Reviews of No. 5 
Chanel (1921)

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No. 5 by Chanel

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Reviews of No. 5 by Chanel

There are 206 reviews of No. 5 by Chanel .

If there's one word that's been used and abused well outside of its wheelhouse over the last decade or so, it's "iconic". Sorry, kids, but Carolina Herrera's dreck in a stiletto-shaped bottle isn't iconic, nor is Marvel's Star-of-the-Minute during a particularly sassy press conference, nor is Olivia Rodrigo's latest mid-tempo diary entry, nor is whichever Hadid sister is in the news this week. The Golden Gate Bridge is iconic. Michelangelo's Pietà is iconic. The Martini is iconic. Marilyn Monroe is iconic. And, yes, Chanel No. 5, the perfume that irrevocably changed the fragrance industry, inspired thousands of imitators at every price point, and set billions of hearts ablaze - and counting! - is iconic. Whether you like it or not, whether you think it smells gorgeously lush or old-fashioned and musty (which version are you smelling, exactly, and how well has it been kept?), it's essential for any scent lover to be familiar with the one perfume that almost everyone on Earth can name. No. 5 is a bright, sparkling, abstract, silky, soapy, powdery, flowery, woody, sunlit, and musky marvel, and contains quite literally the highest-quality jasmine and rose in the world, grown *specifically for it*. Can you smell the difference? If, like me, you've spent 15ish years dicking around with other, lesser fragrant specimens before finally laying a nose on this beauty, yes. You can. The rose jumps out right away, as sonorous and heartbreakingly beautiful as a soprano solo. The jasmine is a violin that somehow turns into a cello halfway through the heart, running its hand along your arm, giving you goosebumps. The musk hums along, clean but decidedly un-cheap; the civet peeks out at odd intervals, reminding you that No. 5 is a proper perfume, meant to be worn on skin, wafting deliciously from warm flesh. Yes, No. 5 extrait is expensive. It's also, like the Pietà, a work of art. But you can't wear the Pietà.

To ChatGPT:

Coco's Puffs are still
Solid gold Fortran, even
Without -NO2.

To Self:

Your high-school girlfriend
Who wore this to the drive-in
Was out of your league.

To Coco:

The significance
Of 5 is likely part of
The simulation.

To Jacques:

The square root of 5
Tall in her youthful splendor
Never forgotten.

To Olivier:

You proved that 5 yields
Upon further division
A further beauty.

YES indeedy I must admit my penchant for the older vintages of this monumental fragrance, more musks (natural+nitro) and better quality absolutes &essences were used back then although I recently purchased a 30 ml. flacon of the parfum to touch base with modernity and the accumulated changes to the formula over recent decades, also I have a nagging feeling that this presentation in parfum form may be heading for discontinuation, as stated just my own gut opinion on the matter, Heaven forbid... I own so many flacons & bottles of No.5 I've honestly lost count over the last 20 to 30 years, most are still sealed and kept in cool storage, my heart always skips a beat when needs must to crack open a bottle it's almost sacrilege to cut that black pearl cotton cord and the clean removal of the onion skin (bauderuche) one favorite bottle in my collection is a sealed MM 203 flask (90 ml.?) from the fifties, looks very musty and dark, aficionados of No.5 know exactly of my musings on this historical period of No.5's production, finally CHANEL No.5 is not my ~numero uno~ go to of fragrance but one that I have held dear over so, so many years.... Congratulations & Thank's Madame Coco for a century of fragrant souvenirs & memories!!!

I’m partial to the extrait, which I think has one of the best drydowns in the history of perfumery. My favorite time to wear it is in December, around the holidays.

I was also able to procure a vintage bottle recently, which is slightly darker and more animalic, less bright and sweet, and has a much stronger, more discernible ‘base’. I would still buy and wear the current extrait, but the vintage is a lovely experience.

Did NOT like this as a teen wearing clouds of Love's Rain, relative of Baby Soft. Decided to try it in my more, um, "mature" age. It is pleasant, and I now appreciate the skill and balance of scents that has made it famous, still doesn't feel like "me".

At the moment, I'm seeing this entry for Chanel No. 5 plus entries for No. 5 edp and No. 5 edt. This entry, then, is seemingly for the parfum and the edc. They can smell a lot a like, depending on which versions you get, and I've also smelled an edp of No. 5 that was the same / similar to some parfum and edc versions.

There are interesting versions of No. 5 that vary from the main idea (skanky edc's, really strong, beautiful edt's, and a recent edp that smelled off), but most of the versions I've tried establish the same smell: powdery aldehydes and jasmine plus woods. It's a perfume on the lighter side, but beautiful in its subtlety.

