All Aboard the Chanel No. 5 Trolley! 5 Fun Facts About Chanel No. 5, and a Giant 10.7-Ounce Bar of No. 5 Bath Soap

Published in: Chanel, Fragrance, Product Reviews, Skin Care

All aboard the Chanel No. 5 Trolley, bound for San Francisco’s Union Square!

Toot, toot! Now boarding the Chanel No. 5 Trolley. :)

Chanel created the Trolley as an art installation of sorts, filled it with stories and lore about the iconic No. 5 fragrance, parked it in front of Macy’s in San Francisco’s Union Square last weekend and opened it to the public for free…

Come on! Let’s check it out. I booked a ticket and saved you a seat.



Our destination today? The world of Chanel No. 5…

What’s that, you ask? Can you take a picture with the male models before we board? Of course! By all means.

[SNAP!]

Um…just so you know, you’re grinning like a Cheshire cat in that picture. :)

Oh, hai!

Unfortunately, Brad Pitt couldn’t make it today, so we’ll be on our own. It would have been neat to bend his ear about No. 5, but apparently he’s on location filming a Chanel commercial with Tabs…

The trolley from the front

Picture Mr. Pitt behind the wheel…

Feel free to move about the trolley, and check out the different exhibits and Chanel-esque details…

Oh, look here! A placard with five fun facts about Chanel No. 5…

1. There wouldn’t be a No. 5 without jasmine and May rose

There are four members of the No. 5 fragrance family, or what Chanel calls “interpretations” of the fragrance.

  1. The Parfum
  2. The Eau de Toilette
  3. The Eau de Parfum
  4. The Eau Premiere

All four share two signature base notes, May rose and jasmine.

Chanel heightens and softens the different notes in each of them to “interpret” the fragrance in slightly different ways. According to Raj Mangat of Chanel’s Fragrance Development Education Team, it’s a process that makes No. 5 unique in the fragrance world.

“The fact that each interpretation of the fragrance is different,” says Raj, “nobody else does that. What perfume companies [usually] do is create a pure perfume, and then dilute it, so it becomes eau de parfum. Then they dilute it again, and it becomes eau de toilette. It’s the same scent but less potent. I like to think of the Chanel scents as sisters with the same DNA, but each one has her own personality.”

May rose and jasmine don’t just appear in No. 5, though. The notes are found in all of Chanel’s fragrances. “They’re kind of like our little signatures,” says Raj.

2. Chanel refers to the Parfum as the haute couture gown of the No. 5 family

Chanel No. 5 Parfum

The first drops of Chanel No. 5 Parfum, the eldest sister in the No. 5 family, were born back in 1921. May rose and jasmine feature prominently in the scent, so if you’re fond of heavily floral fragrances, you may favor the original Parfum interpretation of No. 5.

Like a haute couture gown, Raj says, the 1921 Parfum “is rare and precious.”

3. Sandalwood expresses itself in the Eau de Toilette, the second sister in the No. 5 family

Chanel No. 5 Eau de Toilette

In 1924, three years after introducing the Parfum, Chanel launched the Eau de Toilette.

They heightened its sandalwood notes, giving it more of a woody quality than the more floral Parfum.

The Eau de Toilette is often called the “tweed jacket” of the No. 5 family and is considered a casual version of the scent.

4. Decades pass between the release of the second and third interpretations of No. 5…

Chanel No. 5 Eau de Parfum

More than 60 years pass between the 1924 release of the Eau de Toilette and the Eau de Parfum in 1986.

Why the long wait? According to Raj, it’s “because prior to the 1970s, there was no such thing as an eau de parfum.”

A parfum and an eau de parfum contain different concentrations of fragrant oils, with a parfum typically having higher concentrations, which lead to a more intense scent.

“Traditionally,” says Raj, “fragrances were the pure essence of the parfum or the pure perfume as we know it. Jacques Polges, our current perfumer, wanted to create an eau de parfum and keep it true to the original, but give it its own interpretation.”

To accomplish this, Jacques, who’s headed Chanel’s fragrance line since 1978, heightened the bourbon vanilla note, giving the No. 5 Eau de Parfum a sweeter quality.

