Chanel No 5 L’Eau : Fragrance Review


Although sometimes I’m prone to romanticizing the golden days of perfumery–that vague time in the past when regulations and profitability didn’t shape the industry the way they do today, I’m not a traditionalist. Tastes change, and I don’t expect that young people today want to wear only fragrances created 100 years ago, just as the children of those whose wear Lancôme La Vie est Belle and Bleu de Chanel might reject their parents’ choices. Yes, a day of “vintage” La Vie est Belle will come. This is why I don’t object to the reworks of classics, such as Chanel No. 5 L’Eau, provided that the brand keeps the original intact and interprets the “young and trendy” theme in an interesting manner.

chanel 5eau

L’Eau is an attempt by Chanel to draw a younger, trendier audience to No. 5. Although I smell enough of No. 5 on women in their twenties in Paris and notice its constant presence in the top 10 best sellers, it is still somewhat of a cult favorite. L’Eau goes for wider appeal.

Modernizing No. 5 is tricky. It’s an expensive formula, and a number of its components, from the aldehydes to the musky-balsamic notes in the base read to many as old fashioned. But remove aldehydes, those odd starchy-metallic ingredients, and you have a dull, flat floral with little to recommend it. What to do?

Olivier Polge has approached the problem by changing the tones and accents. The first time I sprayed L’Eau was at the busy counter of my local beauty shop, and even though the air around me was full of other smells, the radiance of L’Eau took both me and the sales assistant by surprise. The shimmer of aldehydes in No. 5–and their starchy tang–is taken down to the minimum, and instead the brightness is provided by citrus and shimmering florals.

L’Eau is bright but it feels velvety on skin, and right through the transparent top notes, you can make out the rose and white flowers. Everything is pastel and sheer, but there are delicate accents of vanilla, cinnamon and woods to give texture and layers. The drydown is mostly mild, fluffy musk, but the floral and spicy themes persist. L’Eau lasts well enough and has a soft, lingering sillage. It’s not a heavy fragrance, however, and it has less presence than No. 5, which in a way makes L’Eau easier to wear.

As a perfume marketed towards young women, L’Eau is as good as I would have hoped. It’s sophisticated, with a lighthearted and charming character. Without compromising the sophistication of Chanel’s signature, it’s fresher and brighter than No. 5 Eau Première, which has been one of my enduring loves. But I can see myself switching to L’Eau, especially on days when I want something elegant but casual, polished but versatile. Ultimately, it might be a good introduction to the grand dame herself, No. 5.

P.S. Some of you have asked about longevity. L’Eau is meant as an eau de cologne, so it has a corresponding level of freshness and brightness. It has a good sillage and nice presence, and while light, it lasts on my skin for the entire day. However, I predict that those who can’t smell certain types of musk will have complaints about sillage and longevity–the drydown is very heavy on musk. In other words, try it on skin first.

Chanel No. 5 L’Eau includes notes of lemon, mandarin, orange, neroli, aldehydes, rose, ylang-ylang, jasmine, cedar, white musk. It’s available in 50 and 100 ml.



  • Tati: This is a fragrance that has ghosted around for months now (all the bloggers had it a while ago, really good promotion!) and I have been wondering since, what it would be like. And really, I didn’t know what to expect.
    I’m surprised to hear that you appreciate it that much! My mother wears No.5, so maybe this is my entrance into the steps of my mother.
    I will definitely try it as soon as I can. September 2, 2016 at 7:58am Reply

    • Victoria: I’ve been away since April, so I’m slowly catching up on the summer/fall newness. I was pleasantly surprised when I spotted a tester at my local Planet Parfum a couple of weeks ago. Admittedly, I’m not the biggest fan of the original No. 5. I recognize that it’s an icon, that it’s beautiful, etc., but I wear it far less often than either No 19, my favorite Chanel, or No 5 Eau Premiere. L’Eau being soft, floral, with a lingering velvety finish is the kind of perfume I like in general. It’s also really well-made.

      But if you love the original, then no, neither Eau Premiere nor L’Eau will hit the spot. September 2, 2016 at 8:15am Reply

  • Caroline: So glad you didn’t find it insipid or boring! Doubt it’ll surpass my love for Eau Premiere, but now I’m looking forward to sampling. September 2, 2016 at 8:11am Reply

    • Victoria: Not boring at all, but it is a watercolor to Eau Premiere’s guache. What I like the most about it is the soft, velvety sensation, which is very rare in such a bright perfume. September 2, 2016 at 8:19am Reply

  • Kneale Culbreath: Thank you for your enlightening review, Victoria! I’ve been so curious about the new L’Eau, as like Caroline above, I am still so loyal to Premiere (and the original No. 5). Your great review now has me even more interested- I must head to Saks to sample it! Have a lovely weekend. September 2, 2016 at 8:19am Reply

    • Victoria: I hope that this doesn’t mean that Eau Premiere will go. I also love that perfume, and as I mentioned, I wouldn’t mind alternating between the two. My Eau Premiere bottle is nearly finished. September 2, 2016 at 8:22am Reply

      • Kneale Culbreath: I hope not, either. I love the idea of variations on a theme when they are as well-made as these 🙂 September 2, 2016 at 9:23am Reply