Chanel No. 5 (1921) is an icon of perfumery, respected by people regardless of whether they like it, for what the perfume is, has done, plus how both the art and industry have been shaped in its wake. Perfumer Ernest Beaux proved his worth to Gabrielle "Coco" Chanel with No. 5, and the scent was many things to those who smelled it: a floral, a chypre, a status symbol, and a groundbreaking work of olfactive art with an unprecedented amount of aldehydes for the time, giving No. 5 its trademark plush opening which itself became a hallmark adapted for many future mainstream Chanel perfumes. There really isn't much more that I can say which hasn't been said by better people than myself, and Chanel No. 5 is a perfume nearly everyone in the Western world has either worn or at least smelled whether they're aware of it or not, but I'll try. Simply put: Chanel No. 5 isn't just an aldehyde floral, but is -the- aldehyde floral, and the perfume most people think about when they think of "that perfume smell", with a cosmetic empire carrying the Chanel double-C logo built upon its shoulders. Women predominantly wear it, but men can wear it (and have), with nearly anyone having the potential to enjoy it regardless of age, which is a difficult feat for any perfume to achieve, let alone one from literally another age. I won't lie, once you get past all the historic social impact hurgusburgus, the actual smell of No. 5 is the furthest thing from new and exciting, because like most things made ubiquitous from popularity, the style it pioneered has been done to death by others. Like Fougère Royale (1882) is to the fougère and Guerlain Shalimar (1925) is to the oriental, Chanel No. 5 to the floral genre a foundation that has been pushed, pulled, tugged, and imitated ad infinitum ad nauseam, but I can imagine how impressive it must have seemed in the early years.

The huge aldehyde and bergamot push is soothed by lemon and neroli, a billowing opening that becomes a golden halo instantly recognizable when anyone wearing No. 5 walks past. The four core florals of jasmine, rose, iris, and ylang-ylang have been often featured in many perfumes since No. 5 launched, but here they are blended to perfection and unadorned with additional floral or spiced notes like past perfumes, forming the balanced core which is pure sunshine alongside the gushing top. The base is jam-packed with things from aromatic sandalwood and oakmoss, to verdant vetiver and patchouli, warm amber and vanilla, with a deftly light application of musk and civet to mix with intimate animal attraction of one's skin smell. All the resplendent top and heart notes really keep No. 5 from being anything remotely lewd, but it is alluring in the teasing manner in which one bats their eyelashes at a potential suitor. Most people born long after this scent had seen its heyday won't read even one iota of sexual provocation from the dry down of No. 5, thanks to the cultural ingraining caused by everyone's mom and grandmother wearing the stuff, but such is how it goes with long-lived popular perfumes. Overall, the golden floral that is No. 5 just feels like happiness bottled, with the only real competition it faced being the aptly-named Patou Joy (1930). Gender, age, and context are all illusions with this one. If you like it's voluptuous splendor, wear it and be happy. From my personal experience, Chanel No. 5 is admittedly hard to reach for, even as somebody open to perfumes marketed to the opposite sex from mine, simply because all the matriarchs in my family wore into the ground growing up, so I was enveloped in clouds of No. 5 the same way a man is consumed by fogs of Axe/Lynx spray at a gym.

Even then, I acknowledge a level of comfort and gilded confidence in sniffing No. 5, a grace not found in the bitter 70's green chypres and poise missing from the terrible tuberose bombs of the 80's. Performance is all over the map for a scent with so many available vintages, but pure Parfum is the definite all-day radioactive glow of aldehydes, may rose, and aromatic fullness for which the scent is known. Eau de Parfum is the quietest in my opinion, with a soft-spoken low-sillage introduction to the main accord dialed down for intimate affairs, while the Eau de Toilette is technically weaker in formula, but has sharper citrus for greater sillage coupled with more-evident bite in the base, leaning more-masculine. The long-gone Eau de Cologne was almost "No. 5 for Men", with bergamot, aldehydes, rose, oakmoss, vetiver, and sandalwood stealing the show in the leanest, meanest incarnation ever produced, but also with shortest lifespan. Sampling is super easy because this stuff is everywhere, and of course I recommend trying because in case you've lived in a cave all your life, you need to at least know what all the histrionics and hype are about. I also think enough generations have lived and died that the style of No. 5 is beginning to finally borderline on irrelevant to the tastes of most young adults not versed in perfume history, so while we're at no risk of losing No. 5, recent flanker efforts to introduce "younger" iterations of the legendary accord prove to caution that some level of awarness needs preaching from its long-held fans to ensure future generations understand and appreciate this cornerstone of perfume. That's not to say every woman needs this in their medicine chest the way every guy is indoctrinated by his father to use Skin Bracer (1931), Old Spice (1937) or Pino Silvestri (1955), but No. 5 is an experience very much worth having. Thumbs way up.

