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    Femme's avatar

    Slovenia Slovenia

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    No. 5 by Chanel


    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.


    09 February, 2013