The SHB Advent Calendar – Day 21

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Chanel No5 Eau de Parfum


Today is, according to retailers, “Panic Saturday”. This is the day when traditionally, men rush to the shops to do their Christmas shopping, panic buying ill-thought out gifts. But truly, there is no need to hand any woman a bag of charcoal briquettes and some screenwash. Just get her this, the ultimate, most perfect scent of all time: Chanel No5. Not everyone loves Chanel No5, of course. Scent is a very subjective business and no one fragrance will be loved by everyone. But No5 has a higher hit rate than most. Maybe it’s because people trust the Chanel brand – an institution that has taken great care of its perfume heritage. Or maybe it’s the perfect, iconic square flacon bottle and timeless label that instantly make any gift giver appear to have perfect (and expensive) taste. Or – I hope – it’s the scent within, a feminine not girlie, sexy not slutty, rich but never blousey blend of powdery iris flowers, lively citrus and complex synthetic aldehydes (don’t be put off by S word here. Chanel’s creator Jacques Polge’s use of synthetics was a pure masterstroke). No5 is never in fashion, and never out. It cares not for your fly-by-night celebrity perfumes or hot fashion tie-ins. You can keep them. This is a ‘forever’ scent, one that confidently gets on with being wonderful at weddings, respectful at funerals, quietly and firmly authoritative at work, the life and soul of the party. No perfume whispers class and chic elegance like No5, and few women will ever fail to be impressed by a ribboned black and white box of it under the tree. There’s no panic in sight here. Only the most exquisitely considerate Christmas gift.


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