chanel no. 5

Often described as the “now and forever” fragrance, Chanel No. 5 is widely regarded as one of the world’s most elegant and sophisticated perfumes. This was the first fragrance from Parisian courtier Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel, who was one of the first designers to launch a perfume. The secret behind Chanel No. 5 is a brilliant blend of aldehydes combined with lush floral,  warm amber and earthy patchouli notes. Top notes are aldehydes and Grasse jasmine, followed by rose, ylang-ylang and iris heart notes, and culminating in an amber and patchouli base.

This timeless classic was created in 1921 at Coco Chanel’s request by her perfumer, Ernest Beaux. She told him that she wanted “a woman’s perfume, with a woman’s scent.” According to legend, he presented her with several scents to choose from and the one that she selected was in the bottle numbered “5”. By happenstance, her couture collection was scheduled for presentation on May 5 of that year. It is said that she saw this to be a serendipitous omen, thus she bestowed upon it the name Chanel No. 5.

Near the end of WWII, the perfume started becoming hugely popular when American soldiers who liberated Paris lined up on Rue Cambon outside Chanel’s boutique to pick up bottles for their sweethearts before heading home. By the 1950s , Andy Warhol and Salvador Dali began weaving the fragrance into their artwork and by the end of the decade it was displayed at the Museum of Modern Art in New York.

Catherine Deneuve, Suzy Parker, Lauren Hutton, Nicole Kidman, and Brad Pitt have all been featured in Chanel No. 5 campaigns, but its most famous face is Marilyn Monroe. When asked by the press what nightwear she wore to bed, she famously smiled and answered “Chanel No.5”. The most recent face of this iconic fragrance is Brazilian supermodel Gisele Bundchen.

A-list patrons of Chanel No. 5 include Beyonce,  Kate Moss, Blake Lively, Cameron Diaz, Celine Dion, Mariah Carey, Kristin Stewart and Kate Hudson.

If you are looking to bedazzle and seduce, this one is the bomb. Chanel once famously said, “A woman should wear perfume wherever she wants to be kissed”.

In addition to its exquisite scent, Chanel No.5 is one of the longest lasting perfumes that I have tried. One more reason it remains a bestseller in today’s crowded and fickle fragrance market.

A 3.4 oz. bottle for the Eau de Parfum costs around $165.00 Be aware that there are quite a few knock-offs out there. Stick with reputable department stores or Amazon to make sure that you are getting the real thing.

If you are interested in learning more about this nofragrance, I highly recommend that you read “The Secret of Chanel No.5: The Intimate History of the World’s Most Famous Perfume” by Tilar J. Mazzeo. This well-written book explores Coco’s life and issues as well as the cultural history behind the famous perfume. The hardcover can be purchased on Amazon for around $30.00 and the Kindle version costs around $12.00.



This really should be on everyone’s bucket list of perfumes. If you haven’t tried it you owe it to yourself to do so. Chanel No.5, C’est tres magnifique!



  1. Rowena Flagler says:

    I used this perfume in the late sixties and I thought it was the best smelling thing I had ever smelled. The lady my mother worked for would give her the almost empty bottles of perfume and Chanel No5 would be one of them. Love it!

  2. Regina says:

    Definitely going to try this since you’ve highly recommended it. I do hope they have it in a small bottle as I don’t use perfume regularly. Love trying perfumes!

    I like the story of this fragrance. It seems that, like many successful ventures, a little help is given at the beginning to give it more exposure. After that it gets more and more successful and it lasts. Wish it were like that for me!