Chanel No. 22

Chanel No. 22Ernest Beaux created Chanel No. 22 in 1922, the same year Caron Nuit de Noël and another Chanel, No. 55, were released. The top notes are aldehydes, white roses, jasmine, tuberose, lily of the valley, lilac, and orange flower. The heart is orchid and ylang ylang, and the base is vanilla, incense, and vetiver.

As is true of the other numbered Chanels, the first hit of No. 22 is aldehydes. After twenty minutes, when the shrieking coloratura of the aldehydes fades, a gorgeous duet of white flowers and gentle incense emerges. After an hour and a half or so, just the incense, grounded slightly by vetiver, burns along quietly. One can’t really smell the vanilla in the dry down at all, and the jasmine, ylang ylang, and tuberose are blended so that none of them stands out from the others. The whole show lasts about four hours.

Overall, the scent is warmer and more interesting than its raft of white flowers might lead one to believe, probably because of its incense rather than the more usual vanilla, amber, or sandalwood. I sure was one terrific smelling teen. No. 22 is warm enough to save for cool weather, and could be a day or night fragrance, although it might be too pretty for work.