[unpaid/sample/affiliate/ad] CHANEL No 5 is my favourite fragrance – it’s the perfume Mr BBB brought me back from his holiday just after we started dating (then known as ‘going out together’) and I was so a) surprised and b) impressed that I thought I’d better keep him. L’Eau launched in 2016 but this year has been put in the special ‘drop’ bottle which ties in with their repackaged hand creams. Personally, I think the shape works better for fragrance with its spray nozzle than it does for the hand creams that need some extra effort squeezing.

It’s a joy to photograph so I have taken far too many. The thing we as consumers don’t realise is that a lot of effort is put into ‘hand feel’ – how a product feels when you hold it. This has hand feel in spades – it’s cool and heavy and your fingers curl around it in perfect proportion, like it was bespoke measured to your hand.

I’m sure everyone is familiar with Chanel No 5 notes but as a quick recap – the opening is all about citrus and it’s particularly enhanced in the L’Eau version with a crisper beginning (in my view) than the original. Lemon, orange and mandarin are boosted with aldehydes that give a clean, soapy aspect to the fruit. In the original No 5, I get all the florals first but in this iteration, I get the citrus.

Middle notes are rose, ylang-ylang and jasmine and my nose adores all three – I think it’s what draws me to No 5 as a perfect alignment of all the things I like to smell. It’s powdery and sweet, in many ways an old-fashioned fragrance given that it began life in 1921. Fragrance ingredient ‘rules’ have meant several reformulations and the trick has been to stay as close to the original formula as possible using permissible ingredients – the rules from the FDA or IFRA (International Fragrance Association) can change as often as the wind, so fragrancers have to be ready to make adjustments. The bottom notes are cedar and white musk.

This is a very airy version of No 5 – it retains all the characteristics of the full bodied fragrance but it’s like they’ve been set on a breeze so they’re floating rather than settling. I’m never not going to love this perfume but I am truly so enjoying catching the scent of it in my hair where it sits round my neck and I move to grab my phone. It’s a happy scent full of joyful notes that feel optimistic and sophisticated. It reminds me of both of my grandmas although I can’t be certain they ever wore No 5 but it has that ‘just got ready to go out’ feel to it from back in the day where you put lipstick on to go the shops which they both did. If it’s pinging some memories for you, you can find it for £120 HERE.


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