Overloved and Underappreciated – by Nava

March threw down the gauntlet the other day in the comments section of her “Blu Mediterraneo” post. Her mention of the “pitiful” L´Artisan Parfumeur selection at the newly opened branch of Bluemercury she visited sparked a bit of Vanilia bashing. I will make it clear right from the start that Vanilia is one of my all-time favorite scents. I could give a toss about what anyone else thinks of this beauty, especially Luca Turin and Tania Sanchez. March suggested that maybe I write about some of the scents out there that are beloved by many and reviled by few. And, to stay true to my contrarian mindset, I will also discuss a few that should be getting their fair share of love, but don´t. Of course, these are based on my opinions and not influenced by any fragrance industry payola, or a hunting rifle pointed at my head. Here goes:


Chanel No. 5: I´ve made no bones about how much I cannot stand this scent. Regardless of how much it is universally loved, I want it to be universally reviled. It never smelled good on me, or my mom for that matter, nor anyone else I´ve ever encountered who wears it. Yet, women are impelled to wear it because it is deemed a classic; especially when you read things like, “No. 5 is still the world´s most popular scent because, like the Chanel jacket, it radiates sophistication.” Frederic Malle weighs in and says, “It´s soft and warm like an oriental fragrance but has crisp, clean notes, so it´s sexy but not overwhelming” (from the October 2007 issue of Allure). So if a major magazine and a perfumer of stature are telling you this is what you should be wearing, why wouldn´t you? Who doesn´t want to “radiate sophistication” and be “sexy but not overwhelming”? Let me clue you in on something: it smells awful on just about everyone! Never have I encountered a single soul who I could say with complete honesty, smells terrific when they wear No. 5. Instead, it is stale, powdery and completely overwhelming. The fact that anyone can walk around in a cloud of No. 5 without succumbing to an epic migraine or asphyxiation is ponderous. Ponderous, man…

Thierry Mugler Angel: This is another ubiquitous scent that thrills the masses. And I will confess that I became somewhat obsessed with it when it first came out. That I wasn´t banished from my cubicle at work still amazes me. Now, when I smell it on someone, I want to tell them to stay far, far away from me – like three or four States away. Patchouli does funny things on peoples´ skin, including mine. Yes, I did mention that I wore head shop patchouli in my younger days, but this combo of chocolate, patchouli, vanilla, fruit and whatever else is in this noxious scent, now reminds me of a cess pool. How can a scent like Serge´s Borneo 1834, which lists cacao and patchouli in its notes, smell so right and Angel so wrong? Another enduring mystery…

Estée Lauder Pleasures: I have always found this one to be quite inoffensive, but I think it is the generic inoffensiveness of it that annoys me. I know it was groundbreaking at the time of its release because of the pink pepper note, and again, I sheepishly admit that I wore it for a time. What put me off Pleasures was being outed at a rest stop along the New Jersey Turnpike on my way home from a business trip during the summer of 1998. My co-worker and I stopped rather late in the evening for some food and gas, and while our Whoppers and fries were being rung up, the cashier looked at me and enthusiastically asked, “Are you wearing Pleasures?”  My male colleague shot me a strange look, and I responded, “Why yes, yes I am.” The rest of the way home he kept snickering, “Pleasures, huh?” I never wore it again.

Clinique Happy: Ah, the grande dame of fruity florals; the Helen of Troy of the fragrance industry. Actually, I think Trojan horse is more fitting, since who hasn´t been fruity-floral bombed by all the countless imitators? Every time I either smell this or see a bottle of it, the theme from “The Partridge Family” starts up in my head, and I get a visual of the bird wiggling its butt out of the eggshell. And, it is a “happy” scent. I guess the Lauder corporation was never able to license “C´mon get Happy!” as the tag line for their hugely popular fragrance. By the way, what´s the deal with all the flankers? Happy Heart, Happy in Bloom; just how many are there? Has anyone else noticed that they all smell exactly the same? Put me down for a bottle of “Happy to Be Alive” or “I´m Just So Happy to Be Here” if and when they are ever released.


