Chanel No. 5 is turning 100, but it doesn’t smell a day over 99. Or 98, or even 1. Chanel No. 5 is consistent, and forever. My mom, like so many of her era, has always worn Chanel No. 5 and it is one of my strongest sense memories. One whiff takes me right back to being a little kid and either watching my parents get ready to go out, or getting ready myself to join them — to the theatre, to a family dinner, to a holiday party. So strong is that feeling that whenever I would prepare for an evening out in my adult life, my head and my heart would conjure notes of Chanel No. 5 even without any of it in the air. Because of my mom, it’s one of my favorite smells in the world — it smells like hugging her — and it’s there one I will never wear myself because to me it wholly belongs to her. And there are bajillions of other kids who probably feel exactly the same way about their moms, or grandmothers. Happy Birthday, No. 5, and I’m sorry the guest list for your party wasn’t more exciting. None of the faces we typically associate with Chanel were present. At least Mary J. was in the house?

[Photos: Erik Pendzich, Kristin Callahan, Gregory Pace/Shutterstock]