Chanel no. 5: I Get It Now

Family legend has it, my maternal grandfather was a Chanel no. 5 man. To be honest, I don't remember much about my grandfather since he passed away when I was so young. However, I recalled he was quite stylist and he smelled pretty good. My grandfather was tall, dark, handsome, and skinny. And he smoked, a lot. I did not know what kind of perfume he wore but it smelled interesting. Probably the tobacco smoke added some character to it.

Later on, as I grew up, my mom told me the secret: Grandpa wore Chanel no. 5! Now, that came as a shocker to me. As we all know, Chanel no. 5 is the famous perfume for women. And how come he smelled so fabulous with it? I remember it was quite dark and smoky on him. An interesting mix, yet somehow it felt comfortable, too. I guess my grandfather did not overdo his perfume and the tobacco smoke just deepened the scent. I kept that information deep in my mind and at the time, I did not know what to do with it.

Time passed, I became a beauty blogger. Yet, I was not convinced of the power of Chanel. Of course, Chanel makeup is more than fabulous. I want them but for now, I know for sure I can't afford them. Once in a while, I would cruise the Chanel counter and randomly sprayed some perfume like a fan girl. After doing it for a while, one day I realized I smelled pretty fabulous with Chanel Coco Mademoiselle. Like seriously, that day I smelled bitch-ass fabulous. I got a ton of comments on the way home. People wanted to know what I wore. Right then and there, I wanted to bust out my wallet and buy the smallest size possible of the Coco Mademoiselle.

But the inner money conscious Asian inside of me begged to differ. Instead, I asked for a carded sample. The sales assistant was kind enough to search up and down the counter for me. I had high hope. But then, she looked at me and said, "Ma'am, we don't have any samples for Coco Mademoiselle. But we do have Chanel no. 5. Do you want one?"

Of course, I was not insane. Disappointed, yes, but not insane. So I nodded. I came home, took a shower, and sprayed some no. 5 on my arms. Somehow, I managed to forget all about it until a couple of hours later when I caught a whiff of myself. What is that? I continued sniffing until I found the spot that I previously sprayed Chanel no. 5 on. Bingo! This is why I smelled good!

Truth be told, I probably sprayed Chanel no. 5 ten times before that. However, the scent I smelled was not the same as the one I remembered. You see, scents and memory go hand in hand. Sometimes, a scent can invoke powerful memories of childhood. That's why I still can't wear lavender. It reminds me so much of my grandmother. But the Chanel no. 5 in my past was a lot different. It was darker, muskier, and sexier. It was Grandpa. And the current Chanel no. 5 is not. It smells too young to me. Even my mom said the same thing.

Then, after some digging, I found out a lot of ingredients in Chanel no. 5 became synthetic since some of them are hard to find and/or take a lot of time to grow. That change probably made the current Chanel no. 5 less interesting. Also, if I remember correctly, my grandfather did not use his Chanel right away. He let it age for a while before using it. With that process, the perfume became more condensed and probably brought out more interesting characteristics.

But that day when I sniffed my arms like mad, I realized one thing: like people, perfumes also have their own evolution. Hence, I don't expect Chanel no. 5 to smell the same 50 years from now, either. Behind the mist and legend, Chanel no. 5 is a pretty straightforward scent: it is a skin scent. Back in the day when it came out, this perfume probably was a sensation due to its overtly usage of aldehydes. But now, it is pretty tame. With all the perfumes coming out every year, we get a pretty wide spread of scents. Three years ago, if you told me that woody-floral would become trendy, I would have laughed at you. But now, with the advancement in chromatography, anything and everything is possible.

With that said, I found a new love thanked to my grandfather. To me, Chanel no. 5 is a skin scent that is full of sensuality. It cannot be beat. But it is not for everybody. You need to be mature enough to understand and wear it. You need to own your no. 5. Otherwise, you will end up smelling like you're trying too hard.


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