Impressions: Chanel No. 19 Poudre

I tested No. 19 Poudre at Selfridge’s today. These impressions are based only on wearing it for the day, because they didn’t have samples.

First, the “bad” news. I don’t think purist fans of No. 19 will be wowed by No. 19 Poudre. Chanel has done exactly what they said they were going to do: made it softer, added a little more iris (especially apparent in the opening), and warmed it up. In the process, it’s my opinion they have lost some of the distinctiveness of No. 19. But in fairness, some of that distinctiveness is owning to its chilly character and its hard edges. Chanel obviously didn’t want to keep those, because what good would that do for sales? It seems almost certain that No. 19 Poudre will be deemed more wearable and will be accepted by a wider audience.

The good news is that Chanel has maintained the overall character of No. 19 in this flanker. Although it is very soft and very warm, compared to the original, it isn’t a powder-puff fragrance. I just don’t it like as much as the coolly incisive original. I also think Poudre flops in the drydown, ending up a mild musky iris trace on the skin.

In terms of details, the SA said they have added iris, added “powder”, and put No. 19 Poudre on a base of tonka. Hmmm. If they say so! I don’t find it much more powdery, and I don’t smell tonka at all. So for details we will have to wait for a real review (from someone else)!

Update: You can read my more in-depth comparison of versions of No. 19 here.

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30 responses

    • They are selling it already. They have a 50 ml and a 100 ml, if I recall correctly. Both bottles are the “traditional” Chanel bottles (the more square ones), rather than the tall rectangles that No. 19 Toilette comes in. If you want it and you have trouble ordering, let me know, I can pick it up for you.

  1. Thanks for the review – really interesting. I did not have high hopes. No flanker I have ever met has improved on the original. All you can hope for is an interesting variant, like Eau Premiere. I like your ‘cool incisiveness’ description for No 19 – very apt!

    • I think the analogy to Eau Premiere is apt for this, with the difference for me being that I was “the customer” for Eau Premiere. I am that person who had never been able to really enjoy No. 5, so a flanker that took the idea and made it very approachable worked for me. Since I actually like No. 19, my review is certainly colored by that. Thanks for bringing this up, because I hadn’t thought about it that way. Thank you for the compliment, too! It means a lot to hear you think I’ve described something well.

    • After your No. 19 review I was so wishing I could read what you thought of this. I should have bought a bottle and played fairy godmother, sending out samples to all the bloggers and asking them to review. :)

  2. Aw, c’mon… you can still buy a bottle and send out samples.


    Kidding. But I enjoyed the review and, although I’m happy that No. 19 is still alive enough to be spawning a flanker, I suspect that I will be disappointed with the flanker itself.

    I like Eau Premiere, and I certainly find it easy to wear but less impressive than the original. And some days my vintage No. 19 edt is a little, well, demanding. It needs a certain mood. However, I think the edp concentration is softer and more easily wearable than what I have on hand, so I’m a little bit puzzled that any more tweaks were considered necessary.

    • Ha ha. Yes, I technically could. : ) I agree that N19 requires a certain mood; that is a good way to put it. The edp that doesn’t work as well on my skin as the edt, so I don’t have that as a point of comparison. But it will be interesting to see if it finds a market. I guess the fact that the edp isn’t readily available in the US (as far as I know) might help?

  3. Pingback: Iris Silver Mist « another perfume blog

  4. Pingback: No. 19 Poudre Launch Date « another perfume blog

  5. Pingback: My First Unsniffed Purchase: Chanel №19 Poudré « Undina's Looking Glass

      • I’m not sure if Jules will ever come back here to read the answer (in my experience people move on after commenting and, maybe, reading host’s reply), but I’ll post it anyway.

        I’m constantly analyzing scents I come accross in terms of finding smell-alikes – this is like a hobby inside a hobby to me. I have 1/3 left in my Infusion d’Iris by Prada bottle and I’ve been testing and wearing No 19 Poudre by Chanelfor a while now. Chanel’s new flanker didn’t remind me Prada’s perfume at all. But I didn’t want to rush my answer, so I waited until I could try them in parallel.

        I’m comparing two EdPs (I have Prada Infusion d’Iris EdT sample as well, but I decided against wearing tree different perfumes to the office ;) ).

        There is a reason I’m not writing real reviews: I’m still learning how to express what I smell in actual words. But since it’s just a comment, I’ll try – please don’t judge!

        In my mind, iris note in these two is much closer than in some other perfumes (for example, Iris Poudre by Frederic Malle or Iris Ukiyoé by Hermès) and I do see some similarity in the drydown phase (3 hours into wearing). But for the first couple of hours they are unmistakably different: No 19 Poudre’s iris is very buttery and soft, almost sweet and iris in d’Iris is very dry and cold, with some metallic quality to it.

  6. How am I so far behind on my reading!? This is a great review, Natalie, because it tempers my expectations, which have been fluctuating between madness (as in insanity) and ambivalence. Now I’m floating in hope-full anticipation, with a dash of, “Come what may.” LOL!

    (need some more coffee before I comment ;) )

  7. Pingback: The Great, Geeky Chanel No. 19 Sniff-fest | another perfume blog

  8. Pingback: My Blog’s First Anniversary « Undina's Looking Glass

  9. I hate to break it to you, but there’s no way you could have a 1960s era bottle of No. 19, as it wasn’t released until 1971. What’s likely is that you do have an early vintage.

    • Ah, indeed. I am guilty of looking at the trees (the bottle and label designs) rather than the forest (launch date) on this one! Thanks for the correction and the comment.

  10. Pingback: Impressions: Chanel Jersey « another perfume blog

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