18 Best Classic Perfumes for Women
The scent is a decisive element in the laws of attraction. There are our pheromones, for one thing; our natural “essence,” as it were, that many scientists believe can influence the way we’re drawn to some people more than others, among other things. But while research on the subject is less than definitive, here’s one thing we know for sure: When we’re heading out to meet a special someone, there’s nothing that bolsters our confidence and sets the mood like a great date night perfume.
A signature scent should be timeless and wearable in any situation and at any age. But of course, with so many fragrances on the market, finding the perfect classic perfumes for you can be a challenge. Hence, we have rounded up the best 18 classic women’s perfume so you can keep them on your radar, forever and always.
What are Classic Perfumes?
These perfumes are classics because they are popular with many women and have sustained that popularity over time. So while newly released fragrances come and go, you can trust that most people will enjoy classic aromas.
Why Buy Classic Perfumes?
Perfume & Memories
There are many reasons women love classic perfumes. But, perhaps one of the most compelling is that scents are intimately connected with our memories. Maybe a particular smell reminds you of someone special, like your mom or grandmother.
It can also link you to a particular moment in your life, like a date night or wedding. Just a single spritz of a specific fragrance can instantly bring all those memories and feelings back.
Perfect for People New To Fragrances
Are you new to wearing classic perfumes? Want to expand your collection? There are a few reasons you’ll want to check out classic fragrances. First of all, they’re a reference to almost all other scents. When someone says it’s like an updated Mitsouko*, you’ll instantly know the type of fragrance and whether it’s worth adding to your classic collection new perfumes(or not).
Plus, the fact they are classics means they are generally safe blind-buys (when you purchase a fragrance without trying it first). So millions of bottles of Chanel 5 sold can’t be wrong!
Great for Gift Giving
Is there anything as personal and endearing but also nerve-wracking as giving perfume as a gift? Aromas are thoughtful, unique, and even romantic gifts. On the one hand, you could be creating a lifetime of memories associated with a specific fragrance. On the other, it could be something they take one sniff of and hate. Classic fragrances tend to be safe bets if you don’t know someone’s taste well.
The 18 Best Women’s Classic Perfumes
Chânél No.5 For Women Eau de Parfum Spray 3.4 Fl. OZ. / 100ML.
Fragrance Notes: Ylang-ylang, May rose, jasmine, sandalwood, and vetiver
- Timeless classic smell.
- Perfect gift
- The smell might feel like an old lady to some.
No list of classic fragrances is complete without probably the most famous Chanel perfume. It is certainly classic perfumes of all time. Launched in 1921, Chanel’s debut fragrance was remarkably modern for its time, from the clean-lined bottle to the juice itself, which, according to the brand’s website, contains 80 ingredients.
Chanel No 5 is a classic fragrance for many reasons, but it’s the use of aldehydes (a chemical compound) in the opening that makes it truly memorable. They give the fragrance a slightly soapy quality.
The opening includes floral notes of ylang-ylang and continues through to the elegant heart, which features May rose and jasmine notes, among others. Iris adds an element of powderiness to the composition.
A hit of vanilla perfectly balances a woody dimension (sandalwood and vetiver notes).
Fragrance Notes: Tuberose, ylang-ylang, aldehydes, and musk
- Pleasant Smell
- Not overpowering
- Not long-lasting
Many of his clients’ stock market and fortunes might have crashed spectacularly in 1929, but that didn’t stop French couturier Jean Patou from insisting on the most expensive classic perfumes ever made. And that’s precise what perfumer Henri Alméras delivered for his demanding client when Joy was launched in 1930.
One ounce of Joy contains an extremely high concentration of natural ingredients, including the essence of 10 600 jasmine flowers and 28 dozen Bulgarian roses. The fragrance also features notes of tuberose, ylang-ylang, aldehydes, and musk.
The result is a rich and supremely luxurious fragrance that still captivates today.
Fragrance Notes: bergamot, rose, jasmine, spice, peach, oakmoss, and vetiver
- Nice fragrance
- Has staying power
- A bit strong and loud at first
Launched in 1919, Guerlain Mitsouko was created by the legendary Jacques Guerlain. He also produced other Guerlain classics such as Shalimar and L’Heure Bleue. It took its name from the Japanese heroine of Claude Farrère’s novel La Bataille and is nicknamed “Mitzy” by its fans.