L´Artisan Parfumeur Vanilia (You knew I´d be leading off with this one): Discovering this scent was a watershed moment in my life. Never before did I want a scent so badly just from a written description of it. That description appeared in the February 1993 issue of Allure, and it read something like, “The vanilla L´Artisan brews is so bewitching…” I don´t recall the rest, but that was enough for me. At the time, I was unemployed and generally uninspired, but Vanilia changed all that. It was unlike anything I´d ever smelled previously, and I fell head-over-heels for it. A new chapter in my life began and with it, my love for all things vanilla. I have never found any other vanilla quite like it; Indult Tihota was a pleasant surprise, but I cannot justify spending $250 for it, and needing a membership card to do so. Vanilia is an abstract vanilla, not like the vanilla extract you use for baking, or the “candyfloss…devoid of chic…reference holiday from propriety and convention…” fragrance Luca Turin claims it to be. It does not conjure up images of bubblegum-pink lipstick, platinum blonde-bleached hair ditziness. It is just the perfect combination of cozy warmth with just the merest hint of sweetness and spice. It is, in my opinion, the ultimate vanilla; and it´s never given me a cavity in 15 years.

People of the Labyrinths A.MAZE: When you think about the great rock n roll bands of the 1970s, and some of their iconic, blockbuster albums, the following analogy is perfect when it comes to this scent: Luctor et Emergo is so beloved by the cultish, niche perfume community that the follow-up scent couldn´t possibly live up to their expectations; just like how the band, Boston, couldn´t top their debut album, or how Meatloaf was never able to surpass the brilliance of “Bat out of Hell”. I´ve read some of the reviews and, most if not all, describe A.MAZE as nice, but a major letdown when compared to Luctor et Emergo. The comparisons to other rose scents were inevitable: You don´t need this one if you have (fill in the blank). Having never been a really big fan of rose or heavy floral scents, I have found a few I like and wear with some regularity. A.MAZE is one of them. Rose combined with spices and woods can be intriguing if done right, and this one, for me, hits the mark. I also think Elton John´s “Captain Fantastic and the Brown Dirt Cowboy” is his best album by far. It was the follow-up to “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road”.

Philosophy Amazing Grace: Honestly, I am amazed that I decided to include this on my Underappreciated list. But, after giving it some thought, I decided to because it is probably the easiest fragrance to wear, when you need or want to wear something easy. By that I mean something relatively inoffensive and not likely to cause someone to recoil from you if you happen to find yourself on a sold-out transcontinental flight or a crowded subway train. In addition, if you are one of those individuals who enjoy layering your fragrance, there are countless ancillary products that accompany this scent. You can shampoo your hair with Amazing Grace, scrub, soap and lotion yourself until the cows come home. Even though the Philosophy brand is flogged no end on QVC, and spotlighted in just about every Sephora I´ve been in, it still has not attained the ubiquity of Angel and No. 5.

Fresh Sugar: The Fresh brand was another one of my late 90s obsessions. I fell in love with just about everything they sold, especially this scent. How could I not? It is the most impeccable vanilla based-citrus scent I have ever smelled. When I first smelled it, the first thing I thought of was Duncan Hines Lemon cake mix. And, there is not a flower to be found in the original incarnation of this scent, even though heliotrope and white lily are listed as middle notes. Unfortunately they´ve tinkered with it, creating the requisite stable of flankers: Sugar Blossom, Sugar Lychee and Sugar Lemon. Not even Sugar Lemon comes close to smelling as good as the original. There´s just something so perfect about the balance of tart citrus with the creamy comfort of vanilla and caramel that makes me reach for this over, and over, and over again. I used to be a huge fan of Annick Goutal´s Eau d´Hadrien, but my Sugar addiction has obliterated every trace of Hadrien from my scented memory bank. Sugar is flat out genius.

  • Melissa says:

    It’s funny how strong a fragrance can affect! I stand by Chanel No. 5! Well shoot, I’ve NEVER smelled a Chanel I didn’t like. It’s funny, but of all the obnoxious numbers of bottles I have, No. 5 is the one I put on that draws a compliment from my husband. I do agree the perfume strength is better than the EDT. The EDT calls for a lighter hand. I have also fallen in love with the Eau Premiere although I haven’t seen it yet in stores. I may have to try the Elixir. My mother wore No. 5 & Joy when I was little & I remember how much I loved the scent cloud she left in the house. I DO AGREE with Angel!!! There are 2 women in my office that bathe in it & it always makes me gag a little & run the other way. I’m sure a little dab would do. I also know another “older” lady in the office who likes to smell like cotton candy. I just want to take her aside & tell her that I’m all for comfort scents, but at your age… PLEASE! Leave the cotton candy at home or for the adolescent girls. Walking by her desk makes me think of the fair. All she needs is a bottle of “Eau de Corn Dog” & the illusion would be complete! I know, “shame on me”.

