When Gabrielle Chanel created N°5 Parfum with perfumer Ernest Beaux in 1921, she launched a revolution in a bottle. It was the first of its kind—groundbreaking for Beaux’s innovative use of aldehydes, or synthetic components that add layers of complexity, making N°5 shockingly modern in an era of single-note scents. As the most potent symbol of the elegant simplicity for which CHANEL is renowned, N°5 has since become more than a fragrance. It is an olfactory heritage: an idea of femininity, a masterpiece of refinement, passed on from generation to generation. The now and forever fragrance.
Designed in 1921 by Mademoiselle herself, the minimal lines and plain white label of The Classic Bottle were as surprising as the fragrance. The chiseled stopper was inspired by the geometry of Paris’s Place Vendôme, which Mademoiselle could gaze at from the balcony of her room at the Ritz. Over the years, only subtle changes have been made to the original design in order to preserve its stunning contemporary aesthetic.
Since the creation of N°5, CHANEL has practiced the art of baudruchage to seal bottles of Parfum. Performed entirely by hand, the technique consists of placing a fine membrane over the neck of the bottle and holding it in place with 2 rows of pearl-cotton thread. It is then closed with a black wax stamp. From this moment, a pact of exclusiveness is assured: The bottle can only be opened by the individual for whom it is destined.
A bouquet of abstract flowers is how Mademoiselle described N°5, a floral-aldehydic fragrance whose formula requires no fewer than 80 ingredients. At first, the scent unfolds with a stunning surge of ylang-ylang and neroli. Then, a perfect harmony of voluptuous May rose and sensuous jasmine from Grasse emerges, followed by a vibrant woody base of sandalwood, bourbon vetiver and vanilla. Aldehydes provide an airy freshness. An ever-changing fragrance with no single dominant note, N°5 boasts the incredible power of being able to be interpreted differently based on the wearer, revealing their uniqueness.
art of perfuming
Parfum is the most precious, concentrated and long-lasting form of fragrance, with its own specific application. Mademoiselle’s advice was to apply it “wherever you would like to be kissed.” Neck, wrist, décolleté… Apply a drop of Parfum on each pulse point, letting it develop on your skin and feeling the fragrance echo the beat of your heart.