Perfumes are considered to be a highly personal thing. It’s something you have to figure out on your own and see what works and what doesn’t. After all, the same perfume will smell different on every person because it interacts with everyone’s skin differently. However, there are 10 perfumes that have stood the test of time and have remained popular for ages. Whether it’s a testament to their quality, their classic scent or simply a result of incredible marketing – we’ll never know for sure, but you can’t deny that these 10 perfumes are legendary and have been called the best perfumes of all time.
1. Chanel No. 5
Chanel No. 5 has been known as the most popular perfume for the past 90 years! It was commissioned by Coco Chanel and invented by Mr. Bo, a perfumer of the Russian royal court, who fled to Paris during the revolution. He offered the fashion trendsetter 10 scents to choose from and she chose the essence number 5 – hence the name of the legendary perfume.
Chanel No.5 has been popular from the very beginning, but it also got a big surge in popularity in 1964 when an american journalist asked Marilyn Monroe what she wears to bed and she replied with “a couple of drops of Chanel No.5”.
Top notes of the aroma consist of aldehydes, neroli, ylang-ylang, bergamot and lemon. In the heart of the smell are the most feminine notes: iris, violet root, jasmine, lily of the valley, rose. The base notes include amber, sandalwood, patchouli, musk, viverra, vanilla, oak moss, vetiver.
2. Poison by Christian Dior
The appearance of the cult scent of Poison in 1985 was as loud as the appearance of the “new look” style, created by Christian Dior half a century earlier.
The frank scent shocked the public. This spicy, strong, sensual perfume is a real explosion of exotic flowers and paradise fruits. The notes of raspberries, cassia, black currant, tropical wood and ambergris are perfectly intertwined in an organic symphony. Loud and melodious, passionate, like true love.
3. L’Air du Temps by Nina Ricci
L’Air du Temps, the cult scent of the French fashion house was created in the post-war 1948.
Nina Ricci’s son, Robert, was very fond of creating fragrances. He confronted the perfumer Francis Fabron with a not so simple task of creating a fragrance that would embody the joy, tranquility and carefree peace that Europe missed so much.
The original bottle of L’Air du Temps was also designed in accordance with the intention of the creators – the lid was decorated and still is decorated with decorative doves – symbols of peace.
Even the name of the fragrance L’Air du Temps is quite symbolic, meaning literally “the spirit of the times.” Jasmine, rose and violet give the perfume a spirit of youth and romanticism, while sandalwood, amber musk and cedar create a sense of well-being, stability and confidence. However, the exact formula of the fragrance still remains a secret.
4. Opium by Yves Saint Laurent
This legendary fragrance was released by Yves Saint Laurent in 1977 and became the embodiment of his love for the East and the oriental understanding of feminine beauty and attractiveness.
Couturier himself chose a provocative name for his fragrant creation. Perfumers Jean-Louis Sizek and Jean Amic managed to embody the passion and mystery of the Asian night in this perfume. The top not of the perfume are quite spicy and fruity (amber, musk, laurel, cloves, vanilla, cinnamon, pepper, mandarin coriander, orange, plum, peach). The middle notes create a rich bouquet of flowers: rose, clove, lily of the valley, jasmine, iris, ylang-ylang. The base notes consist of an exotic mixture of sweet fragrant wood (sandalwood) and incense. This evening scent is so durable that it is felt the next morning.
5. Youth Dew by Estee Lauder
Youth Dew was the first American perfume to conquered the world. In 1950, Madame Lauder decided to create a fragrance that could be enjoyed at any time of the day, and not only in the evening, as prescribed then by the rules of good taste from Europe. In addition, it was an attempt to democratize perfume, make it available to more women, turn it from a luxurious gift into a daily experience.
Youth Dew bath oil was first released in 1952, and it became so popular that the following year and perfume under the same name was released too. Today the aroma of Youth Dew seems very intense, even heavy – but this is what the Americans wanted in the 50s.
Youth Dew is a flower-amber scent for confident women. The top notes consist of orange, bergamot and peach, followed by modest flowers: hyacinth, chamomile and geranium leaves; In the core of the scent you’ll find notes of rose, jasmine, orchid, fragrant cloves and cinnamon; In the base – vetiver, patchouli, sandalwood, oriental ambergris, musk, bourbon vanilla, incense and aromatic resin.
6. Shalimar by Guerlain
The legendary perfume of Guerlain Shalimar was created in 1921, the same year as Chanel No. 5, however, it came out only four years later. It happened at the World Exposition in the Grand Palace of Paris.
The classic oriental fragrance was created by Jacques Guerlain himself. When creating the soft sandalwood scent Guerlain was inspired by the story of the princess Mumtaz-Mahal, for whom Shah-Jahan erected the Taj Mahal. “Shalimar” in Sanskrit means “temple of love”.
The perfume composition opens with sharp notes of mandarin, lemon, cedar and bergamot. At the heart of this fragrance are notes iris, jasmine, rose and vetiver. An exhilarating base consists of leather, sandalwood, vanilla and incense.
7. Magnetism by Escada
The first oriental fragrance from Escada was created in 2003. Perfumer Pierre Bourdon asserts that Magnetism is filled with magical power that moves a woman to look for love. Whether you’ll actually find love after buying this perfume, only time will tell, but you’re guaranteed a good mood and a lovely scent.
The fragrance consists of a mixture of sensual and spicy ingredients: lily of the valley, sandalwood, vanilla, musk, jasmine, wood, amber, freesia, iris, black currants, plums, basil, immortelle and almond flowers.
8. Obsession by Calvin Klein
In 1985, perfumer Jean Guichard created Obsession for Calvin Klein.
This legendary perfume opens with notes of mandarin, bergamot, rose and orange flowers. The middle notes are very unusual and unique: coriander, velvet and wormwood. The base notes include ambergris and moss. Extraordinary components of this perfume create an equally extraordinary smell, which is simply unforgettable. At the presentation of the aroma, Kelvin Klein said: “I did not want to create old-fashioned perfumes, I wanted something direct, sensual and provocative – that’s exactly how I see a real woman.”
9. For Her by Narciso Rodriguez
The first fragrance of one of the most famous fashion brands of the modern world, came out in 2003. The designer himself says For Her is his gift to all women, a piece of himself, which he wants to present to all members of the fair sex.
An interesting thing about this perfume is that the base note of of the scent consist of sensual Egyptian musk, which is highly personal for Narcissa Rodriguez, because he associates this smell with his first love.
10. 212 by Carolina Herrera
One of the most sought after fragrances of the modern day – 212 – was created in 1997. The name 212 is actually the area code of New York City, the favorite city of Carolina Herrera.
She describes 212 as a provocative, fresh but rich scent. It is made from the most noble plants: sandalwood, musk, mandarin tree, bergamot, silkwood flowers and orange, camellia, satinwood and a flower called the Queen of the Night.
Soft floral notes, combined with tender powdered wood create a unique and unforgettable fragrance. The fruit and musky notes give the scent a joyful energy and strength – a true spirit of the Big Apple!