        • Victoria: Me too. Delicate fragrances are the most difficult to craft, since the room for error is small. So when I find something that works so well, it’s a treat. September 2, 2016 at 10:39am Reply

  • Cyndi: Quick question. Would it be appropriate for a woman past the age of 50, or do you think it’s too young? Your article was very interesting, but I just wanted to make sure. September 2, 2016 at 10:00am Reply

    • Victoria: Yes, of course! Marketing aside, fragrance is not age specific. September 2, 2016 at 10:32am Reply

  • Keren: As much as I like Chanel, I never felt No. 5 was for me. No matter which version, I found more pleasure wearing their other scents. I’m excited to try L’Eau, hoping this might be the right No. 5! September 2, 2016 at 10:07am Reply

    • Victoria: I really started to understand the beauty of No5 when I got used to the aldehydic florals, but overall, it’s not a category I like. The Extrait is the best one for me, but I still would rather wear No 19. September 2, 2016 at 10:41am Reply

  • Briony: Perfect timing! I was just wondering what you thought of this when I popped down Oxford Street at lunchtime for a sniff. I think it’s lovely but then I’ve always been a big No.5 fan. My bottle of No.5 is nearly empty so I might go for L’Eau instead next time. On another note, House of Fraser now stock the Hermessences I was shocked (but delighted) to see. September 2, 2016 at 10:11am Reply

    • Victoria: What a surprise! Will they have the entire Hermès collection? September 2, 2016 at 10:42am Reply

      • Briony: I shall have to investigate. September 2, 2016 at 10:54am Reply

    • MrsDalloway: Wow! Good to know, thanks. The Hermès boutique in Selfridges is no fun in summer. September 2, 2016 at 5:24pm Reply

  • Emma: Perhaps we care too much about what young people today think! They don’t know anything anymore because we give them what they want all the time. What young people today listen to classical music, opera and enjoy fine wines? Probably less than 1%, if that!

    Back in the days, perfume houses would only target upper middle class women which the French call Bourgeoises. Unfortunately, it’s a different kind of capitalism today with greedy multinational corporations in charge, this isn’t about quality anymore but huge profits and mass markets.

    Sheer, light, delicate… when it comes to perfumes this actually leads me to think we’re not talking about perfumes but laundry style fragrances! At one point, you might as well not spend money on expensive fragrances and just wear a good deodorant! Really!!

    I tried new Chanel N°5 eau de toilette, terrible reformulation, no longevity! Perhaps we should be discussing reformulations once again! September 2, 2016 at 10:24am Reply

    • annemarie: Interesting points. I agree that perfume seems to have been explicitly marketed to young people only since the – what? 1960s? Later even. And there was a nice little ritual to present a young girl with her first perfume, chosen for her by her mother or some other female relative.

      But I don’t deprecate that trend towards marketing perfume to youth. They have their own money, why can’t they spend it as they please? I can recall as a teen in the 70s and early 80s being often too scared to approach the perfume and cosmetic counters for fear of the overly made-up sales staff with their and superior attitudes. Why shouldn’t perfume be accessible to all who what to have fun with it?

      Yes, there is a lot of perfume on the market nowadays, a lot of choice, but that is true of almost any commodity, from toothpaste to canned soup to furniture to cars … anything. September 2, 2016 at 7:06pm Reply

      • kpaint: I would pinpoint that date much later in time. Comparing the ad copy for Dior Poison (1985) and Poison Girl (2016) makes the point quite well.

        We certainly can’t deny that with today’s social media, teens and 20-somethings are our tastemakers. The problem, to my mind, is not that they are the target market (and do they have money to spend? how?) but that they are the ONLY market manufacturers cater to.

        Speaking of perfume specifically, not so long ago the market was dominated by perfumes for women. There were scents designed for young women to wear, but they were the outliers; teenagers and young girls should wear fragrance, but not the same one as their mothers and aunts – it would not be appropriate. They would come to appreciate grown-up perfumes with age.

        Now the market has flipped. Everything is designed to appeal to teenagers. Walk into your local Sephora and try to find a fragrance launched in the past 15 years for whom the intended audience is, say, a woman over 40. Perhaps this accounts for the rise in niche perfumery?

        Personally, I find it quite tiresome. And it can be interpreted as rather insulting. For myself, I have a much bigger budget for niceties now than I did when I was in my 20s, and when I go to Sephora I’m laying down much more cash than the teenagers behind me in line. So why aren’t they begging for my dollars? September 3, 2016 at 2:25pm Reply

        • spe: Because they think you want to smell “young.” That’s my guess. And sadly, many women do. And sadly, those women who do greatly outnumber perfumistas like us. September 4, 2016 at 12:00am Reply

          • Victoria: “Youthful” is one of the most common perfume descriptors I find these days, as I come across various press releases. Like “anti-aging” for skincare. September 4, 2016 at 5:58am Reply

          • Laurie Hood: Wow, I think you hit the nail on the head with that
            observation. What a wrongheaded way to look at us women. February 9, 2019 at 9:15pm Reply

        • Victoria: Annemarie is right. The age specific (and gender specific) marketing started taking off in the postwar era during the consumer boom as more people had more disposable income for luxuries.

