Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel was known for being the tastemaker of her time, with the House of Chanel being one of the most groundbreaking and innovative fashion houses of all time. Perhaps Chanel’s most iconic and beloved creation is the fragrance Chanel No.5, a name so recognizable it often needs no introduction.
The Story Of Chanel No.5 And Its Scent
When it comes to name recognition, storied glamour, and widespread popularity (among both everyday people as well as celebrities), there is no fragrance that can compare to Chanel No.5. This scent is synonymous with glamour, class, and sophistication. Coco Chanel aimed to create a fragrance that captures the essence of femininity, and she definitely was successful.
No.5 was launched in 1921 and was created by Chanel’s master perfumer at that time, Ernest Breaux. It is primarily a floral aldehyde scent, with top notes of neroli, aldehydes, bergamot, ylang-ylang, and lemon. These notes make way for the scent’s middle notes which are rose, iris, orris root, jasmine, and lily of the valley.
Finally, the scent is finished with the stunning base notes of sandalwood, vetiver, civet, musk, vanilla, amber, moss, and patchouli. These notes blend together to create a beautiful powdery, woody, and fresh scent with subtle hints of floral beauty.
Part of the reason No.5 has so many loyal, devoted wearers is because it is incredibly versatile. This fragrance is great for when you are looking for a touch of glamour and is great to wear to more formal events. In these situations, No.5 will make you feel like an old fashioned Hollywood starlet (Marilyn Monroe herself said No.5 is the only thing she wears to bed!) However, the scent of No.5 is not too overwhelming, and can definitely be worn in more casual situations to make the wearer feel gorgeous even while performing mundane, daily tasks.
Even further, No.5 is one of those rare fragrances that can be easily worn year-round. The woody notes will make it perfect for the cold weather, but the floral tones will also be stunning in the spring and summer.
You can check out Chanel No.5 over here on Amazon! However, you can also try out a small decant first. A decant is basically a smaller bottle, filled up with the original fragrance. This way, you can try out a smaller amount before buying a full bottle. If you’d like to learn more about fragrance decants, where to purchase them, and how they’ll save you money, you can read this article here!
Alternatively, many women may be curious where they can find a scent that is similar to Chanel No.5. Maybe they are looking for a fragrance with a different price point, or perhaps they love No.5 but are looking to switch up their scent roster a little. Below is a list of 9 fragrances that are slightly different from No.5, but will evoke much of the class and sensuality as Chanel’s iconic scent.
1. Hermes Caleche
Caleche’s Hermes is a gorgeous scent, that will remind the wearer of Chanel No.5 due to the floral aldehyde aspect of both fragrances. Caleche, launched in 1961, is yet another fragrance that is synonymous with classic timelessness, and gorgeous feminine glamour.
The initial top notes of Caleche are bergamot, lemon, cypress, orange blossom, aldehydes, neroli, and mandarin orange. This initial fresh and sweet scent will make way for the fragrance’s middle notes of rose, lily of the valley, jasmine, ylang-ylang, gardenia, and iris. Finally, this floral bouquet is finished with the base notes of vetiver, amber, sandalwood, musk, oakmoss, cedar, and tonka bean.
It is clear the ways in which No.5 and Caleche resemble one another, many of the notes (top, middle, and base included) are very similar, which means that both scents have very similar fragrance profiles. Both fragrances also are considered versatile and are great in both formal and informal settings.
However, Caleche tends to be a scent that is a little less powdery than No.5, which is one of its primary characteristics. Caleche’s scent profile also focuses more on citrusy notes, which is not the highlight of No.5’s more woody, and floral emphasis.
Still, the two fragrances are interchangeable and will be great in similar settings. If you’re interested in this fragrance, you can check it out over here on Amazon!
2. Paco Rabanne Calandre
Another lovely scent in the floral aldehyde family is Paco Rabanne’s Calandre. Released in 1969, this scent is incredible in its grounded connection to nature due to its woody and earthy notes.
Calandre opens with stunning top notes that are citrusy and green, before eventually giving way to the stronger, middle white floral notes of lily of the valley, geranium, rose, jasmine, and orris root. Finally, Calandre’s woody base notes are amber, vetiver, moss, and sandalwood.
Calandre is similar to Chanel No.5 in that, as mentioned, they both are classified as floral aldehyde fragrances. They also have similar notes, particularly the grounding, woody base notes.
However, Calandre will differ from No.5 because it is a bit more earthy and sensual. Calandre feels a bit more “down to earth” than No.5, as the latter is the epitome of modern feminine glamour. Calandre still has a glamorous feel, but it definitely feels more lowkey in its wear. Because of this, this scent is much more suited for everyday wear, as opposed to worn in formal or fancy settings.
