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We have all heard of Chanel No 5, and most people would recognise the distinctive packaging. But what about the smell? Gina Cowen chose five popular fragrances for a blind testing, and members of the public were invited to identify them.

Chanel No 5

Anna Ribo (23): "Yes, I know that. It's new isn't it? I Can't figure it out."

Claire Mercier (19):"It Smells like Eau de Cologne. I don't know what it is and I wouldn't wear it."

Germaine Rich (52): "This is not natural [she's right - Chanel No 5 was the first scent to be completely synthetic]. Powdery also. Is it Chanel No 5?"

Kate Cliffe (53): "Ah yes. This is incredibly familiar. But can't quite say what. It's sweet and powdery."

William Miller (32): "I know this absolutely. Evokes all sorts of wonderful feelings. I had two girlfriends who wore this. Perfect. A favourite. It's Chanel isn't it? No 5."

Sarah-Lou Reekie(45): "Very old. Reminds me of years ago. Yes. Is it Sortilege by Guerlain?"

Obsession (Calvin Klein)

Anna: "I Wouldn't want to sit next to someone on the bus wearing that."

Claire: "Smells nice. But wouldn't wear it."

Germaine: "Ooh agh, like a grandmother's face cream. I can't stand it."

Kate: "Again, familiar but too sweet. I couldn't wear it. I'd rather smell it in a garden than wear it."

William: "Absolutely revolting. Like getting the worst chocolate from the box. It reminds me of bad hotels."

Sarah-Lou: "Too strong. But different. Something of chocolate cake."

L'air du Temps (Nina Ricci)

Claire : "This says something to me. It catches me in the throat. Bizarre. Is it L'air du Temps? My first perfume."

Germaine Rich: "Is it L'air du Temps? I Like it."

Kate: "A bit bathroomy" William: "Is this Guerlain? Roger Gallet? I like it. This reminds me of my godmother - very grand and elegant."

Sarah Lou: "Soapy and chemical. No."

Eau Sauvage (Dior)

Anna: "I can't think what it is. But I think my old boyfriend used to wear it."

Kate: "Mmm. I like that."

William: "Nice this. Lemony. Of course, it's Eau Sauvage. Actually I still think this is the nicest. My dream of luxury is a lifetime supply from Dior. At the end of the day mixed with a light sweat it smells wonderful."

Sarah-Lou: "Oooh that's Eau Sauvage. My Dad wore that. Goodness - brings him back. He died 10 years ago but still think about him every day."


Marcus: "This is for someone on a real power trip. A real turbo-spoiler of a scent. It smells like a throat gargle."

William: "Smells like fly spray."

Sarah-Lou: "Poeughhh. Far too strong. Pavarotti?? He would repel me if he wore this. I think I'll just stick to his CDs."