"I want to give women an artificial perfume," said Chanel. "Yes, I really do mean artificial, like a dress, something that has been made. I don't want any rose or lily of the valley, I want a perfume that is a composition." For the first time, large quantities of aldehydes, synthetic substances, were used in perfume to lighten the heady flower notes and to raise their sensuality toward refined seduction.
It is said that Ernest Beaux found the olfactory inspiration for N°5 around 1920, on his return from a military campaign that had taken him inside the Arctic Circle. During the midnight sun, the lakes and the rivers give off a very special fresh fragrance, which the perfumer was determined to recreate.