  • Olfacta says:

    Hehe, Angel, yeah! The first time I sniffed that at a Sephora I thought, are they ___in’ kidding me? Why would anybody want to smell like that?

    As for Ch No. 5, I think the reason so many women wear it is because somebody (usually a DH or SO)gave it to them. I have the perfume and EDT, both gifts, although I’ve have never really liked it and would never buy it for myself. Imagine the average husband standing at a perfume counter. Assuming he doesn’t fall for whatever the SA is pushing that day, what ONE perfume is he going to remember? That’s right: Chanel No. 5.

    It’s a perplexing question. What do we do when somebody we love gifts us with a perfume we hate? Wear it? Display it but not wear it? Hide it and hope he or she will forget ever buying it? Wear something else and SAY it was the gift scent? Take it back to the store???

    • Nava says:

      I think the gift receipt is the best thing since sliced bread. I would definitely return a scent if I didn’t like it or had no plans of wearing it.

      Do men still buy women perfume? I’ve been mulling that one over for a bit, and when I think about all the perfume counters I’ve stood at, I can’t remember a man ever coming near one. Interesting… Also, many men have scent associations courtesy of their mothers. If his mom wore No. 5 then his wife/girlfriend might love it. Personally, that gives me the creeps, but has been known to happen.

      • Olfacta says:

        When I was in my twenties I had a serious (I thought)BF who knew I liked Bal a’ Versailles. He bought me a bottle of the EDT for my birthday. He bought a second one for his mother, whose birthday was just a few days after mine.

        I broke up with him shortly thereafter.

  • Miranda says:


    I’m so curious… What to you think of Le Labo Vanille 44?

    • Nava says:


      I have never smelled Le Labo Vanille 44. It’s only available in one store – I think at Collette in Paris. Maybe our friends at The Perfumed Court have some samples. I should check that out. 🙂

      • Miranda says:

        Yes, do! The Perfumed Court is where I get mine. Thank God for TPC! I think you’ll love it!

        • Nava says:

          Vanille 44 is not going to be in until fall at TPC. Now ya got me really jonesing it! 🙂

  • Helen says:

    Ack, Angel!!! It is my favorite perfume to bash! Too many Angel bathers have put it way high on my list of least-favorite-smells (right under dead things)…

    Happy to see a plug for Fresh Sugar- I helped my bro-in-law pick out this fragrance for my sister many many years ago (she still loves it! and thinks he has such great taste! I’ll never tell…)

    But I have to defend the No. 5…I do like it and it evokes great scent memories – even if I don’t wear it often

    • Nava says:


      No defense of No. 5 necessary. If you’re happy with it, I am most definitely happy for you. 🙂

      I think if men did not ask for assistance when picking out fragrances for their significant female others, we’d all be walking around smelling like bacon. That’s a post for another day. :d

      • Umm….have you been reading The Grateful Palate catalogue? It is a baconaut’s dream. I know they have bacon-scented candles (why, when you can just fry some up and get a twofer?)….perhaps they have now gone into the realm of bacon perfume? I do recall they had bacon soap at one time, though I don’t know if it actually smelled like bacon – it did look like it.:@)

        • Shelley says:

          Gasp! Have y’all been privy to the I’ve Got An Idea generator known as my spouse? One of his favorite Great Ideas, which always fills brings great amusement to our small clan, is a restaurant called “Everything with Bacon.” I think I do not need to explain the menu or concept…

          • Nava says:

            Ladies, ladies…

            I am unaware of the Grateful Palate, but I can’t say I’m shocked it exists. Supposedly (and I cannot for the life of me remember where I picked up this tidbit that’s been rolling around in my head), the two smells that best get heterosexual men hot and bothered are bacon and pumpkin pie. Don’t aske me where I heard or read that gem, I just know that I did. 🙂

            Shelly, your husband’s idea may not be that far-fetched. Have you ever heard of the restaurant (I believe it’s in Los Angeles, but I’m not entirely sure) “The Stinking Rose”? Supposedly, everything on the menu, including dessert, has garlic in it. Ugh!

