Chanel L’Eau: The New No5

new chanel no5

Last week I went to the launch of the new Chanel No5 fragrance, No5 L’Eau, and for the past three days I have been doing a bit of a “compare and contrast”, walking around wearing the original No5 on one wrist and the new No5 on the other. Chanel No5 is one of the world’s most popular perfumes and perhaps its most iconic, but I have to say that it has never been quite my taste. I think of it as an “everything” fragrance – it seems to have all of the smells you can possibly think of crushed into it, an army of smells, and it’s difficult to single out any one particular note. You can sense the jasmine and the rose and the amber and the sandalwood and the bergamot and the lemon and the iris and the ylang-ylang and the neroli and the vanilla and the patchouli and all of the other things that are in there, but try and focus on one note and all of the others gather around it like a clingy gaggle of schoolgirls. I always think of the No5 components as being a very loyal gang – they will not be separated at any cost, and if you try to corner one component on its own (is that lily of the valley I spy? is that rose?) you’ll be confronted by the full force of the No5 Squad.

new chanel no5

Those who find this overwhelming might welcome the arrival of Chanel’s newest fragrance, No5 L’Eau. It’s altogether lighter and fresher than the original scent – I think much more modern, more delicate. Olivier Polge, the perfumer for the House of Chanel and the nose behind this fragrance, said at the launch that he had worked a lot on the head notes of the perfume – the “dynamic aspect” – with citrus and tangerine enhancing the aldehydes. But L’Eau is still instantly recognisable as No5; it’s an interpretation of  it, or an “expression” as Olivier called it. The floral headiness is still there (with rose quite prominent, or perhaps I’m just spotting it because I love rose!) but I don’t find the florals to be as powerful. And the  warmth from the vanilla and sandalwood are perhaps more apparent in L’Eau, which is perfectly fine by me; give me light and powdery over suffocation-by-flowers any day of the week!

chanel no5 l'eau

I think (though nobody mentioned this) that Olivier Polge’s intention was to make a No5 that would appeal to a younger customer and if that’s the case, then he’s done a brilliant job. L’Eau has all of the vital essence of the original No5 – that loyal gang of inseparable fragrance components – it’s just that the lighter and fresher notes are leading the pack. I could never wear No5, it was just…too much, as though I was a child playing dress-up in clothes that were far too big for me. But L’Eau and I are getting on just fine – it suits me much more and I feel incredibly chic. There’s still that sense that I’m a child dressing up in adult’s clothing, but perhaps someone’s altered the fit of the jacket and taken up the trousers and made it all feel that bit more suitable and relevant.

Chanel No5 L’Eau launches in September – I’ll update with more details when they come in.

*I attended the press launch as a guest of Chanel along with other writers and beauty editors, this is not a paid-for or sponsored post. (All sponsored or advertorial content is clearly marked “AD”.) If you’d like to see an absolutely brilliant video of the trip then please click here to see Lily Pebbles’ short film.

© 2018 A Model Recommends®: all opinions are my own and any sponsored or paid posts will always be clearly marked as an AD in the title. I accept press samples and receive product and services to review as part of my job. *Outbound links are affiliate links, which means that I receive a very small percentage of any sale made. This does not affect my content in any way and does not cost you anything, but you are most welcome to Google the products on a new page if you prefer. Please see here for full "about" section and disclaimer. A Model Recommends and Ruth Crilly are registered trademarks.



  1. Susie
    May 17, 2016 / 7:55 am

    How does Eau compare to Eau Premiere?? I thought that “interpretation” was already quite light.

    • Vanie
      May 17, 2016 / 12:10 pm

      That’s what I was wondering too.

  2. Jane
    May 17, 2016 / 8:46 am

    What a great description of the original No.5 – I love how you write.

  3. Linda
    May 17, 2016 / 8:55 am

    Great post Ruth & your trip looked amazing! Perfect description of the original, personally Ive never understood why (other than the name) it was the worlds best selling perfume – a touch of he emperors new clothes! There are far nicer, more complex and classic compositions out there. It will be interesting to see how the new tweaked version will be received.

  4. May 17, 2016 / 9:22 am

    This fragrance sounds wonderful! Loved your vlog and Lily’s short film.


  5. ziloa
    May 17, 2016 / 10:04 am

    Hello, thank you for this review ! I trust you on your perfume reviews, it’s always on point :-)
    I’m not a fan of Chanel n°5, I always found the add, films and universe around it very beautiful and desirable (just think of the one with Nicole Kidman, that was so beautiful ! ), but I never liked the smell so it has never been a problem to resist the add campaigns ahah :D
    In my opinion, n°5 is old and smell old. I put it in the same category as Cologne 4711 (although I prefer this one).
    Anyway, I’m very very curious and can’t wait to smell the new Eau ! I’m not sure I would buy it though, when a perfume becomes too mainstream I find it less appealing, I don’t know why (and this Eau could become very mainstream).

  6. Stephanie
    May 17, 2016 / 10:08 am

    Chanel No.5 is also not after my taste (I am 28, so…), but I will give the new No.5 a try as soon as it hits counters. Normaly I don’t like parfume reviews because it is so hard to describe something everyone interprets differently, but your description is really nice and “smellable”. (Is that a word?) :) So thank you for your wonderful writing. x

  7. May 17, 2016 / 10:30 am

    That’s interesting you say you find the original No5 onfusing, scent-wise. I can’t wear the perfume, as its waaaaay too strong, but I’ve been using the eau de toilette for years and love it. On me, it settles to a lovely cinnamon-like scent. Perhaps its how it jives with my body chemistry. Eau Premiere is very citrusy on me and I love that one too, so I’m curious to hit the nearest Chanel counter this Autumn to try L’Eau.

