Having a signature fragrance can make as bold a personal statement as the right outfit. When it comes to classic, luxurious fragrances, it's nearly impossible to top Chanel perfumes -- they've been the gold standard in the fragrance world for nearly 100 years. Chanel offers a wide range of scents that feature a variety of notes, so there's a perfume that fits every personality.
If you're not sure how to choose the best Chanel perfume for your fragrance collection, use our buying guide to find your signature scent. We've even included some specific perfume recommendations, including our top pick, Chanel No. 5 Eau de Parfum, which combines citrus, floral, and vanilla notes for a scent that manages to be classic and modern at the same time.
Considerations when choosing Chanel perfumes
Chanel perfumes contain several different layers of fragrances or notes because of the careful combination of ingredients the brand uses. Some common ingredients in the perfumes include:
Essential oils, which are extracted from various plants and fruits and form a concentrated base of the plant's scent.
Animal extracts like ambergris and musk, which add depth to a perfume's scent and help a fragrance last longer.
Alcohol and water, which help blend and stabilize the various fragrance notes in a perfume.
Aldehydes, which are organic compounds, though they are often reproduced in a lab. They help give perfume a fresher, more bubbly aroma like the notes found in Chanel No. 5.
Types of fragrance
Chanel offers perfumes in several different concentrations, which affects how heavy the scent is and how long it lasts on the skin.
Parfum is the most concentrated and longest-lasting type of perfume, which is why it's also the most expensive. It has a thicker, more oily consistency, so it typically comes in a bottle with a stopper and is dabbed onto the skin. Its scent can last for up to 12 hours.
Eau de parfum is less concentrated than parfum but still fairly heavy and long-lasting. It may come in a stopper or a spray bottle because it has a thinner consistency. Its fragrance can last for up to eight hours.
Eau de toilette is a less concentrated perfume formula, and it usually contains different notes than the parfum version of a fragrance. It has a lighter, fresher scent and works well for daily wear in settings where you might be concerned about irritating those around you. It usually comes in a spray bottle and can last for about six hours.
Eau de cologne is the lightest, least concentrated form of perfume and typically comes in a spray bottle. It's usually the most affordable option and can last for up to four hours.
A perfume's notes are the various scents that are combined to form its fragrance. Some notes are more pronounced than others, so they're divided into three main categories:
Top or head notes are the scents that you notice when you first apply or spray a perfume.
Middle or heart notes are the scents that become apparent when the top notes fade away and form the main part of a perfume's scent.
Base notes are the scents that last the longest and add depth to the overall fragrance.
Notes are usually divided into four fragrance categories, and Chanel offers perfumes that represent all note types:
Floral: Chanel No. 5 Eau de Parfum (middle), Chanel Chance Eau de Toilette (top and middle), Chanel Coco Mademoiselle Eau de Toilette (middle), Chanel No. 5 Eau de Toilette, Chanel Allure Eau de Parfum (middle and base)
Oriental: Chanel No. 5 Eau de Parfum (base), Chanel No. 5 Eau de Toilette
Woody: Chanel No. 5 Eau de Parfum (base), Chanel Chance Eau de Toilette (base), Chanel Coco Mademoiselle Eau de Toilette (base), Chanel No. 5 Eau de Toilette, Chanel Allure Eau de Parfum (middle)
Fresh: Chanel No. 5 Eau de Parfum (top), Chanel Chance Eau de Toilette (top), Chanel Coco Mademoiselle Eau de Toilette (top and middle), Chanel No. 5 Eau de Toilette, Chanel Allure Eau de Parfum (top and base)
Chanel perfume prices
Chanel perfumes vary in price based mainly on how concentrated they are. The parfums usually cost between $100 and $480 per ounce, while the eau de parfums typically range from $34 to $60 per ounce. Eau de toilettes go for $33 to $52 per ounce, and eau de colognes are $44 per ounce.
Q. What type of Chanel perfume is best for everyday wear?
A. While Chanel's parfums are the strongest and most long-lasting fragrances, they're generally not recommended for everyday use and best saved for special occasions. The eau de parfums and eau de toilettes, on the other hand, are a good everyday option because they can last six to eight hours but have a lighter scent that usually won't disturb those around you.
Q. Where should I apply my perfume?
A. Coco Chanel actually recommended applying your perfume to the areas of the body where you want to be kissed. That usually translates to the neck, behind the ears, the inside of the wrists, the crease of the elbows, between the breasts, behind the knees, and even the small of the back.
Chanel perfumes we recommend
Best of the best: Chanel No. 5 Eau de Parfum Spray
Our take: Offers all the classic elegance of the well-known parfum but in a fresh, modern spray formulation.
What we like: Features fresh citrus top notes and floral middle notes that combine rose and jasmine. Base has woodsy Bourbon vanilla notes just like the original parfum. Available in a compact travel size. Signature bottle makes a statement on your vanity.
What we dislike: Headier than original No. 5 so it may disappoint if you're interested in the classic scent.
Best bang for your buck: Chanel Coco Mademoiselle Eau de Toilette Spray
Our take: A fresher, lighter perfume for everyday wear and summer use that comes at a more affordable price point.
What we like: Orange top notes provide a fresh, bright scent. Vanilla and floral notes of jasmine and rose complement the citrus notes. Spray format makes it easy to apply to skin or clothing.
What we dislike: Doesn't offer a concentrated formula that some shoppers may prefer, though you pay less for it.
Choice 3: Chanel Chance Eau de Toilette Spray
Our take: A sensual scent that combines fresh, floral, and spicy notes for a surprisingly modern fragrance. Five-ounce bottle is more generous than other Chanel options, too.
What we like: Fresh, light floral fragrance is suitable for daily wear and at the office. Includes some spicy notes and hints of vanilla to balance out the florals. Works well for summer and warmer weather.
What we dislike: Not a very concentrated formula, but considering the size, you still get a serious value.
Jennifer Blair is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money. BestReviews never accepts free products from manufacturers and purchases every product it reviews with its own funds.
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