Chanel No 19 : Perfume Review


Chanel No. 19 needs no words of praise because its beauty renders them superfluous. Even its seemingly difficult facets—the aggressive verdancy of galbanum, the woody duskiness of iris—are arranged in such a harmonious manner that one cannot but admire how the green, vibrant top notes melt into the leathery darkness of the base.

The number 19 refers to Coco Chanel’s birthday, August 19th. The story goes that No.19 was her personal fragrance; however, this is unlikely, since the perfume was composed only in 1970, less than a year before her death. No. 19 was created by the Chanel in-house perfumer Henri Robert, who is also responsible for the chypre austerity of Pour Monsieur (1955) and the shimmery bite of Cristalle EDT (1974). Robert created only a few fragrances for the house; however, his contribution cannot be measured by the number of perfumes linked to his name. Being responsible for maintaining the quality of Chanel No. 5, searching out the best quality materials and adapting the formula for the parfum de toilette and eau de toilette, Robert has to be credited for the continuing success of No. 5. …

And yet No. 19 remains a testament to his talent as an artist. It is said that upon approaching the Taj Mahal, one is teased by its ornate whiteness looming in the distance, until suddenly the magnificent edifice is right before one’s eyes. In No. 19, the iris magically transports one from the soft luminosity of florals into the intensity of a leather-vetiver embrace. The elegance of No. 19 is underscored by the seductive allure of its seemingly chilly effect. A few rose de mai petals caught among moss covered roots conjure a passionate yearning constrained by feelings of decorum. At a time when women are encouraged to smell like chocolate covered confections, No. 19, with its strength and regal beauty, proves that femininity is not defined by “sugar, spice and everything nice.” That being said, lacking sweetness or floral opulence, No. 19 would definitely be suitable for a man, especially in the EDT and EDP concentrations, where the accent falls upon the vetiver and leather.  If I were to choose between concentrations, the EDT and the parfum would be my preferred picks, for the radiance of iris-vetiver and the richness of iris-leather, respectivelly.

I admit that revisiting classical perfumes is a frustrating ordeal, because they are either no longer extant or only available as pale versions of their former selves. Of course, as many ingredients become untenable either because of ethical, economical or health reasons, the reformulation is only an expected outcome. Although still very good, Chanel No. 19 is no longer the same. The alteration must have been quite recent, because I have a bottle of the perfume purchased two years ago, and it is still true to the original beauty. I would recommend assessing the color, which should be green-beige, rather than emerald (or dark green). Instead of the passionate vetiver and leather interplay subdued by iris, the composition meanders before fading into the slightly attenuated vetiver and musk base. However, the parfum concentration is still superior to the EDT and the EDP. Altered or not, No. 19 still remains a perfume to admire.

A side note on galbanum, fragrance and politics. When Chanel No 19 was created in 1971, it was formulated with a superb grade of Iranian galbanum oil, which was sourced especially for it. However, when the Iranian Revolution broke out in 1979, the oil became unavailable. No 19 had to be reformulated, which was accomplished with much difficulty, because the original galbanum oil was of a particularly fine, rare caliber.

Chanel No. 19 includes notes of galbanum, hyacinth, neroli, bergamot, jasmine, rose, lily of the valley, iris, vetiver, sandalwood, leather, musk.



  • Viktor Nilsson: Thank you dear V for this review. So the No. 19 I have gotten to know is just a shadow of its former self? Then the original must be to die for. No. 19 is definately a scent that I’d be more than willing to wear, actually you just made me even more tempted to buy it!

    So galbanum is the fascinating, aggressive and rough topnote? What other scents have a prominent note of galbanum? I remember you mentioned Balmain Vent Vert had 8%! I have to try that one. March 15, 2006 at 5:17am Reply

  • Judith: Beautiful review of a beautiful scent! I can’t believe they reformulated this–are they just trying to drive us crazy? Who do they think their audience is, anyway? I am so glad that my small bottle of the parfum is several years old, beige-green, and glorious! March 15, 2006 at 9:27am Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Anya, I am puzzled, because No. 19 is definitely not fleeting, especially in the vintage version. I recently purchased a vintage duo of EDT and EDC, but they arrived damaged–thin and weak. Thankfully, the seller took them back and offered a replacement. Even the EDC is very long lasting, although not as long lasting as the EDT. Of coures, body chemistry is another factor to consider. March 15, 2006 at 10:16am Reply

