First There Was Nº 5…

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What do you think about when I say Chanel Nº 5? My knowledge about this iconic perfume was painfully limited. I might have sniffed it years ago and deemed it not to be my thing, but that’s about it. I seized the opportunity when Chanel invited me to embark on a perfume-discovery journey. Now I know more than what Chanel Nº smells like: I know what it tastes like!

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I don’t know about you, but hearing stories about how something came into existence always adds a lot to the experience for me. Before  5, apparently all fragrances were composed of one note. Gabrielle Chanel had the idea of making a perfume that “smells like a woman,” and she commissioned the Russian-French perfumer, Ernest Beaux, to bring the concept to life. She picked the 5th composition when she was presented with different prototypes, and ended up naming the perfume that way.

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The three major components? Jasmine (the tea), rose (the macarron), and vanilla (the cake). Like any perfume (especially complex ones), it is the notes that decide how it will smell on someone.

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 5 has an extensive line-up of parfum, eau de parfum, eau de toilette, and Eau Première. I knew a little bit about the different levels of concentration, but I learnt that each version has a different note that is more prominent. Theoretically speaking, parfum is like haute couture. It wears very close to the skin and it’s only for those who get close enough. Eau de parfum is like the little black dress that takes you everywhere. Eau de toilette is something you use to refresh the fragrance during the day. In  5‘s case, Eau Première is like a baby sister who wants a bit of what the big sister has. It bears similarities but it’s much more easygoing!

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To complete the scent, there is also a whole family of body products. A new idea to try? Layer a different perfume on the body lotion and see what you like best!

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My favorite Chanel fragrance so far is Coco Mademoiselle. I was so excited to see the parfum! Did you know the wax seal and string are done by hand? Also, there is not a single drop of water in the parfum form. I would normally go for an EDP over an EDT, but I have never really explored an even more concentrated version. I tried this on and it smelled great till the next day!

(On my nails: Chanel Bel-Argus)

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I also got to check out Les Exlusifs de Chanel. The 14 fragrances are only available in selected boutiques. We sniffed some of them and were asked to imagine where we are. It’s amazing that there was almost always some consensus!

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Jersey is one of my favorites of the day! If you like powdery scents, this is for you!

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I’ll admit something: it is very, very hard to write about what I learnt and did that day. Writing about perfumes is quite a challenge. Writing about perfumes that you were allowed to experience through taste, touch, and exercising your imagination is mission impossible. I hope I haven’t bored you too much!

Is there anyone in your life who wears Chanel Nº 5? Do you have a favorite Chanel fragrance? I need to pick up Coco Mademoiselle Parfum some day!

Sunny, your beauty culture translator xx

PS: I’m on holiday from this week on! I have scheduled as many posts as I can, and you can probably expect a couple more that are live from Taipei. I’ll still be around to reply to comments (might be slower), say hi on Twitter, and so on!  



  • b eauties

    have fun :D

    • http://mostlysunnyblog.com/ Sunny @Mostly Sunny

      Thanks, Eva!

  • Diana

    Wooow! They put a lot of thought into those perfumes.
    Have fun in Taipei honey!

    • http://mostlysunnyblog.com/ Sunny @Mostly Sunny

      Thanks so much, Diana! Chanel for sure is a great perfume house among everything else!

  • Sasha

    If makeup is my weakness, my real true passion is perfume ! I’m a little young to wear n°5 yet, but I enjoy my Coco (not Mademoiselle) and le Beige from les Exclusifs. Next on my buylist La Pausa, it’s perfect, you have to smell it. It’s a really green perfume with a hint of leather ! I love it.
    Enjoy your vacation, Sunny, I hope you’ll have a wonderful time !!
    Sasha

    • http://mostlysunnyblog.com/ Sunny @Mostly Sunny

      Hey Sasha, you sound like a true connoisseur! Now I regret not sniffing La Pausa that day, but then again I’ll be in Taipei in a couple of days and I’m sure Les Exclusifs have to be available somewhere!

      Thanks so much for the vacation wishes! I’ll still be around so talk to you soon :)

  • taf

    Wow, such a cool thing to get to do! I haven’t had the chance to visit a Chanel boutique and sample their Les Exclusifs line, as we don’t have any in NZ I believe, and I didn’t get around to going to one last time I was in Australia. One day!

