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  1. #1

    Default Chanel--what note am I objecting to?

    Hello, all.

    I am new to the world of serious fragrance, having mostly contented myself with essential oils in my youth. I also have sinus problems and allergies, so my nose is never going to be particularly acute.

    That said, I am interested in learning what I may, given my limitations and thought I would ask you experienced folk what it is in Chanel that turns my head inside-out?

    I've noticed it in sniffing bottles of No. 5, 19, and 22--it is a note that rushes to my nose, a very sour, strong chemical note with the hair-curling effect of Isopropyl alcohol, though without the alcohol scent.

    I've noticed it also in my mother's bottle of White Shoulders.

    I've never tried No. 5 on my skin because of this note.

    This past weekend, I was at a rummage sale that had little quarter-ounce samples of Numbers 19 and 22 eau de cologne for a dime apiece. The objectionable note in the 22 was very strong, with some florals lurking in the background. The note wasn't quite so overpowering in the 19, so I brought it home.

    I braced myself and tried it this morning, and oh. Oh, my. On my skin, the objectionable note vanishes immediately and I'm left with a lovely, lovely scent. Someone I admired in my past wore this, perhaps a teacher. I love it. I now wish I'd brought home the 22, too.

    So what would you say that top note is, is that aldehydes? Do they always tend to dissipate quickly, or do they sometimes linger? Thank you for any input.

  2. #2
    Kal's Avatar
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    Default Re: Chanel--what note am I objecting to?

    Hello Smellalicious!

    On reading your post my immediate reaction was "aldeyhdes". Then I noticed your description of the note you dislike and it made me think of ... Aldehydes.
    I have never smelled White Shoulders but you'll never guess what's in the top notes ... yup ... Aldehydes.
    This was all before I even got down to the question at the bottom on your post.

    I'll take a wild stab in the dark and suggest that you should perhaps avoid strongly aldehydic perfumes in the future!

    Some aldehydes last for the entire duration (Chanel No. 22), some only a brief time (Bvlgari pour Homme) and some may not even be that detectable (Chloe's Narcisse) so you'd have to test, test, test. Chanel No. 5 is noted as the first perfume in history to use aldehydes.

    Personally, aldehydes are like a drug to me and I really enjoy that 'hit' that they give me. I have even owned some 'questionable' perfumes without realising that it was the aldehydes that were drawing me to them. Upon realising my addiction I learned to moderate my aldehydic behaviour and now only use Vintage L'Interdit, Chanel No. 22 and Mitsouko. I find it hard to put down a perfume that gives me what you described as "...a note that rushes to my nose ... chemical note with the hair-curling effect ..." Awesome! xD

    Oh and out of curiosity ... do you like fizzy drinks?

    Welcome to the addiction that is Basenotes and all manner of sniffing.
    Cheers
    Kal

    Edit: Oh! And major grats on the 7.5mls of No.19 for a dime! it's probably vintage (particularly if it's really a cologne) and even if it's not, thats so lucky! And (she says slowly) ... thinking about it ... 7.5mls is a standard amount for a extrait/parfum - are you sure it's cologne? *_*
    Last edited by Kal; 4th May 2010 at 06:48 AM. Reason: Forgot something!

  3. #3

    Default Re: Chanel--what note am I objecting to?

    Seconding Kal. Certain types of aldehydes give this "fizzy" effect that I suspect is the trouble here. Easiest way to tell is to spritz some of Estee Lauder's White Linen - it has aldehydes of such extreme intensity they almost smell "burnt" to my nose for the first few seconds. I'd describe aldehydic notes as fizzy, bitter, soapy, sharp, bright.

    The good news? Heavily aldehydic fragrances have been out of fashion for a while. These days the only time you'll smell heavy aldehydes like No. 22 is in fairly obscure fragrances, some of the more intense ones that come to mind are La Myrrhe and Stephen Jones.

    In fragrances where aldehydes are used lightly, they tend to fade fairly quickly. If there's a fragrance that you otherwise LOVE but don't like the aldehydes, spritz some on and see how it develops on your skin.

    Oddly, I used to not be able to stand aldehydes ( my first time with La Myrrhe was awful ), and they gave me headaches. Then one day, that suddenly stopped, and now, I really like them when used well. I have no idea what changed.

  4. #4

    Default Re: Chanel--what note am I objecting to?

    Thank you for the replies! It's good to have input from experienced noses.

    So, when an aldehydic frag is described as "sparkling", it refers to the "rush to the nose" aspect? That would make sense.

    I do enjoy fizzy drinks. Especially champagnes. Perhaps next time I sniff No.s 5 or 22, I'll try to think of champagne.

    Oddly, I used to not be able to stand aldehydes ( my first time with La Myrrhe was awful ), and they gave me headaches. Then one day, that suddenly stopped, and now, I really like them when used well. I have no idea what changed.
    I have had that experience with hefeweizens--for the longest time I could not understand what would ever possess a person to actually drink one. After taking an appreciation class, I suddenly began to appreciate them.

    Edit: Oh! And major grats on the 7.5mls of No.19 for a dime! it's probably vintage (particularly if it's really a cologne) and even if it's not, thats so lucky! And (she says slowly) ... thinking about it ... 7.5mls is a standard amount for a extrait/parfum - are you sure it's cologne? *_*
    The little bottle says it's cologne, but yes, it's certainly vintage. The juice is gold, no green to it.---Edited to add---I've looked at it again, and there's the barest hint of green. Whoever owned it didn't care for it--it's nearly full. You bet I'm doing the happy dance.
    Last edited by Smellacious; 4th May 2010 at 06:09 PM.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Chanel--what note am I objecting to?

