Your Quick Holiday Refresher On Chanel’s Iconic N°5


2021 has been a year of celebration for Chanel’s N°5. From the unforgettable #ChanelFactory5 capsule collection to its largest Grand Extract Baccarat bottle to date filled with 2021 ml of the precious parfum, the French luxury house has pulled out all the stops to mark the legendary perfume’s monumental 100 years.

Since the conception of the original parfum in 1921, there have been a handful of interpretations of the timeless aldehyde floral bouquet. And it’s time to get familiar with this family of five scents, which all share the same olfactory signature as the original, yet imbued with very different personalities.

01 – For starters, there’s the original N°5 Parfum that was created by perfumer Ernest Beaux a century ago. In a time where scents only featured main accords, this ground-breaking blend brimming with May rose, jasmine from Grasse and aldehydes was an olfactory revolution. If you haven’t yet discovered this, you’ll find it completely different from the other versions you’re acquainted with.

The parfum, not to be confused with the EDP, is the most concentrated of the lot and until today, is presented in the same minimalist bottle, now an iconic design, that highlights the juice within. It comes complete with a faceted cabochon for you to dab the fragrance on with and is finished with a hand-sealed traditional baudruchage making it all the more luxurious.

The Parfum Extrait Bottle comes in two sizes, the 7.5 ml at SGD199 and the 15 ml at SGD332 and if you want something a little larger (SGD497 for 30 ml, SGD3180 for 225 ml and SGD7200 for 900 ml), you would have to put in a special order.

02 – Just a few years later in 1924, Coco Chanel launched the N°5 Eau de Toilette (SGD144 for 50 ml, SGD205 for 100 ml). It’s the only bottle in the range that’s differently shaped and one can expect a tall rectangular creation topped with a black spray cap. The scent, which still features the recognisable aldehyde floral bouquet, is distinguished by the strength of sandalwood for lovers of something deeper and woodier for a warm and lively finish.

03 – In 1986, Chanel’s then head perfumer Jacques Polge reinterpreted the classic to create a more sensual version of N°5, the Eau de Parfum (SGD176 for 50 ml, SGD253 for 100 ml). Though this shares the same olfactory signature as the original parfum, the EDP is enhanced with citrus notes and voluptuous vanilla, making it an option for those who want something a little more sensual, enveloping and still intensely N°5.

04 – Fast forward to 2008 when Jacques Polge decided to offer a more luminous interpretation of the fragrance with the creation of N°5 Eau Première (SGD176 for 50 ml, SGD253 for 100 ml). Described as an airy N°5, you’ll find jasmine notes of the floral bouquet worked with transparency to reveal ylang-ylang from the Comoros for a standout version that’s feminine and soft.

05 – And lastly, the freshest and youngest of the lot, the N°5 L’Eau EDT (SGD128 for 35 ml, SGD176 for 50 ml and SGD253 for 100 ml), which was conceived in 2016. Chanel’s current perfumer Olivier Polge (Jacques Polge’s son) put his own twist on the icon to create L’Eau, which translates to water, a vibrant creation with radiant citrus top notes, followed by the recognisable jasmine, rose and ylang-ylang that anchors the family.

There’s also dynamic vetiver and cedar softened by white musk notes for a dose of radiant freshness that’s also reflected in the crisp colour of the juice. In other words, you just need to decide which scent will suit you best.

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