    • http://mostlysunnyblog.com/ Sunny @Mostly Sunny

      Aww I’m so sorry to hear Les Exclusifs are hard to find where you are, Taf! I hope you’ll get to sample the scents somewhere else soon!

  • http://kissandmakeupsbeautyblog.wordpress.com/ Kiss & Make-up

    Have fun in Taipei, Sunny! How big is your beauty wish list?? :-)

    P.S.: I deserve a whipping for this, but I’ve never tried Chanel N°5… Shame on me.

    • http://mostlysunnyblog.com/ Sunny @Mostly Sunny

      Thanks, Melissa! I don’t know haha I am hoping I won’t see the autumn collections there, because that’s when things get really dangerous!

      Don’t worry. I’ve never tried it on, either! I smell if on a piece of paper and think I might fall in love with it later, but that day hasn’t arrived yet!

  • Icaria

    Love this entry, great job & lovely pictures. I used to like No 22 and Cristalle a lot but the one I loved the most was Coco Le Parfum (the original), not the EdT. It was amazing! I’m not sure if it’s still available here, I may look into it one day but I used that one till the last drop. I would have to look but I think I may still have the bottle somewhere. :)

    • http://mostlysunnyblog.com/ Sunny @Mostly Sunny

      Thanks so much, Helene! I tried my best ;)

      I almost always go for the EDP version, as it lasts longer and develops more than EDT, but costs a lot less than the parfum. My heart is now really set on the Coco Mademoiselle parfum though. Not good for my wallet!

  • http://lifeandlensofbeauty.blogspot.hk/ Jenni @ lifeandlensofbeauty

    the chanel beaute store near my workplace had a spectrum (literally like a piano) of scents laid out – they gave shoppers a little birthday treat last year to pick their scent and take away a sample vial! I love Cuir de Russie!

    • http://mostlysunnyblog.com/ Sunny @Mostly Sunny

      Oh wow, that sounds amazing! I enjoyed Cuir de Russie as well. I like leather in scents quite a bit!

  • TracyBeautyReflections

    I think Chanel No. 5 was my first real perfume purchase when I started working. I haven’t worn it in years and years now! I think my favourite is Chance-I like the green, crisp scent.
    Have fun back home Sunny!

    • http://www.glambunctious.com/ Kristen / Glambunctious

      Chance is what my mom wears!! It is such a pretty fragrance! :)

      • http://mostlysunnyblog.com/ Sunny @Mostly Sunny

        Thanks, Tracy! I have fond memories of Chance because it came out the summer before I went to college. The commercial is all about love, life, and big dreams, so you can imagine that resonated very well with me!

  • http://beautyreductionista.blogspot.ca/ Liz

    What a fun event! And your vacation sounds super exciting. :D

    I never warmed to No. 5 despite many many attempts. It’s such a classic but my nose isn’t crazy about it. But there are some really good scents in the Exclusifs and I have plans to snag a few bottles in the future when there’s more room in my coffret. I can’t remember which one but one of them smells like gin.

    • http://mostlysunnyblog.com/ Sunny @Mostly Sunny

      Hey Liz, gin??? Wow I must have missed that! Or maybe I couldn’t really tell, since I can’t remember when I had gin last time ;)

  • http://www.nailsandcupcakes.com/ Isabelle

    That looks like it was a great and very interesting event! My grandmother owns many Chanel perfumes.. My favorite Chanel one is the Chance Eau Fraiche. It’s perfect for me. I love it :)

    • http://mostlysunnyblog.com/ Sunny @Mostly Sunny

      Aww Chanel perfumes must be very endearing for you in that case! I need to look into Chance. I have fond memories of the scent (it came out the summer I was going to college), but I’ve never tried it on!

  • http://papayapieces.com/ Sofia

    I have some sample of Chanel No. 5. But what I do have at the moment is Chanel No. 19 Poudre. It’s way more softer than most of the classic Chanel fragrances (sorry, am not a grande connoiseur) but I do live powdery smells and on me it has this oriental twist to it which I adore. With regards to my Chanel No 5 samples, I was wearing them trying to act sophisticated when my boyfried announced it smelt like one of his grumpy aunties and thus doesnt suit me :( HAve a marvellous holiday Sunny!

    • http://mostlysunnyblog.com/ Sunny @Mostly Sunny

      Aww I’m sorry to hear your boyfriend ruined your No. 5 moment! Guys can be so clueless sometimes! I’m all about powdery scents as well (and chypre), so I should check No. 19 out!