    When I joined BN I intensely hated aldehydes. I still struggle with many aldehydic scents (especially florals). However after a few years, I have found myself drawn to a few fragrances that feature them: Chant de Aromes by Guerlain, Bois des Iles by Chanel and of course (as Galamb mentioned) the aldehyde-queen: White Linen by Estee Lauder.

    A well blended aldehyde note always reminds me of the bracing effect of drinking tonic water.

  6. #6

    Default Re: Chanel--what note am I objecting to?

    I hope to grow to enjoy them eventually. I'll give the suggested fragrances the occasional try until I either tip over and convert, or decide that it's just not going to happen.

    I remember being so disappointed when I first sniffed Chanel No. 5. I had heard about it all my life, and had an entirely different idea in my mind. Wow. Not what I was expecting at all.

  7. #7

    Default Re: Chanel--what note am I objecting to?

    I'm slowly developing a tolerance for aldehydes, but I doubt that I'll ever _like_ them, especially when they last through the perfume's life. For example, I'm OK with the aldehydic beginning in modern Vent Vert, because it's just a sort of temporary trumpet blast that fades before you get sick of it.

    If you love No. 19, that suggests that you love galbanum/green fragrances - just as a suggestion, if you're trying to decide where to turn your perfume attention next. Some greens available at department stores include Issey Miyake A Scent, Estee Lauder Jasmine White Moss, Chanel Cristalle, and the newer Chanel Cristalle flanker whose name I can't remember. (Chanel Cristalle EDT and EDP are, BTW, very different from one another.)

    In the mailorder/niche world, there are lots more - including the modern Vent Vert, which is a sad shadow of the vintage version, but still very nice and very cheap. Oh, and Lancome Climat, which is a gorgeous old-fashioned green. And Balmain Ivoire, less green but lovely. And, OK, I'll stop listing greens.

    Except to suggest that if you decide to follow up your love for No. 19 with a bottle purchase, get samples of the modern versions before committing your money - the EDT versus EDP versus parfum, and the vintage versus modern, have a big, big range of what they smell like. The modern parfum is my favorite perfume in all the world, while I don't even _like_ the modern EDT.
    Last edited by ChickenFreak; 4th May 2010 at 11:55 PM.

  8. #8

    Default Re: Chanel--what note am I objecting to?

    ChickenFreak--thank you for the suggestions, I'll give them a sniff when I get the chance. And thank you for the advice re: 19. I've noticed people here complaining about the EDT while saying the parfum is worthwhile. It would be so easy to waste money and be disappointed.

  9. #9
    Kal's Avatar
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    Default Re: Chanel--what note am I objecting to?

    Dearest Smellacious et al - please excuse my manual quoting but there is something up with either my browser or Basenotes and it's difficult to post with quotes at the moment. D:

    Smellacious said:
    "I do enjoy fizzy drinks. Especially champagnes. Perhaps next time I sniff No.s 5 or 22, I'll try to think of champagne."


    As far as aldehydes go, No. 22 is probably not your best bet to start with. I was thinking how lucky you were to have chosen No. 19.
    I love that (to my nose) No. 22 smells like the highest quality creaming soda (I'm not sure what you call it in your neck of the woods but that's a clear, vanilla flavoured soda around here) but it is probably the heaviest on the aldehydes of all the Chanel's.
    Trying to think of pepper, champagne or soda is a great idea to acclimatise yourself to them.

    As Galamb_Borong said, aldehydic perfumes are few and far between these days and while it would be a shame to never learn to appreciate one of the most famous perfume's ever (No. 5) there's nothing wrong with disliking it. I don't like Joy because it smells like the deodorisers they use in public loo's here, therefore giving me associations with pee. Basically it smells like these 1000 flowers are being used to mask pee smells - to me. I must stress - to me! Please, no-one lynch me.
    Perhaps you could learn to appreciate aldehydes better by knowing what Ernest Beaux was trying to recreate with them. (Perhaps not - they *are* considered to be 'old lady' smells by many so never mind! Lol)
    I've read 2 versions.
    1. he wanted to recreate the smell of arctic glaciers which he loved and
    2. he saw the future of perfumery as belonging to chemists and so wanted to experiment.
    Perhaps its a mixture of both as the truth often lies somewhere in between.

    Smellacious said:
    "I have had that experience with hefeweizens-"


    You made me google this - sounds awesome! I want to try one!


    Smellacious said:
    "The little bottle says it's cologne, but yes, it's certainly vintage. The juice is gold, no green to
    it.---Edited to add---I've looked at it again, and there's the barest hint of green. Whoever owned it didn't care for it--it's nearly full. You bet I'm doing the happy dance."


    I think it's bright green now! You struck gold there!

    Mikeperez23: You mentioned Bois de Iles - I had to toss up between that and No.22 for FB status and every time I see the name I mourn a little. T_T
    I don't regret my decision to go with No.22 but I should really have both ... I might get one when my L'Interdit finally runs out! (It's a disease - I think I need a 5-step program)

    And ... Tonic Water, YUM!
    Last edited by Kal; 13th May 2010 at 02:41 PM.
    He isn't poor because he lacks money but because everything he wants is unobtainable ...

    My name is KaL - EL - EL - L - L - L ! D:

  10. #10

    Default Re: Chanel--what note am I objecting to?

    Quote Originally Posted by Kal View Post
    Smellacious said:
    "I have had that experience with hefeweizens-"


    You made me google this - sounds awesome! I want to try one!
    You should! Do start with a German example, as the American versions while often good, can be out-of-style.

    I agree with you that it's a shame when a perfectly good scent is ruined by use in public toilets.

    Found some White Linen at a yard sale last week. Haven't worked up the nerve to actually spritz it after smelling the bottle. The aldehydic top notes don't offend me as much as I'd expected, but I detect an underlying "urinous" note. Will have to try it sometime. Outside.

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