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.
Images: myvintagevoue.com, Top Models Of The World.