“To sleep, perchance to Dream; Ay, there’s the rub, For in that sleep of death, what dreams may come,” Hamlet; Shakespeare
Does anyone else wear a different perfume to bed? It’s a ritual with me. I like to put on a favourite to send me off to sleep, quite often it’s a perfume that doesn’t get much daytime or work wear, for any number of reasons. To loud, too floral, too celebuscent, too often ignored. Sometimes you just pass fragrances over for a while because other things have caught your attention or you are testing, on you or a room of Turbo Trivia players. When your scent wardrobe starts to become a scent library you need to find new times to wear perfume so they all get smelled. I know, these are the most shallow of first world problems but I like it.
The other night I decided to put on some Chanel No 5 EdP before I went to bed. No 5 is an old memory scent for me, of my Mum. She left me a black bakelite and gold large refillable spray when she died that must have been almost full because it lasted for ages. At the time though she’d not thought to tell me they were refillable so it has been lost to eternity. Through my mind ran the most wonderful memories of my Mum, always smiling and glamorous when wearing No 5 because it was one of her grown up “going out” scents, a swirl of skirt, swish of hair and a wall of perfume. It was the 80’s and 90’s so she was unafraid to multispritz. Nowadays she would be frowned upon probably as an olfactory pollutionist and not allowed into restaurants, cinemas, workspaces or buses. Back then you were supposed to have a scent that entered the room before you and left weeks later, and all the curtains in every venue felt as if they’d been dry cleaned nightly.
Evie C wrote us some great No 5 stories recently and I find it hard to believe that any of you wouldn’t know what Chanel No 5 smells like because it was as ubiquitous as Shalimar, Georgio, Joy et al but I think the world has moved on in some respects, so…
Chanel No 5 is a big, fat, delicious, glamorous, gorgeous, mouth watering, head turning, man pulling siren of a fragrance designed by one of last centuries style icons, Gabrielle Coco Chanel in 1921 with Ernest Beaux, to grab you by the nose and take you to places you never thought you’d be. It was released 5/5/21 because 5 was Coco’s lucky number, and so last week it celebrated its 91st birthday. They say it was a stolen formula from the Russians who were fleeing the collapse of their empire. They say a million things. If you want a history The secret of Chanel No 5 by Tilar J. Mazzeo is a rollicking great read and could even be the true story. You may have heard Marilyn Monroe’s scandalous quote about wearing only Chanel No 5 to bed. What matters is the scent; reformulated many times over the years, even the great Luca Turin is amazed at how true to its ancestors it smells. I have a few different bottles of Chanel No 5. A fairly recent EdP, an 80’s EdT and a 1940’s US made, wartime .5oz Parfum, still wax sealed and waiting for an enormous opening ceremony. I think maybe a perfumista dinner party where we can all sniff, snort and snuffle unashamedly.
Top notes; neroli, ylang-ylang, bergamot, amalfi lemon and aldehydes;
Middle notes; iris, jasmine, orris root, rose and lily-of-the-valley;
Base notes; vetiver, musk, sandalwood, patchouli, oak moss, amber, vanille and civetta.
…but you can’t read this litany and think you know what it will smell like. That’s like looking at a Claude Monet painting of Giverny and thinking you know what spring is like, though you’ve never left your home.
The wonderful thing about Chanel No 5 is that you need only go to your nearest department store and try it. It costs nothing to go and spray yourself silly with it. But beware, Chanel No 5 is magic, even still. There is a little drop of white witch in every bottle. You will become a walking siren should you dare to cross the threshold. Go on.
I dare you
The ad below was recently on Olfacroria’s Travels and it thrilled me. I’d not seen it before and it felt so gorgeously expensive, even for a fragrance commercial which are notoriously spendthrift. Now whenever I put Chanel No 5 on I feel transported to this imaginary story as well. It is a hard working fragrance that takes me to a million places.
What do you wear to bed? Is there a special fragrance or are there many?