    • Kim: I wore 19 for years. It was undeniably the most intoxicating scent ever. Recently I was in the want of a new scent and decided to go back in time to what I remembered as a wonderful scent. I bought Chanel 19 again hoping to recapture what I remembered to be heavenly. Although I’m not 100% disappointed, I will admit, I am disappointed. As lovely as it still is, it’s not what it was. August 6, 2023 at 5:10pm Reply

      • Trisha: I agree! I wore no 19 since the 1970s, my signature perfume always. However, the formulation changed around 2000 and it is not the same since then. I have bought several versions, but it just does not smell the same, in fact it now gives me a headache after a few minutes of wearing, so something in there does not agree with me. I have gone onto Chloe Nomade instead, as the only perfume that does not induce a headache, and somehow feels me. September 9, 2023 at 4:11am Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Katie, I find that galbanum is one of those strange notes that are appealing, even though they are not conventionally attractive. And yet, the sliced green pepper note is what I crave at times. As for No. 19, you should definitely sample it! March 15, 2006 at 10:25am Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Judith, it was a sad realization for me. I suppose that as the prices of iris butter continue to climb (it is around $20,000 per pound for the top quality,) the houses will be forced to substitute less and less expensive ingredients. One can only cherish one’s vintage finds. March 15, 2006 at 10:29am Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: M, it is a beautiful fragrance, and at least, it is still being made. You should be able to find an older bottle. March 15, 2006 at 10:31am Reply

  • Linda: I am now beating myself up for giving away a bottle of No. 19. I thought that I would never wear it, but now that I grew to love iris, I miss it. March 15, 2006 at 11:05am Reply

  • Donna: Great review, V! I also noticed that it has lost some depth, but I attributed this to my changing tastes. Speaking of color, my old bottle was like the one in the advert. That’s ok, right? March 15, 2006 at 11:50am Reply

  • violetnoir: Ah, no. 19, my lucky number, too.

    I wore this “back in the day” and loved every moment of it. Since its formulation has changed, I don’t think I will ever wear it again, but I thank you for bringing back fragrant memories.

    Hugs and love! March 15, 2006 at 11:52am Reply

  • Anya: It’s 7 a.m., the window is open, birds cawing (crows, blue jays) the overhead fan is going, and the day is starting, and me, never a lover of No. 19, decides to go and get my vintage EdP and Cologne to play with after such an insightful review. The EdP, green, floral, and the leather already showing through, goes on my wrist, the cologne on my elbow. The EdP quickly settles down, and the cologne’s bright, minty note (!) surprises me. They both quickly fade on my skin, which must be my chemistry, the EdP now five minutes old, the clean musky skin scent lovely, the cologne vaporized!

    Enjoy them both a lot more now, thanks to your review, V, just amazed at their lack of tenacity on my skin — heck, most naturals last a lot longer! LOL. Lovely, lovely, fleeting perfumes. I shall pop them in my purse for reapplication during the day, just to see them over time, in different settings as I go about my meetings and errands. March 15, 2006 at 7:08am Reply

  • Helene: I went to take a closer look at my old bottle of Chanel no.19 edt because in my mind it has always looked a light emerald green. Perceptions of color do differ from person to person, but mine is nowhere as yellow/beige as in the Osmoz catalogue???? I bought it several years ago in Paris. Even back in the late 1970s it was a lovely, pronounced green, a trademark color it was I would say; my parents liked to buy it to make gifts of perfumes. Mine is more like there are some very light yellow reflections in the green than the reverse. At any rate, it smells wonderful. Of course, I’m only used to using the edt concentration in the summer, so maybe it’s different for the other concentrations. March 15, 2006 at 1:44pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: L, believe me, I have done this too on many occasions. I gave up a whole Jean Patou Ma Collection in the moment of insanity. Thankfully, I found it again. March 15, 2006 at 1:54pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: R, if 19 is your lucky number, perhaps it is still worth rivisiting it. 🙂 March 15, 2006 at 2:00pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Helene, thank you for mentioning this. The parfum is generally darker (closer to Osmoz photo), while the EDT is like what you are describing–green with some yellow/beige tones. I also always associate No. 19 with green, but when I recently saw the intense emerald green of the EDT, I was shocked. Of course, another factor is age–some ingredients change colour with time, therefore the greeness might become less pronounced with time. Nevertheless, even if No. 19 is not the exact same perfume, it is still excellent and a very good example of green perfume genre. I will continue to enjoy it even in the altered form. March 15, 2006 at 2:08pm Reply

  • Katie: Galbanum is one of those notes I struggle with like a difficult novel. In both cases I know ultimately I will be rewarded, but nevertheless I find myself wrestling it until I find an ephiphany of understanding.

