A diplomat’s scent.


I really don’t know why people are making such a fuss about No 5. Okay, it has been the world’s best selling perfume since 1921, Marilyn Monroe wore it, apparently mostly when naked and in bed, but so did the doyenne at my very first agency, and rest assured, although she was the sweetest person who used to feed me with biscuits, I’m pretty sure no one pictured her in bed, let alone naked. Anyway, I digress as usual, my point is, I like Ernest Beaux’s No 22 from 1922 so much better. And like Karl Lagerfeld, I only care about my opinion. No 22 is like dessert. A very fine dessert, that is. Made of tuberoses and vanilla, cream and candied roses, with a little whisky in the cream, a single malt of course, even a harsh one, Lagavulin, just a tiny dose, a hint, but enough to add the strangest depth to it, transforming the femininity of all those fragrant flowers into a gentleman’s dessert, into some sort of diplomat cream, I once made one, a so-called crème diplomate Couloubrier, but it turned out as a real culinary disaster, marshmallows are sour in comparison, only my father who has the world’s sweetest tooth, would eat it, but that’s another story, where was I? Right, No 22. To put it in a nutshell, this perfume is an olfactory diplomat cream, and as this dessert was named after the famous Russian diplomat Nesselrode, known for his love for English puddings and desserts, No 22 is quite a manly scent. One cannot be any manlier than a Russian, can one?

3 thoughts on “A diplomat’s scent.

  1. What a beautiful article, it’s just perfect and I could even say that it’s my favourite so far, but I am always loathe to pick favourites, so let’s just say I love it. I must confess to being a No 5 wearer (although not all the time – with perfume, as with articles, I cannot pick a favourite) and also to never having smelled No 22. It is only available from Chanel boutiques – in Berlin, I lived near one but wasn’t interested in perfume (or lipstick!) and now I am interested in perfume but live in the countryside, miles from a boutique. But I look forward to experiencing its beauty very soon.
    And once again your article makes me think of Proust, namely with that Nesselrode pudding which your father enjoyed. In ‘À l’ombre des jeunes filles en fleurs’, one is served at the dinner with Norpois, much to the diplomat’s delight (he obviously had a very sweet tooth as well!).

    Liked by 1 person

  2. When my husband and I celebrated our first Christmas together, at the ripe old age of seventeen, he asked me what I might like for a present. A bottle of Chanel No. 5, I replied. And so I was presented with a gift box assortment, quite lavish for a young boy’s budget. So No. 5 will always be my favorite although I do quite like 22 as well. Funny about your Dad’s sweet tooth.

    Liked by 2 people

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