A new book entitled The Secret History of Chanel No. 5 claims that while World War II raged across Europe, production of the famous scent had no choice but to move from Grasse, France to Hoboken, New Jersey. Make all the jokes you want about parts of the state not smelling very nice at all, but for at least a few years Hoboken was scented with roses and really, really expensive (and totally smuggled) French jasmine.
The book’s author, Tilar Mazzeo, notes that Coco Chanel herself wasn’t happy about the move, saying, “It is monstrous … They produced it in Hoboken!” But at the time she didn’t have a choice. The story goes that by the time the war rolled around, she’d sold 90 percent of her stake in the perfume to another company, who thought it would be safer to produce the scent in a place where bombs weren’t falling out of the sky.
Does the perfume smell any worse for having been tinged with a little New Jersey scent? Is Miami a worse place for playing host to the kids from The Jersey Shore? Chanel No. 5 still sells for about $400 an ounce, so maybe a little Jersey heritage isn’t such a bad thing after all.
[Via The New York Post]