    I know this is one of Tania’s faves, too – I know I have samples of it somewhere around here and need to give a whack. (Gah, somewhere! I can never remember my own “filing” system sadly.) March 15, 2006 at 9:16am Reply

  • Marina: Wonderful review. Makes me want to go on eBay straightaway and try to find a seemingly older bottle. March 15, 2006 at 9:54am Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Viktor, interestingly enough, I wore the recent version of No. 19 EDP, and half through the day I started wondering which of the guys in my office is wearing this strong vetiver perfume. It had a distinct musky edge which I did not remember from the original. The original has the most beautiful transition from the green top notes to the soft floral heart and then to the leathery base. The beautiful harmony that made No. 19 an example of French perfumery at its best is simply gone. Nevertheless, it is still worth trying, even in its altered form.

    As for galbanum, Vent Vert had an overdose of it. Guerlain Parure has a nice galbanum top, so is Lorenzo Villoresi Incensi. It rarely appears in its full glory, because it is a difficult note and most people do not care for it.

    Here is what the colour of No. 19 should be (perhaps, a tiny bit greener): [search for No 19, as the old link is no longer working] March 15, 2006 at 10:13am Reply

  • Robin: I have been trying to decide for some time if I actually like 19, or if I just admire it. Once again you’ve inspired me to drag out the sample! March 15, 2006 at 4:25pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: R, I would be interested in hearing your thoughts. I think that it is a gorgeous fragrance. I have it in more concentrations than any other perfume in my collection, and I love it, changed or not. March 15, 2006 at 4:49pm Reply

  • marchlion: It took me awhile to grow into this one. Three or four years ago I was delighted to discover I was ready! Now I am sad reading your review that I may have missed my opportunity. The reformulations almost never seem for the better, do they? I am trying to think of one I like… actually, I like the new YSL Opium better, I think. March 15, 2006 at 4:54pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: March, there are cases of reformulations that plain kill the fragrance (Givenchy L’Interdit), change but preserve the character (Lanvin Arpege) and change slightly to replace ingredients, reduce the cost of formula, etc. It is in that latter category that most reformulations fall (although in the process they can be devastating). I would not say that No. 19 is radically different, but if you have worn it for a number of years, you would notice the difference (or by comparing the vintage and the modern versions, taking care not to let the natural process of ingredients aging and thus changing affect the verdict). The main difference to me is the iris note–it is not as rich. Since the entire composition was based on iris overdose, the change in the iris will change the effect. So, if you are wondering whether to seek it out or not, go for it, especially if you are considering the parfum (seems to be truer to the original)! It is simply a classical and a true gem. Maybe, the answer was longer than you wanted, but I just wanted to underscore this point again. March 15, 2006 at 5:01pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: D, thank you. I just took out my bottles and compared them side by side. I wish I had my camera near to take photos. The parfum purchased two years ago is beige-green, more like the advertisement.

    The older EDT and EDC are greener, but still have some beige/yellow tone to them. The modern EDP is translucent emerald. March 15, 2006 at 1:59pm Reply

  • Anya: Dear V, my EdP looks exactly like the juice in the ozmoz pic, except it says EdP and Paris New York. It is lovely, and definitely vintage, as is the cologne. I never appreciated them as much as I do now, after your review — you opened my eyes to their beauty, and I spent effort to really absorb the notes and drydown, however fleeting. In the past, it was so “not my style” i dabbed some on and soon washed it off. It is similar as to how I may have treated Vent Vert in the past — not my style, feh. I’m getting more acceptable as I get older, but only for vintages, I find 😉 The modern pink, ozone, marine, harsh synth-laden stuff is a turn off.

