Perfume Directory

No. 18 Eau de Parfum (2016)
by Chanel


No. 18 Eau de Parfum information

Year of Launch2016
AvailabilityIn Production
Average Rating
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People and companies

PerfumerJacques Polge
Parent CompanyWertheimer

About No. 18 Eau de Parfum

No. 18 Eau de Parfum is a feminine perfume by Chanel. The scent was launched in 2016 and the fragrance was created by perfumer Jacques Polge

No. 18 Eau de Parfum fragrance notes

Reviews of No. 18 Eau de Parfum

A strange number that lies somewhere between Egoiste and Bois de Iles. Wonderfully done ambrette, but I'm not a fan of the iris in this one, gets a bit too powdery for my tastes. For a fraction of the price I would prefer to reach for Egoiste and if I'm going to splurge I'd prefer to go with the Bois de Iles. But, that being said if your looking for BdI without the punch and looking for a tamed back masculine from Egoiste, No. 18 is a fine choice.

No. 18 can be worn equally well by both sexes in my view.
30th December, 2018
Now this is an odd little number if I do say so myself. The story goes that this eau de parfum was conceived in 1997 for distribution in Chanel's boutique at 18 Place Vendôme, then re-conceived in 2007 as an eau de toilette for release as part of the Les Exclusifs line, then re-orchestrated a third time as an eau de parfum based on the eau de toilette version in 2016, all by Jacques Polge. The point of No. 18 (2016) is to be "perfume jewelry" reminiscent of the 18 Place Vendôme boutique after which it's named, but the reality of it is No. 18 is fragrance born of the constant re-envisioning that was Jacques Polge's hallmark as house perfumer for Chanel. Here's the thinking: Chanel Bois des Îles (1926) was an aldehyde perfume by Ernest Beaux focused on rose, sandalwood, vetiver, and musk ambrette. Jacques Polge wanted to make a masculine counterpart which lead to Bois Noir (1987), a fragrance that replaced aldehydes with citrus and banned musk ambrette with natural ambrette seed tones. This was brightened and slightly sweetened into Égoïste (1990) for a mass release, then various concentrations thereof followed. Polge obviously kept tinkering and pared down the formula even further, resulting in what we now have in No. 18: a feminine based on a masculine, based on another masculine, based on an old feminine by a previous house perfumer, full-circle.

Once you get passed the dizzying intertextuality No. 18 has with other past Chanels, you can get down to what it is: an elegantly simple representation of ambrette, rose, and iris. The entire musk mallow flower from which ambrette seed is derived is on display with No. 18, being dewy and green at first sniff, with traces of green tea in the opening, and a certain oily aspect to the opening, carried aloft by just a puff of bergamot. The iris and the rose comes next, the latter combining with the ambrette to give a huge connection to modern Égoïste, but made a bit more gentle with the iris. Égoïste already smelled rather unisex to my nose, and so does No. 18, especially since iris flower has been appearing more in masculines in place of the orris root component of the plant after the turn of the 21st century. There is supposedly a fruit note according to the published pyramid, but all I get after the heart is musk, and Polge's synthetic sandalwood compound that sees use in all modern iterations of Chanel perfumes calling for sandalwood. No vetiver, no detectable oakmoss, no oriental overtones like Bois des Îles, Bois Noir, or Égoïste. As a simple floral musk interpretation of the famed Chanel/Polge damask rose/sandalwood accord, No. 18 does exceptionally well, but is too fleeting for its price, with maybe 6 hours total performance coupled with close sillage. No. 18 also feels fairly context-neutral as well.

