In August this year I made a short trip to my neighbouring island Aruba and decided to treat myself to a bottle of Chanel No 5, the first bottle of this particular perfume I had bought in a several years.
Chanel No 5 has been part of my life for 40 years, it was the first "adult" perfume I wore. My love affair began with the purchase of a bar of bath soap which I made last until I had saved up enough money to buy my first bottle, a Cologne (now discontinued), as my pocket money would not stretch to Eau de Toilette or Perfume (today's Eau de Parfum did not exist). It became a signature scent and I have lost count of the times I have been complimented when wearing it, it suits me and the sillage (the scent trail that your perfume leaves behind) has always been excellent, giving birth to comments like "ah, it smells like Eva". No wonder that it has been part of my perfume wardrobe ever since!
But I fear my love affair might be ending... What was in the bottle I bought (and no, it was not a cheap copy!) at the airport was a mere shadow of my dear old companion. It had none of the sparkling, yet rich and warm, scent I remember so well and the sillage, well, let's just say that my six dollar bottle of "Bien être" French cologne that I use as a liquid "air conditioner" has more sillage than the Chanel No 5!
What has happened to my old friend? Has it passed its "sell by" date? After all it turned 95 this year. It is by no means a big seller anymore, other Chanel perfumes such as Chance (and all its flankers) sell better. Perhaps the formula has deliberately been diluted or "tweaked" to suit today's women's taste better? After all, Chanel No 5 has for a long time been considered old fashioned, an "old lady's" perfume. Or perhaps it is a problem with supply of the raw materials? I guess I - and other lovers of Chanel No 5 - can but speculate, only those who are in charge of making the perfume will be able to tell the true story.
Interestingly enough, a so called flanker of Chanel No 5 has just been launched, Chanel No 5 L'eau. Obviously the term "No 5" is still worth its name for marketing value. But there is no price for guessing that it is a light perfume, aimed at young women. Personally I think Chanel perhaps could have saved some money in marketing - what they are selling in today's bottles of the original No 5 is surely light enough!
My love for perfumes inspired me to write my second novel, The Scent of Success (now published as Joy's Story in one volume with my first novel, The Hawksley Pearls). If you also love perfumes, I'm sure you'll enjoy The Scent of Success!