    That said, my body chemistry does not agree with this, and as with anything under 18K, or platinum in the metals, simply eats it away. Some perfumes are like that on me — less than an hour, total, yet on someone else six hours. March 15, 2006 at 5:13pm Reply

  • Tania: Someone gave me a vintage mini of the EDP as a swap extra once and it made me feel like someone had taken the top of my head off and shined pure light into it. I mean, THIS is what fragrance is supposed to smell like! I had only tried the current EDT before, and while it had this remarkable warm green vegetal quality of fantastic endurance, I found it mostly impressive but not moving. The presence of a gorgeous floral-leather heart in the vintage EDP stunned me. It felt like what I had been waiting for my whole fragrance-obsessed life. I have a half ounce of the parfum that I hoard and cherish, and every time I wear it I feel a little like I’ve walked out of the house dripping in real diamonds. March 15, 2006 at 5:34pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Anya, I think that you are right–it is a good idea to try fragrances even if you think that they are not exactly your style. As someone who creates perfumes, you must find that inspiring. I myself do not like pink and ozonic. I wish that the trend for transparent pink fruity-florals would pass. March 16, 2006 at 10:28am Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Tania, that is really how I encountered No.19. Someone gave me a small bottle of the parfum, and it changed my points of reference completely. Perfection of it is quite striking. March 16, 2006 at 10:37am Reply

  • cait: utterly inspiring review of a gobsmackingly great perfume. wearing it now, spritzed from the department store after reading this post. i also adore the image you chose. March 17, 2006 at 2:54am Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Cait, thank you. Even the current version is great! March 17, 2006 at 12:20pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: F, you absolutely must try it. Actually, I would recommend Annick Goutal Heure Exquise as well. It has the floral intensity that the reformulation 19 has lost. March 20, 2006 at 2:18pm Reply

  • Campaspe: wonderful review that also makes me want to re-try this classic, though I personally always found it a bit too sporty for my taste. I picture it on a tennis-playing, outdoorsy, but quite rich sort of woman. Of course not one of these terms applies to me! This was the signature scent of a very upper-crust woman I worked with at the newspaper, and it suited her to a T. March 20, 2006 at 12:28pm Reply

  • Kristina: I’m new to commenting your astonishing reviews, although not to reading them! No.19 is one of my favorites, and it’s definitely DH’s number 1 on me. I have it in both the old and new versions (EdT, EdP and extrait), and to my nose they are so similar I wouldn’t be able to tell the older ones from the new ones with my eyes closed, but maybe that’s just me. (I’m thinking though that the new color, i.e. the darker green, might influence one to think of the fragrance differently. I mean, the color is there for a reason, to steer us into a certain direction when it comes to how we perceive the scent.) Reformulated or not, on me this is a very lovely and soft white floral with hints of leather in it (new gloves leather) and contrary to many others I find it very feminine. Thanks for a wonderfully inspiring review! March 27, 2006 at 12:48pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Kristina, it is a pleasure! I loved your comment about new gloves leather note in No. 19. I am glad to hear that you are enjoying it too. The colour does not matter much to me, but it is just a useful factor to consider if one might be looking for a vintage bottle. I find the older version is richer on iris. It is one of my favourite notes, and I have always loved it in No. 19. Perhaps, that is the reason I am sensitive to this particular element. Ultimately, No. 19 is a beautiful composition, in any of its forms. March 28, 2006 at 1:14am Reply

  • Doetie: First of all: As a fragrance addicted, Dutch girl I just love your site and reviews! And for a long time now I really adore Chanel no. 19 But never read a more catching story about it then yours. I just discovered and bought an old refill of 6 ml perfume and was so happy that I kept the ‘holder’ (prob. not the right word) for years in my drawer! As you already mentioned: The perfume is absolutely the best. May 23, 2006 at 5:29pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Doetie, thank you very much for your lovely compliment. I am glad that you have enjoyed my review. I adore No 19, and what seems amazing is how beautiful and artistic it is. A perfect example of French perfumery at its best. Like you, I find the parfum to be excellent. May 26, 2006 at 1:11am Reply

  • Valnum: Hi, it is the first time I post a comment on your blog. First let me say that I love to read your great reviews!
    As you, I love N°19, but I’m a quite new lover – I discovered it only last year. I received a big sample of the edt, and on the first spray I disliked it! After a long time, I decided to test it again, and I was good inspired: how could I dislike it before? What a mistake! My husband offered me the edp for my latest birthday (he prefers to offer me edp, he says it’s “richer” than edt 🙂 ).I think N°19 has a so great quality. I haven’t yet the chance to smell the vintage version but I hope I will find one bottle soon.
    Thanks again for your great blog! July 12, 2006 at 8:41am Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Valnum, thank you very much. Like you, I find No. 19 to be enchanting. It is one of the most elegant fragrances I own, and it is stunningly beautiful in all respects. I also did not like it at the very first sniff some years ago when I first tried it, but it quickly grew on me. Just beautiful! July 13, 2006 at 1:21pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Valnum, I just noticed that your comment got deleted during the typepad update. You must have posted it just as servers were switching. I apologize for it. I am going to reproduce it here (it arrived by email to me):

