Alright, today I’m to tackle it:
Chanel N°5 EdP was released in 1986. The Parfum and the EdT are much older than that, although of course today they have all been reformulated due to ingredient restrictions. My review is for the EdP currently available. I also have the EdT, but I don’t want to tackle them both in the same post.
N°5 is somewhat intimidating. It’s a huge bestseller, yet lots of non-perfumistas (muggles?) don’t like it. It’s been popular for a long time, leading to it smelling sort of old fashioned today. Specifically, the aldehydes are hard to get into. In my opinion these are, like hot food and coffee, an acquired taste. Eau Premiere helped me get into them, then I went on to Commes des Garcons 2 and now I can deal with them.
The soapy aldehydes that the EdP starts with are still not my favorite. But after an hour or so they are gone and that is when the magic starts. The heart is made of flowery notes such as rose, lily of the valley, iris, but I can’t make them out individually. It is simply a cloud of cozy wonders. About two or three hours later we get to the dry down: vanilla, amber, sandalwood. Again, not individually, just a complex all encompassing sweetness.
To me, the EdP starts harsh and then smoothes into the most gentle, most elegant composition possible. I love smelling it, it just gives off a vibe of quality. On my skin it lasts for about ten hours, sometimes more. On clothes it lasts longer.
I recommend it for everyone who can deal with the aldehydes. Please note that the different concentrations (Parfum, EdP, EdT) differ somewhat in how they develop. Some people can be pretty snobby about which concentration is the “right” one. I don’t agree with that view. Every version you like is obviously the right one for you.
If you want to try this perfume, but can’t get past the soapy opening, try to spray and not smell it until hours later. Everyone I met who claimed to dislike N°5 liked it when I let them sniff on my wrist without telling them what they were smelling. 🙂 And if you still don’t like it, that’s perfectly okay, too.