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Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Perfume Review: Chanel No 5 Eau Premiere

Up until a couple of years ago, when Chanel No 5 Elixir Sensuel was released, Parfums Chanel seemed reluctant to play the flanker game with their legendary No. 5. I wonder if even Elixir Sensuel can be justifiably called a flanker as it simply is a different formulation (concentration, consistency) of No. 5 rather than a new scent capitalizing on the success of Chanel's bestseller. Chanel No. 5 Eau Premiere steps rather more boldly into the flanker territory. I have been expecting to see a release of Chanel No 5 Eau Fraîche or Eau Délicate or Eau d'Été for a while now, as the creation of a "lighter, fresher, softer interpretation of N°5" seemed to me to be inevitable. And here it finally is, under the name of Eau Premiere. Jacques Polge has tweaked No. 5 to achieve "a silky-smooth harmony of notes that reveals the delicate facet of the world-renowned fragrance".

The first sniff is comfortingly familiar, recognizably No. 5-ish. The aldehydes seem much softer, but the beautiful ylang-ylang of Chanel No. 5 is there, as is iris, the two notes of No. 5 that have always been the strongest and the most beautiful on my skin. The effect is indeed softer, smoother, less powdery. After a short while the scent becomes surprisingly citrus-heavy; these are bright, candied citruses (bergamot? lemon?), and I have never smelled them while wearing the regular No. 5 in any of its concentrations. My problem with Chanel No. 5 have always been its "coldness", its -strange as it sounds- absolute perfection. To me, it is like an exquisite marble statue, breathtakingly beautiful but lifeless. And so as far as I am concerned, the addition of the lively, sunny citrus notes was quite welcome. The citruses breathed life into the marble features, brought a smile upon the haughty face of No. 5. The moment I smelled those honeyed, solar notes, I wanted to own Eau Premiere. Luckily, the reason won and dragged me out of Saks, to wait and see how the composition would develop further. Luckily, because the subsequent development was not that great. Believe it or not, the base of Eau Premiere smells on me not unlike a "lighter, fresher, softer" version of...Obsession. That's right, Obsession. There is something in the drydown of the new Chanel, something heavy and strangely sharp, something ambery-musky that is very out of place there and that makes me uncomfortable. Something that will prevent me from ever wanting to own a bottle of Eau Premiere.

Overall, I find Chanel No. 5 Eau Premiere to be quite attractive. It is fresher than the regular No. 5 but not too fresh, lighter but not understated to the point of blandness. By taming the aldehydes and the powderiness it perhaps makes No. 5 more approachable to those wary of such notes. It seems somewhat more youthful than No. 5, but it does not smell young. It still possesses the versatility of the great classic; like Coco Chanel intended, a woman wearing it may "shop in the morning, take tea in the afternoon, and go to the theatre in the evening" (Michael Edwards, Perfume Legends).

Chanel No. 5 Eau Premiere is available at Saks, $125.00 for 5oz.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Obsession? crikey!

2:56 AM EDT  
Blogger Unknown said...

Sure, we can all rely on Jacques Polge (the least talented of all the Chanel noses) to "tweak" the Chanel classics and make them even better !

3:34 AM EDT  
Blogger Unknown said...

Luckily I didn't get the obsession drydown! I really liked this one a lot, too, it is infinitely more wearable for me than 5, so I like the tweaking, but I don't want them to mess with the original because it never fails to fascinate me, even if I don't wear it.

7:30 AM EDT  
Blogger priscilla said... occurs to me that given your description on Chanel No. 5, "beautiful but lifeless," Nicole Kidman was the perfect choice for as spokesperson! To be honest, I admire Chanel No. 5, but I prefer No. 22. Lovely review, but I don't think this one would pull me over to the Chanel No. 5 "side." :-)

7:34 AM EDT  
Blogger Beth Schreibman Gehring said...

Obsession......simply the thought of it gives me hives........!I wore Obsession obsessively during a very torrid love affair which started out with no great promise and ended very poorly. I don't think that I could bear it!
However, my curiousity has been piqued...Number 5 was for years my grown up, go to benefits and other fancy places fragrance!

7:50 AM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I used to wear & have always liked No 5 but when I sniff in bottle now I'm not called to try it on. Someday I will again, I have to, it's No 5 after all. The new incarnation sounds nice but I don't do bergamot; I'll probably sniff in bottle to compare but I'm wary of trying on.

7:51 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

Obsession haunts me, it is everywhere because I dislike it so much. Nobody else will most probably smell it in Eau Premiere. :-)

8:05 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

The tweaked version is nice. Whether it was needed at all is another question. I don't think it was.

8:06 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

It's not that I care much whether they messed with No 5, to which I am largely indifferent, it's just that I don't think there is any need in Eau Premiere. It is not even THAT different form the No 5.

8:08 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

Nicole Kidman was the perfect choice! :-) My favorite was, of course, Deneuve, but I thought that she'd have been better suited for the warmer No 22.
No 5 EP did not pull me over to the No 5 side either :-)

8:09 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

Several times a year I feel compelled to wear No 5, Because It Is A Classic and I feel almost guilty not loving it. It is perfectly fine and perfectly beautiful and I wear it easily and with pleasure, but... there is no "clicking" between us.

8:11 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

I am 99.99% sure the Obsession was a quirk of my nose and my skin. Seriously, it is out of place there, I am sure no one else will get it. I dislike Obsession so much, sometimes I get phantom whiffs of it, out of nowhere :-D

8:12 AM EDT  
Blogger lilybp said...

