Monday, August 19, 2013

Chanel No.19- Revisited


Gabrielle Chanel was born 130 years ago today, on August 19. Chanel No.19, the perfume, was created to honor the day and released in 1970, a few months before Mademoiselle Chanel's death, and just before I was born. Thus, Chanel No.19 has been around for as long as I can remember; for the longest time I've taken it for granted.  In my 2009 review of Chanel No.19 I discussed various versions and concentrations of the fragrance (it was before the release of No.19 Poudre,aka The Abomination). Since then I've acquired quite a few more No.19 bottles of assorted vintages. Other than a couple of turned minis (too often the case with these tiny bottles. Only buy them in person, not from online auctions), my enjoyment of this modern classic has grown exponentially.

Luca Turin once said about the original Miss Dior that no two bottles or batches were alike (I'm paraphrasing). It's a similar situation with several of my vintage No.19 bottles, especially the extrait de parfum. Generally, the parfum and the EDT have a similar feel. They're green, leathery, and dry. Some of the extrait I have is extremely oakmossy; the presence of iris is not always as pronounced, as sometimes the green galbanum takes over and doesn't let go. I'd guess that more than actual batch differences, this is the result of the aging process. After all, each bottle came from a different source and who knows how they were stored before I hunted them down. Nevertheless, you can't mistake them for anything else: it's Chanel No.19, on all its elegant Parisienne glory.

I still love the EDP and wear it a lot. This is a beautiful iris-rose composition that never lets me down, and I'm not necessarily the biggest floral person. The crisp feel of the eau de parfum is clean in the best possible way. There's such precision and intention in the way the fragrance develops on skin that I stand a bit more straight when wearing it. I still don't find Chanel No.19 on any of its versions to be heartless or bitchy, but I do think that it has a wonderful backbone and character that influence the way I feel when this is my scent of the day.

Images:, Top Models Of The World.


  1. I don't have any left but Chanel N°19 made me feel like YSL Rive-Gauche, all sure of myself! :)

  2. This was my "go-to" fragrance for quite a while - particularly during the summer months. During the winter months, it seemed to team well with my knee length camel coat :) I thin it was a go-to because it was just fresh and lively, there was nothing sickening about it.

  3. I wore No.19 edt in high school (late 80s-early 90s). I adored it, and no one else smelled even remotely similar.

    I recently picked up a bottle of the EDT for nostalgia's sake, and I'm disappointed! What happened? After it dried on my skin, it disappeared. I had to really hose myself down. And when I did so, it still didn't have the depth it used to. It was unmistakably No.19, but a shell of itself.

    Is the current edp or parfum any good? I've had such bad luck buying vintage perfumes that I'm afraid to hunt one down on eBay. Any suggestions/thougts?

    1. Yes, you are right No. 19 EdT changed a lot in the recent years. I have three versions of it at home, purchased between March 2008 and December 2012 (in Germany). We have those refillable sprayers over here, they started with 50ml/100ml and moved on to a 75ml version, which is not available anymore. The 100ml refillable did not sell so well in my home town, so by accident I bought the vintage stuff which contains a lot more oakmoss than the next version (75ml). In the newest version the oakmoss (although still listed on the box) in the base seems to be completely replaced by lots of vetiver AND the nostalgic iris is gone!!! It is replaced by the iris used in No.19 Poudré. I like Poudré, but not for its iris. And my guess is that they changed the iris because the new one (Polge admitted to using a different raw material in Poudré) is a lot cheaper...

  4. Do you know if the Chanel No. 19 that sells on the Neiman Marcus website is the original scent? I very much want to order a bottle, but fear that it won't be the original formula. If someone will comment, I'll appreciate it greatly. Judy

  5. Judy, I don't think so. It would be the current formulation like I bought. I'm wondering if the edp would be better. Both the EDT and edp, as well as the parfum, are sold on Chanel's website.

  6. Great post!
    This is my very favourite perfume for summer. I noticed the changes but assumed it was due to the different batches. The oakmoss smell disappeared in the versions sold in France.
    I second you in the n°19 poudré being an abomination! Why? O why did they feel the need to even launch it with such a fragrance!!!

  7. I'm a fan of No. 19. The current edt is very fleeting on my skin. i love the edP. I have some vintge edt and edc nd they are incredible.


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