Finally, Calandre will be a little better suited during cooler months, because the earthy and woody tones will be beautiful during the months with lower temperatures. It will still be nice during the bloom of spring and summer, but is a bit more dark and mysterious for cold weather. If you’re interested in this fragrance, you can check it out over here on Amazon!
3. Coty l’Aimant
L’Aimant by Coty is a classic, timeless floral aldehyde fragrance, launched in 1927. Lovers of l’Aimant appreciate that this fragrance is a delicious, feminine scent that is at a more reasonable price point than many luxury fragrances.
As mentioned, aldehyde plays the starring role of L’Aimant. Its top notes are aldehydes, bergamot, neroli, and peach which creates an initial sense of gorgeous floral beauty. The middle notes of jasmine, ylang-ylang, geranium, rose, and orchid further illustrates this gorgeous bouquet. Finally, the fragrance is brought to its earthy base notes of sandalwood, Virginia cedar, musk, vanilla, tonka bean, and vetiver.
l’Aimant is the perfect fragrance to grab when looking to add an air of sophistication and grace to any event, which is what makes it very similar to Chanel No.5. As mentioned, you will also notice the similar scent in each fragrance brought about by the floral aldehyde notes.
l’Aimant and No.5 will differ, however, mainly in price point. L’Aimant is a much more affordable option, and can be a great choice if you are experimenting on a budget. Additionally, both scents do have woody notes, but this will stand out a bit more in l’Aimant and be slightly more subtle in Chanel No.5.
Still, these two fragrances work great in the same situations and will serve a similar purpose. If you’re interested in this fragrance, you can check it out over here on Amazon!
4. Lanvin Arpege
Arpege by Lanvin, introduced in 1927, is yet another floral aldehyde fragrance that will be perfect for the No.5 lover on a budget. With its white floral and woody notes, it is a stunning scent that is simple and elegant.
Its floral top notes include peach, bergamot, aldehydes, lily of the valley, honeysuckle, and neroli. Arpege’s middle notes of iris, rose, camellia, jasmine, ylang-ylang, lily of the valley, coriander, and geranium. This full, blooming array of flowers is grounded by the base notes of vetiver, vanilla, amber, benzoin, sandalwood, musk, and patchouli. These earthy base notes add a sweet and natural finish to this gorgeous blend.
As with many of these fragrances, Arpege’s largest common factor with No.5 will be the aldehyde florals it features. Both fragrances also highlight woody and powdery notes, making for a sensual and fresh scent that is glamorous and timeless.
Arpege and No.5 will differ, however, in that Arpege places a bit more emphasis on the white floral top and middle notes, while No.5 has a bit of a more subtle floral aroma. Arpege also has a bit of a darker, more mysterious feel, that is best worn in nighttime settings, or perhaps formal evening events. Arpege will also be a fabulous cold weather perfume, as it is a bit more intense than No.5. If you’re interested in this fragrance, you can check it out over here on Amazon!
5. Lancome Poeme
Lancome’s Poeme is a lovely flowery, powdery scent, launched in 1995. Poeme’s notes feature both yellow and white florals, making it a clean and fresh scent unlike any other.
Poeme’s opening top notes are peach, black currant, narcissus, plum, mandarin orange, datura, Himalayan poppy, and bergamot. This lovely fruity, floral blend then leads to the fragrance’s middle notes tuberose, jasmine, rose, vanilla flower, orange blossom, heliotrope, mimosa, ylang-ylang, freesia, and leather. Finally, this gorgeous blend of notes is completed with the base notes of amber, cedar, vanilla, orange blossom, tonka bean, and musk.
Poeme’s major connection to No.5 will be the powdery and floral aroma that is brought about by each fragrance. These clean and sweet scents will both embody a classic feminine aura that will enhance the gorgeous, natural beauty of each wearer. Both scents are also fabulous for adding glamour to any situation and are perfect for formal or fancy events.
However, Lancome Poeme and Chanel No.5 will differ in that Poeme’s notes are a little more fruity in their display, whereas No.5 is more earthy, with its floral and musky undertones. If you’re interested in this fragrance, you can check it out over here on Amazon!
6. Christian Dior Dioressence
If there’s any competition for Chanel’s top spot in the fragrance world, Dior is definitely one of the closest houses. Dioressence by Christian Dior, launched in 1979, is one of the House’s most experimental, yet popular fragrances.
Dioressence opens with top notes of aldehydes, orange, patchouli, bergamot, and various fruity and green notes. This initial scent will give way to the fragrance’s middle notes of cinnamon, geranium, ylang-ylang, orris root, carnation, violet, rose, tuberose, and jasmine. Finally, the fragrance’s base notes of musk, benzoin, patchouli, and vanilla ground this scent in a sweet, earthy completion.