    Hi, it is the first time I post a comment on your blog. First let me say that I love to read your great reviews!
    As you, I love N°19, but I’m a quite new lover – I discovered it only last year. I received a big sample of the edt, and on the first spray I disliked it! After a long time, I decided to test it again, and I was good inspired: how could I dislike it before? What a mistake! My husband offered me the edp for my latest birthday (he prefers to offer me edp, he says it’s “richer” than edt 🙂 ).I think N°19 has a so great quality. I haven’t yet the chance to smell the vintage version but I hope I will find one bottle soon.
    Thanks again for your great blog! July 13, 2006 at 1:25pm Reply

  • Sandra in Dallas: I am a huge fan of AG’s “Heure Exquis” and have heard that Chanel 19 is very similar, anyone here know both scents and care to comment? October 15, 2006 at 12:11am Reply

  • Aimee in Austin: I want to thank you for an inspiring review. It helped me find my holy grail, no. 19 parfum, before I even knew a green chypre *was* my holy grail. I’ve learned so much over the past few months reading your reviews compulsively, and my perfume palate has quickly expanded from snuggly wuggly to juices with some bite, some elegance and lots of history to spur the imagination. I love knowing what to look for in a vintage vs. reformulated packaging, as well. It enables my quickly growing ebay habit. :^) April 7, 2007 at 11:27pm Reply

  • vol de nuit: I have been reading your site avidly since my recent discovery of it, and I wanted to tell you that your reviews are a tremendous pleasure to read. I’ve already learned so much in the short time I’ve been reading along here. Your review of No. 19 has moved me so much (I am only just learning what scents I have a tropism to in perfume) that I cannot wait to go to the Chanel counter to try it for myself. Iris, vetiver and leather sound heavenly. In admiration, Leah. October 31, 2007 at 8:21pm Reply

  • Angela baker: I have a very small bottle of Chanel No. 19 which I have had for about 20 years, it still has its wax seal, would it be ok if I ever decided to use it? July 27, 2011 at 7:53am Reply

  • Victoria: Is the liquid very dark? If so, I wouldn't use it. No 19's green notes tend to deteriorate quickly.
    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile July 27, 2011 at 9:13am Reply

  • Robert: Note to self: be very careful of miniature bottles and big hands. I’d just bought a vintage Chanel # 19 and clumsily tipped the tiny thing on the bench. Sweetest smelling Chux ever. As shocking as running over an animal in the car. April 13, 2013 at 6:46am Reply

    • Victoria: Oh no! Sorry to hear this, Robert. 🙁 April 13, 2013 at 9:23am Reply

    • Steven Weix: omg i literally just broke the seal off a vintage (dec 1984 according to batch code) 14ml pure parfum, was carefully handling it in order to give it a try for the first time and… it made so sound and i didn’t even see/hear it tip and spill out onto my night stand… all i could do was use my wrists to soak a bit up and fingertip a bit onto my neck etc… perfect fragrance in my opinion… oh well… this is undoubtedly karma for my aggressive driving and who knows what kinds of wrongdoing over the past few years.. *sigh*… i’ll find another one day… hope you do, too!! February 17, 2022 at 9:25pm Reply

  • jane: 19 ooh i love it. It does seem to dissapear quickly whereas others actually seem to get stronger and stronger almost to the point that they become unbearable. Odd. My solution has been to just stick with Chanel 19 EDP online at chanel must be fate as my birthday also the 19th May 25, 2013 at 4:50am Reply

  • sib: Hi, Victoria!
    I’m a fan of your reviews. After sniffing new things out there, I come back in a hurry to search for your opinion. I’m also a fan of nº19. I own a small bottle of EdP, not vintage, but I love it anyway. (I have tried the EdT, but sadly, only stays with me for a couple of hours.) Now I’m anxious to try the perfume extract and I would like to know how would you describe the dry-down of the perfume? is it harsher or more leathery or more floral than the EdP’s? Somewhere, above, you say there is a strong vetiver note in the case of EdP…is it still there in the perfume?
    Thank you, Victoria! Great blog! July 6, 2013 at 3:41pm Reply

