T h e c o m p l e x i t y w a s i n t h e j u i c e ’ s s i m p l i c i t y , a n d t h e o l f a c t o r y c r e a t i o n h i t t h e m a g i c n o t e . To t h i s d a y , t h e f o r m u l a r e m a i n s a s e c r e t
It may seem a little too simplistic now considering the status of the fragrance a century later, but Coco Chanel’s “brief” to perfumer Ernest Beaux was to create a scent that would make “its wearer smell like a woman, and not a rose”. She was supposedly trying to forget the memory of the smell of the soap used by the girls at the orphanage where she lived for almost seven years. The resulting fragrance, and indeed the bottle and box, were pared down to the essentials, devoid of any ornamentation.
However, the complexity was in the juice’s simplicity, and the olfactory creation hit the magic note. To this day, the formula remains a secret. Over the past 100 years, the bottle has been modified eight times, and only five interpretations of the juice, including the original Parfum, exist. In 1924, the world welcomed the first variation of the scent in the lively Chanel N°5 Eau de Toilette. It was followed 60 years later, in 1986, when perfumer Jacques Polge created the Eau de Parfum, with a new concentration but with the same sensuality as the original. His son Olivier Polge, Chanel’s current in-house perfumer, is responsible for N°5 Eau Première, the more luminous interpretation of N°5 that launched in 2008, as well as the most recent variation, which made its debut in 2016 — N°5 L’Eau: a fresh, floral EDT. For L’Eau, Olivier dissected each ingredient in the original formula for a vibrant freshness.