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Chanel N 22: French magic of numbers

Thursday, 17 December 2009

Chanel № 22There is a little bit of mystery surrounding Chanel No. 22 (which, of course, makes it all the more appealing). On the one hand, according to Chanel.com, the scent was named after the year in which it was created, 1922. On the other hand, it is also said that the fragrance «was presented in 1928 to a world yearning for lightness to dispel the gloom of difficult economic times».

According to the cute and amazingly uninformative little book that accompanies Les Exclusifs, No. 22 is «a light variation of the brilliant No. 5», and it thus might be possible that No. 22 was one of the numbers given to Chanel by Ernest Beaux, among which she has chosen the variation that became No. 5, and No. 22 was returned to a year later and became a «white floral» to match Chanel's new White Look.

Chanel fragrances have always been the essence of chic. They do need an sophisticated bottle or any commercials when a chic and luxury woman passing by leaves the trail of scent to attract men. French Chanel House became the acknowledged lawmaker not only in the world of fashion but also in the segment of aldehyde scents.

Ernest Beaux created Chanel No. 22 in 1922, and the same year he released Caron Nuit de Noël and another Chanel, No. 55.

The same as the legendary precursor Chanel №22 got its original number since preliminary it is in the number of experimental sample scents presented by Ernest Beaux to the reputed Coco Chanel. The couturier selected Chanel №5 as the debut fragrance of Chanel House that appeared most attractive composition that acquired the right to exist and prolonged the traditions set for aldehyde scents becoming too thin, elegant and gentle unlike the original Chanel №5.

Most perfumes of today tend to call Chanel №22 the lighter version of the iconic Chanel №5, though Chanel №22 is actually absolutely unique representative of the perfume line of the French House, though it was a little bit tender and smoother. In spite of the most distinctive aldehyde note and the entire abstraction of the fragrance that became the «corporate» style of the most perfume works by Chanel, Chanel №22 is not the version of the other scent. It is wholly unique and absolutely individual. Chanel №5was the avant-garde and courageous scent for the time it was launched as the works by the painters of the newest epoch, while Chanel №22 is more like the classic art work similar to Da Vinci works.  

The classic aldehyde flowery scent of Chanel №22 is built on the top notes that are aldehydes, white roses, tuberose, jasmine, lily of the valley, lilac and orange blossom. The heart of the perfume is orchid and ylang ylang, and the base is vanilla, incense, and vetiver. The beginning of Chanel №22 has a joyous, vibrant feel brought on by the aldehydes: the top notes are sparkling like precious stones and effervescent like the most expensive of champagnes.

After twenty minutes, when the yelling coloratura of the aldehydes loses its strength, a gorgeous duet of white flowers and gentle incense emerges. After an hour and a half or so, just the incense, grounded slightly by vetiver, burns along quietly. And this is what Chanel №22 says to you.

The white flowers aroma with sparkling and brilliant aldehyde was the base of Chanel №22, assigned to add the new trendy line by Coco Chanel with the promising White Look. The note of the orange blossom is a little bit creamy and powdery in the perfume composition by Chanel №22 that is somewhat along the lines of the orange blossom in Patou's Divine Folie, only much less sweet..

The various versions of Chanel №22 are strikingly different as well as with most fragrances, not limited to vintage scents, depending on the concentration of notes. The vintage version of the scent, in spite of the sharp and strikingly intensive aldehyde beginning notes is different for its special gentleness and delicacy when the abstract and extraordinarily concordant scent softly wraps the skin like a veil. In the meantime, the current versions of Chanel №22 sound far more intensive and jagged thanks to the pronounced aldehyde notes slightly smoothed by the flowery notes of the heart, though as told by Chanel, it is created from the same ingredients as the legendary and original Chanel №22.

Chanel №22 seemed to disappear in 2007 though it had the second birth when the perfumer of the Chanel House Jacques Polge reformulated the legendary scent making it as the integral part of Chanel Les Exclusifs Perfume Collection. Apart from Chanel №22, this exclusive collection of recreated vintage scents by Chanel includes three more fragrances created by Ernest Beaux in 20s of the XX century: Cuir de Russie, Gardenia and Bois Des Iles. Jacques Polge added six more new scents created by him to the vintage works by Chanel House. All the scents in the Chanel Les Exclusifs Collection is united with the simple and laconic design of the bottle - that legendary and easily recognizable square bottle without ant features which was used for Chanel  №5 and which is still the most recognizable perfume bottles in the world. Today Exclusifs de Chanel scents are offered only by the elite boutiques by Chanel and several perfume stores.

No. 22 is warm enough to save for cool weather, and could be a day or night fragrance, although it might be too pretty for work.


Chanel №22 is beautiful, with more subtle incense, it is softer and the perfume is so expertly blended that no one note dominates, and the overall effect is one of refined, feminine elegance. This is definitely a perfume for mature and elegant women.

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