Hail to the queen! The queen of perfume, that is. The best known perfume in the world, first introduced in 1921 by Ernest Beaux exclusively for Coco Chanel, made more popular by Andy Warhol, Marilyn Monroe and recently Nicole Kidman has found its home in my perfume collection. Quite frankly, I could eliminate the superfluous decants, samples and department store fragrances and leave only Chanel No. 5 along with three others. (And from my previous reviews I'm sure you could deduce what those would be!)
When this fragrance was first created, Coco Chanel stated in so many words that she would like a feminine yet artificial scent. She believed in juxtaposing ugly and/or artificial things to pretty things. Therefore, rather than an over-the-top girlie perfume she longed for one not obviously so, to highlight the natural beauty of a woman. Mr. Beaux created six formulations total and it was No. 5 that won Coco's heart and fit her description.
Chanel No. 5 was the first fragrance created with synthetic floral aldehydes as top notes. In addition, neroli, ylang-ylang and iris open the fragrance. With mid notes of rose and jasmine and sandalwood, vetiver and vanilla at the base, its composition is beautifully, abstractly feminine. It just smells good without taking away from the woman who wears it, thus rendering it a classic.
About a year ago, I visited my local Chanel counter and gave all the fragrances a spin. Chanel No. 5 remains the one that to me is utterly wearable and gloriously feminine. Therefore, I purchased the EDP, Sensual Elixir, Body Cream and Soap (for my lingerie drawer). I find the body cream the smoothest and richest formulation and lasts all day on my skin. Sensual Elixir is a lighter formulation for those who may be sensitive to strong odors and/or aldehydes. And the EDP is luxurious. Certainly, I have enough No. 5 to last me a lifetime. And that's just fine with me.
Image sources: Wikipedia and www.chanel.com
Chanel No. 5 can be purchased at department stores, .5 oz. Perfume retails for $155, EDP spray 1.7 oz. retails for $80, Sensual Elixir 1.7 oz. retails for $59.50 and Body Cream for $75.