Thursday, February 14, 2013

Beauty Loves Week Day Five - Chanel No. 5

Stella by Stella McCartney is my biggest perfume love but I do have a second fragrance love that I wanted to talk about this week, Chanel No 5 is a fragrance that I have used and loved for longer than any other in my life.  No 5 is known as the "now and forever fragrance" and has been an icon every since it was first released in the early part of the last century, after reading the biography of Coco Chanel, I have come to love and understand this fragrance more than ever.  Chanel No 5 is the only fragrance other than Stella that I have had to buy more than one bottle of, I wear it often during the fall and winter and I can go through it at a very rapid rate.  I often credit this fragrance as being the perfume that made me want to get dressed up as a child and be like my mother (who has worn this fragrance for many years - in fact she is the only person that I know that goes through a bottle of this faster than I do).  I was first allowed to wear fragrance for my ballet recitals as a little girl and she always sprayed a (very) little bit of this on me before we left for the show.

As a child, I do not remember the exact time when I started loving this fragrance and wanting to own it and be able to get dressed up just like my mother.  This is the fragrance that I have been using for longer than any other and as this is the best selling fragrance for this renowned House, I am not alone in my admiration of Chanel No. 5. 

Chanel states the following as a fragrance description on their website.  "The now and forever fragrance. The ultimate in femininity. An elegant, luxurious spray closest in strength and character to the parfum form. The sleek, portable signature bottle is perfect for the dressing table or travel."

Sephora goes further with the product description and then into the iconic notes of the fragrance.  "The first great abstract perfume, N°5 conjures up no precise floral scent and survives the passing of mere trends because it is beyond them. Coco Chanel wanted "a woman's fragrance that smells like Woman." When perfume designer Ernest Beaux presented her with his 5th composition, the choice seemed simple and obvious. Her perfume would be called N°5. Five was her lucky number". What she mean when she wants a fragrance that smell like "Woman"? It is very simple, Chanel wanted a fragrance that had no instantly recognizable notes and soon after the first aldehydic floral.  At that time in history, perfumes had one or two very recognizable notes and that was what the fragrance smelled like. An example of this would be that if a fragrance boasted lily of the valley as its main note then the fragrance smelled like lily of the valley and nothing else. Chanel wanted a fragrance that was different for every woman and had no notes that jumped out at one. An aldehydic floral is defined as follows, "A bouquet of abstract flowers with an indefinable femininity".

Chanel No.5 is the first fragrance that did not smell strongly of one or two major notes and instead was formulated to be a blend of florals and musks and to smell unique on every single lady that wears it.  ""Launches with bewitching notes of Ylang-Ylang and Neroli, then unfolds with Grasse Jasmine and May Rose. Sandalwood and Vanilla round out the fabled composition with unforgettable woody notes". The notes that I find most evident in the fragrance when I am wearing it is the jasmine and sandalwood. I know that rose is one of the listed notes but I find that with application, the jasmine comes out more and is the heart of the fragrance.   This fragrance wears stronger on me so I only use it in the fall and winter, I would clear out an elevator if I used a fragrance of this power during the warm weather months. 

I will continue to love and wear this fragrance until I am too old to leave my nursing home.  If I ever become a mother or an aunt, this is the fragrance that I will introduce her to when she graduates college and is getting ready to go to grad school or find her first job.  This really is the Now and Forver fragrance and is one of the few true perfume icons.

photo courtesy of Chanel

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