          The reason most perfumes for women smell sweet and sugary is not because they are aimed at teenagers, but because according to the consumer studies, most women prefer these kind of scents. Of course, relying on the focus group studies to design new launches is to create dull, copycat perfumes.

          But all the same, I don’t feel nostalgic for the times when perfume industry catered only to the wealthy elites. September 4, 2016 at 5:55am Reply

  • Sandra: I have No5 from the 90’s and Eau Premiere..
    I am not sure if I will find this boring , but I will give it a try!
    Thanks for your wonderful review September 2, 2016 at 10:26am Reply

    • Victoria: The one from the 90s should still have all of its delicious floral musks intact. Lucky you! September 2, 2016 at 10:43am Reply

      • Sandra: I just put some on- and it’s fabulous!
        I have one of the perfume wardrobe sets from the 90’s, the coco from this set is also amazing September 2, 2016 at 11:02am Reply

        • Victoria: Gosh, those sets were fantastic. I remember hunting for them on EBay and always getting outbid. What else is in yours? September 2, 2016 at 1:07pm Reply

          • Sandra: No5, Coco, Allure, No22 and No 19!!
            All of them are still smelling fantastic September 2, 2016 at 7:24pm Reply

            • Victoria: Amazing! That’s a real treasure. September 4, 2016 at 5:32am Reply

  • Hamamelis: Great to read this positive review, thank you. Love no 5 in all its versions, parfum, EdP, EdT, vintage, Premiere…Apparently it was my granny’s scent, never wore anything else (the idea…!?).
    I will surely sniff l’Eau, if I don’t succumb to something as silly as a blind buy before I have a chance! September 2, 2016 at 10:32am Reply

    • Victoria: I wouldn’t recommend a blind buy, since it has lots of musk, and many have anosmias to some types of musk.

      By the way, I also love the Hair Mist in No5. I spray it not just on hair, but also on clothes, and it lasts well. September 2, 2016 at 10:45am Reply

      • Briony: Oh hair mist – I forgot about that. How lovely. Which reminds me – I was lucky enough to come across a Burberry Brit Rhythm hair mist in TK Maxx for £14 recently. September 2, 2016 at 10:58am Reply

        • Victoria: That’s a great find! September 2, 2016 at 1:02pm Reply

      • Hamamelis: Thank you for letting me know. If anything I am the opposite to anosmic to musk, the musky dry down of no !9 Poudre is so tenacious that it wears me down in the end. A very good reason not to blind buy l’Eau.
        I will try the Hair Mist too. September 2, 2016 at 11:05am Reply

        • Victoria: Ah, then, yes, all the more reasons to do a skin test.

          No 19 Poudré also lasts for ages on me, but I think that I’m becoming more sensitive to musks as times goes on. I used to complain that its lasting power wasn’t strong enough, and now I don’t find it to be the case (talking about the same bottle.) September 2, 2016 at 1:09pm Reply

      • Kneale Culbreath: Thanks too for the reminder about the Hair Mist- it is so nicely portable, too. September 2, 2016 at 12:27pm Reply

        • Victoria: Definitely! I used it once to refresh misty bedsheets in a hotel room.?Somewhat extravagant, but something had to be done. 🙂 September 2, 2016 at 1:17pm Reply

        • brenda: Hair mist – that jogged my memory of being MUCH younger and all us girls spraying our hair with perfume (likely cologne) before going out. We seemed obsessed with scenting our hair – & we all used a shampoo called “gee, your hair smells terrific”! I still love to spray some perfume on my palms and scrunch my hair a bit – if it’s done and I’m on my way out. Lovely! September 2, 2016 at 2:50pm Reply

          • Kneale Culbreath: Brenda, thank you for bringing back that lovely memory of the Gee, Your Hair Smells Terrific! I was obsessed with it as a young girl but the fanciest shampoo we ever had in the house was Johnson’s Baby shampoo and occasionally Breck- I still adore that Breck scent, a gorgeous clean amber 🙂 September 2, 2016 at 4:37pm Reply

            • brenda: Ah, yes…and White Rain – if my mother was feeling flush! September 2, 2016 at 4:47pm Reply

            • kpaint: I was obsessed with it, too! I remember finally getting to use some and it really did smell terrific 🙂 In those days our household used Faberge Wheat Germ Oil & Honey, which seemed dreary and hippie-ish compared to the GYHST and Prell girls in TV ads.

              This coincided with the introduction of my first perfume love – Love’s Baby Soft Lemon – which I’d love to get my hands on but vintage bottles go for ridiculous amounts on auction sites. I guess I’m not the only one who’s nostalgic for it. September 3, 2016 at 1:27pm Reply

              • Kneale Culbreath: I agree with you kpaint, Love’s Baby Soft Lemon was such a pretty perfume! I loved it and think it makes some current citrus scents of today seem wan and timid by comparison 😊 Love’s Baby Soft was my first perfume, what a perfect scent for a 9 year old. September 3, 2016 at 5:08pm Reply

              • Victoria: Whenever I think of Love’s Baby Soft, I think of its slogan “Because innocent is sexier than you think”. Aimed at teenage girls! September 4, 2016 at 5:40am Reply