  8. May 17, 2016 / 11:37 am

    Wow, I did watch LilyPebbles vlog on this and you popped up several times. The whole experience there looks amazing. Can’t wait to try this scent out for myself. ;)

  9. May 17, 2016 / 11:59 am

    I’ve never even smelt a Chanel fragrance #BloggerConfession!

    Stephanie xxx

  10. Cecilia
    May 17, 2016 / 12:54 pm

    Hi Ruth – I like your blog. Many thanks for the useful information. Have you tried Tom Ford fragrances? I searched your blog and realized you have done a review on Santal Blush and Jasmin Rouge. I was on the verge of purchasing Jasmin Rouge last year, but decided not to. I am more a Jo Malone person. Wonder what you think about the Soleil Blanc fragrance and Neroli Portofino Forte. Thanks.

  11. Patricia
    May 17, 2016 / 2:18 pm

    Hi Ruth, I have been reading your blog/watching videos for a while (via Caroline Hirons initially) and just had to come and say that this has to be one of the best posts you have ever written! I love your descriptions – the clingy gaggle of schoolgirls, the altered jacket – and I can definitely hear your voice in your writing. And thank you for the link to Lily’s film – it was heavenly.

    I am over 50 and even now I can’t wear Chanel No. 5 – I’m definitely going to look for this new interpretation.

  12. Virginia Villalobos
    May 17, 2016 / 5:01 pm

    I was given a bottle of No. 5 by a special boyfriend once, and even though I have never worn it (for all of the above reasons), I still have the bottle and once every few years or so, stumble upon it in a drawer. I love opening it and with a slight whiff of the scent, being transported back to that time in my life for just a few moments of sweet memories.

  13. May 17, 2016 / 5:56 pm

    Looks like the my idea about including citrus was a good one! I’m waiting on pins and needles to try it!

  14. Chantal
    May 17, 2016 / 7:22 pm

    I’m soooo excited for this new Chanel N05 perfume! :) I totally agree with you, I’ve smelt the original one a few times whilst passing through Boots but I’ve never really liked it as it just seems too heavy for my nose haha but I have a feeling this new one will be well up my street xx

  15. Rachel
    May 18, 2016 / 6:19 am

    I wore Chanel no 5 in my early twenties, but a heinous bout of morning sickness means it not just makes me feel sick! I may venture to try this as see if 18 years and a new expression have cured me as I love the original!

  16. May 18, 2016 / 11:32 am

    I feel the same way about No5, it has always been too much for me. This review has given me some high hopes for the Leau version. I love when sandalwood and vanilla are prominent within a fragrance.

  17. Kiki
    May 18, 2016 / 2:53 pm

    Hello! I am hoping you might do a post on product expiry dates, all your reviewed products are so lovely but most are so expensive it would be good to know what is worth spending on and how long things last. Thanks!

  18. May 18, 2016 / 6:25 pm

    I am desperately seeking a new perfume and this one sounds interesting although I confess I don’t think I ever tried No 5 thinking it might be old fashioned. I would love to find a special scent after being in denial about spending money on a fragrance for myself. I realise perfume helps to lift my mind and have started to search and this may be one I will try although I don’t know if I would prefer one from a less well known brand with notes that change to create a more personal signature scent. I love how you have described this one, thank you

  19. May 19, 2016 / 7:34 am

    I’m in the same boat as you with the original. Great description – that’s exactly how I feel about No.5 too! I think I’ll have to find myself a Chanel counter for a cheeky skoosh of this!

  20. May 22, 2016 / 6:58 pm

    Ahhhh,can’t wait for it! It’s sounds really appealing to me♥

  21. Lisa
    June 4, 2016 / 4:03 am

    I am sad to see so many negative comments about the original No. 5. I am slightly over 50 but have been wearing the original since my teens and still love it. I am interested in trying the new version though. I guess there are trends & fads with fragrance too. When I was a teen all my friends wore Joli musk, which made me smell something akin to roadkill

  22. Anne
    September 5, 2016 / 1:19 pm

    I love your description of n5. I do find it very confusing too, although i completely admire it. I am currently wearing L eau, just passed the beauty counter and sprayed myself. It s definitely a n5 flanker, and I really love the citrus note at the beginning. it then settle quietly into a rose/ sandalwood/ vanilla almost skin scent. It is definitely my favourite of the all n5 collection. To me it is cleaner, and more defined and soft than Eau Premiere ( somehow the dry down end up smelling like a wet nappy on me). And the bottle is soon pretty!!! It s definitely a Chanel.

  23. Gina
    September 29, 2017 / 3:24 pm

    Well I absolutely love no 5 , yet I have a few and there all a bit different.
    For example the discontinued no 5 voile parfum is very similar to the gel elixir , but the hair mists are different again , slightly sweeter. The soap is like the edp not that sweet ( square older version) and the body powder in loose new version is much like eau premiere, yet the older pressed body powder is more like the edp .The newest foaming bath is a mixture of edp and premiere sent same with the lotion .
    Sooo many versions.
    Personally I love to mix it up a bit after a bath with foaming bath and a lovely wash with the creamy soap I love to powder myself off liberaly and then spritz some voile body spray , a dab of gel sensual elixir behind my ears and a spritz or two of eau premiere then to finish some hair mist ! !

    I must totally pong haha but I just love the whole ritual :)

    Ooooh wonderful Chanel no 5 I just love everything about you!!!
    And all your flankers too !

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