If someone made me say the first thing that came to mind when they said the word perfume, it would probably be Chanel No 5. In my mind, it is maybe the most timeless fragrance, with even Marilynn Monroe famously quoted that she wore it on her pajamas.
There’s no denying the vintage appeal can be enticing, but if you’re like me, you don’t always have the budget for the Chanel price tag. However, don’t worry. They might not be the original French scents, but I’ve found 7 Chanel No 5 dupes that can make you feel like an old-school Hollywood star without spending like one.
What Am I Looking For In Chanel No 5
First created for Coco Chanel in 1921, Chanel No. 5 quickly became famous for its use of aldehydes, a chemical that seemed to capture the essence of fizzy champagne. Since then, the fragrance has become somewhat of a golden standard in perfume, being worn for centuries by some of the world’s most famous and influential women.
To me, this is the quintessential classy night out fragrance. The scent has the timeless ability to transport me back into a 40s film where big band clubs are the norm and women wore diamonds for almost every occasion.
The fragrance opens with Aldehyde, lemon, and bergamot, which gives off the sensation of a fizzy lemon cocktail. The dry down is based in white florals like iris and jasmine, balanced with a woody baseline of musk and sandalwood. A hint of vanilla and patchouli round the whole structure out with a nice deep feminine touch. To my nose, it’s a nice powdery fragrance that smells textured and sophisticated.
Topped off in a classic cubic gold bottle, of course, the price tag for such a timeless perfume isn’t exactly budget-friendly. Thankfully, we aren’t the first to wish for an elegant smell without breaking the bank. I’ve discovered seven close dupes to Chanel No 5 that could trick even the biggest Chanel lover.
7 Perfume Dupes Similar To Chanel No 5
1. Lacura 5th Element
Somehow, grocery store fragrances are becoming more impressive each time I give them a shot. Lacura 5th Element is Aldi’s take on Chanel No. 5, and while its bottle mimics the original’s elegance, the price is only a fraction of the original.
Lacura focuses its fragrance on the white florals, especially the jasmine and rose. In my opinion, this scent is stronger than Chanel No 5, which is already a pretty powerful fragrance. I think the bergamot and the aldehyde opening came out pretty well, although definitely not with the same depth as the original. For me, the star of this fragrance though is the vanilla which takes the florals in the dry down and makes an overall hyper feminine scent.
Overall, especially for only around 7 dollars, this fragrance does its job well both through scent and aesthetics. If you wanted an even stronger sillage, Lacura is definitely worth trying.
2. Dossier Floral Aldehydes
An excellent opening of aldehydes and bergamot, the dry down into white florals seems a bit sweeter to my nose than the original Chanel. Still, the structure feels firmly feminine in a timeless way. In a way, I find that somehow this fragrance can feel a bit too old-fashioned with its mix of sweet floral and aldehyde, but it certainly does hit the mark in its elegance and strength.
Overall, I think Dossier outdid itself by elevating the florals in its structure, despite perhaps leaning into the vintage feel of the essence.
Another big hitter for longevity and sillage, Divain-106 is great for anyone who wants to take Chanel No 5 and make it more signature scent friendly.
The opening is a bit fruitier than the original with the aldehydes mixed with peach. I personally think this adds a lighter touch that makes the fragrance feel more accessible for daytime wearers. The dry down into white florals, moss, and vanilla are much like the original, though a little less depth in their structures. To my nose, the key note in Divain-106 is the jasmine and there is a hint of vetiver that I wasn’t expecting but it seems to work well with the rest of the structure.
The presentation is nothing on the level of Chanel with just a simple rectangular form with a wooden cap. Still, I think if you want to make Chanel No 5 a more accessible signature scent without losing the elegance, this might be more your style.
4. Suddenly Woman 1
I can’t believe I’m saying this, but another grocery store fragrance has made the list. Suddenly Woman 1 is grocery store chain Aldi’s stab at the iconic fragrance and honestly, it’s probably the best cost value you can find.
The aldehydes mixed with lemon open the fragrance nicely with maybe just a touch more bitterness than the original. Like many of the other scents on this list, Suddenly Woman 1 also leans into the jasmine aspect of the white florals but the woody dry down feels to be perfectly matched to the original.
The bottle is nothing special, but for five euros and closely matched to the original, it almost feels like stealing.
5. ALT No. 5
If you were a fan of the powdery aspects of Chanel No 5, Alt no. 5 might be the one for you. Focusing on the powdery hints of white florals like jasmine and rose, Alt No. 5 predominantly focuses its structure on the dry down with a heavy base in sandalwood, patchouli, and oak moss.
I think the only thing really missing in this dupe is the aldehydes that come and go in a flash. But, if the long game is what you want, this fragrance is long-lasting and dries down just as elegantly as the original.
6. Oil Perfumery’s Impression of Chanel No. 5
It’s not for everyone, but I kind of like Oil Perfumery’s simplistic take on classic fragrances. Packaged with a rollerball application, Oil Perfumery has to be one of the most practical manufacturers on the market.
The opening is nice with the Aldehydes and Bergamot, though it feels a little understated to my nose. The dry down of iris and jasmine makes a lovely bouquet that goes very well with the amber and moss that, to me, seems to hold the base.
I’d recommend this fragrance to someone looking for reapplications during a night out. Unfortunately, I think the rollerball application loses a lot of the aldehyde bubbles of the original, but the structure is still very well maintained throughout. Just as strong and elegant as the original, I think this fragrance is the perfect best of both worlds.
7. Vogue by Milton Lloyd
Vogue by Milton Lloyd was a dark horse for me, and honestly, it might be my favorite on the entire list.
In the opening, the aldehyde mixed with ylang-ylang is just as fresh and bubbly as the original. The dry down centers itself into the same white floral bouquet nicely, though I find that the rose takes center stage at times. Vanilla and musk create an excellent base to complete the structure.
What I find really nice about this fragrance is the aldehydes keep up throughout the longevity. In my opinion, that fizziness brings some air into an otherwise sophisticated fragrance.
Chanel No. 5 is the quintessential elegant fragrance. It was a groundbreaking fragrance in 1921 and today it is regarded as a mainstay in all things high society. The touch of aldehydes can whisk anyone away to a champagne-riddled night in the 20s.
Of course, we all want to be reminded of a golden era of diamonds and glamor, but we don’t always have the kind of money that Coco Chanel did. Thankfully, there are some great dupes on the market that can make you feel that old Hollywood glam without spending like one.