I read somewhere once that No. 22 came in as a close second to No. 5 when Madame Chanel was deciding on the first composition to release in 1921. Of course we all know she chose No.5 and No.22 was released the following year. These are definitely sister fragrances though and carry many of the same notes. However, No.22 isn’t quite as sweet as No.5. It’s a bit more reserved. A bit more powdery. I own No.5 in parfum and No.22 in EdT, so my comparisons are based off of these concentrations.
No.22 starts out heavy in the aldehydes and dries to a mainly jasmine, ylang, and vetiver on my skin. I really don’t get any vanilla at all. It smells pretty clean with tiny bit of muskiness towards the base. But it never crosses into anything remotely skanky. I could see a bride wearing this on her wedding day but I can just as easily see me wearing it out casually, which I do, as it’s priced pretty fairly at around $1.50 US/ml.
The younger generations may think No.22 smells ‘old lady’ but when I smell it I think of a chic, classy woman in a tailored skirtsuit. A Jackie Kennedy. It’s very prim and proper but still fun and not quite uptight.
For me it was love at first sniff. I HAD to have it! In fact, I was so haunted by it for weeks after testing that I was compelled to have it. Not many fragrances I’ve come across have impressed upon me as much as this one did.
I only tested it once before deciding to buy too and when I went to purchase the bottle, I chose the biggest size I could get, 200ml, thinking I would go through it relatively fast considering it being an EdT. But in my experience, it wears more like an EdP. The juice is of fantastic quality and lasts up to 10 hours on the skin, which is quite impressive for an EdT really. Also, the cap is magnetic and always fits itself properly into place with the logo in line, for all you type A’s out there 😉
The general concensus is that No.22 is a spring/summer frag but I think it works well all year long. In fact I’m writing this in January after wearing it all day today and it performed beautifully on such a cold, rainy winter day. It’s also pretty non-offensive and could be worn appropriately just about anywhere at anytime. Easily made a signature fragrance.
Many fragrances come and go throughout the years, but it takes something very special, something solid to remain and No.22 is that kind of special. It’s different enough from No.5 to have been able to stand on its own and continue to sell for the last 94 years. I believe that fact alone speaks for itself. Even so, it’s still pretty exclusive and only Chanel boutiques consistantly carry it although I believe Neiman Marcus has begun to carry a select few from the Exclucifs line, including No.22. I still highly recommend testing if possible before buying since it’s not cheap. But I will confidently say that if you like No. 5, you will more than likely like No.22 as well. 🙂
Season: Spring/ Summer
Top notes: Lily of the Valley, Neroli, Aldehydes
Heart notes: Jasmine, Rose, Ylang, Tuberose
Base notes: Vetiver, Vanilla