Perfumer Christopher Sheldrake, who is well-known to the perfumistas' constituency through his close collaborative work with Serge Lutens but who also happens to influence the destinies of the so-called mainstream perfumery - one would hope it is more relevant to oppose qualitative perfumery to non-qualitative perfumery - as Chanel's director of research and development, explains why the house of Chanel wants to refresh the sillage of the No. 19 with its new incarnation, No. 19 Poudré. It turns out that it is more thanks to the heritage consciousness of the perfumers than due to marketing forces that the project was born....
It was also tempting for the noses to use a brand new musk molecule, from the very top notes, that will provide this powdery character that was sought after.
If everyone talks about Chanel No.5 - which led to a recent reinterpretation of it with Eau Première - in the case of the No.19 the situation is reversed: the competition has been silently snatching away the green galbanum and iris heritage of Chanel in numerours perfumes but without due homage being paid to its ancestor.
Sheldrake tells The Australian that, "It's a matter of perfumers' pride," Sheldrake says. "We see the inspiration of No.19 everywhere in the market today and we felt that No.19 should be there. No one talks about No.19. This is not a marketing idea. It's a perfumer's idea. No.19 is an icon and we shall defend it."
And about the new fragrance's reception so far,
"The new fragrance went into test groups along with the original. "It had the same result," Sheldrake says. "A minority of people loved it and the majority could leave it. This is a sign of character. Enough of a minority liked it for us to know it was right. The freshness struck a chord. With No.19 Poudre the notes are cleaner and much sexier."
Read more about iris, galbanum and other things in Changing Chanels