            • Victoria: The one shampoo I remember well is Clairol’s Herbal Essences. It seemed like the height of cool to smell of green apple. 🙂 September 4, 2016 at 5:31am Reply

              • Kneale: I can still picture the bottle with the woman’s hair and cascading flowers. 😊 September 4, 2016 at 12:57pm Reply

          • OperaFan: I couldn’t help jumping in when I read the mentioning of Gee your hair smells terrific! I remember the adds and commercials and have even tried it once. They made some great smelling shampoos and conditioners back then, and the scents lasted a long time even after the hair dried. September 3, 2016 at 8:29am Reply

          • hajusuuri: Gee Your Hair Smells Terrific brings back memories! One of the catalogs (I don’t remember which one at the moment) stocks this. September 3, 2016 at 3:04pm Reply

  • Tijana: Thanks Victoria! I tried this a few days ago and my friend who works at the Chanel counter gave me a few samples. When I saw the name, I thought “Another version of No 5??? Yaaaawn….” and was ready to dismiss it, but I actually ended up liking it! Yes, agree that nothing will displace or replace the original, but I could see myself wearing this when I need something casual and light! September 2, 2016 at 10:59am Reply

    • Victoria: It’s about in the same category of “causal-elegant” perfume as Hermèssence Cuir d’Ange, Narciso Rodriguez for Her or Chanel No 18 (they don’t smell like L’Eau, of course, just similar characters). I like my incenses and dark woods, but I also like sheer musky florals for a change. September 2, 2016 at 1:05pm Reply

      • Tijana: I need to re-try Cuir d’Ange. I noticed you mentioned it a couple of times lately so I am curious! I am not big on leather, but I figure it would not be a strong one given it’s Hermessence. September 2, 2016 at 2:52pm Reply

        • Victoria: 🙂 You’re right! I’m going through one of those phases when I only want to wear a couple of perfumes for a stretch of time (for pleasure; evaluation is another matter.) I just went and put some Cuir d’Ange on. A happy sigh… September 2, 2016 at 3:00pm Reply

          • Tijana: 🙂 🙂 🙂

            Enjoy, I will stop by Hermes boutique today!!!! September 2, 2016 at 3:14pm Reply

            • Victoria: Another one I have been enjoying is Guerlain’s Mon Précieux Nectar. 🙂 September 2, 2016 at 3:17pm Reply

              • Tijana: I am glad! I am on my second bottle of that one… Love it! So easy and comforting! ❤️ September 2, 2016 at 4:01pm Reply

                • Victoria: Its suave drydown is my favorite part! I need to review it soon. September 4, 2016 at 5:03am Reply

  • spe: So happy to see this review as I’ve been considering a blind buy.

    Some people have mentioned longevity issues – as you state, that could be musk anosmia. Knowing that I have that, I’m going to wait to test.

    My Mom wore aldehydic florals and therefore that is my reference for perfume. I enjoy them – so fingers crossed for the light and lovely No. 5 l’eau!

    Thank you for the review! September 2, 2016 at 11:08am Reply

    • Victoria: I wonder how much of our taste is shaped by these early scent exposures. My mom wore mostly florals or woods and florals, and those are still my favorite perfumes (and hers too.) September 2, 2016 at 1:10pm Reply

      • kpaint: Speaking for myself, my taste is entirely shaped by the era I grew up in. My first scent memories are from the late 70s, those 80s cusp years when sillage monsters were just being ushered in (Opium, Oscar de la Renta) but when women were still wearing perfumes from the classical age (Chanel No 5, Shalimar.)

        I love 80s perfumery but generally have a difficult time with the decades just preceding (60s/early 70s.) I don’t have an olfactory connection to that era and the scents can leave me cold, if not a bit confused, as I don’t have the right context to place them in.

        That said, classical perfumery is classical perfumery, and I love a lot of perfumes from that era. No context is needed when something is undeniably beautiful. I wear a lot of classic perfumes and perfumes from the 80s and I’m sure most young women I run across smell me and think, “old lady.” 🙂 September 3, 2016 at 1:53pm Reply

        • Victoria: I was wearing Cuir de Russie around a perfumer friend who is in her 60s, and she commented, “Something smells old.” It wasn’t necessarily a put down, more of a statement of fact, but it’s true that the particular combination of accords in some fragrances ring as retro. This is in fact the reason why I love Cuir de Russie, that it smells of another time. Today’s popular cotton candy+patchouli accords will too smell retro eventually. September 4, 2016 at 5:45am Reply

      • spe: Oh, I’m totally a product of my early scent environment! If I could find a fragrance that referenced equal parts aldehydic florals (First, perhaps even Estee) Estee) and Old Spice – well, my search would be over! September 4, 2016 at 12:22am Reply

        • Victoria: Now that sounds like an interesting perfume idea. Nina Ricci L’Air du Temps might have fit the bill (it had a spicy carnation), and today it smells more aldehydic floral and much blander. September 4, 2016 at 5:59am Reply

          • spe: So funny you mention LdT – I wore this (back when it was still very good) in the mid nineties. Unfortunately, not a happy time in my life, so I cannot go back. September 7, 2016 at 10:19am Reply

            • spe: Perhaps Chamade EDT? Parfum version feels sweet. September 7, 2016 at 12:03pm Reply

        • Zari: My scent memory associated with perfume is a discontinued perfume called Just call me Maxi (Max Factor). My mom used to wear it (it was her only perfume).

