One of the timeless classics in my perfume closet is N°19.
Sadly, it is neglected in favor of many, many others that shout for attention . Annemarie’s story of the importance of N°19 throughout her life on Beauty on the Outside, reminded me to get it out again and wear it, and promptly it took me in again with its cool charm.
The number 19 refers to the birthday of Coco Chanel, August 19. The perfume was launched in 1971 when Coco Chanel was 87 years old, a year before she died. It was created by Henri Robert, a perfumer who created many other perfumes for the Chanel house.
-excerpted from Fragrantica
N°19 includes notes of galbanum, neroli, bergamot, jasmine, rose, lily of the valley, iris, vetiver, sandalwood, leather and musk.
N°19 is extremely elegant and even more typically Chanel than even N°5 in my opinion. The juxtaposition of the sharp, green, cool opening of galbanum paired with citrus notes and the unexpected heart of soft and warm florals, encompasses everything I perceive as elegant and refined. It is like a warm-hearted woman who laughs easily and is well loved wherever she goes. She is always immaculately dressed, wearing gloves and a hat and therefore is perceived upon first look as cool and aloof, staying at a distance, always commanding respect, but that impression dissolves with the first peals of her laughter. Everybody is smitten with her from then on.
After the initial galbanum boost recedes, an incredibly warm and softly powdery iris emerges, decorated by rose and jasmine and ylang. Eventually it dries down to a woody leather-musk that is soft and unassuming, but still captivating.
When wearing Chanel N°19 I feel elegant, regal almost and transported to a time when such attributes where sought and coveted. I walk a little more upright, no matter that I am in jeans and a t-shirt, Chanel N°19 gives me an invisible (but undoubtedly green) magic cloak or rather a cape and matching gloves, transforming me into a woman who manages to exude an inherent grace, while laughing in the face of adversity, laughing with the sheer pleasure of living.
This review is about the Eau de Toilette, I smelled the other available concentrations, Extrait de Parfum and Eau de Parfum only at the store, so I cannot really say much about the differences. Let me refer you to Victoria of Bois de Jasmin, who wrote an excellent review with many details regarding different concentrations, formulation and background.