          • Musette says:

            I don’t know if there’s one in LA but SR is famous in San Francisco. It’s a bit of a tourist place (North Beach) but the food is still pretty good. I’ve never had garlic ice cream but am interested in trying it, loving garlic as I do.

            Bacon and pumpkin pie? Wow. What a lethal combination. Doesn’t Demeter make a pumpkin pie scent? If they have a bacon scent a woman could presumably layer those and have a squiggle of men trailing after her(~~):@)

          • Nava says:

            LOL! Now I need to clarify: I meant bacon OR Pumpkin pie, not both at the same time!

            I think Demeter did make a Pumpkin Pie scent at one time. They’ve done so many that I don’t know if that’s still available. And I’ve never heard of an eau de bacon, but if you know of one, I’m sure you’ll let us know! In the meantime, check out Philosophy’s Pumpkin Pie shower gel. Downright scrumpy!

            Have you ever been to Gilroy California? That’s the garlic capitol of the US and they have a big festival there every year. I’ve driven through Gilroy from San Francisco on the way to Monterey. You can literally smell the garlic aroma on the freeway. Seriously… :d

          • Musette says:

            Gilroy is one of my favorite places. I usually drive the 101 from SF to LA because I hate the shuttle delays and I make all my gourmand stops along the way for garlic, artichokes, etc. I love the smell from the freeway!!!

            Liz Zorn’s husband, Mr Z, grows heirloom garlic – she will be showcasing her fragrances at our Event cocktail party – maybe she will bring some of Mr Z’s incredible heirloom bulbs as well.

            Perhaps I will do a little test sometime and wear Chanel No5 on one pulse point and a bit of bacon fat on another, see which one guys gravitate to! I know which one El O would gravitate to!:@)

          • Shelley says:

            (You all keep chatting…we’re busy making pump-con pie around here…) ((or should it be “Ba-kin”? we’ll worry more about that once the balance is right…)) :-j

          • Shelley says:

            P.S. I have been to Gilroy! But will have to focus on the garlic available in my own garden for now…

          • Nava says:

            I think we’re on to something here… :d

          • Helen says:

            I do think you are on to something! (Notes: smoke, honey, misquite?) It would be a great coup to secretly create Eau Jambot and get Paris Hilton or someone to schlep it!

  • moi says:

    Interesting. I have had recent encounters with a few of these:

    I like Angel in theory but you’d never catch me wearing it in the really real world. Those who do should watch it. During dinner out with a client a couple nights ago, our hostess was soaking in the stuff. After she sat us, my client sniffed the air and asked, “Do I smell donuts?”

    I have never understood the appeal of No. 5. Maybe some day. But as recently as last week during a dept. store sniff, I still encountered that abstract, sharp-edgedness that has always put me off. And I LIKE abstract fragrances. Go figure.

    As for Happy, a woman standing in line in front of me at the airport a couple months ago smelled so gorgeous, I had to ask what she was wearing. It was Happy. It never smelled that super sunny, honeysuckley on me, ever.

    • Musette says:

      “Do I smell donuts?”=))

      Thank you SO much. I was thinking about being in a bad mood…..absolutely can’t now. I will giggle about this the rest of the day, see if I don’t!

    • Nava says:

      Donuts?? That’s a new one for me, too. I’ve heard Angel compared to buttered popcorn, but never donuts! :))

  • karin says:

    I agree about Chanel #5! I used to wear it years ago, but now have no idea how or why. I hadn’t worn it in awhile, so thought I’d try it again. Awful. Way too plasticky and perfumey. I used to love the body lotion, too. Haven’t tried that again, though, so I may like it in that form.