Don't go for the lesser versions, or the newer updates (all the various concentrations and new formulations of No. 5). Go for the best: the parfum. The parfum stays with you and adapts through the day. By evening it's out of this world -- not by being overpowering, but in its subtle beauty. It's divine.
And don't save it for special occasions; wear it as a day fragrance and love it.

One of the most disgusting things out there... Chanel No.5 with it's huge dose of civet, giving any girl or woman wearing it a cat pee smell.

It probably somehow triggers a pleasant, primal feeling though judging by its fanbase.

I can only assume this is related to the wearer getting a feeling of being able to 'mark her territory' in modern day society. And also being able to stand out from the crowd, albeit in a bad way.

The aldehydes are "crisp". Faint, but there, notes of citrus and neroli. Thankfully, the heart notes come quick enough. For some reason I don't care for the aldehydes in this. I used to. I used to love this perfume. However, I haven't worn this in over 21 years. I am thinking it must have changed.

I smell the jasmine, rose, ylang ylang, and lily of the valley in the heart. Later, a peak of iris that adds a powdery-ness. This redeems No. 5 for me, as I was beginning to feel very disappointed. The base reveals some amber, patchouli, musk, civet, and vanilla. Civet isn't too strong here, to my nose.

The eau de parfum version IS much better than the EDT. I'll finish my decant of the edp. A full bottle will not be on my radar. I had loved this at one time - perhaps it was because my father would always give me a bottle for special occasions and I associate No. 5 with those lovely memories.

What a difference an age makes. When I first smelt Chanel No.5, I was in my teens and I didn't like it at all. In all honesty I thought it was over-rated. Now a few decades later I love it. The ylang ylang and iris, stand out first for me, and it dries down to a musky mix of sandalwood, a delicate hint of cedarwood and finally wraps up in a warm vanilla. I definitely feel this designed more for the older woman, perhaps because in our youth we tend to marinate in fragrances rather than appreciate the individual subtleties in a lighter spritz.

I've been a wearer of Chanel No 5 for several decades and of all the perfumes I have worn it varies more from one concentration or product or era to another than any other perfume in my experience. Therefore reviews of the scent in general leave me a bit in the dark as to which No 5 is being covered. The two products and concentrations I prefer and am reviewing here are the eau de toilette and parfum, which I find resemble each other most of all available formats, and which, although they have evolved over the years, retain the classic No 5 DNA the most.

I am a big ylang ylang fan and the parfum and edt seem to bring it out more than other versions. I think one also has to enjoy powder and aldehydes to like No. 5. The edp to me is an entirely different scent, in which the rose and jasmine stand out more. I also find it "louder." The edt and parfum do not project as much but seem to hover like an aura around the wearer and puff up from time to time during the day. The "Chanelade" drydown is evident still, although today's edt is lighter than in the past.

My mom didn't wear it but it was the signature scent of my best friend in college. During that time I abstained so as not to steal her thunder but once we went our separate ways it was all mine to enjoy! I find it discreet, refined and extremely easy to wear.

Oh--one more distinction: the edt available here is made in France and judging from former testing, is drier, not quite as sweet and powdery as the one made in USA.

Absolutely horrible.

Chanel No5 is the most overrated awful perfume on the market. It couldn't get worse. Being exposed to this fragrance is equal to a violent attack. It's crude, loud, repellent, foul and completely unsophisticated. It's designed by a perfumer with no sense of smell, no refinement of any sort. The only imagination Chanel No5 can conjure is that of a worn-out Parisian brothel filled with workers long past their due date.

The bottle is beautiful though and the only reason it sells.

That grandmother smell.

This iconic, legendary behemoth of the perfume world is a mystery to me. Others speak in hushed tones of its brilliance, its sparkle, its ability to transport and transform the ordinary into the exquisite. I want(ed) so very much to love it, much like my desire to love seafood or The Tragically Hip. Alas, like them, it is not to be. I have tried it at very different times throughout my life, (EdP & EdT), and every time it is an exercise in aversion. To me it smells like I am trapped in an old lady's sitting room and she is repeatedly whacking me with a bundle of faded, blowsy flowers. Over and over. I remember my mother had a bottle of No 5 that sat, untouched, on her dresser--it was the source of my first "try". And the bottle then remained untouched by me as well. Maybe it's genetic? I give it a neutral instead of thumbs down, because I know in my secret heart that I will surreptitiously try it again...

