“Best of ’08” No5 Eau Premiere Review

As I mentioned in my previous post,  Chanel’s Eau Premiere is one of my favourite feminine releases of the past year. The thing with the “original” No5 (I always think of the EdT as the original) is that it’s a hard fragrance to beat – No5 is a classy and incredibly feminine fragrance.

It’s the first fragrance that comes to mind when anyone says “Aldehydes”, because it famously contains a huge dose in the topnotes. According to various articles on the history of No5, Coco Chanel herself wanted the fragrance to be abstract, unique, and artificial. She’s quoted as saying “Yes, I really do mean artificial, like a dress, something that has been made. I don’t want any rose or lily of the valley, I want a perfume that is a composition”. I’m glad that Ernest Beaux made what he did – a stunning luscious soft floral.

No5 Eau Premiere is the newest interpretation of the fragrance. The original No5 was the Parfum, released in 1921 for gifts to the customers in Chanel boutiques. The Eau de Toilette was released in 1924 to make it more accessible. The Eau de Parfum was released in 1986 to contend with the power-fragrances of the time – like Poison and Opium. A common misconception is that the EdP is the “original”. I’d like to dispel that myth.

The marketing for Eau Premiere wants us to think of No5 as a painting. Eau Premiere would be the watercolour. My interpretation of this is that it’s transparent, with soft edges. If No5 really is a painting, I’d like to extend the metaphor.
The Parfum is the oil painting – beautiful but “thick”. The top note of mainly Neroli and Aldehydes persist for hours, and eventually there is a rich buttery floral left on the skin.
The EdT would have to be a 1920s Art-Deco work, the Aldehydes here are softer than in the Parfum, the top notes are more ‘Peachy’ and it has a soft, powdery and Rosy heart. Romantic and classy.
The EdP would be an ugly piece of Pop-Art. Loud, bright Ylang-Ylang over a sharp and Fatty Aldehydic note, similar to the Aldehydes of the time demonstrated well in Estee Lauder’s White Linen, with a slightly Animalic and dry Iris base.

eaupremiereWith Eau Premiere, the first impression is indeed of lightness and transparency. The Aldehydes have obviously been toned down, as it doesn’t smell quite so ‘old’. They are in no way sharp or offensive, but instead have a feeling of modernity, they are still familiar. With the toned down Aldehydes, the citrus note that has been hidden behind them is free to make an appearance. A light lemon citrus topnote is supported by a light Neroli in the background. This makes the opening distinctly “fresh”.
The heart is a soft Ylang-Ylang and Jasmine accord, slightly fecal and inky, and a floral bouquet note, which suggest flowers but never explicitly reveal themselves.
The base is warm, soapy and almost buttery and lingers on the skin for a good 4 hours. The sillage reminds me of the No5 soap – I get a wonderful waft of it whenever I open the drawer that it lives in in my store.

The best thing about Eau Premiere is that it is still obviously Chanel No5. I like that a lot.

Top: Neroli, Ylang-Ylang, Aldehydes
Middle: Rose Absolute, Jasmine Absolute
Base: Sandalwood, Bourbon Vetiver, Bourbon Vanilla

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