    As for Angel, I brought a sample with me when I went to Paris in the early 90’s and wore it while I was there. So, anytime I wear it now, it reminds me of Paris!!! 🙂 I wear it sparingly if I go out, though, cause I don’t want to offend anyone. But yes, those who wear it lavishly in public should be flogged. I was shocked one time while dining in an upscale, expensive restaurant (Joel in Atlanta) – one of the servers was drenched in it. Every time she walked by, Angel wafted everywhere. I couldn’t believe that the management didn’t pull her aside and tell her to go home and wash up!!!! As an Angel lover, I was embarrassed and angry with her – shame on her for ruining a perfectly wonderful scent by gagging everyone around her with it!!!!

    Another that gets way too much love is Opium. Never liked it. Never will. And every time I smell it on someone I want to run. Fortunately, it’s use seems to have waned over the years, but for awhile, it was EVERYWHERE!

    To throw a couple of underappreciated scents into the hat – I love Flowerbomb!!!! I also admit a passion for Juicy Couture. And another scent that makes me really happy as soon as I put it on – Nanette Lepore! So, I guess I’ve been bit by the fruity, floral bug. No, I don’t want a cure yet. 🙂

    • Nava says:


      Yikes! Angel on a server in a restaurant would not make me happy, either. I’ve run across a few overscented servers, but never one that was doused in Angel. My best friend owns and runs a cafe (her word – I refer to it as her coffee & sandwich joint), and when she first opened, I would help her out periodically. I can’t tell you how many times she scolded me for wearing scent while working the counter: “People want to smell their food, not you!” She’s absolutely right. 🙂

  • Billy D says:

    No. 5 does get too much love, and I don’t think it’s particularly amazing, but it IS so much of a classic. I can sniff it and discover new things every time, though I’ve never been compelled to wear or recomment it. Perhaps it is a little/lot dated.

    Try the new Eau Premiere though–it’s really fantastic, and smells much more vibrant, sparkling, etc. Not stale at all.

    I’ve never understood the tumult over Angel. It’s an ok fragrance, but nothing to go wild over nor to hate with a passion! It’s kinda meh for me. If I could though, I would destroy every bottle of Happy in existence. yuck.

    • Nava says:


      If you destroyed all those bottles of Happy, would they then be “Sad”? :d

      Eau Premiere is nice, but as I said above about Elixir, at their hearts, they are still No. 5, no matter how light the formulation may be. 🙁

  • Dagmar says:

    :)I agree with the assessment of Chanel No. 5, for the most part. It’s just not for me, personally. However, it is pretty much the one and only scent I can instantly identify if someone is wearing it within 10 ft. or so. The other is Euphoria, just because pretty much everyone wears that nowadays, it seems. The Fresh Sugar is one I bought but got terribly sick of mid-bottle. It really is nice, in a way, but I’ll never touch it again. A gourmand I think is underrated is “Miss Dior Cherie,” which gets a lot of grief but is more interesting than it should be.

    • Nava says:


      Funny – I just told March that I don’t smell a lot of Euphoria out there. Maybe I need to get out more. *-:)

      Miss Dior Cherie is horribly sweet on me. I wanted to like it, but chemistry struck yet again.

  • March says:

    PS I feel compelled to clarify — I was dissing Bluemercury’s “pitiful” selection of only five or six L’Artisans, not L’Artisan itself. If you read back through old posts, I continue to wave the L’Artisan flag. L’Artisan was one of my first “niche” perfume discoveries, although some niche snobs would say they’re too popular to be classified as such [-( . I continue to enjoy the line’s scents, most of which are both interesting and not overly difficult.

    • Nava says:


      Clarification appreciated. There is a new Bluemercury near where I live that I’ve not yet visited. Based on your experience, it’s probably pointless to go.

      I agree about L’Artisan. Vanilia is not my only fave from that line. 🙂

      • Louise says:

        I think Blue Mercurys vary a lot by location. I’ve visited several, and the stock does differ, so maybe one trip to check it out would be worthwhile???

        • Nava says:


          The location of the Bluemercury used to be occupied by an independent high-end cosmetics/fragrance/haircare store. It’s not a very big space, and the former store used to carry a lot of the same brands Bluemercury does. They were not very successful, so I’m just assuming that Bluemercury won’t be, either. Who knows? I could be wrong… 🙂

    • Elizabeth says:

      I just visited my local bluemercury a few days ago and it carried about 15-20 l’Artisans, so it must vary by store. I love l’Aritsan, too, and even though it seems a bit overpriced for a fleeting whiff, I think many of them (most of all Passage d’Enfer) are interesting and very wearable. The mainstream can never take that away from me!! :):)

      Weirdly enough, although I hate Angel and most fruity florals, I can’t get enough of Euphoria. (Don’t worry, I spray lightly and don’t usually wear it out. :d And I *was* a Clinique Happy wearer once – go figure!