  • http://www.glambunctious.com/ Kristen / Glambunctious

    I must sniff Jersey as I am a powdery fragrance lover! I am always on the outside of the bulb when it comes to perfumes most people love b/c I am really sensitive to certain notes. And they smell awful on me! Chanel No. 5 literally reacts with my skin and gives off the scent of…cat pee! It is so gross! But I’ve smelled it (and Coco Mademoiselle) on others and LOVED IT. Perfumes just don’t gel with me a lot of times! I had to return Coco Mademoiselle b/c it made me nauseous. Yet one of my best friends wears it and it smells DIVINE – on her! So weird how personal fragrance is! I love your fragrance experience! And my hat is off to anyone who can write about perfume!

    Enjoy your trip!! Can’t wait to see pics and hear your story!

    • http://mostlysunnyblog.com/ Sunny @Mostly Sunny

      Hey Kristen, if you like powdery scents, give Jersey a sniff! Too bad to hear No. 5 doesn’t work for you at all! I know the problem though. Fig for example, goes all kinds of wrong on me I don’t even know where to begin!

      Thanks! I will! I’ll try to do some live from Taipei posts on top of the scheduled ones :)

  • http://www.cuteandmundane.com/ Dovey

    Hi Sunny, sounds like you had a good time! I’m not really a fan of #5, however I do find Coco Mademoiselle to be nice! I think Jersey is one of the better scents from the Les Exclusifs collection :)

    • http://mostlysunnyblog.com/ Sunny @Mostly Sunny

      Hey Dovey, I did! Coco Mademoiselle has quickly become a go-to. Jersey probably isn’t for everyone, but I enjoy powdery scents so it’s totally my thing!

  • http://MyLuciteDreams.com/ MyLuciteDreams

    What a great experience. I love the note relating perfume to haute couture. I’m not personally a Chanel fragrance fan but I can appreciate the work and story behind them :-)

    • http://mostlysunnyblog.com/ Sunny @Mostly Sunny

      Hey Taylor, I really like that analogy as well! It makes so much sense!

  • VickyM

    Oh my God! you had the opportunity to sample Les Exclusifs? Sunny you are so lucky, I´m dying to get to a Chanel boutique, since where I live we only have counters and the Exclusif scent line is not available, I really want to smell Sycomore, Coromandel, Bois des Iles, Gardenia and 31 Cambon, and buy one of them. You lucky, lucky girl :D , which one did you love the most from the exclusif perfume line? Currently my Chanel favorite is Chance, which is easily available in any store that carries Chanel. I have some small samples of Number 5 but it´s not my favorite, still an icon and a legend though.

    • http://mostlysunnyblog.com/ Sunny @Mostly Sunny

      Hey Vicky, I’m so sorry to hear you’re not close to any of the boutiques! The one in Brussels carries Les Exclusifs, and that’s close enough to me. I didn’t smell them all, but I like Cuir de Russie, Jersey, and Bel Respiro.

      I keep thinking maybe one day I’ll develop a taste for No 5, but that hasn’t happened yet!

  • http://macaronsandmischief.com/ Whitney

    This looks so fun! Huge fan of that rose macaron I see there! I think that will motivate me to sniff it out at a store! I never tried Chanel fragrances.. I usually am in love with the Marc Jacobs fragrances *_*

    • http://mostlysunnyblog.com/ Sunny @Mostly Sunny

      Haha I knew you’d like that! I have sniffed some Marc Jacobs, but I don’t really remember any of them too well! Perhaps I should take a closer look :)

  • Joyce (bronzer bunny)

    have fun on your trip!! I don’t love many of the chanel scents (too strong for me) but it is still cool to learn the history! I read a few books about chanel a while back that talked about the perfumes some :)

    • http://mostlysunnyblog.com/ Sunny @Mostly Sunny

      Thanks, Joyce! They do have lighter and fresher scents, but probably less than the ones that are complex!

  • Krithi Marla

    my favorite Chanel perfumes are -Mademoiselle ,chance and Crystalle …I havent tried N5 but may be next time :)

    • http://mostlysunnyblog.com/ Sunny @Mostly Sunny

      Mademoiselle is my favorite as well! Chypre is ALWAYS good in my book :)