N°1 de Chanel L'Eau Rouge fragrance notes

  • Head

    • red camellia, citrus, red berries
  • Heart

    • jasmine, rose
  • Base

    • musk, iris notes

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Latest Reviews of N°1 de Chanel L'Eau Rouge

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N°1 de Chanel L’Eau Rouge is for when you want a getaway from perfume per se but might enjoy having an ethereal aura merely hinting at scent. It is the fragrance equivalent of a watercolour painting done with a light brush, a suggested bouquet of the trademark Chanel flowers: rose, jasmine, iris, punctuated with citrus and red berries. I also get lily-of-the-valley in the opening, although it is not listed as an official note.

The defining “note,” however, is red camellia. It’s not clear from the Chanel literature if the camellia extract in L’Eau Rouge has any scent. Camellia is traditionally said not to have scent but apparently some varieties do. Either way the extract in the N°1 de Chanel line is reportedly included for its therapeutic properties and is the lynchpin that unites the N°1 line of skin care products, of which L’Eau Rouge is presented as the fragrant final touch (and does fine worn independently).

The sprayer bears mention because it gives a fine mist that is very refreshing and controllable. Pleasant to apply and pleasant to wear.

9th March 2023
No. 1 de Chanel L'Eau Rouge by Chanel (2022) is Chanel's attempt to do several things at once, something at which it partially succeeds. Firstly, this is an attempt at the modern "non-fragrance" that is gaining ground among trendy well-heeled late-gen Millennials and early-gen Zoomers, who have enough money and social status to want luxury, but want a functional spin laced in so they don't feel guilty for the conspicuous consumption they're undertaking just like their Gen-X or late-gen Boomer parents did. You know, because having a perfume that's just a perfume to be smelled is wasteful, needless indulgence, and likely offensive to someone else's personal safe space if they have to smell you in public, since we're all about not having sensory stimuli we didn't tick boxes or use keyword filters to permiss experiencing, like the media bombardments we vet online. Since perfumes don't come with a content warning hashtag, it's rude to wear them, never mind that $1,500 iPhone or the boutique-bred puffball dog they trot around in the mall, with everyone else having to avoid bumping into them or stepping on the dog because they walk face-in-phone. The second purpose of No. 1 de Chanel L'Eau Rouge is more cleverly-hidden in the naming of it, partially repurposing both the name of the apocryphal Swiss-made Mademoiselle Chanel No.1 by Chanel (1948), and the name of Le Rouge de Chanel (1931) into a single compound scent. Perhaps the apocryphal No. 2 and No. 3 are next? Who knows? Who cares? These kind of exercises are more or less to make folks uncomfortable with fragrance to be comfortable with it, by making it a part of a larger cosmetic ensemble. Sound familiar? Clarins also did stuff like this in the late 80's as a reaction to a growing aversion to powerhouse fragrances.

The name "Mademoiselle Chanel" was already partially repurposed for the Coco Mademoiselle by Chanel (2001) release anyway, so it could be argued that I'm grasping at straws here, but whatever. The "non-fragrance fragrance" facets take the form of No. 1 being a scent layer meant to go over top of the related No. 1 de Chanel skincare and make-up range, which all have elements of this same scent. It's a similar move as to what Coty did by tying in the scent of its make-up products with the preexisting L'Origan de Coty (1905) perfume, particularly with the famous Air-Spun face powder; the key difference here is this scent was made for the cosmetics and not the other way around. Despite its efforts to be extremely minimal, ephemeral, light but punchy in fits and starts, No. 1 de Chanel L'Eau Rouge does smell well put-together, although I wouldn't expect any less from Olivier Polge at this point. Red camellia flower is the focus of the scent, but there is a lot of hibiscus and Chanel's signature rose here too, plus the usual light jasmine, citrus, Chanel aldehyde puff, and some fruity "red berries" notes that seem to be finding their way into everything regardless of gender. A tiny touch of Chanel's signature orris slides in with white musks to anchor this, preventing it from becoming too sweet, alongside a small touch of vetiver. No. 1 is fresh, fruity, rosy in places, and pretty forgettable beyond the impressive opening, which is all by design. Performance is surprisingly long for something made to be light, but what the scent reduces to after a few hours might as well just be the residual smell all of the various No. 1 cosmetics leave behind, which again might just be the point for such a "non-fragrance". My guess is the idea behind using No. 1 is to eventually be using other more "serious" Chanel perfumes and make-up before long.

I guess stuff like this is a necessary step to keep the fragrance industry alive, doing for young women what these brands once had to do for young men a century ago, by hiding what is honestly just purposeless aesthetic behind a somewhat practical aim; all we're doing here is dressing up an eau de toilette as a "revitalizing mist" rather than as an "after-shave" or "all-purpose lotion", although the reasons why trendy well-to-do young women avoid all-out perfume is much different and arguably more conscientious than why stupid jar-necked guys avoided wearing scent a century back. We're in an era where nobody wants to talk face to face, nobody feels comfortable calling without asking for permission via email or text first, where talking about a 20+ year-old movie to someone who hasn't seen it is still a "spoiler", and things like perfume, hi-fi stereo equipment (or even boomboxes) don't sell well because nobody wants to put forth smell, sound or practically anything into anyone else's spatial awareness without permission. So, we live our lives with our faces buried in our little private sensory stimulation tablets, thriving in virtual worlds and fearful to to co-exist in someone else's real space because everyone's sense of privacy is so over-heightened and inviolate that an accidental brush when moving past someone in line at the grocery is tantamount to assault. Convincing future generations that the public is a space better shared together with compromise and tolerance is not the purpose of this perfume of course, it's just egging them into having a little more "devil may care" attitude about it doing like we did not even 20 years ago. Do I like No. 1 though? Not really, because it's still a non-fragrance; just a pleasantly well-made one with a Chanel logo on it. Neutral
18th December 2022