Guerlain Mitsouko celebrates its centenary this year and is widely regarded as the first fruity chypre in perfumery. It took Francois Coty’s iconic chypre, which was launched in 1917, in a new direction.
It’s defined by its superbly smooth blend of bergamot, rose, jasmine, spice, peach, oakmoss, and vetiver notes.
Despite numerous reformulations over the decades, Guerlain Mitsouko maintains its mysterious character and beauty.
Robert Piguet Fracas Eau de Parfum for Women, 3.4 Fl Oz
Fragrance Notes: Peach, orange, jasmine, gardenia, osmanthus, and narcissus
- The lovely distinct feminine scent
- Affordable prices
- Strong for summer wear.
There are several classic tuberose fragrances on the market, including Frédéric Malle Carnal Flower EDP and Diptyque Do Son EDP. However, Robert Piguet Fracas remains the benchmark against which all others are measured. It was inducted into the Fragrance Foundation’s Hall of Fame in 2006.
Tuberose is known for its intensity and this EDP, which was launched in 1948. Then he takes it to the max in a most elegant way.
Peach and orange blossom notes stand out in the opening, but tuberose takes pride in the floral heart of the fragrance, which also includes notes of jasmine, gardenia, osmanthus, and narcissus.
The sensuality of the tuberose is masterfully complemented by the base notes of sandalwood and musk.
Cacharel Anais Anais Eau de Toilette Spray Perfume for Women, 3.4. Fl. Oz.
Fragrance Notes: white lily, hyacinth, lily-of-the-valley, jasmine, carnation, and honeysuckle
- Mild Scent
- Low quality
Launched in 1978, the debut fragrance from the French fashion label captured a generation of women with its romantic femininity. Today you can find it on the bargain shelves of many perfume retailers.
It’s a beautifully fresh floral fragrance with standout notes of white lily, hyacinth, lily-of-the-valley, jasmine, carnation, and honeysuckle.
It settles on a base of woody notes, including sandalwood, cedar, and vetiver, with a dose of musk and leather completing the package.
Also, look out for other Cacharel classics such as Loulou EDP and Eden EDP.
Opium by Yves Saint Laurent for Women Eau De Parfum Spray, 1.6 Ounce
Fragrance Notes: Mandarin, coriander, pepper and clove, and bergamot
- Sweet and spicy smell.
- Empowering scent
- Strong for some.
When the provocatively named YSL Opium EDP* was launched in 1977, it caused much controversy, which, of course, boosted sales. But there’s so much more to this spicy oriental than its sensational name.
The opening notes of mandarin and bergamot are laden with a heavy dose of spice, including coriander, pepper, and clove. Carnation and jasmine are just some of the floral notes in this complex creation. Opoponax and myrrh give it a distinctive smoky quality.
Slightly sweet and, yes, intoxicating, it paved the way for the heavy and opulent scents that came to characterize the 80s.
The fragrance was relaunched in 2009 in a new bottle.
Youth Dew By Estee Lauder 2.25 Oz Eau De Parfum Spray For Women
Fragrance Notes: Rose, jonquil, moss, vetiver and patchouli
- Signature fragrance
- Poor quality
Cosmetics entrepreneur Estée Lauder wanted women to wear perfume on all occasions, not just special ones, and she succeeded in that goal with the launch of one of the best classic perfumes i.e., Youth-Dew EDP in 1953.
Originally launched as a bath oil, women started using it as their favorite fragrance as well, and it’s easy to see why.
It opens with a blast of floral notes, including rose and jonquil. Then, the heart is full of spice (cloves, cinnamon), followed by a densely earthy base of moss, vetiver, and patchouli notes.
Chances are, many of us were introduced to this fragrance by our mothers. As a bonus, this spicy oriental is very reasonably priced.
Eau d'Orange Verte by Hermes for Men 3.3 oz Eau de Cologne Spray
Fragrance Notes: Mint, blackcurrant bud, patchouli, and oakmoss
- Fine and great mist.
- One to two sprites are enough.
- Smells alcohol
The French luxury company created an instant classic when it launched its first cologne, Hermès Eau d’Orange Verte, in 1979.
Inspired by the smell of undergrowth moist with morning dew, it opens with a fresh burst of citrus notes, including lemon and mandarin. But juicy oranges are the star of the show. Notes of mint and blackcurrant bud add to the appeal.
The fragrance is also exceptional for its base of patchouli and oakmoss notes.
The Hermes cologne collection includes other beauties such as Eau de Rhubarbe Ecarlate and Eau de Gentiane Blanche, highly recommended.
