N°5 Eau de Cologne (Chanel)

The Eau de Parfum version of Chanel's flagship fragrance is truly gorgeous stuff, full of beauty and elegance and charming nuance. I'm never comfortable wearing it because its floral heart is so lush and bright that it feels strange to wear, as though my identity changed, and I'm now a pearl-necklaced senator's wife instead of the 30 year-old male plonker that everyone knows, and loves to hate.

Another problem with the EDP is that it's only appropriate for cold weather. I've had people tell me they wear it year-round, but I can't see doing that in the middle of July. It's best to abstain from N°5 until the humidity evaporates, and the crisp breezes of autumn return, unless you happen to have a bottle of the Eau de Cologne concentration. In which case, you're good for July, August, September - knock yourself out, Chanel fan!

N°5 EDC is a stripped and augmented version of its purer concentrations. The aldehydes are increased; the rose, iris, and jasmine are dialed way back; civet is dialed way up, in a manner which lends the construct a distinctly sweet, sweaty feel; neroli is the central flower, with bitter orange blossom and cool musk dominating the lifespan of this cologne. This attenuated variation opens with a brisk burst of aldehydes, followed by a piercingly animalic civet, which ushers in a freshened floral arrangement, all strewn across a humble sweaty-sweet base. The effect is both refreshing and interesting, and never blatantly strays into your standard fresh-citrus cologne territory, although citrus elements abound. I like how neroli is used - there's a bitter kick in the early drydown, which introduces the subtle woodiness in the formula.

I'm fairly certain the EDC of N°5 is discontinued, but bottles can still be found here and there, especially online. I wish I had one, as this version of N°5 is truly unisex, and totally wearable for men of all persuasions. Ebay usually has bottles posted, but beware of people selling watered-down L'Aimant by Coty in lieu of the real thing.

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