          The notes are basically notes I love in perfumes to this day, and the scent is etched in my brain. My mom on the other hand barely has a memory of it oddly enough. September 4, 2016 at 11:31pm Reply

    • spe: Well I found a tester at the most unlikely store – in an old mall!

      Nice powder and citrus for – maybe 3 – 5 minutes. Then a very fast transition to the balsamic / ?patchouli notes of coco noir. I must be anosmic to the muskiness. Simply put, it’s dreadful on me.

      The young Mr. Polge is 0 for 3 with this Chanel fragrance devotee. September 14, 2016 at 8:27am Reply

      • Victoria: Very interesting that it’s so different on you, but that’s the beauty of perfume. September 14, 2016 at 10:21am Reply

  • Jillie: Hello twin! Yes, No 19 – ever since it was first launched – has been my favourite Chanel (along with Cristalle) and whilst I did wear No 5, it was never really “me”. L’Eau sounds charming though, and I will be interested in trying it. Thank you for describing it so temptingly.

    My sister loves Eau Premiere – did the recent reformulation change it much? I think I last gave her a bottle in 2013 and I wonder if she would still like it if I were to buy it for her birthday this year. September 2, 2016 at 11:09am Reply

    • Victoria: If I compare with the very first launch, then yes, I see many differences, but between 2013 and say, 2016, I don’t. Nothing that stands out in my memory. September 2, 2016 at 1:11pm Reply

  • Kari: I haven’t managed to fall for a Chanel perfume yet-and aldehydes are far from my favorite. Maybe this is a version of No. 5 that is wearable for me. I’ll keep an eye out and see if I can sample it. September 2, 2016 at 12:35pm Reply

    • Victoria: Eau Première is also worth trying. I like all of these variations on No 5, and of course, the beauty of No 5 is that it has always evolved, from the parfum to the fresher cologne, to the EDT, to the EDP, etc. September 2, 2016 at 1:15pm Reply

      • Claire: I thought of No 5 as so staid (growing up) and I definitely didn’t like aldehydes, though I also didn’t identify them as such, but now I love the sophistication and quality of so many Chanel fragrances. I used to prefer Guerlain and Caron: they seemed to have more warmth and spice without what then felt like an aldehydic floral assault, but the houses have not evolved in the way Chanel has managed to. I still prefer the Chanel Exclusifs (Bois des Iles, Cuir de Russie, and Coco, though I wear Coco infrequently these days). I was thrilled when Eau Premiere came out, a No.5 I could truly enjoy wearing. I’m wondering what changes you notice, since I have the earliest version. I am now very keen to try L’Eau, and am considering trying No. 19 Poudre, since I’ve come to appreciate 19, (especially in warm summer weather), coaxed to try it again by your reviews.
        Your review is beautiful and informative, as always. Thank you!
        I do think it’s unfortunate how much the youth market is pandered to with bubblegum and candy scents, and likewise that other fragrances are designated granny scents. My tastes have evolved a great deal over the years. I preferred Eau de Colognes, straight up Citrus or Musk, and some Masculine fragrances (Guerlain Vetiver!) to almost any classic perfume in my teens and early 20s. I think it’s fine to like and wear different types of fragrance at different periods in your life, usually one’s tastes evolve over time, in many things, and it is so very personal! September 2, 2016 at 4:03pm Reply

        • Victoria: I can’t agree more. Your tastes change with new experiences and exposure to different things. It’s similar to food, literature, films, music. I have come to like No 5 more over time, especially as I tried more aldehydic florals, but it will never be my top favorite. I’m happy to have a bottle on my desk for reference, however. Its quality and nuances are impressive.

          Thank you, Claire! I’m glad that you found it helpful. September 4, 2016 at 5:27am Reply

          • Alessandra: I feel the same, Victoria September 11, 2016 at 2:04pm Reply

  • Vani: Victoria, I have been dying to know about your take on the Chanel no.5 L’eau ever since I heard about the launch. I really apreciate your beautifully written reviews and your descriptions are always so immensely helpful to me. I love aldehydic florals and so I own the EDP, EDT and the Eau Premiere which is actually my favorite of all of them; I also couldn’t resist a blind purchase of No. 19 after reading your review on it and I don’t regret it because I love it; although I have to say that it does not last on me very much and I feel that the sillage is moderate to low after less than an hour or so. Can you comment more about sillage and longevity on No.5 L’eau? Is it more like a skin scent or stronger than that? Thanks September 2, 2016 at 1:30pm Reply

    • Victoria: I’m guessing that No 5 L’Eau won’t last on you, because No 19 (the current one) lasts for the whole day, and I even mix it into my lotion to tone it down. Maybe, the issue is with the musk Chanel uses. We all differ in our sensitivity to this group of perfume ingredients.