I really wanted to like this. I tried it several times and to no avail. It just doesn't smell good on me. Unfortunately instead of getting the florals in the heart notes or the woods, amber, vanilla etc in the base, I just get a big ole dose of Civet that shines through and trust me, it is not a pleasant scent. I wanted to like and wear it because it reminded me of my mother, but it doesn't smell on me the way it did on her. I am going to have to give this away to someone and hope it smells good on them.

This is a positive review. I haven't worn it during ten years of parfume passion. I just smelled the bottle once. I don't know what was pushing me off. The popularity. The myth. The "madame" side of it.

It won't become a favorite. But I'm here at the airport waiting for my flight and I feel pride and comfort for wearing it. It will follow me for twelve hours and I'm happy I chose it.

Anyone who has watched home shopping channels for any length of time has heard the phrase "you wear it-- it doesn't wear you." Now this is supposed to make you feel superior (with your whisper of scent) to those of us who still like to strut it (in the olfactory sense).

"The Five" does now, as it always has, wear me. And I don't mind a bit.

In my tiny wardrobe, I don't wear No. 5 or Panthere de Cartier as often as I do the others, but when I crave them, nothing else will do.

For what it's worth, I have never craved any of the 21st Century flankers-- they remind me of hearing the Blue Danube Waltz-- played on kazoos. Gimme the real thing, already!

Timeless and extraordinary, say no more...

I feel like I should be writing some sort of complicated review comparing all the concentrations and versions of No. 5, but really, I love the extrait. That was the first version I tried and the version I ended up buying.

I think it's essentially an example of a perfect perfume. The topnotes (sparkly lemon champagne and powder), the mid notes (soapy flowers deepened with clove and spices), and the base (super-creamy, rich musks and sandalwood over a full chypre base) are all great. And the way the different themes interact with each other as the day goes on are always gorgeous and carry an engineered precision that is almost impossibly complex but also achingly beautiful.

Required sniffing.

For about 20 years I occasionally sprayed some of this from a tester, and what I got was somewhere between 'bottom of the fridge' and 'nothing', and I thought of it as actively unpleasant. What was wrong with me? It's glorious, but for some reason it never clicked for me until last year, when it sneaked up on me and showed its true beautiful nature. Now, almost without me realising, it's my second-most-worn, after my great love, Mitsouko.

To paraphrase Cameron Crowe's Almost Famous, I'm about to go where many, many others have gone before, and try to say something insightful about Chanel No. 5.

I hadn't owned a bottle of No. 5 in so long that I was afraid I might not even recognize it, when I found a bottle of the discontinues Elixir Sensuelle on eBay. I missed that train the first time, so I snatched it up. To be honest, I was worried that it might be old, or even fake. But I popped the top off, and there it was--that same, strange, elusive, weird, tickle.

How to describe it? Actually, trotting out the old Marilyn Monroe warhorse can be helpful, because Marilyn was a lady of very particular tastes. She loved the color white to the point of obsession. She loved Champagne. She loved going without underclothes. She did not love the "Happy Birthday, Mr. President" dress, but she knew it was a dress that "only Marilyn Monroe could wear."

Wearing Chanel No. 5 feels like fizzy skin of microscopic fireworks on the sheerest layer of silky golden white. (Describing the scent is like describing the sound of something that's almost beyond your range of hearing. It's the wearing that counts.). It's like wearing the stuff of Marilyn's Mr. President dress, but you don't have to be sewn into it. And you can wear it for whomever you want. It feels like electricity. It feels like magic.

This is the perfume that my life partner seduced me with. Chanel flats. Black and gold outfit and all.
Have often sneaked some of hers. I think though, it is better suited to the Feminine.
I wear Bois des Iles and Cuir de Russie often. They are better suited to my skin.
To this day, when I pick this up, on any woman,
it has me stand up to attention.

I'm so pleased that I have waited this long to experience one of the great classics. Chanel's No. 5 is almost indescribable. It brings tears to the eyes. I won't try to explain the ethereal effect, the simultaneous depth and lightness of this great perfume.

What I wanted so to do was to run to my records and see how Coty's classic L'Aimant fared date-wise with the Chanel. They are so similar, but the Chanel has a depth in its base notes that so anchors the elusive whisps of Ylang, Neroli, Jasmine and Rose, so between the two, it does come out the winner.

I found that Coty's L'Aimant (1927) trailed Chanel's No. 5 (1921) by three years. I am humbled.

I love them both.

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