    • Victoria: The parfum is more velvety and more floral. You get a very balanced, soft mix of vetiver, leather and musk, but iris, buttery and creamy, sets the main tone. It is gorgeous! July 7, 2013 at 4:06pm Reply

  • sib: Thank you, Victoria!
    My tiny, so-hard-to-find-around-here bottle of Chanel 19 perfume arrived yesterday and it smells exactly as you described: creamy and profoundly buttery green. It simply makes me happy!!! July 10, 2013 at 2:37am Reply

    • Victoria: I’m very happy to hear this, Sib! Enjoy this perfume gem. July 10, 2013 at 8:04am Reply

  • Ferris: I really enjoyed reading your review of No. 19. I’m on the fence as to which one I want to purchase. I think I would enjoy the parfum extrait better due to the stronger iris and leather aspects. July 16, 2013 at 12:19am Reply

  • Yulya: This is one of my absolute favourites, if not the signature, perfumes. However, I try not to use it too often as I dread the moment when I will have to re-stock and… I am so concerned that it may not be the same. September 10, 2013 at 11:21am Reply

    • Victoria: You know, I’ve tried a little trick on myself. I got a sample of the new EDT and then alternated it with my older bottle. It’s not the same, but it’s fantastic. Same goes for the parfum and the EDP. But it’s best to wean yourself off the vintage little by little. Otherwise when you do buy the new bottle, it might seem too different. September 10, 2013 at 11:40am Reply

  • Aisha: I don’t know if it’s because this fragrance is so different from the apples, cinnamon and other spices so prevalent during this time of year, but I finally “get” it! My mom gave me a small vial of No. 19 EDT many, many years ago and I’ve kept it in storage all this time (I think about 14 years). The first time I tried it many years ago, it didn’t move me at all. But this morning? For some reason, the combination of all those notes made my heart sing. I can smell a hint of the iris now, and it’s actually drying down to this very soft, almost powdery finish rather than how I remembered it the first time I tried it: sharp and off-putting. I actually can’t stop sniffing my wrist now. 🙂

    I haven’t tried a more recent formulation, so I don’t know if I would enjoy it as much. But No. 19 is now among my other Chanel favorites: Cuir de Russie and Bois des Iles. September 27, 2014 at 10:46am Reply

    • Victoria: That’s how it happens with some of these complex, multilayered blends. Sometimes the mood has to be just right or the ambiance or the context. I’m very happy to hear that you’re enjoying it, since I like No 19 a lot myself, and it’s nice that it has other fans. I find it well, absolutely perfect. September 27, 2014 at 1:55pm Reply

  • Natalia: I’ve tested it twice and I love it, But Id like to know if Im crazy or is it very similar to Anais Anais? (Or the other way around, since I dont know which came first). I dont understand much but in my skin they are so much alike! October 20, 2014 at 5:46pm Reply

    • Victoria: No 19 came first, but I’m not sure if they are that similar, apart from having green floral elements. On the other hand, we all smell differently and we notice different things in perfumes, so it’s possible that you’re seeing something I’m not. October 21, 2014 at 8:56am Reply

  • Olivia: Dear Victoria
    I bought this a few days ago because of you, and I love it.
    Your blog is a haven
    Thank you. November 11, 2014 at 11:44am Reply

    • Victoria: Thank you, Olivia! I’m so happy that you discovered No 19 and that you’re enjoying it. 🙂 November 11, 2014 at 12:08pm Reply

  • Katerina: Today I opened my newly bought No 19 EDP and it is different than my previous ones I used for years. I read somewhere and I do believe it that it has been reformulated in 2014. It is much softer and I can’t detect the harsh smell of iris and galbanum. On my skin it is a completely different perfume. So, No 19 goodbye forever. Does anybody know if the reformulations concern the extraits as well? April 18, 2015 at 1:20pm Reply

    • Victoria: I’m sure it does. I can’t imagine this affecting just the EDP. But I personally like the current EDP very much. It’s softer, but it’s still recognizably No 19. On the other hand, it may not be true for everyone. If you loved some facets of it more than others, and they are now gone, the new version will be disappointing. April 19, 2015 at 8:32am Reply

