Chanel No. 5

Smelling vintage No. 5 is like sniffing a fine wine to me. I’m not a fan of aldehydes and never have been, we don’t get along too well, nor am I particularly fond of a perfume that is too heavy on the florals. But sniffing No. 5 is a whole new ballgame.

I was introduced to it as a child by my mother, and it wasn’t my favorite. As a young adult, I was gifted it, and again, I just put it aside, not really appreciating it. I just have always leaned towards the oriental or gourmand side. I knew this was a hugely popular perfume and there had to be something to it, so why didn’t I enjoy it?

A few years ago, a neighbor’s mother passed away. She was in her 80’s. One day, he handed me a carton of her perfumes, telling me he didn’t know what to do with them. I took them, thanking him, not knowing what I would find in the box. After all, his mom was an older woman, so I knew there would be some interesting choices in there.

Lo and behold, there it was. Chanel No. 5, staring me in the face. Again. Daring me to pick it up and smell it. But this time, when I uncapped the Edt, something miraculous happened. The vintage inside that I swirled around was captivating. It had matured like a fine wine. It had such a heady aroma, I couldn’t stop sniffing. This stuff smelled good.

The aldehydes have muted somewhat, allowing the civet to come to the forefront along with the vetiver. There’s more earthiness to it that wraps around the florals too, but those florals will always be strong. There’s also a muskiness that seems to overwrap the whole perfume. The woods come into play in the last phases along with a mild vanilla that surprises. It’s strong with the real civet. And, you have to be a civet lover to understand the beauty of it.

It’s not a perfume to be taken lightly, it’s one to be revered and worn at the pulse points. It’s not a body spray or a fragrance mist. Chanel No. 5 is a mature perfume that warrants a mature nose that appreciates it.

How does it compare to today’s? If anyone has sampled the formulations of today, they know it is a far cry from the vintage. More like an empty room missing pieces of its furniture.

It bears repeating that Marilyn Monroe was reported to have worn Chanel No. 5 when she went to sleep. Naked. Of course, this information came out much, much later after her death, altho there is a recording of her telling the press that she does wear the perfume.

The video of Marilyn speaking of wearing Chanel No. 5 can be found here:

If you’re not an aldehydes or floral fan, this one’s not for you. Pass go, keep your $200 and buy something else. There are plenty of perfumes in our world to sample and enjoy. But most definitely, if you do want to try it, stick to the vintage.

Top Notes: Neroli, Ylang-Ylang, Bergamot, Amalfi Lemon, Aldehydes.

Middle Notes: Iris, Jasmine, Orris Root, Rose, Lily-Of-The-Valley.

Base Notes: Vetiver, Musk, Sandalwood, Patchouli, Amber, Oakmoss, Vanilla, Civet.



All works past, present and future are protected under a CCC. Creative Common License, Kaarie Blake Musings by Kaarie Blake is licensed under a Creative Common Attribution-Noncommercial-Noderivs-3.0-Unported License.


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