      So, do try it on skin and see how it behaves. I’d love to know what you think. September 2, 2016 at 2:19pm Reply

  • Michael: Thanks for the interesting and informative review, Victoria! Can’t wait to test it out and compare it to the original and No. 5 Eau Premiere. I passed on purchasing a full bottle of the latter as I already have the parfum and EDP. Very intrigued about that velvety texture you mentioned …

    Found the following article that includes quotes from Olivier Polge, about the creation of this fragrance, which you may be of interest to you and my fellow perfumistas: September 2, 2016 at 1:50pm Reply

    • Victoria: Thank you so much, Michael! September 2, 2016 at 2:19pm Reply

      • Michael: You’re welcome. I tested L’Eau today and although the bright, citrusy top notes are lovely and the musk and cedar dry down makes a different change to the heavier Amber, sandalwood and vetiver base of No 5, I have issues with the longevity of this fragrance on my skin. I suspect it’s due to the fact that it’s an EDT and designed to be more of a “mist” (according to the sales assistant anyway) and so reapplication would be necessary. I’m actually considering getting Eau Premiere instead. September 4, 2016 at 12:55pm Reply

        • Victoria: Eau Première is definitely bolder. Thank you for adding your thoughts. September 4, 2016 at 4:50pm Reply

  • Giovanna: More in general, I wonder what makes a perfume “old fashioned”? You mention aldehydes… what else? I am asking because I (still looking for my signature fragrance) I recently (!) “discovered” Calèche and I liked it very much (I used to love Madame Rochas, so it should not have been a surprise), but wonder if it is a typical “old lady perfume”… Thank you for your insight. September 2, 2016 at 2:13pm Reply

    • Victoria: It’s very subjective, and there is no list set in stone. I’ve heard Coco Mademoiselle described as old fashioned. I personally wouldn’t put much stock in it and wear whatever made me feel good. The rest is irrelevant. September 2, 2016 at 2:24pm Reply

    • spe: Love Caleche! All formulations are beautiful. For some reason, it doesn’t read “old” to me the way that Madame Rochas does. Perhaps because it’s not as floral? September 7, 2016 at 10:15am Reply

  • Joy: Thank you for this timely review, Victoria. I had just seen Chanel L’eau advertised and wondered about it. Although all of the top notes sound great, the musk does not. For some reason musk in fragrance makes me queasy. I would still like to try a sample just to satisfy my curiosity.
    I will hold out for a bottle of 31 Rue Cambon, which now on Chanel’s website, only comes in the EDP. September 2, 2016 at 4:30pm Reply

    • Victoria: Yes, if you don’t like musk, this one isn’t for you.

      I can’t wait to try the EDP versions, although I wonder how much more expensive they will be. September 4, 2016 at 5:28am Reply

  • Joy: It is quite expensive at $280/bottle. That cost almost becomes an ethical concern for me. Since I support many causes, I feel those dollars would go a long way to provide care for some people or animals.

    Since Chanel is no longer allowing decant companies to sell samples and decants, I may just have to be happy enjoying the few drops in my last decant. September 4, 2016 at 12:00pm Reply

    • Victoria: It’s for 6.8oz, which is not bad as far as the cost per volume, but that’s too much perfume for me, and as such, too costly. I prefer 30 or 50ml bottles. September 4, 2016 at 12:16pm Reply

  • Joy: On their website it is shown as 6.8 oz. September 4, 2016 at 12:21pm Reply

    • Victoria: Les Exclusifs are also available in smaller bottles, but I think that they’re in the process of being reformulated. I see 31 Rue Cambon listed as out of stock. September 4, 2016 at 12:24pm Reply

      • spe: A few months back, I ordered 31 and 1932 off the website. I received the 1932, but they cancelled the 31 order. One of the department stores had a single bottle left of the 31 EDT.

        Chanel concentrations are so different from one another and I didn’t want to have any”ugly” surprises with the reformulated edp versions. September 7, 2016 at 10:09am Reply

        • Victoria: Yes, they can end up as completely different perfumes, so I definitely wouldn’t buy it blindly. September 7, 2016 at 11:18am Reply

  • Joy: I will continue to observe. When they still had the edt, there was a smaller bottle available for less than $140. I should have not dilly dallied on purchasing that, as I really like the edt.

    Thank you for your feedback, Victoria. September 4, 2016 at 12:42pm Reply

    • Victoria: Let’s see what happens when they relaunch. September 4, 2016 at 4:49pm Reply

  • Solangen: *sigh*

    Tested l’Eau and as I feared, it has the same “bugspray” musk Chanel bottom-loaded into Chance Eau Tendre & Allure Homme Sport. My DH bought the Homme Sport for the citric top, but the musk is so godawful he can’t wear it at all. If you know the chemical I mean, it literally smells like toilet cleaner or Ajax.

    Why do perfumers even use this stuff? There are lots of musks that don’t smell sharp and grating – surely a professional “nose” is aware of the chemical horror?

    Do they think the scratchiness offers undiscerning consumers an OK substitute for the missing texture oakmoss used to give?

    L’Eau is priced towards the middle market and available in malls, unlike Chanel’s supposedly better quality fragrances. Maybe L’Eau’s ingredients were chosen accordingly?

    I’m guessing a few Euros per kilo in production cost savings translates to millions when dumped on consumers they hope will snap this up for the top notes and the No. 5 appellation. And the top is very, very lovely. Were it not for the horrid base, I’d have considered handing Chanel more of my cash.