  • March says:

    Hahahahaha!!!! I totally agree about Angel; its success baffles me. And I’d add Euphoria to that list. I reviewed it not that long ago, because I’d no idea what it smelled like, and it’s wildly successful. I admired it for being not just another fruity floral, but dang, do people overapply that thing!

  • rosarita says:

    Dang, Nava, you go, girl! I loved the Captain Fantastic album, and it got panned by all of my snottier high school friends. As to fragrances, I wore Pleasures in the 90s and loved it for awhile. Last winter, I was gifted a tiny bottle in parfum strength; really lovely and I wore it all spring. The blog Beauty Addict has had some good things to say about Amazing Grace lately, too, I’ll have to try it. I was put off by the QVCness of it.:-s And lastly, thanks loads, now I have the Partridge Family theme as an earworm. Better than the Brady Bunch, anyway l-)

    • Nava says:

      LOL! Thanks Rosarita!

      I’ve gotten into many heated discussions about Elton’s “Captain Fantastic”. I worked with a guy years ago who kept insisting that he never did anything worth listening to after “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road”. Incidentally, Ben & Jerry’s newest flavor is “Goodbye Yellow Brickle Road”. I guess naming an ice cream “Brown Dirt Cowboy” wouldn’t have been very appealing. :d

      The “QVCness” of AG can be very off-putting. But I console myself by saying that I discovered the line way before they became a QVC staple. I once read somewhere that the founder Cristina Carlino turned down a deal to sell Philosophy exclusively at Barneys. Now she probably needs a fleet of semis to carry home all that cash.

  • MattS says:

    Hooray for Nava! The slobbering horde-ish cults can have their Luctor et Emergo; give me A*Maze any day. I discovered it when trying to find a rose scent to love and it always puts me in a good mood when I spritz it. I have a tiny handful of scents that I go to when I want something cheerful and this is one of ’em. Maybe it’s that slight booziness-it’s like taking a shot on a sunny day in a garden. :))

    Also, I almost never like the blockbuster, iconic albums; it’s usually the smaller, underappreciated ones I prefer-the ones that came out before the band became big, that sort of thing.:)>-

    • Nava says:

      Matt Darling,

      Yes, L et E does have a very devoted following. I like it as well, but I could very easily live without it given the choice. Actually, I no longer have a bottle, just one of A.MAZE. Another good rose is Eau D’Italie Paestum Rose. Please tell me you love that one – if you haven’t smelled it yet, do so immediately, if not sooner.


    • Olfacta says:

      I think that the reason for those better (and underappreciated) first albums is that the songwriter(s) have their whole lives to write the songs! If they become successful, the second album is usually written in hotel rooms between meet’n’greets before shows; this is why second records often suck — also they’re often padded with out-takes that didn’t make it onto the first one! If the artist or band endures all of that well enough to even make a third record, that means they’ve become accustomed to life on the road well enough to demand some alone-time to write. Many never learn.

  • Louise says:

    I never understood the No. 5 attraction, either, but recently tried the Elixir…and am beginning to get it. It is rich, less aldehydic, very pleasing. And I am yet again left to wonder if all the reformulations have left the poor classic damaged from its original 🙁

    Angel for me is far from the horror many find it. I think if it was not so oversprayed, and generally widely abused, it might have been an interesting and original oddity. I like the body cream and some of the flankers well enough to occasionally use a bit on a cold day 😮

    Two underappreciateds that I love in summer-Fresh Sake, and Sheer Obsession.
    Sadly, Nava, the all the rest of the list goes in my “should be underappreciated” basket-they just strike me a meh, including Vanilia-there are just so many more interesting vanillas…on my skin, of course. Undoubtedly, I’d smell it on you…and want what you get from it :d/

    • Nava says:


      I tested No. 5 Elixir once and on me it was very lemony, but the heart of it is still No. 5, so that one didn’t work for me, either.

