This is without a doubt the icon scent, the mother of all fragrances, a perfume launched in 1921 and developed by famous Russian perfumer Ernest Beaux. Chanel N°5 is currently the best seller and world’s most famous perfume and there’s a whole story with respect to its introduction on the market. Coco Chanel, already famous in the 20’s of the last century was preparing the launch of her first perfume and solicited to Ernest Beaux the creation of “a woman’s perfume that smells like a woman”. The perfumer imagined 2 series of fragrances numbered from 1 to 5 and from 20 to 24 from which Coco Chanel selected the fragrance bearing the number 5 and hence the name of this unique scent.
And because the famous designer was superstitious, she launched the new perfume on the 5th day from the 5th month of the year 1921. The rest is history and Chanel N°5 grew to be famous over the years due to the numerous stars that selected it as their signature fragrance. Probably the most famous (and controversial!) was the sex symbol Marilyn Monroe, who declared in an interview that she only wears at night ‘five drops of Chanel N°5’. According to the French Government reports, every 30 seconds a bottle of Chanel N°5 is sold, generating $100 million worth of sales per year.
Working on this fragrance, Ernest Beaux risked using for the first time some synthetic ingredients, aldehydes, combined with accords of may rose and jasmine from Grasse, in this way obtaining an elusive and mysterious scent. It was the creation of a genius, because until that time, nobody ever diverged from the theme of single flower scented fragrances. Rumor has it that the apprentice of Mr. Beaux mistakenly overdosed the percentage of aldehydes in the formula and in the end Chanel N°5 inaugurated a fresh olfactory group, floral aldehyde.
When I sniffed Chanel N°5 on the blotter I noticed plenty of aldehydes, however upon applying the fragrance directly on my wife’s skin the composition turned more complex. The opening includes lemon, bergamot, ylang-ylang, neroli and aldehydes. The mid development comes as a powerful mixture of floral accords: Rose, Lily-of-the-Valley, jasmine, jasmine, orris root and iris. And finally, for the drydown, the warm amber is wrapped in patchouli and sandalwood, all combined with musk, civet, vanilla, vetiver and oakmoss.
At the time of the introduction, Chanel N°5 was presented in a flask with perfectly cut shapes and rounded edges, the first fragrance ever contained in a bottle having perfect proportions. The stopper reminds of an area in Paris called Place Vendôme, renowned for luxury and fashion.
The advertising created for Chanel N°5 over the years represents a tutorial of marketing, the most notable video ads being the one directed by Ridley Scott and starring Carole Bouquet, the one with Estella Warren portrayed as Little Red Riding Hood, the from 2004 that presents Nicole Kidman in a multi-million dollar movie shot by Baz Luhrmann and finally, the one from 2009 which features Audrey Tautou in a movie by Jean-Pierre Jeunet. Definitely, the last one is my favorite.
Overall, Chanel N°5 is a classic mysterious fragrance, the definition of femininity, an extremely comfortable experience for the woman over 30.
Chanel N°5 Perfume Details
- Chanel N°5 is available in 7, 14 and 30 ml Parfum Bottle, 7 ml Parfume Purse Spray Refillable, 35, 50 and 100 ml Eau de Parfum Spray, 50 and 60 ml Eau de Parfum Refillable Spray, 20 ml Eau de Parfum Purse Spray – Limited Edition, 100 ml Eau de Toilette Bottle, 35, 50 and 100 ml Eau de Toilette Spray, 50 ml Eau de Toilette Refillable Spray, 20 ml Eau de Toillette Purse Spray – Limited Edition and complementary products in the range, such as: 250 ml Intense Bath Oil, 50 ml Sensual Elixir, 200 ml Body Lotion, 200 ml Bath Gel, 150 g Bath Soap, 150 g Velvet Body Cream and 150 ml After Bath Powder; the lasting power is above average (more than 10 hours) and the sillage is excellent.
- Olfactory Group: Floral Aldehyde
- For: Women
- Year Introduced: 1921
- Perfumer: Ernest Beaux
- Recommended Wear: Evening
- Dress Code: Casual
Audrey Tautou Video for Chanel N°5, movie by Jean-Pierre Jeunet
Nicole Kidman in “N°5 The Film” directed by Baz Luhrmann for Chanel N°5
Ridley Scott Video for Chanel N°5 with Carole Bouquet
Estella Warren Video for Chanel N°5