  • Heather: This is the first fragrance I’ve owned (a new acquisition, thanks, in part, to your lovely review) that I *have* to have in every concentration possible, as well as any related body products. I think I’ve found a true love! February 24, 2016 at 9:22am Reply

    • Victoria: This makes me so happy. 🙂 February 24, 2016 at 5:57pm Reply

  • Julie DeMelo: Hello— I just placed an order for this, I also added the bath soap. I ordered from
    Great fragrance for springtime…
    I haven’t had a full bottle of this since the late eighties. Is there a huge difference between the EDT and EDP formula?
    Thank you for a reply! 🙂 March 7, 2017 at 12:40pm Reply

  • Kelly: Hi Victoria, I am also thinking about buying the #19 the soap, and either the edt or edp like the person who commented above me. Julie DeMelo. I’m wondering the same thing as her. Would you recommend the edt or the edp newest formulas? I really trust and value your opinion. You always have such wonderful insight when it comes to Chanel fragrances.
    Thank you, Kelly July 19, 2017 at 4:23pm Reply

    • Victoria: I like the EDT for the green freshness and the EDP for the floral sweetness in the newest formula. The EDT has more sillage on me, too. The parfum is wonderful, but it’s expensive and if you want sillage, it won’t be the right choice. It stays close to you. July 21, 2017 at 7:10am Reply

  • Inga: Hi, Victoria. I recently discovered your blog and am completely enamored of your writing. I am also, at 49, a fragrance newcomer! And I have now gone mad with desire to own so many of those described herein. I recently purchased a pre-1979 No 19 EDT, to experience the finer galbanum you’ve described. But, in rereading your comments, I note that you said, regarding older vintages, that the green notes deteriorate quickly. The bottle that I purchased looks to be a lovely asparagus green and claims to be unused. What do you think are the chances that it will still have most of the lovely notes? Thank you for your advice! June 11, 2018 at 2:49pm Reply

    • Victoria: Inga, thank you and welcome to Bois de Jasmin!
      Based on the photos, it should be fine. Chanel No 19 is not the most fragile of formulas, so as long as it was stored properly, it should be ok. Please let me know how it goes. June 12, 2018 at 2:30am Reply

  • Cheri: I wore no19 all through the 80s and 90s, then stopped until recently when I dig out an old EDT sample vial. Back in love, I ordered the new version EDT from Chanel website. It smelled completely different. I was so sad that the new formula had nothing of the complexity left from the original. I disliked it so much that I returned it. I found a reasonably priced small bottle of Eau de cologne on e-bay and tried it today. It’s awesome and exactly the no19 that was my scent for so many years. I think trying both old and new is a good idea because if you get along with the new, great. If you don’t, there are some honest sellers of vintage out there. In my opinion, vintage is magical. July 21, 2018 at 4:37pm Reply

  • Oli: I was wondering, having never smelt No. 19 before, what kind of a person you imagine wearing this scent? And do you find it by any chance at all familiar to Cristalle? December 11, 2018 at 1:59pm Reply

    • Victoria: It has similar elements, but it’s a different perfume. December 12, 2018 at 8:24am Reply

  • Monica: Have any of you tried to use EDT Channel Nr 19 along with the Body Lotion? It smells amazing! But I can’t find anymore the body lotion, any suggestion on where to find it?
    Thank you. December 24, 2018 at 1:21pm Reply

  • Cecilia: It is curious to note how tastes can change over time. I remember the first impression I had with N.19, almost ten years ago, of an austere perfume, too rigid, too vintage, absolutely not for me. Over the years I have learned to educate my nose, I have learned to distinguish individual notes, to appreciate nuances, and of course to find beauty in a good, perfectly constructed vintage. Today, at 25, I read your review Victoria, and I decided to re wear for the first time in a long time no.19, on a fresh and sunny day of almost spring, with a pale green coat, and I was surprised to notice the strong note of hyacinth and iris, the base leather note and the absolute creaminess of the composition. Just wonderful! So wonderful that I ran to buy a bottle of edp to accompany my bottle of vintage edt, which belonged to my grandmother, and I must say that the new version, although certainly different from vintage, retains all the original character of the composition.
    Thank you Victoria for pushing me to rediscover this gem! February 20, 2019 at 3:58am Reply

  • Lana Cheng: Thank you for your beautiful writing and review of the Vintage No 19, one of my most favorite fragrances, if not the most.

