Youthful charm, Chanel N°5 L’Eau

In today’s world playing safe is a way to survive but it doesn’t bring any development or growth in your life. Playing dirty is a big NO, even if it gets the attention you wanted it will be all a negative fame that you’ll regret sooner than later. To achieve your goals, to be noticed by your environment and to leave a mark in the world you live in you often have to play a risky game. I know you might be scared – I am scared too! Because you can never be sure if you’re going to succeed. But if you don’t try, you’ll never find out and lots of conjectures will be clouding your head.

Same philosophy can be applied to a perfume market. A fragrance that is safe will get some attention but no one will speak about it loudly, people will quickly forget it. But a perfume that has unobvious conjunction of notes, made with innovative approach and launched with risk it might not sell will get the most of people’s attention. What happens then if the most iconic fragrance known (at least by its name) all over the world gets a makeover? It gets talked about!

Since it launched, back in 1921 Chanel N°5 has become not only the most popular perfume in the world. It has become a fragrance statement; a statement that you don’t argue with. It’s been worn for generations and for 86 years no perfumer dared to touch the formulation of this masterpiece. In 2007 an Eau Premiere appeared and it was the first flanker to the original (reintroduced in 2015) but it’s in 2016 when N°5 undergoes a revolution & revamping that polarized many of us.


In Poland we have a saying for which an English equivalent is: you can’t teach an old dog new tricks. Therefore, can you turn an old classic into a new modern creation? The answer is: yes, you can. Chanel N°5 L’Eau opens with a dash of tart yet juicy bergamot with some lemon and orange right underneath it. These notes however float up really quickly and in a finger snap the aldehydes are on top. Sparkly and bubbly as they are, they seem pale & whitened compared to the classic.

Followed by a sheer sweetness of vanilla and a powdery hint of orris, N°5 L’Eau is then dominated by yellow flowers. Ylang-ylang is prominent ingredient of new N°5 effusing its creamy aroma all around the wearer. This note has a nice intensity but of course it remains in a good tone. When it dissipates it reveals a musky facet which to me smells fluffy, cottony and kind of laundry-like. A white musk for sure, Chanel likes to use it in their creations lately. After the musky phase there is a hint of jasmine and neroli but in tiny amounts that could be easily overlooked.

Drydown of Chanel N°5 L’Eau has some cedar but it’s so pale, so light & airy that to me it could be nonexistent as well. It’s also a phase when I can smell some rosy nuances. The perfume is lightweight and it quickly wore off my skin. And a big nod for the bottle, love simplicity of this black & white design. Still I think L’Eau is a funny scent. It’s like a daughter that observes her mother and tries to repeat everything she’s doing. Said that it becomes clear it’s dedicated to younger generationsespecially if you see ad campaign fronted by young Lily-Rose Depp. Will Chanel N°5 L’Eau live up to its predecessor? Will it create its own legend? Only time will tell…

N°5 L’Eau was created by in-house perfumer of Chanel, Olivier Polge.

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16 thoughts on “Youthful charm, Chanel N°5 L’Eau

  1. hajusuuri says:

    Nice review, sweets! I got the 50 mL bottle a month ago when I had Macy’s coupons. Was it revolutionary, not really, wearable – absolutely! But guess what I am obsessing about right now? A “vintage” / pre-reformulation 40 mL bottle of Eau Premiere I got at the last swapmeet. I’m waiting for the right occasion to wear it but man, I had been huffing that atomizer like a drug addict.

    • lucasai says:

      Thanks sweetie. I decided to write about this mainstream one because many people talk about it. So… why not? It’s not a perfume for me but I admit – it’s pretty wearable and definitely suitable for younger woman.
      Vintage stuff always has something interesting about it.
      You scored a nice thing. I got nothing in last NST swapmeet

  2. Holly says:

    I really like the opening of this one and the first hour or two are enjoyable. After that, it dries down to a rather thin woody musk on my skin. It’s definitely wearable – I think of it as a spritz-and-go sort of fragrance. I’ve only sampled it once, and will probably try it again, but I doubt I’ll be moved to buy a bottle. Do you think that this will turn out to be a best-seller for Chanel? For some reason, I personally can’t get away from the associations of the original No.5 being for the more mature woman, and I wonder if younger people will also and therefore shun L’Eau despite the marketing directly aimed at them. I’ll be really interested to see how it goes!

