The more I delve into perfumery, the more the subject of fragrance classics fascinates me. Although when it comes to my day-to-day choices I still wear many fragrances from niche brands, I reach for classics when I want to experience the scent of another time, a glimpse of another era or simply to take myself out of my routine. For this reason, classics remain among my staples. What’s more, all of the recent top-selling fragrances lists from the US, France, Germany and Italy feature classical fragrances like Guerlain Shalimar, Chanel No 5, and Christian Dior Eau Sauvage.
Not everyone, however, is enamored with classics. Some people find them old-fashioned. Some think that they are too demanding or that they don’t fit their lifestyle. Can you wear Chanel No 19 while cleaning your flat? Or don Mitsouko for a supermarket run? While as I’ve said many times before, you need not like the classics, giving them a chance will benefit your understanding of perfumery. Another important consideration is that classical ideas are often reused in niche fragrances, so instead of paying the niche prices, you can find the same thing–and often of much better quality–from the original source.
The episode linked here was originally recorded to focus on spring fragrances, but when I looked at my selections, I realized that they would be great intro classics. They are certainly great all year round. In the video, I explain what makes them outstanding and why I’ve selected these perfumes.
Here are the fragrances mentioned (with links to my reviews):
Guerlain Jicky (1889)
Chanel Gardénia (1925, relaunch in 1982)
Knize Ten (1925)
Caron Pour un Homme (1934)
Guerlain Vétiver (1959, relaunch in 2000)
Guerlain Chamade (1969)
Estée Lauder Private Collection (1973)
Jean-Louis Scherrer (1979)
Jacomo Silences (1978)
I know that many of us like classics and if you have your own recommendations, I would appreciate them. Also, if you struggle with classics and need help figuring out a particular fragrance, please comment.