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Chanel # 5 is vivid and bright like a light filled canvas by painted by both Van Goph and Matisse. Even its shadows shimmer with the intensity of aldehyde spiral glows but its over all impact is the serenely elegant design of timeless florals that transcend florals or anything else fo earth and nature into a glowing radiance. This is perfumery beyond abstraction. This is perfumery as effanescent radiance.
Every other one of the 139 reviews posted up to today begin with "I remember my mother wore Chanel # 5." Chanel # 5 transcends reviews, or fashion. It is the most popular perfume of all time. Its appeal is as close to universal as a thing of the real world can be. It is not favored by country, social class, or even gender. It is not really a feminine floral composition. It is not sweet. There are myriad masculines sweeter than # 5. I am a man, and if it were not so perfect and seamless, I would wear it myself. I am thinking I wil layer it with, perhaps Gurrlain Vetiver, or maybe a smokey Kolnisch Juchten in order to tone down its brilliant radiance.
What I require is a master perfumer to design in some flaws, imperfections, a ragged edge or to so that I could wear it without embarassment to my self, and self image.
My mother also wore it for most of her life. For women it is both an idealization of what few but a woman who projects like Catherine Deneuve can wear without a kind of dishoesty of projection, and mysteriously, at the same time it can be worn by all the imperfect ladies of the world, for casual as well as formal occasions, and these women will be more assured and comfortable in themselves for wearing it.
In its unitary simplicity, and perfection is its mystery.
As a EDT it is at its most bright and sparkling. As a EDP Chanel # 5 is more relaxed, and opens more slowly and with more depth but with less definition. The new Eau Premiere is the vaguest incarnation (designed perhaps for the most immature but most "post modern" purchasers in some strange target group). Of course, the Parfum Extrait should be the most perfect, unrestrained presentation fo the creation, and it is.
Why Chanel has not taken the recipe and stripped it down with a blemish or two for presentation as a masculin is beyond me.
In any case, Chanel # 5 is beyond arguing, or reviewing, really. It is in a class alone. It knows no category. It has no competitors. There is really nothing similar. And nothing to complain about. That is sell so well year after decade with such consistency riddles all analysis.
Did I mention my mother wore it? If it did not stand so alone, I would suggest that it is the mother of all modern perfumes. However like many perfect examples rare in nature, I do not think # 5 passed on its perfection to any heirs. We are lucky that it appears to be immortal.
14th March, 2011