Christian Dior Poison Eau De Toilette Spray for Women, 3.4 Ounce
Fragrance Notes: Plum, coriander, wild berries. sandalwood and cedar
- Mystical scent
- Less volume in a small bottle.
Launched in 1985, Dior Poison is one of the iconic fragrances of the decade. In an era known for its extensive and bold fragrances, it stood out among the crowd with its floral, woody, spicy, and fruity facets.
Dark and mysterious, the fragrance works its magic from the opening notes of plum, coriander, and wild berries.
Indian tuberose dominates the fragrance’s heart with its rich scent and is supported by incense, Honey, and cinnamon notes.
The base is a woodier affair, featuring notes of sandalwood and cedar, but it’s the resinous and sweet quality of opoponax that lingers in this oriental classic.
Angel by Thierry Mugler Eau De Parfum Spray for Women Refillable Spray, 1.7 Ounce
Fragrance Notes: Coconut, candyfloss, blackberry, plum, red berries, melon
- It can fit anywhere because of its small size.
- Great floral smell.
- Less volume in a small bottle
If you want to know where the still-popular gourmand trend can be traced back to, you’re looking at it. Revolutionary when it was launched in 1992, and still influential today, Mugler Angel is an audacious scent and, like any classic, invites love-it-or-hate-it reactions.
Coconut, candyfloss, and melon are just three of the notes that will mesmerize you when you apply them. This intro follows Honey, spice (caraway, nutmeg), and more fruit (blackberry, plum, red berries).
But it’s the base of this fragrance that makes an impression. Lashings of caramel, chocolate, and vanilla mingle with the earthiness of patchouli to create a unique scent.
Chânél Coco Mademoiselle For Women Eau de Parfum Spray 3.4 Fl. OZ. / 100ML.
Fragrance Notes: Orange, jasmine, rose, and vanilla
- Big spray bottle.
- Sweet fragrance.
- Not a long-lasting scent.
Launched in 2001, this feminine, spicy scent is still one of the best-selling fragrances today. So if you grew up admiring your mom’s Chanel No. 5 perfume on her vanity, try this equally enviable bottle. With notes of orange, jasmine, rose, and vanilla, Coco Mademoiselle is a modern classic.
It’s the top-selling fragrance at both John Lewis and The Fragrance Shop. Sweet citrus top notes, lingering patchouli, vanilla, and white musk make an alluring combination that lasts well on the skin.
Jadore By Christian Dior For Women. Eau De Parfum Spray 3.4 Ounces
Fragrance Notes: Floral orchids, violets rose, and blackberry musk
- It comes in new packaging in a stylish bottle
- Sensual aroma.
- Bad quality
J’adore offers an olfactory slice of Dior luxury, from the gold-topped bottle and decadent floral-fruit juice to the glamorous advertising campaign featuring actress Charlize Theron. Therefore, it’s no surprise then that Dior J’adore is the fashion house’s number-one-selling fragrance.
It was introduced in 2000 and is recommended to use in the daytime. When applying any fragrance, please consider that several factors can affect the natural smell of your skin and, in turn, the way a scent smells on you.
Guerlain Shalimar Eau De Parfum Spray for Women, 3 Ounce
Fragrance Notes: Bergamot, jasmine, rose, vanilla
- Feminine scent.
- Beautiful packaging
- All might not like the sweet smell.
Created in 1925 and loved by icons Brigitte Bardot and Rita Hayworth, Shalimar is a warm and spicy fragrance, opening with refreshing bergamot. As it develops, you’ll detect notes of jasmine, rose with a powdery vanilla and iris base. It may be nearing its 100th birthday, but Shalimar remains one of the most popular fragrances today. It was voted the ‘best fragrance ever’ by Fragrantica readers – an online encyclopedia of fragrance and perfume-loving community.
Daisy By Marc Jacobs for Women Eau De Toilette Spray, 1.7 Fl Oz
Fragrance Notes: Wild strawberry, violet, gardenia, and jasmine
- White Woods, Vanilla, And Musk
- Stylish Packaging
- Sparkling floral bouquet
- Luscious natural freshness
- Smooth softness and warm sensuality
- Not a long-lasting scent
Though the name of this scent makes it sound like it was made for the younger crowd, inside the quirky bottle is an artistic feat. The blend of wild strawberry, violet, gardenia, and jasmine somehow always feels light and airy — even after multiple spritzes. Yet, a decade on, perfumers are still scratching their heads.
