All this talk about Chanel's new releases and re-releases of previous fragrances got me to thinking about other Chanel favorites. My friend, M., recently shared her Chanel No. 19 eau de parfum with me, and I was struck anew by its green floral elegance. I have the eau de toilette version, which, while lovely, is like a sheer gossamer veil compared to the richness of the eau de parfum.
Henri Robert created N°19 especially for Coco Chanel, reflecting the qualities attributed to her by an admirer: witty, outspoken, supremely confident and intensely feminine. The fragrance was released to the world in 1971, just before her death. The number 19 celebrates Coco's birthday on the 19th of August. (She was clearly a Leo!) (chanel.com).
From the very first sniff, you know you're dealing with a classic. Its sharp, almost musty galbanum/neroli top notes are quickly followed by the dewy sweetness of hyacinth. The rich oakmoss/sandalwood/leathery accord lends it a tremendous depth and staying power. Its dry down has a honeyed-sweetness which is warm and woodsy without being cloying. I really like this vintage gem. It is the perfect daytime-into-evening fragrance.
Notes (from basenotes):
Galbanum, Bergamot, Neroli, Hyacinth
Rose, Orris, Jasmine, Narcissus, Muguet, Ylang-Ylang
Musk, Sandalwood, Oakmoss, Leather, Cedarwood
Chanel No. 19 is available at saks.com and nordstrom.com.
Price: $87 for 3.5-oz. eau de toilette
(note: the eau de parfum strength is not readily available in the U.S. It is, to the best of my knowledge, still available in Paris).