Dioressence will have a similar feel to fragrance lovers who adore Chanel No.5 in the sense that they are both timeless, classic fragrances that capture femininity in its most natural, truest essence. The scents also share similar powdery and floral aldehyde notes that add a touch of beauty to the scent.
However, Dioressence and Chanel No.5 vary greatly when it comes to which of these notes are highlighted. Dioressence’s star is the citrusy and spicy notes, which make it the perfect cold-weather fragrance. Dioressence will also be a great nighttime fragrance, as it may be too heavy and intense to wear during daytime events.
Even though these two fragrances differ a bit in scent, they do have a similar feel and purpose. Both are timeless, feminine, and overall wonderful. If you’re interested in this fragrance, you can check it out over here on Amazon!
7. Diptyque Fleur De Peau
Diptyque has become one of the most trendy and high regarded fragrance brands in the last few years. In Fleur de Peau, they’ve created a scent that can (possibly) rival one of the most iconic fragrances of all time: Chanel No.5.
Fleur de Peau is a floral aldehyde fragrance that opens with top notes of pink pepper, angelica, aldehydes, and bergamot. These stunning notes make way for gorgeous flowery middle notes of Turkish Rose and iris, only to be completed by the strong base notes of leather, carrot, ambrette, sandalwood, musk, and ambergris.
These notes combine to create a rather unique scent, something Diptyque is known for. Fleur de Peau will be reminiscent of Chanel No.5 because many of the most detectable notes in both are the floral aldehydes and the iris, creating a powdery sensation in each.
However, Fleur de Peau is a much more earthy and musky scent, make it a little more androgynous than the classic feminity of Chanel No.5. Although Fleur de Peau is a fresh and powdery scent, it is a bit more woody and earthy, making for a fragrance that is a little more suited for the cold weather months, as well as nighttime events. No.5 will be better for spring and summer, daytime situations. If you’re interested in this fragrance, you can check it out over here on Amazon!
8. Dolce & Gabbana Sicily
Dolce & Gabbana is another House that is known for evoking feelings of vintage glamour and class. It is for this reason that Sicily by Dolce & Gabbana is popular among lovers of Chanel No.5, as both scents are rich, luxurious, and classic.
Sicily’s initial top notes are orange blossom, banana, bergamot, honeysuckle, and aldehydes. This beginning wave of unique blending notes leads to gorgeous middle notes of hyacinth, nutmeg, hibiscus, jasmine, and rose. Finally, the base notes of heliotrope, musk, and sandalwood complete this fruity, floral scent.
As mentioned, Sicily and No.5 are both fragrances of old-school charm, bringing a wave of nostalgic beauty to the wearer with each spritz. They also have similarities in notes: aldehyde and florals. Each scent will also have a powdery, clean feel.
However, these two fragrances have very different essences. Sicily is a bit more youthful and lighthearted, highlighting citrus notes and a sweet fruity scent. No.5 will be a bit more mature and serious in its feel.
Sicily will be a better scent for spring and summer, as well as warm weather or daytime activities. It will likely be too fruity and fresh for cold weather or nighttime events, as opposed to No.5’s versatile nature in its use.
Still, both fragrances serve a similar purpose, even though the times you wear them might be different. If you’re interested in this fragrance, you can check it out over here on Amazon!
9. Maison Martin Margiela Dancing On The Moon
Maison Margiela is another trendy, popular luxury fashion house. Margiela is crafting daring, diverse blends that are lovely and feel classic, even if they are different than the norm.
Margiela’s Dancing on the Moon is a floral aldehyde scent that can be worn by women and men alike. The top notes of this fragrance are simply aldehydes, followed by middle notes of iris, frangipani, and jasmine sambac. Finally, this mysterious fragrance is completed by its base notes of musk, cashmeran, and ambergis.
Dancing on the Moon will be reminiscent of a classic scent like Chanel No.5 because of the aldehyde and iris notes, creating a timeless floral aura. However, the commonalities of these two scents will end there. Dancing on the Moon is a very experimental scent, and is androgynous in the sense that it is intended to be worn by both men and women. No.5 is first a foremost a feminine scent celebrating womanhood. The two scents can’t be any less similar in that regard.
However, when Coco Chanel was creating the vision for her House, she was often seen as experimental, usually stepping out of the standard confines of womanhood in that time. That’s why, despite the differences in scents like Dancing on the Moon or any of the other fragrances in this list, No.5 was groundbreaking in 1921, as many of these scents are groundbreaking nearly a hundred years later.
And on top of that, the scents aren’t that different anyway. Yes, Dancing On The Moon is a little less feminine, but that doesn’t mean that it can’t be worn by a woman! In fact, it goes great with any woman who’s looking for something daring, yet safe. Something experimental, yet classic. If you’re interested in this fragrance, you can check it out over here on Amazon!