CHANEL surprised everyone the first time they tweaked their iconic No 5 fragrance in 2007 with the unexpectedly gorgeous CHANEL No5 Eau Premiere. No5 Eau Premiere was softened version of the classic No5, with a gentle airy powdery vibe, a fizzy sweetness and a warmth that is absent from the (gorgeous) original No5. Eau Premiere (which I own and love) is like someone took a sweet heliotrope and lemon tinged powder puff to No5 and patted it down until it became airy and softened version of itself. No5 Eau Premiere has been a giant success, almost universally loved, and somehow managed to tap into a “everyone loves this” type of gentle classic scent.
To me that speaks to the genius and beauty of the original No5. As iconic as it is, not every young person will want to revisit their grandmother’s perfume, and not everyone in my generation likes it. But I know many people who could not wear the original No5 but adore Eau Premiere – CHANEL perfume alchemy at it’s best. No5 Eau Premiere to me is the perfection of No5 eau de parfum, which I always found too heavy.
Yet even with all of this history, I was surprised AND excited when I saw CHANEL was planning on launching yet another version of No5, CHANEL No5 L’EAU. If No5 Eau Premiere is a soft powdery version of No5, No5 L’EAU is the smooth breezy version of No5. The aldehydes are gone, leaving behind nothing but smooth beautiful warmth. No5 Eau Premiere is soapy and No5 L’EAU is fresh and airy. No5 L’EAU creates yet another level of No5, and it’s perfect.
There is a shimmering transparency to No5 L’EAU, with honeyed citrus notes radiating off the top notes. Olivier Polge created a No5 L’EAU with a literal homage to “l’eau” as this version of No5 being fresh, clear and modern. It is not a watered down version of No5, it is not a cologne – No5 L’EAU is less abstract than No5, with clean clear florals and fruits shining through the clear water. The florals are fresh, not heady or indolic, and while I love both of those things, No5 L’EAU is absolutely irresistible and it was love at first sniff for me. CHANEL calls Polge’s jasmine “oxygenated” and I just love this descriptor. He added green notes to the ylang, and orange notes to the aldehydes making them sweeter and less metallic than original No5. And the powder is removed from the base – don’t get me wrong. I love powdery perfumes, and No5 Eau Premiere satisfies my powder cravings. No5 L’EAU is a shimmering fresh beauty that has made me appreciate different facets of No5 is an equally beautiful way.
My daughter is visiting (for reference, her current favourite CHANEL’s are Coco Noir and Gardenia) and when she smelled it, she swooned immediately and now needs a bottle of her own. Of course her and every other stylish twenty-something has already been swayed and romanced by the face of CHANEL No5 L’EAU, Lily Rose Depp, the daughter of the gorgeous French beauty Vanessa Paradis. I love watching classic brands evolve and appeal to a whole new generation while still maintaining what made them the great classics to begin with. CHANEL No5 L’EAU is the perfect next step in the evolution of No5.