Chanel perfume: an olfactory revolution

In 1921 Gabrielle Chanel conceived an inimitable fragrance: Chanel N ° 5. With his nose, Ernest Beaux created a perfume that freed women from the classic feminine scents of violet or lily of the valley. For the first time, luxurious notes, including jasmine and Grasse’s May rose, were combined with synthetic molecules, aldehydes.

With N ° 5, Cocò created his own Chanel perfume, no frills and not at all sweet. In the collective imagination, women smelled of rose or essences sugary, she contributed to change this perception, expanding the olfactory typification of the female gender. Chanel N ° 5 was the first beauty accessory which supported a new idea of ​​femininity, plus independent, outside the rules, freer. N ° 5, her lucky number is a reflection of Gabrielle’s personality, her double olfactory that, over time, divas, muses, photographers and artists have transformed into a myth.

Its secret formula has been preserved and protected by the master perfumers who succeeded Ernest Beaux: Henri Robert, Jacques Polge and now Olivier Polge, nose of the Maison since 2015. With the exception of Henri Robert, everyone has interpreted a particular shade of No. 5, with an exercise in style that he brought to light five variants of the original fragrance.


Composed in 1921, Chanel N ° 5 Parfum it is the most precious interpretation. “The starting point was a very floral fragrance rich, which was considered completely new at the time, ”said Olivier Polge. Ernest Beaux invented an unprecedented olfactory architecture, selecting the most precious flowers grown in Grasse and mixing them with aldehydes: the result was a perfume that resembled no other. The opulence of the formula contrasted radically with the geometric minimalism of the bottle, a clear reference to the artistic avant-gardes.


Three years later (in 1924), Ernest Beaux created the first variation of N ° 5: theEau de Toilette, one more version light, but faithful to the original. It stands out for its dry and vibrant shades of vetiver, offset by the deep scent of sandalwood. These two woody notes support the floral bouquet of jasmine, rose and ylang-ylang and are enhanced by the famous aldehydes, unique to N ° 5. Less intoxicating than the Parfum, the Eau de Toilette also inaugurated a new way of applying the perfume that, through the spray, made possible a more generous vaporization.

Chanel N ° 5 Eau de Toilette vaporizer


In 1986, Jacques Polge created the third interpretation of N ° 5: theEau de Parfum, which revived the concentrate of sensuality of the original fragrance. “His intention was to preserve all the possible richness of the Parfum, both from the olfactory point of view and from the amber color”, explained Olivier Polge. In this composition, the floral-aldehyde bouquet is sumptuous and opulent and is expressed through its enveloping and persistent scented trail. While a note of vanilla gives the fragrance its distinctive oriental signature.

Chanel N ° 5 Eau de Parfum


In 2008, Jacques Polge has created the fourth variation of N ° 5, more airy and luminous. He tried to imagine what olfactory sensation Ernest Beaux would have perceived if he had had access to a range of contemporary raw materials at the time of its creation. Thus, his creative exercise led him to use i white musks and the aldehydes that Chanel developed from citrus essences. These aldehydes envelop the iconic floral bouquet of rose, jasmine and ylang-ylang, enlivened by a touch of vanilla. “The olfactory trail of Eau Première reveals another texture, closer to the skin, which remains very similar to No. 5 ”, commented Olivier Polge.

Chanel N ° 5 Eau Première

N ° 5 L’EAU

Created in 2016 by Olivier Polge, N ° 5 L’Eau born from the desire to give birth to a fresh fragrance. “I wanted to play with the limits of his identity,” revealed the perfumer. “Take the image that transmits N ° 5 and turn it upside down to make it more fluid and more transparent.” With this lively and intangible vision, he based his composition on Cedar wood, with a less enveloping olfactory trail than the other interpretations. Like a fresh floral eau de toilette, N ° 5 L’Eau opens with an accord citrusy – lemon, mandarin and orange – which aldehydes raise to its maximum potential, while rose and jasmine blend with a new fractional note of ylang ylang. The notes are the same, yet N ° 5 L’Eau is the fragrance that most differs from the others. Only the proportions, a matter of agreements that elevate a perfume to music for the body and expressiveness for the soul.

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