Trying to determine the best perfume is an impossible task since obviously everyone has different likes and dislikes. A better way to gauge what perfumes are worth considering, is finding out which scents have stood the test of time and have become legendary in their own right. If you are wondering what perfumes have reached iconic status, the following fragrances are the most popular classic and modern perfumes that stay at the top of the bestseller lists year after year.
1. Chanel No. 5 by Chanel
Chanel No. 5 is far and away the most famous and most iconic perfume that has ever been produced. Launched in 1921 this classic scent is still the world’s best-selling perfume, with one bottle being sold every 30 seconds. Chanel’s unprecedented use of celebrities (most famously Marilyn Monroe, who said ‘‘Five drops of Chanel No. 5.’ when asked what she wore to bed) helped to immortalise Chanel No. 5’s place in perfume history.
Available from Chanel.com
2. Shalimar by Guerlain
Guerlain’s Shalimar was launched 1925 and is right up there as one of the world’s most popular fragrances of all time. Shalimar was inspired by the love story of Emperor Shah Jahan and his wife Mumtaz Mahal. Her death devastated Shah Jahan, so he built Taj Mahal in memory of his wife and their undying love. Shalimar is named after ‘The Gardens of Shalimar’, which were also built for her in Lahore, Pakistan. Shalimar is made up of citrus notes including lemon and bergamot, as well as jasmine, may rose,iris, Peru balsam, Tonka bean, vanilla and gray amber.
Available at guerlain.com
3. Marc Jacobs Daisy
Daisy was launched in 2007 and was Marc Jacobs first scent. It comes in a lovely bottle that is decorated with daisies on the top. Often described as fresh and feminine at the same time, this fragrance consistently remains a best seller year after year. It is composed of fruity strawberry notes, the green aroma of violet leaf and sparkling spicy pink grapefruit, gardenia, delicate violet, jasmine petals, white woods, vanilla and musk.
Available from MarcJacobs.com
4. Miss Dior/ Miss Dior Originale
Despite a somewhat confusing history of different versions, Miss. Dior is undoubtedly another of the most iconic perfumes ever (if you group all of the different versions under the umbrella of the Miss. Dior line). The newest Miss Dior formulation is a runaway bestseller around the world. Originally created in 1947, todays version is nothing like the original formula, but it is spectacular success nonetheless. Notes include Italian mandarin essence, Egyptian jasmine absolute, Indonesian patchouli essence, rose, and musk.
Available from Dior.com
5. L’Eau d’Issey by Issey Miyake
L’Eau d’Issey by Issey Miyake was introduced in 1992 and became an instant bestseller, especially in the U.S. Not only does it remain extremely popular, it was inducted into the Fragrance Foundation Hall of Fame in 2011, which is an honour that only the most iconic perfumes are given. It was created by Jacques Cavallier and is described as: feminine, floral, water, elegant, refined, modern, and understated. It is composed of notes of lotus, cyclamen, freesia, carnations, and white lilies, with hints of amberseed, and musk.
Learn more at isseymiyake.com
6. Calvin Klein’s Eternity
Eternity is one of many very successful fragrances from Calvin Klein. The scent was created in 1988 as a tribute to Calvin Klein’s own marriage, and is supposed to represent eternal values: love, family and peace, although (ironically?) he later divorced. It is composed of fresh citrus, green notes, violet and lily-of-the-valley, carnation, heliotrope, pink sandalwood and musk. Eternity has been extremely successful including winning an award for the Most Successful Women’s Fragrance at the 1989 FiFi Awards, as well as being inducted in the Fragrance Hall of Fame in 2003.
7. J’adore Eau de Parfum – Dior
J’Adore is a fragrance that was created in 1999 that has remained at the top of the global bestsellers lists year after year since its launch. With notes of ylang ylang from the Comoro Islands, Damask Rose and Sambac Jasmine it quickly attained legendary status. It comes in a beautiful amphora shaped bottle.
Available through Dior.com
8. Thierry Mugler Angel
Launched in 1992 Thierry Mugler’s Angel was the first of Muglers four fragrances. Not only was Angel the first ever oriental “Gourmand” fragrance, it was also the first blue fragrance, and it came in a beautiful shooting star-shaped bottle that is refillable. The star shaped bottle is refillable for life using the Angel perfume Source or with refill bottles or Angel eco-refills that can work out to being 30-40% cheaper than buying a brand new bottle. Customers love this concept and according to the company someone refills their bottle of Angel every 10 seconds. Angel has notes of patchouli, praline, caramel, and vanilla.
Learn more at muglerusa.com
9. Estee Lauder Beautiful
Beautiful has been one of Estee Lauders top selling fragrances since its launch in 1985. It has become such a classic scent that one bottle of Beautiful is sold every 13 seconds around the world. Notes include mandarin, rose, lily, marigold, tuberose,jasmine, orange flower, sandalwood, ylang-ylang, and vetiver.