Daisy launched in 2007 with a summary, a carefree advertising campaign that perfectly encapsulated the youthful scent of wild strawberries, jasmine bouquets, and vanilla has charmed many with its welcoming, fresh notes, and playful flower cap. Even the bottle of marc jacobs classic perfume has become iconic, with its playful daisy topper. As a result, it’s no surprise it’s since inspired many knock-off versions.
Black Orchid By Tom Ford For Women Eau De Parfum Spray 1.7 Oz
Fragrance Notes: Amber, vanilla, and woodsy accords
- Strong smell
- Not good for skin
Launched in 2006, this is the debut fragrance by designer Tom Ford. It’s classified as an oriental chypre, with top notes of black truffle jasmine and a hint of citrus. Although it begins with floral-spicy heart notes, it gradually mellows before finally settling on amber, vanilla, and woodsy accords. But who would this appeal to? “If you are buying fragrance for a strong independent woman, we love Tom Ford Black Orchid,” says Rebecca Wilkin, The Perfume Shop PR & Events Manager. It’s a confident, sexy, sensual perfume that smells as glamorous and mysterious as the fluted black bottle suggests.
Black Orchid is unlike anything you’ve ever smelled before—it’s intense and attention-grabbing but not obvious or obnoxious. Plus, after an hour or so, the perfume settles into your skin and leaves the faintest sweet patchouli-tinged scent trail behind.
Viktor & Rolf Flowerbomb Eau De Parfum Spray for Women, 3.4 Fl Oz
Fragrance Notes: Jasmine, freesia, and rose
- Sweet fragrance.
- Suitable for all age groups.
- Smells like alcohol
Transport your mind back to 2005 – James Blunt was top of the charts, Brad and Jen divorced, and everyone was wearing Viktor & Rolf’s amber floral fragrance. Cheryl Cole has reportedly been a fan, too. “The iconic Viktor & Rolf Flowerbomb has always been a favorite with Debenhams.com customers,” says Kieran Braidford, Senior Beauty Buyer at Debenhams.com. “Its floral notes and diamond bottle are instantly recognizable and make it a popular choice.”
This cult-favorite Viktor & Rolf fragrance has earned its “most popular” status. Shaped like a grenade, this perfume explodes with the super feminine, warm floral scent of jasmine, freesia, and rose in a single spritz. Deploy the pink grenade and release one of the most over-the-top floral fragrances of our lifetimes. After the initial girly-girl explosion, expect a more sensual patchouli drydown. This one is a classic Allure favorite.
Lolita Lempicka Eau de Parfum Spray, 3.4 Fl Oz
Fragrance Notes: Star Anise, Violet, Licorice, Cherry, iris, Orris Root, Amaryllis, and Ivy
- Beautiful eye-catching packaging.
- Sweet scent.
- Suitable for all skin types.
- Too much sweet scent.
Lolita Lempicka by Lolita Lempicka is a Floral Fruity Gourmand fragrance for women. Lolita Lempicka was launched in 1997. Lolita Lempicka was created by Annick Menardo and Christian Dussoulier. The top notes are Star Anise, Violet, and Ivy; middle notes are Licorice, Cherry, iris, Orris Root and Amaryllis; base notes are Vanilla, Praline, Tonka Bean, White Musk, and Vetiver.
Gucci Bloom for Women Eau de Parfum Spray, 3.3 Ounce, Multi
Fragrance Notes: Rangoon Creeper, Jasmine Bud, Tuberose
- Wonderful floral scent
- Beautiful eye-catching packaging.
- Not long-lasting
Gucci’s creative director envisioned this perfume as a thriving garden full of mixed flowers and the rich fragrance they emit. Authenticity is woven through qualitative, highly concentrated natural ingredients in this perfume for women.
A sophisticated perfume captures the spirit of the contemporary, diverse, and authentic women of Gucci. Gucci Bloom’s natural tuberose and jasmine notes create an unexpectedly rich white floral scent on the skin. Notes of natural tuberose and jasmine leave a suddenly rich white floral scent on the skin. Rangoon creeper, a plant that changes color when it blooms, infuses a powdery, floral edge. The vine’s flowers are redolent with a slightly delicate feminine floral perfume.
In beauty, we often talk about trends, but sometimes it’s best to stick to the classics when it comes to fragrance. These 18 iconic classic wholesale perfumes were made for sophisticated ladies and thus have stood the test of time.