Being marketed to women willing to spend premium coin, No. 18 might be the answer for ladies in love with Égoïste but unwilling to cross the gender marketing lines to wear it (guys are more often a stickler about gender, but aren't always the only ones afraid to play with perfumes outside their marketing lane). Otherwise, this is just a lighter, puffier, shinier, and muskier presentation of the same accord as Égoïste to my nose, and that's not meant to be an insult. Guys who own Égoïste might find No. 18 a tad redundant unless they're total Chanel fanboys or looking for a warm weather alternative, especially at the $200-$350 price tag being asked for a 2.5 or 6.8 ounce bottle, respectively. Performance-per-dollar doesn't make this worth the price for me, but I'll stay a neutral vote and give it a thumbs up because it is very well-constructed and elegant to a fault, like most Chanel creations under Jaques Polge. Ambrette is also rarely the focus of a perfume since musk mallow faded from popularity and the demise of synthetic musk ambrette otherwise made the accord scarce, so Chanel gets kudos for that little bit of quirk too. Soft-spoken but well-done.
13th December, 2018
The sample of No. 18 edt I have does not smell like Egoiste to me, but this edp version does.

No. 18 edp smells like a big improvement on No. 18 edt. It smells like an Egoiste flanker, although it's fairly light - maybe "Egoiste Summer."

This is another edp, as with Bel Respiro, that doesn't last as long as the edt did. It's not a big difference, but the edt of No. 18 holds on a little longer as a skin scent.
19th October, 2018
Does it overstate the obvious to say that a Chanel perfume sparkles? The apocryphal stories of G. Chanel resisting scents that would cause a woman to smell simply floral seem to have continued to influence the contemporary additions to Chanel’s line. 21st century Chanel isn’t often well regarded among connoisseurs’ conversations—a nostalgia for older formulations pervades. But here’s the thing: from my vantage, Chanel is fundamentally modern as a philosophy. The fashion, even biographical details of its initiator, eschew attachment, process loss, and revel in the aggressively new (think of Chanel’s dispensing of busts and bustles, of her collaboration with the Ballets Russe). I opt to hold IFRA restrictions, reformulations, and even the seemingly greedy expansions of designer brands more as ‘signs of the times’ than grounds for the dystopian-point-of-no-return anxieties that color the analyses of more recently released Chanel fragrances. Read perfume as the temporal material that it is, with the semiotic ascriptions it might carry.

So No. 18 has some sparkle to it. It opens with worldly, metropolitan synthetics and aldehydes, closely followed by the cool-headed iris that Chanel cultivates in its own fields in Grasse. Chanel’s iris proceeds gracefully through most of the perfumes designed for the house. No. 18 dresses up this plush, chilly iris with ambrette seed, one of those fascinating ingredients (originally harvested from plants, often synthesized nowadays) that somehow smells both of skin and soap. An enchanting ‘white musk’ quality pervades No. 18’s opening. The modernism of the fragrance is its floralcy in an age of metal machines, its skin softness in ages of war, its artifice and chemistry with tenderness and heart.

No. 18 gradually sweetens on my skin, with the initially sharp intensity of its rose developing into something more unctuous and powdery. More than any other quality, the offhanded fruitiness that emerges marks the scent with the time when it was designed. My review is neutral not because there’s anything particularly out of balance in No. 18, but because it lacks the assertiveness of its ingenious sisters, and ultimately seems mostly a remix of some of the most appealing, offbeat qualities of others in the line. It never dons the vintage cosmetics drag that 2016’s Misia conjures, nor shimmers as much as several versions of Bois des Iles do; it shares some underlying rhythms with Nos. 5 and 19, but without the self-possession and oddity that only time and imitations have naturalized in those masterpieces. No. 18 is, by contrast, a procession of many of Chanel’s most iconic accords, combined at very comfortable volumes. It behaves well as a sweetened skin scent, but its sparkle only lasts a fraction of its duration on my wrist. It’s unsettling how it reveals the continuity that might be inferred between Nietzsche and Nordstrom. It offers the mainstream consumer an expensive simulacra of Chanel iconoclasm softened into an intentionally quotidian fixture of modern life.
30th August, 2018 (last edited: 01st October, 2018)

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