Until trying it out for this review I had never dabbed on Chanel No 5. Apparently my great-grandma liked it, but she also liked knitting tea cosies, so I assumed it wouldn’t be my cup of tea.
When Mademoiselle Coco Chanel chose luminary perfumer Ernest Beaux to create a “a woman’s perfume, with a woman’s scent,” it’s hard to believe she could have anticipated the scent would go on to become the iconic perfume it is today. Almost one hundred years on and Chanel No 5 remains a firm favourite. So, I decided it was time to find out what all the fuss is about.
The first word that springs to mind is complex. This fragrance has more layers than an onion! It starts out flowery with the fresh, sweetness of rose and the fruitiness of ylang-ylang. This is paired with flirty jasmine, uplifting lily of the valet and the old-fashioned romance of iris.
Following your walk through a field through of blooms you happen upon a lush forest and it’s here you will happen upon vetiver, which offers up a grassy odour. There’s also the unmistakable hue of sandalwood, which smells very powdery and woody (as the name suggests).
What else will I find in Chanel No 5? Well there’s vanilla (one of my favourite scents). It manages to lift my spirits every time, and is feted for its soft sweetness. There’s also amber which serves to bring a degree of warmth and richness – a spoon of honey to sweeten the deal. Lest we forget patchouli – dark, sweet, earthy patchouli, which adds yet another element to this heady concoction. I use the word concoction in the nicest possible sense of course!
Chanel No 5 could be described as a sonata, a masterpiece, a true work of art. It brings together so much, and in such an enticing way, that it draws you in and holds onto you. I feel ashamed that I dismissed this scent. It’s not old-fashioned, it’s tried and tested, it’s discerning and real. I understand why my Great-Grandma loved it – but I draw the line at knitting a tea-cosy.