    Incidentally, 2 years ago I bought a bottle and it’s nothing like the vintage. So very sad and made me so angry at the reformulation! It’s practically unwearable… August 21, 2019 at 3:28pm Reply

  • Inma: I have just got my first No 19 (EDP).

    Some years ago I started reading about perfumes mainly in this blog – and No 19 was too hard for me. I have needed a long time to learn to love it and needing it, even though the version I have doesn´t seem as complex as others.

    There is a coldness accompanied by a warmth that I feel like soft wood that I have learnt to adore.

    The coldness has clear and dark colours, there is movement inside for me.

    Thank you, it is a beautiful journey this one devoted to odour. October 22, 2019 at 6:25am Reply

  • Rosella Susan Byers: Thank you for this beautiful review. Rosella here (formerly known as eelriverrose/Susan on MUA). I’ve been away from the reading and pursuit of scents for a while, and have been slowly culling my collection. I’ve found loving homes for many bottles, and continue to retry old favorites and also scents I appreciated or respected, but was on the fence about for personal wear. To my surprise, my skin chemistry has changed, making this process exciting and as well as informative. Some scents have been a definite “adios!” Others have surprised me, like a cat that finally says “OK, I love you now; pet me.”

    One of these fragrances is Chanel No. 19. I’ve been hoarding two bottles of the vintage Parfum, waiting for it to reveal its icy fire, verdant woods, and luxuriously silky heart. I received them in trade from a No.19 lover in London, who had been tracking down the vintage extrait. One is 1/4 oz, and unopened. I got the bottle out without breaking the seal last night, after reading your review. It is a pale light green/beige as you have described. I have not taken the black cording off the stopper to test it. The other is 14ml and clearly older. It was produced before there was a lot of information on the box. The label on the bottle itself is slightly askew, which I found a little odd for Chanel, but my No. 19 expert friend would have seen that, if it was a red flag. The juice is a different color — more of a pale amber, no green tint, a bit darker in tone that the beige/green juice. The scent — to my astonishment — seems to meld with my skin in a much finer way than when I last tested it. I guess it’s a silver lining of aging! I always sought out the elegant and eloquent words of the fragrance writers such as you, who brought me so much enjoyment, appreciation, and insight during the high times of my affair with perfume. So, my dear, I once again turn to you for advise as to whether the older bottle I have may actually be pre-reformulation? I am only going to keep one bottle and will likely sell the other – do you think that it’s worth me breaking the seal from the bottle with the beige/green juice to compare it? Or should I just assume that I have a beautiful, older iteration of this truly iconic scent, which still has a bracing and dynamic aliveness, and a luxuriantly dark, sexy heart shot with light. I have photos of the bottles and boxes if anyway cares to see them. There are quite a few full bottles, “brand new,” on eBay claiming to be “vintage from the 70s,” but I’m inclined to believe that some are knock-offs. I am sure mine are not, but don’t know how to judge age or even to price them. Sorry for the long ramble; I realize how much I have missing reading — and writing — about the wondrous and transporting powers of of a well-composed scent created from quality ingredients. Happiest of holidays, and I hope you have a healthy new year of delight, contentment, and prosperity! December 17, 2019 at 1:24pm Reply

  • Steven Weix: Hi Victoria! great piece, and I share your love of this PERFECT Chanel (their best for sure) fragrance… now this could be speculation, but I’ve read in more than one article / source that while the perfume WAS released in 1970 just a year before Mlle Chanel passed, it WAS actually created and worn by her for YEARS before being released (finally with her approval) to the public… I remember reading it was created at least 6 years earlier (since Pour Monsieur was released in 1955, who knows how early M. Robert created this beauty??) and she wore it privately for years with many people asking her what it was and where they could get it… again, could be pure nonsense, but I know this is REALLY common practice in the fragrance world… even Roja Dove’s Haute Luxe signature fragrance was “his and only his” for YEARS before he just released it a couple of years ago (for like $3000 a bottle)… so he obviously doesn’t want to smell it on just ANYONE… lol… I’m starting to hoard a few vintage bottles of No 19 for my personal use as well… I simply feel there is nothing else like it…. February 17, 2022 at 9:30pm Reply

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