Well, since I have citrus-amplifying skin that can ruin Hadrien, you lost me on the candied lemons. But I have to admit that, somewhere in the dark past, I used to wear Obsession. And when I first met Mr. Lily, he was still wearing the remains of a very old bottle of Ob for Men that his last girl friend had given him. All that is cured now!

8:36 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

That's what I thought. I thought, if J. gets as much citrus as I got , she won't be pleased :-)

8:45 AM EDT  
Blogger marchlion said...

Wow, I have GOT to try this. Angela was scaring me a little with her rose commentary. Anything citrus-y/candied lemon sounds great, and I have always found No. 5 a bit coldly perfect as well.

However, an Obsession drydown would pretty much kill the deal for me. Can't wait to see what happens!

8:47 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

I think I alarmed everybody with the Obsession comment and yet I just know that no one else will get it there. It's just my luck :-) or lack thereof.

8:52 AM EDT  
Blogger Dust Glitter and Vapor said...

Sorry about the technical difficulties above. I spelled Obsession "Obseesion." I suppose I could've spelled it "Obsheeshion," lol.

I'm wary about trying this one. I love No. 5, but DH doesn't like it on me, so I'm always looking for some way to wear it and fly under his radar. This sounded *perfect* until I read the part about Obsession. Unfortunately, he also hates Obsession. Sigh.

10:16 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

Dust Glitter and Vapor
(Have I said this before- I love your nickname!)
I regret mentioning Obsession. The notes of the base are so bizarre taken in the context of this light-ish aldehydic scent that they just must be something my skin "created" :-) I really recommend you do give Eau Premiere a try because it might in fact turn to be the version of No 5 that your husband would like.

10:22 AM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Judith, I covet your citrus-amplifying skin endlessly. That would be my dream!

10:29 AM EDT  
Blogger donanicola said...

As you know, I'm not a fan of the original. I'm sure that is my failing but I'm ok with admitting it now! However your review has piqued my curiousity and I will try this just to see. I like the idea of marble coming to life. Anyway I'm "saving" pennies for all sorts of things - chief amongst them at the moment being Delrae's Bois de Paradis - just how beautiful is that?!

10:32 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

And I covet the skin that amplifies leather. That finds leather in every scent, even those that don't have leather :-)

10:41 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

Bois de Paradis is one of The most beautiful scents out there. It's not pretty, it's not lovely, it is Beautiful.

10:42 AM EDT  
Blogger donanicola said...

Marina, it is isn't it. Beautiful. I started off going "oh yes, nice, oh no blackberry OH HANG ON! Swoon!" Somebody mentioned that it was even better in Autumn which of course is just the glace cherry on top of the perfectly iced cake. I see a bottle in my (near) future. And to think I thought I wanted the Nazgul.....

10:49 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

nazgul is 2005 :-) LOL Well, for me the love for it over :-( Paradis, on the other hand, is forever.

10:50 AM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great review! I definitely got a little vanilla on the drydown, but thankfully nothing on level of Obsession. It was also a little more rosy to me than No. 5. Did you get that at all, too?

Hmm, No. 19, Eau Premiere, I wonder what Chanel might be tomorrow?

11:45 AM EDT  
Blogger tmp00 said...

You know, a lot of people I know really don't care for Chanel No 5 for the same reason you do- it smells cold to them. I guess there is a reason to have this one then, even if I have zero desire to seek it out (I love No 5). At least they didn't reformulate the original; I suppose to the French that would be like covering the Eiffel Tower in wallboard and painting it brown.

I love the French..

11:53 AM EDT  
Blogger NowSmellThis said...

Haven't smelled it yet (and not in any rush) but LOL at Obsession!

1:30 PM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

Thank you! I did get the rose and I swear it is the rose in combination with whatever it is in the base that evokes Obsession. :-)

2:28 PM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

I love the French too. Being Russian, I think I am genetically programmed somehow to be a francophile :-)

2:29 PM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

Funny, right? :-) Spoiled the scent for me though, that Obsession thing:-)

2:30 PM EDT  
Blogger Dust Glitter and Vapor said...

I'm glad you like my nickname! I just wanted something that (hopefully) captures the ephemeral and insignificant nature of my subject.

I'm going to give No. 5 EP a try, DH be darned, lol. Oh and my skin "creates" all kinds of things, too, never for the better.

2:55 PM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

It just occured to me to click on your name and to find you blog, duh! It is a lovely blog, just added it to my list.

2:59 PM EDT  
Blogger Dust Glitter and Vapor said...

Thank you!!!
Hope you like it!!

3:24 PM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

I do!!

3:25 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I’ve always enjoyed reading your thoughts on perfumery so please keep up the great work: I wish you all the best with everything.

10:22 PM EDT  
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4:13 PM EDT  
Blogger simona said...

I am really into perfumes and I could never ever understand the allure of chanel No 5. Then i smelled Premiere on one of my students and went out of my mind. It is as if they took the nasty icky parts of the original chanel out by diluting it. I put it on and asked my friens to smell it and they said it smells like a fresh new morning or a vacation day. Now having said that it is not a young perfume but I would say for ages 30 and up. So for someone who justed Hated the original i love this one for occasional daytime use. Still the most beautiful chanel perfume must be chanel No 19 and allure. God help the woman who wears allure!!!!

12:13 PM EDT  
Blogger simona said...

I have always Hated the original chanel No 5 but one of my students was wearing premeire and i could not believe it. I tried it and people told me it smells like a fresh morning or a vacation day. It is still not a young perfume but for ages 30 and up.
It is not a masterpiece like chanel No 19 or allure but a younger milder version of the original and one you will get compliments on. Worth a try and it did not even remotley remind me of obsession. Fresh, soapy, clean and happy is how i would describe it.

12:18 PM EDT  

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