      Chemistry is everything when it comes to fragrance. If not for it, we’d never have discussions like this one. 🙂

      • Kim says:

        Completely agree with you about skin chemistry – No 5 smells icky on my cousin, amazing on me. And No 19 smells fantastic on her and like floor cleaner on me. Definitely think Luca Turin is wrong on the chemistry thing! 😕

        • MJ says:

          Formula matters too – I always thought No. 5 was sharp and powdery and “meh” until I tried a sample of the parfum – THAT is rich and elegant and subtle and I’m not getting any powder from it at all. Night and day difference. The hype should be reserved to the Parfum.

  • Amy K says:

    I actually smell good in No. 5 EDT, most likely as some sort of cosmic consolation prize for smelling downright terrible in Mitsouko. And whoa, did you just make a 2nu Ponderous reference? You don’t see that every day!

    • Nava says:

      I don’t smell good in Mitsouko either. I wish I did, though.

      My use of “ponderous” is an homage to former American Top 40 host Casey Kasem. There’s a very famous outtake from one of his shows where he uses that word.

      2nu Ponderous? I’m curious…

  • BBJ says:

    I really want to like Chanel No. 5, because my grandmother wore it, and in her honor, I would like to like it. Not good enough. Even the thought of Marilyn Monroe wearing nothing else to bed is not good enough. I just don’t care for it. It’s–too dang powdery.

    However, I love Happy. I understand that many people think this makes me slightly insane. I wish I could deny that charge, but…uh. Oh, OK, I’m slightly nuts. Happy is the first fragrance I actually used 100 ml of and bought more. It smells good on me. Orangey florally chemically goodness. I don’t know. It works.

    I’m starting to get (very) slightly less enamoured of it as I get a more discerning schnozz, but the basic combination of notes continues to strike some sort of basic note with me. Can anyone suggest a possible Happy upgrade for the deranged Happy fan who’s starting to like more sophisticated stuff?

  • Kim says:

    Oh No, Dear Me No! Chanel No 5 is my all time favourite, desert island fragrance. At the risk of having eyes roll, have you really tried the pure parfum strength? In parfum I get little powder, a wonderful animal underpinning, and those sparkling aldehydes…sigh! Seriously, when wearing No 5, I have had people stop and ask what is it that smells so good on me! A truly amazing fragrance that I loved long before I ever saw their ads or heard ‘expert’ opinion. I am afraid we will have to agree to disagree on No. 5 – but I will concur with your Happy Angel Pleasures.

    • Melissa says:

      Kim, no eye rolling here! Although I don’t wear No. 5 and often run from people who overspray it, I recently tried the parfum. A few dabs later and yes, sigh…. beautiful. I do love classic floral aldehydes and I don’t know why this one has literally bothered me in the past, but the parfum is a different story.

      • Rowanhill says:

        With the risk of repeating myself from an earlier discussion, that time initiated by March, yes the perfume is an altogether different story.

    • Nava says:

      Hi Kim,

      No worries about the disagreement. 🙂

      I have tried No. 5 in every form. It’s just never worked for me. 🙁

  • tmp00 says:

    Well, first off thanks for giving some Fresh love, I like quite a few of them and thought I was alone there. They have some nice, simple ones that are great when I want to smell Fresh.

    I’ve worn Chanel No. 5 and liked it, but not enough to have any in the house. All of my girlfriends cannot stand it.

    Angel. I was firmly convinced that Angel was some sort of joke, in an evil queen making you wear a Westwood Bumbag and back-combed hair way. But I have smelled it on someone upon whom it was absolutely divine and I got it. Sadly, there are twelve people who can rock it and 12000 who suffers us through it.

    Happy. I wasn’t

    • Nava says:


      You’re lucky; I’ve yet to meet anyone who rocks either fragrance.

    • Billy D says:

      Hehe, Westwood bum bag.


      • Nava says:

        Is a “bumbag” what we in America refer to as a “fanny pack”? I’m thinking yes, but I’m not totally sure.

        • Billy D says:

          It’s more of a fanny pack-cum-bustle. Westwood was famously all about butt enhancers in the early-mid nineties.

          One also makes a funny appearance in an episode of AbFab.