5. In the Eau Premiere, the latest entry in the No. 5 family, notes are turned down, rather than up

Chanel No. 5 Eau Premiere

Last, but not least, the newest version of No. 5, 2007′s Eau Premiere.

Unlike the first three interpretations of No. 5, in which different notes were heightened, in the Eau Premiere, which premiered in 2007, notes were softened. The jasmine and ylang-ylang notes were escorted to the background, giving the Eau Premiere its sparkling quality.

The new limited edition No. 5 Bath Soap

The new limited edition No. 5 Bath Soap, 10.7 ounces, $75

Since the Chanel No. 5 fragrances all share the same notes, they also work well with Chanel’s No. 5 body products, including the new large, limited edition No. 5 Bath Soap ($75), available now at Chanel counters and chanel.com

I just recently started using it, and let me tell ya, I don’t think I’ve ever been this excited to shower!

LOL! It’s just so indulgent and fancy. It even comes with its own soap dish (that’s classy), but I guess it should be for $75…

And the bar itself is HUGE. A whopping 10.7 ounces.

It builds up into a lush lather with lots of silky bubbles, and I love how when I step out of the shower, my skin stays softly scented with No. 5 for hours.

And I like the way the scent goes with the Eau de Premiere, which is my favorite family member of Chanel No. 5.

Sure, it’s unbelievably expensive for a bar of soap, but what a special gift it would make for a Chanel No. 5 fan.

The new limited edition No. 5 Bath Soap

PRICE: $75 (a 10.7-ounce bar)
AVAILABILITY: Available now at Chanel counters and chanel.com
MAKEUP AND BEAUTY BLOG RATING: B+/A- (a lovely, albeit outrageously expensive, Chanel indulgence)

Well, looks like we’re arriving at our destination. I hope you enjoyed our little trip on the Chanel No. 5 Trolley.

If you’ve tried any of the different interpretations in the No. 5 fragrance family over the years, let me know if you have a favorite in the comments. I can’t get enough of the Eau Premiere. :)

Your friendly neighborhood beauty addict,

Karen

31 Comments

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So far, 31 people have commented on this article. How cool is that?

  1. Chelsea says:

    I loved this article! The trolley and information on all the versions was awesome! I know they’re one of the few perfumers that really changes notes a bit between EDPs and EDTs – I like the Coco Mademoiselle EDP, but the EDT is totally different.

    My mom wears the Chanel No 5 EDP when she wears fragrance (she got into it later in life, my dad and I buy it for her). I like the Eau Premiere- the EDP is a little heavy on its own for me.

    Oh, if only I had unlimited funds and could buy all the perfumes I wanted to own!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Chelsea,

      I’m glad you enjoyed it. I had a lot of fun learning about the different scents, and the hanging out in the trolley was a trip!

      Speaking of Coco, have you ever sniffed Coco Noir? I did the other day and it’s really pretty.

  2. Lisa says:

    I wonder how long the trolley is there? I’m not too far away from SF and would love to visit it. I’m a big fan of Chanel fragrance- my favorite is Cuir de Russie for me, and I’m hoping to pick up Sycomore for my hubbie!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Lisa,

      The trolley was there last Friday and Saturday. As far as I know it was a limited engagement thing.

      Sycomore is lovely! Your hubs is very lucky.

      Have you ever smelled Gardenia or Beige from Les Exclusifs? I love those, too.

      • Lisa says:

        I like those, too. I’m crazy about the original Cristalle- I wear that one in the summer a lot. I’m a Chanel junkie. I need to smell the new coco noir, too, but I’ll have to travel to do so, since it hasn’t shown up at our Sephora yet.

  3. Oh, this is neat! And it makes me miss San Francisco.
    Emi at Project Swatch recently posted … Maybelline Color Tattoo Metals Review, Swatches, Photos

  4. Karen says:

    Oh Chanel. They do fragrance so well. I’m a bit ‘young’ and too girly for N°5 but I’m still a Coco Mademoiselle devotee. I got the EDT from my mum but recently switched to the EDP which is a bit richter and deeper. Goes well with my quarter-century as my mum joked on my birthday.
    I’ve heard that Coco Noir is somewhere between Mademoiselle and Coco? I might have to check that out as my next purchase…

  5. Marla says:

    Oh I want to be on that train.