    Does Chanel not read fragrantica & basenotes? Those are mostly “middle market” readers, guys. And there are lots of them reading reviews before buying. Consumers are not so easy to fool anymore. FYI, it’s currently 4 a.m. and Fragrantica already has almost 2,000 people online.

    I’d have no problem with them bottom loading “laundry” musk into these middle market products – although it also smells cheap, its at least not actively unpleasant. But I’m not going to pay for a fragrance product that contains a substance I just don’t want to smell all day.

    ps to Joy – respectfully suggest you test Rue Cambon before shelling out the bucks. Despite its “Exclusives” marketing, it struck me as very synthetic. It’s missing the characteristic chypre density and heft and deteriorates down to good old Ambroxan, like a normal mall scent. I’d guess there’s a healthy dose of Iso E in there as well, which for me always interferes with smelling the rest of it.

    Going to wallow in the lifetime supply of vintage I’m so glad I stashed away, and save my money for something else. September 5, 2016 at 5:39am Reply

    • Victoria: Those perfumes use different musks, by the way. As for the new types of musks or Ambroxan, those are among the most expensive ingredients available today. More expensive than many naturals, in fact. Now, if one doesn’t like them, one doesn’t like them, but criticising a perfumer for using them is like begrudging a restaurant for putting caviar on its menu. September 5, 2016 at 7:12am Reply

  • Annikky: I tried it on Saturday and was pleasantly surprised – as you say, it’s shimmering and radiant and quite sophisticated. I’m also not a huge fan of the original (I respect it, but only wear it in the hair mist format which is a bit different), so this makes it easier for me to accept the new interpretation. September 5, 2016 at 10:33am Reply

    • Victoria: The hair mist was the first bottle of No 5 I drained completely. I do like the extrait de parfum too, but as it sits next to No 19, Cuir de Russie and Bois des Iles, I always go for the others. September 7, 2016 at 11:27am Reply

  • Aurora: You make me want to try it. I was just wondering whether there is sandalwood in l’Eau? One of the reasons I like No 5 so well is that one of my bottles of EDT from 1986 – I know because the lovely person who sold it to me for much less than a current bottle included the bag and receipt – is all about the drydown of rich sandalwood (probably Mysore) that makes me swoon. But I like all versions of No 5, old and modern in all concentrations, some are soapy, some have the woody drydown, some are more floral and it has been so popular that vintage stays a very affordable luxury. September 6, 2016 at 5:54am Reply

    • Victoria: I don’t notice so much sandalwood, but there is vanilla, vetiver, musk, which is similar to No 5.

      You’re right about the prices on the older versions of No 5. It’s probably one of the more affordable vintages. September 7, 2016 at 12:00pm Reply

  • Claudia: It’s quite lovely, I picked up a bottle on the spot. It’s bright and shimmery, smelling it just made me happy. It won’t replace Eau Premiere for me though. Which makes me think…I hope Chanel will not discontinue Eau Premiere. Maybe I should buy a back up, just in case? September 6, 2016 at 6:54am Reply

    • Victoria: I hope not! It’s one of my favorite Chanels. September 7, 2016 at 12:03pm Reply

    • Alessandra: I don’t really think they will discontinue it. It sells very well and it is intended to appeal to a different audience. Sure, there are people like us who will want and use them all if they are great, regardless of the intended audience of reference, but what I mean is that Eau Première and L’Eau are not interchangeable. Indeed, they are very different. So no, I don’t think EP will be discontinued. Personally, the only Chanel I would discontinue is the Noir, because it is – and it saddens me to say it – a rather pointless perfume, Chanel-wise. September 11, 2016 at 2:01pm Reply

      • Victoria: The extrait version of Coco Noir is very different, by the way, but I don’t like the EDP. September 12, 2016 at 10:03am Reply

        • Alessandra: Oh is it? I’ve never tried it on, or considered it! In fact, weridly I didn’t notice it existed! Perhaps it is because I disliked the EDP so much that I didn’t bother noticing the entire line. Good to know! September 12, 2016 at 11:14am Reply

          • Victoria: Of course, for the price of the parfum I’m not sure if it’s that much more interesting. September 12, 2016 at 2:02pm Reply

  • rickyrebarco: I’ve been waiting for you to review this one before I buy it. I like No. 5 Eau Premiere in the drydown but it’s still a little aldehydic funky for me to wear many places. This one should be just right! Thanks for a wonderful review. September 6, 2016 at 10:54am Reply

    • Victoria: In this case, L’Eau will probably be the best option, since it’s the least aldehydic of all No 5 variations. A charming perfume but with enough presence. September 7, 2016 at 12:04pm Reply

  • Melissa Pham: Great post! Thank you for sharing. I’d like to try it. September 8, 2016 at 2:47am Reply

    • Victoria: It’s widely available at stores already, so I hope you can try it soon. September 8, 2016 at 7:24am Reply