    • Jillie says:

      Just saw your comment, Holly! It will be interesting to see if Chanel succeeds – I think that there will be quite a few girls who aspire to the glamour of the advertising campaign, but whether they will form a big customer base in the future – who knows? But I expect there will be requests for this for Christmas presents!

      • lucasai says:

        So true Jillie!
        I doubt No. 5 L’Eau will beat No. 5 in popularity and sale.
        And I agree this will be on a list of Christmas presents A LOT! If Chanel adds a No. 5 L’Eau body lotion to make a set, it will be a winner for winter holidays

    • lucasai says:

      I like the citrusy top and aldehydes a little less. I absolutely agree it dries down to one of those inoffensive dry downs that don’t require much ambition to rock them.
      No. 5 L’Eau could perhaps be one of those office-friendly scents?
      I think No. 5 is too mature for women in their 20-30’s. To me it’s more for +45 year olds. L’Eau is totally younger in those terms

  3. Jillie says:

    It’s good to read your take on this, Lucas. It seems that it is well done and pleasant but not really for me – although I wouldn’t say no if someone made me a present of it!

    I think it will appeal very much to the market at which it is aimed: the young. The young with taste, of course, and for whom Chanel is very much a desired brand – as I well know as it was one of my Chanels that was stolen by an apprentice visiting our house to make a repair …….. grrrrrr. The fact that there were far more valuable bottles on the table with my lost Cristalle shows that the name he recognised and coveted was Chanel!

    That aside, Chanel know that they have to “groom” their future customers and this would be a very enjoyable start on a perfume journey.

    • lucasai says:

      Thank sweetheart, I thought reader might be interested in seeing what I think about new No. 5 L’Eau despite the fact that I write almost exclusively about niche, so I decided to give it a try. Actually the words were flowing on their own when I was writing this.
      OH NO! Sorry you’ve been robbed and that you lost your Cristalle.

      • Jillie says:

        Thank you for your sympathy. It was a long time ago, so I think I have got over it (just about!).

        I am very pleased that you decided to step outside the niche section – your reviewing skills make any fragrance you write about an interesting read and I would like to know what you think of some more mainstream perfumes.

  4. rickyrebarco says:

    Wonderful review, Lucas! The No. 5 L’eau is definitely light as you described it. I like it very much but it seems to be lacking some depth. I have been layering it with the 2015 no. 5 Eau Premiere and the two fragrances together smell lovely and the longevity is much better. I wish I could wear the original No. 5, but it smells rather awful on my skin, regrettably. These 2 new versions are just right for me.

  5. Barbara says:

    Hello Lucas, I enjoyed your review of No.5 L’eau. Your first paragraph about playing it safe vs. taking risks is so true and I wish you well in your goals. As for L’eau, I sampled it three times and got a very faint scent of it and then nothing. Perhaps it’s my aging nose, but fortunately I have no problem appreciating the original and L’eau Première. I do like the idea and the description of No.5 L’eau and hope my nose will “wake up” to it.

    • lucasai says:

      I’m glad you liked this little venture into No. 5 L’Eau world.
      It’s very sheer but if you can rock No. 5 and Eau Premiere, perhaps you don’t need this flanker at all

  6. Sarah says:

    Good Evening, Lucas!
    I will be certain to investigate L’eau when I pop into Nordstrom this week. You have me interested. I have always worn No.5 and love it. I just inherited a vintage dusting powder from my mother as she passed away last year. No.5 brings memories back as a little girl getting out of the bath and my mom allowing me to powder myself down in Chanel! I will try the L’eau; thanks so much for the review! OXOX

    • lucasai says:

      Thanks for reading Sarah. I’m happy you got curious due to my review. And wow, looks like you became a fan of No. 5 at a very early age, even if it seems like a very mature perfume.

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