  6. Sunny says:

    Whoaa this looks like so much fun! I’m not so sure we’d ever see the trolley here, but it’d be so cool if I ever get to hop on!

  7. Hali S. says:

    Love how you referred to it having a soap dish as classy haha. So funny! Neat post though, but I’m surprised it took so long to release another version of it!

  8. Jennifer says:

    What a cool ride! I wish Chanel would do something like that in NY! My grams LOVED Coco Chanel, she idolized her….

  9. Katherine G says:

    That is pretty awesome! My grandmother used to wear Chanel No. 5 parfum, I believe. It was one of her trademarks. Even though the soap is expensive, it sounds like it is a nice luxury once in a while. One thing I’ve always loved about makeup and perfume is that it’s much more affordable than designer clothes. I can get the luxury of Chanel through makeup or perfume at a much, much cheaper price than if I splurged on a Chanel suit (which, if I dug into savings, I could afford, but 1,000 + buckaroos can go for a lot of other things….).

  10. Nina says:

    Eau Premiere sounds veryyyy refreshing!

  11. Steph says:

    I’ve always viewed Chanel as THE high fashion house. I’ve actually never indulged in any of the fragrances though!
    Steph recently posted … Love. Hope.

  12. mn says:

    I’ve been off the radar for a while but had to comment as I thought the pictures were great and I really felt as if I was right there! Also, I never realized that they vary their scent depending on whether it was EDP vs EDT. I found that quite interesting. Hugs and a tummy scratch to Tabs.

  13. Meyra says:

    What an amazing experience! You took such amazing photos Karen. Chanel holds such a special place in my heart. Some may say that you have to be a specific age to appreciate Coco and her history/brand, but I have loved it all from a very young age. I looked up to her elegance and class, and as I grow older I feel that I become the woman I once looked up to.

    I personally love the Eau Premire and Gardenia fragrances too Karen. Have you ever tried either of the Cristalle versions? I have wanted to, but heard that their new formulation isn’t as good.

    And those men were extremely handsome! Did you happen to find out if any of them were single? ;)

  14. Dominique says:

    Well, amazing ! And a pretty journey into the world of Chanel !

  15. Iris says:

    What a wonderful exhibition and it’s great they opened it up to the public at no cost.

    Thank you for sharing the photos and info and “reporting” on the exhibition for us.

  16. Katrina says:

    This was a great, really interesting read! As a Chanel fanatic, I really enjoyed it.

    I have the EDT for No.5 and I love it. My mother has the parfum. I would really like the try the Premier for something lighter!

    I haven’t sniffed Coco Noir yet. I don’t know why! I really have no excuse!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Katrina,

      So glad you enjoyed this post! :)

      I can’t wait for you to try Eau Premier. It’s just so beautiful and sparkling.

      Oh — and when you check out Coco Noir, be sure to sniff Allure too. It’s another good one.

  17. Eeep how fun! Thanks for taking us along for the ride, Karen!
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  18. Kalli says:

    Wow that was so cool! I didn’t realize each version of No. 5 is a little different in terms of scent. I love learning about what notes make up the scents I love, it’s so interesting. The only Chanel fragrance I own in Gardenia (which I only have a tiny bit left, eek!) but I’ve always loved Chance & Coco Mademoiselle.

  19. mulberrytea says:

    Oh my god. I live in San Francisco and am always in Union Square. How on earth did I miss this?

    Thanks for sharing your experience . . . I’m jealous!

  20. Chasie Poo says:

    Oh Karen! I’m glad I found this post. I’m a gent and this is my favorite scent of ALL TIME! I had a friend from Russia that I worked with at a hospital and she would tell me (in her thick Russian accent of course!,”It doezzzn’t matter if you are vearing a trash bag, if you are vearing a couple drops of Chanel you are glamourous!” Chanel No. 5 was her signature fragrance and she was such a sweet woman. It reminds me of the laughter we had together. She told me a story of when she lived in Russia before the Cold War she would spend an entire month’s salary on Chanel No. 5! One month she dropped a new bought bottle and had to soak it up with cotton balls! LOL….this scent will always be a special one for me! Thank you for sharing! :)

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