  • Alessandra: This fragrance surprised me, as well! I tried it on two days ago and compleetely fell in love with it, for all the reasons you articulate so well, Victoria. Its sparkling, champagne-like sophistication is different and more easy-going than that of no. 5 but it is still quintessentially Chanel. Also, I agree, it truly lasts!
    I, very much like you, hugely appreciate no. 5 but don’t consider it my fave Chanel and find it difficult to wear it on a regular basis. I adore it when I wear it but sometimes it really is too much. This Eau is absolutely wearable on a daily basis, instead, and I find that the drydown is very no.5. Excellent composition. welcome, no. 5 l’eau! September 11, 2016 at 1:58pm Reply

    • Victoria: I’m glad to hear it. I do suspect that it will be best for those of us who like but don’t quite love No 5. Either way, L’Eau is a beautiful perfume in its own right. September 12, 2016 at 10:02am Reply

      • Alessandra: Absolutely September 12, 2016 at 11:12am Reply

  • Kay: I have sampled this a couple of times and it vanishes on me within half an hour. The comments above have just struck me – maybe I’m anosmic to the musk in it, as after the top notes there’s just…nothing. Like, I genuinely can’t smell it. Sadface.

    As an aside it looks bloody lovely in the bottle. September 24, 2016 at 1:36am Reply

    • Victoria: That’s probably it. Have you tried Eau Premiere? September 24, 2016 at 7:17am Reply

      • Kay: I haven’t actually! Another one for the try list… September 24, 2016 at 10:07am Reply

  • maja: I’ve tried it today. Gorgeous! I want a bottle. October 15, 2016 at 6:27pm Reply

  • Alexis: Admittedly, I think I tried this at the wrong time of year. The sales associates at Saks are a tenacious bunch, and when I showed up the other day to scope out the new EDPs, the sales lady insisted I sniff. Maybe it was my annoyance that I was being pushed on a fragrance so different than the ones I was sampling (I’M HERE FOR CUIR DE RUSSIE, MADAME), but hoo boy, so much citrus! I can handle the scent of spiced citrus this time of year, but floral citrus? It certainly spelled clean and fresh, and if they sold it as a shower gel, I’d buy it in a heartbeat! Otherwise, talk to me again in May, L’Eaau! 😉 October 25, 2016 at 9:38am Reply

  • Janey: The SA in my local House of Fraser (UK) said on Saturday that Eau Premiere is to be discontinued. I had a quick look on line and it’s also out of stock in John Lewis, Boots and Debenhams…….. mmnn, I wonder if this is true?

    The Boots website states that it is sold out and that there wont be any further stock!

    I really like L’eau but I also love No 5 eau de parfum. I was considering purchasing Eau Premiere but don’t want to get hooked on it if I can’t get hold of any more.

    Maybe I’ll try No 5 eau de toilette.

    I wish they hadn’t discontinued the No 5 dry body oil, That is gorgeousness in a bottle. April 10, 2017 at 5:10am Reply

  • Jacquie: Is the hair mist similar to No.5 edt and is it as long lasting?
    I am eager to get one.
    Thanks April 29, 2017 at 2:19am Reply

  • Felice Sage: I admire but can’t wear classic #5 (too heavy and too much civet for me), love Eau Premiere for nights out during autumn and winter and trying L’eau for the first time am delighted with it as a capturing what I love about the #5 line in a lighter version perfectly suitable for day and casual wear. Of all the reviews I’ve read I’ve found yours the most on the money. Oddly, though, I don’t find it too musky for me in the dry down, maybe because of the type of musk. In general very musky scents don’t suit my chemistry but this is delicious on me. Great addition to the always sophisticated, elegant and sensual #5 line. October 6, 2017 at 12:46pm Reply

  • Alan: As a man, I love many women’s perfume and wear some of them often (Opium by YSL, Shalimar by Guerlain…etc). I have always love Chanel N5 but was not sure if it’s unisex enough for me to wear? even though I do believe you wear what makes you like and feel good, but I do not want unwanted attention from unfriendly people. So one day I was at Neiman Marcus and spray some Chanel No 5 L’Eau on my wrist, I really how it smalls on me. It’s light, effervescent with lots of citrus notes I think it’s a lot more unisex than the original No 5. I was wondering what’s your opinion on Chanel No 5 L’Eau if it smells unisex to you, too? I have the same question about Dior Poison (the original), many men wear them and I love it but wasn’t sure if it’s too feminine? look forward to hear your opinion. Love your blog!! keep up the great work! xo October 29, 2018 at 3:51pm Reply

  • Rachel: Hi Victoria. I love reading your reviews and value your thoughts on the perfumes. I have No 5 eau premiere and No 19 poudre and was thinking of adding l’eau or no 19 edt to my collection. Tried both but can only afford to one. Which do you think would suit better a hot and humid tropical country such as the Philippines? I like Tom Ford’s ombre leather but I don’t think it fits our summer days. December 14, 2018 at 5:14am Reply

  • Christopher Keane: I am a man and as most of the men’s fragrances smell like expensive bottled cats wee I decided a while ago to try a few of the perfumes marketed for women.
    Consequently I have been wearing Chanel L’Eau.
    I wil be staying with that choice as I love the fragrance.
    Don’t really mind what people think about whether I am wearing a fragrance that was probably created for women, I feel secure enough with my identity to wear what I really like.
    Christopher June 4, 2021 at 5:26am Reply

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