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Cult Classic: Chanel No.5 

It’s said that a bottle of Chanel No. 5 is sold somewhere in the world every 55 seconds. With two bottles of the iconic fragrance sitting pretty on my bedside table, I can attest to its appeal.

Chanel No. 5 made its debut 94 years ago in 1921. The combination of ylang-ylang, may rose and jasmine notes are unique to brand, but its history and the string of celebrities who have endorsed it, have made this fragrance a legend on the shelf.

Why the number five? When sampling the perfume in a laboratory, Chanel chose the fifth sample in a line up of 24. The bottle itself has remained relatively unchanged since 1921, and represents Chanel’s “less is more” philosophy.


1. Chanel No. 5 was the first fragrance to include the synthetic substance Aldehydes. The substance not only gives No. 5 its unique scent, but it also creates a little sparkle on the skin!

2. The scent was first considered risqué as jasmine represented the modern flapper - a woman characterised by her primary interests in intimacy and pleasure.

3. No. 5 was the first fragrance at the time that was not created by a traditional perfumery.

4. The bottle was designed to mimic a whiskey bottle and was distinctive amongst perfumes bottled in crystal amphora.

5. It is rumoured that Chanel herself secured all the best jasmine and roses in the French region of Grasse in the making of her signature scent.

Marilyn Monroe famously always ‘wore five drops of it to bed’ and Catherine Deneuve dubbed the fragrance as “one of the pleasures of being a woman.” More recently, Nicole Kidman, Audrey Tatou, Brad Pitt and Giselle Bundchen have featured in its advertising campaigns.

The perfect combination of femininity and sophistication, Chanel herself noted that the scent was ‘like nothing else, a woman’s perfume, with the scent of a woman.”

Chanel No. 5 is available at Chanel Counters at Edgars Stores nationwide for approximately R1 595 for 100ml.

Are you a Chanel No. 5 devotee? Tell us why you love it here:

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