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