Available from EsteeLauder.com
10. Chanel Coco Mademoiselle
Chanel definitely knows how to create a successful perfume and the introduction of Coco Mademoiselle in 2001 was no exception. Coco Mademoiselle tends to be marketed to a younger crowd than other Chanel scents although it is equally as successful as other Chanel fragrances. Some of the notes of Coco Mademoiselle include Sicilian oranges, Calabrian bergamot, Sicilian grapefruit, rose extract, jasmine extract, litchi, Indonesian patchouli, Haitian vetiver, Bourbon vanilla and white musk.
Available from Chanel.com
11. Happy By Clinique
Happy was launched in 1997 by Clinique. It remains one of their best selling products. It is a light fresh scent with notes of ruby red grapefruit, bergamot, Hawaiian wedding flower, spring mimosa, Morning Dew orchid, boysenberry bush flower, Chinese golden magnolia, and white crinum lily.
Available from Clinique.com
12. Lovely by Sarah Jessica Parker
It may be a bit early to label Lovely as a classic perfume, as it has only just recently hit its ten year anniversary, although its tremendous success is taking it in the direction of becoming one of the most popular celebrity fragrances ever. This runaway bestsellers was the first fragrance put out by Sarah Jessica Parker (in partnership with Coty Inc.). Introduced in 2005, Lovely is a blend of lavender, mandarin oranges and a touch of apple martini (nod to SJP’s Sex and the City Days). It is described as “very sexy and yet undeniably classy”.
Learn more at sarahjessicaparkerbeauty.com
13. Amazing Grace by Philosophy
Amazing Grace from Philosophy is a very popular, bestselling fragrance with a blend of mandarin orange, grapefruit, freesia, jasmine, rose, bergamot, muguet blossoms and lasting musk. Often described as feminine, beautiful and clean.
Learn more at philosophy.com
14. Vera Wang Princess
Vera Wang’s Princess is wildly successful oriental-floral inspired fragrance. Introduced in 2006 it has remained a bestseller since its launch. Generally marketed to a younger crowd, it comes in a beautiful heart-shaped jewel bottle, and isn’t overly expensive. It is composed notes that contain apple, water lily, mandarin, apricot, Tiare flower, guava, tuberose, as well as dark chocolate, amber, vanilla and wood.
Learn more at verawang.com
15. Juicy Couture Viva La Juicy
Viva la Juicy was launched in 2008 for “juicy girls that can’t get enough couture” – whatever that means. This is a very popular scent for the younger crowd. It’s success lies in the blend of wild berries, honeysuckle, juicy mandarin, gardenia and jasmine, along with amber, caramel, vanilla, sandalwood and pralines. It comes in a lovely heavy bottle that is decorated with charms and a fuchsia ribbon.
Find more info at JuicyCouture.com
16. Tom Ford Black Orchid
Like everything to do with Tom Ford, Black Orchid has a sexy super luxurious feel to it. Launched in 2006 as Ford’s first scent, it is an oriental chypre. It includes notes of French jasmine, black truffle, ylang-ylang, black currant and effervescent citrus, patchouli and sandalwood, dark chocolate, incense, amber, vetiver, vanilla and balsam.
17. Flowerbomb by Viktor & Rolf
To say that since its launch in 2005, Viktor & Rolf’s Flowerbomb has been a success is a massive understatement. With it’s pretty pink grenade/diamond shaped bottle, this unique scent is an explosion of a bouquet of flowers with notes of tea, Bergamot, Arabian jasmine, Cattleya orchid, freesia and Centifolia Rose, and patchouli..Flowerbomd is still growing in popularity and is a top selling fragrance at most department stores.
For more info visit viktor-rolf.com
18. Lancôme Trésor
Trésor from Lancome is one of the best-selling and most popular perfumes in the world. It was created in 1990 and was an instant hit. It comes in a gorgeous bottle that helps to re-enforced the idea that this perfume is a treasure to be enjoyed. It is a blend of apricot blossom, lilac, rose, iris, amber, peach, sandalwood, vanilla and musk.
19. White Diamonds Elizabeth Taylor
Elizabeth Taylor’s White Diamonds perfume remains the world’s bestselling celebrity fragrance. Despite being launched almost 25 years ago, White Diamond’s enduring appeal helps it to remains a best seller for Elizabeth Arden year after year. It has been so successful that a year after its launch, White Diamonds won the Women’s Fragrance of the Year and in 2009 it was inducted into the Fragrance Hall of Fame. It is often described as feminine, clean, floral, alluring, and sophisticated.
20. TORY BURCH Eau de Parfum Spray
It is probably a bit of a stretch to call the first fragrance from Tory Burch a classic just yet, but it is well on its way. Just like Flowerbomb, this Tory Burch fragrance has been a runaway success right off the mark. One of the top selling department store scents of 2014 and 2015, expect to see a lot more of this fragrance in the coming years. Notes include neroli, grapefruit, cassis, bergamot, peony, tuberose, jasmine sambac, vetiver, and sandalwood.