Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Chanel No.19 Poudre: A Perfumer's Pride Matter as per Christopher Sheldrake

"The original No.19 was created in the 70s," Sheldrake says in a full-bodied British accent. "This was an era of the emancipation of women and for me this is the epitome of the spirit of Gabrielle Chanel. She was the ultimate rebel who refused to be categorised as the girly, pink flower type of girl. Chanel No.19 is a little bit like wearing trousers for a woman. It enhances the femininity."
Somehow the fragrance's associations with a free feminine spirit faded, along with Charlie girls and the liberated models in advertisements for Virginia Slims cigarettes exclaiming "You've come a long way baby", but other perfumers continue to be inspired by its formula of iris and galbunum [sic]. So Chanel's knights in Savile Row armour went into the laboratory to update No.19 for 2011. "It's a matter of perfumers' pride," Sheldrake says. "We see the inspiration of No.19 everywhere in the market today and we felt that No.19 should be there. No one talks about No.19. This is not a marketing idea. It's a perfumer's idea. No.19 is an icon and we shall defend it." [...]The new fragrance went into test groups along with the original. "It had the same result," Sheldrake says. "A minority of people loved it and the majority could leave it. This is a sign of character. Enough of a minority liked it for us to know it was right. The freshness struck a chord. With No.19 Poudre the notes are cleaner and much sexier."

Thus discusses an article in The Australian the launch of Chanel No.19 Poudré which we had announced a while ago on Perfume Shrine (alongside the new Chanel Les Exclusifs Jersey). It therefore seems that the introduction of a flanker (aka, a new fragrance coat-tailing on the success of an established one, borrowing some variation of its name), the first time ever for Chanel No.19, is not devoid of noble causes. It is also admitted by Sheldrake that the new fragrance is having an eye firmly set on China and its evolving market, thus being a wise move from a marketing point of view as well.

The rest of the article talks about how Chanel bought fields of irises alongside the ones containing roses which they owned at the south of France, due to the shortages of those in Florence, Italy, and about the impending rise of prices on raw materials by Givaudan by 100% ,which make it a particularly wise move on the house's part. It also typically goes over how iris is a rhizome in perfumery and not the flower, which is probably par for the course of every article in the mainstream press read by non aficionados. Additionally, there is info on the boosting of the galbanum note ibn Chanel No.19 Poudré, a grass essence imported from Iran, which has been fractionalised to remove the more turpenic and sulphurous (i.e.garlic-like) components.

The new flanker will hit counters in July/August in Europe.


  1. Dear E.,

    Thanks for sharing! This was an interesting read indeed. I'm really looking forward to this release - as I already wrote before. I just bought a Chanel N°19 EdC & am very happy with my purchase. N°19 is a scent to boost the self-confidence of it's wearer & isn't self-confidence always sexy?!

    While I think being "clean" & "sexy" at the same time is an oxymoron, the mention of the galbanum note being boosted sounds somewhat promising to me. Same goes for the fact that it wasn't loved by the majority ;-)

  2. Sounds interesting and something I must try. I have not tried vintage no. 19 because E-bay scares me and I am not seeing anything on The Perfumed Court. I didn't enjoy No. 5 Eau Premiere as much as I thought I would. Maybe when this is released, I can look at the Chanel website and get myself a lip gloss to get a sample of this.

  3. Kristina16:27

    I am eager to try this - however, I wish they hadn't messed with the original formula of No. 19 in the first place... Today, not much is left of its former glory, perhaps due to the increased costs of its raw materials.

  4. Anonymous16:51

    I am nervous about the "freshness," but hopefully that doesn't mean castrated... I love no. 19, and am thrilled to see it re-worked (a la Eau Premiere, I hope)!

    Any idea when it might be available in the US or EU?


  5. armani aftershave,

    spammy much? Better luck someplace else.

  6. Same goes for you,

    Accounts :-)

  7. M,

    it was, wasn't it? Glad you enjoyed it!
    I found it particularly interesting because they're clearly trying to appease the loyal fans of No.19 by saying they're doing to preserve the brand (a flanker meaning continuation and strengthening). At the same time they're offering it as an alternative to those who find the classic "odd" and unusual/unfamiliar.

    On that note, if I may entertain a pun, galbanum boosting seems like an intriguing idea, since it's supposed to give No.19 its bitter edge and I find through my perfume consulting that it is exactly that which people oppose NO.19 for. (See my article on an improptu Fragrance Consultation at Sephora). Obviously the new Chanel No.19 POudre is aimed at quite young people, but quite young people are completely unfamiliar with bitter smells!? They want to claim a Chanel their own, but they don't find anything beyond CocoMlle and Chance (and its flankers, possibly). Let's hope that the delicate balance between the two is found.

    Clean and sexy: now there's a thought. I think it appeals to those brought up to take a shower pre-coitus, rather than afterwards (or not at all, relatively to coitus, of course) ;-)

  8. Eldwarwen,

    sounds like a good plan, actually! You do that. I think they will do complimentary shipping too when this launches so it should be wise indeed.

    I think the older, vintage No.19 is glorious, but then the materials are indeed costly and the composition is so characteristic in the first place that, even somewhat diluted, it still remains great in modern form. It's not something I wouldn't touch, on the contrary (I enjoy the current edt quite a bit and the parfum in vintage).

    If you had trouble with Eau Premiere though (and if that trouble had to do with the drydown), you might find the new No.19 POudre somewhat difficult as well, because it utilizes the same kind of (clean) musky background. At least this is what I can surmiss from what you're saying. Was it something else?

  9. Kristina,

    alas, times change, raw materials become difficult to procure as old and complicated matters create somewhat of an entangled mess where it's difficult to see where fault lies. I do like the modern No.19 (vastly better than several things out in the market), even though I also love the vintage. I hope that a diaphanous interpretation with a bitter masculine note and musks at the bottom won't be too much of a travesty. At least this is my wish.

    BTW, they're brandishing "clean" a lot. I always thought NO.19 was clean to begin with: all that powder, all that green coolness...

  10. deeHowe,

    it is already available in London as an exclusive at Harrods if I am not mistaken and it should hit EU counters in July/August. Probably US ones too at the same time or 19th August at the latest. ;-) They're sure to announce it on the website with big typeface soon; it's set to be a rather big release on their part for the international market.

    Yeah, it doesn't have to be castrated. I hope not! Like I said above, they're brandishing "clean" a lot, but really, isn't the classic version the definition of "clean"? All that powder, all that green coolness...It feels like a breath of fresh, cool air, which is probably why I wear it in the heat of the Med summer. It gives me an illusion of lasting freshness paired with white shirts.

    Curiously, I find that very young people (see my linked article in the comment above) are programmatically opposed to it due exactly to its (bitter) "freshness": they're accustomed to a different kind of (sweet) "freshness", that's all.

  11. How can notes be both "cleaner" and "sexier"??? Perhaps by cleaner he doesn't mean "fresh," but perhaps straightforward? Hope it's not "fresh"...ugh.

  12. Oh sorry - suppose I should read the comments before posting. ;-) I see others said the same thing!!!

  13. Karin,

    by all means, you're free to repeat something if you feel so!
    I believe the "clean and sexy" equation is related to the "fresh out of the shower" concept that supposedly makes one want to jump someone else's bones, i.e. they're so squeaky clean you're driven nuts with the temptation to soil them again.Or so they lead us (or rather the very young ones) to believe? ;-)
    I'm telling you, I'm feeling positively antiquated hearing perfume talk in the media these days and I'm not biologically too old either; that's something for the industry to consider (Alienating a segment of their customer base)


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