In Defence of the Classics
New perfumes are launched with rabid frequency. In the world of celebrity you’ve really not arrived until you’ve launched a signature fragrance, and walking through a department store or airport can feel like running the olfactory gauntlet.
But are any of them ever likely to be any good? Possibly, yes. Occasionally a new affordable fragrance arrives that will stand the test of time and still smell good on your wrist by the time the Valentine’s Day flower have wilted – Tommy Girl (1996) is a best kept, insider’s, budget secret. But for every Tommy Girl there’s a Paris Hilton’s Can Can.
Valentine’s Day is no time to be taking risks, instead choose from our edit of the world’s best, classic scents:
No5 Parfum, Chanel (1919)
A mythic blend of rose, jasmine, sandalwood, citrus and aldehyde. Don’t be afraid of making a predictable choice. As perfume guru Tania Sanchez says:
“We don’t wear Chanel No5 because Marilyn wore it; we wear it for the same reason Marilyn did: because it’s gorgeous.”
Mitsuoko, Guerlain (1919)
A chypre composition with notes of peach and iris. Notoriously Hollywood bombshell, Jean Harlow’s favourite perfume. A heady scent to accompany the whiff of scandal that surrounded her life.
Joy Parfum, Jean Patou (1930)
A rose and jasmine floral with fresh citrus and green notes. If you step into an actual rose garden, you smell not just the rose but the freshness and presence of everything else growing within it. This balance is beautifully realised in Joy.
L’Air de Rein, Miller Harris (2006)
An unconventional musk created as a bespoke perfume for Jane Birkin then launched publicly in 2006. It is an enduring musk of oakmoss, neroli, amber and vanilla. One you come to love.
Tommy Girl, Tommy Hilfiger
Perfume doesn’t have to cost the earth to smell heavenly. This trailblazing scent was one of the first, and to this day the best, of the tea based perfumes. Well before Jo Malone and Molton Brown got going. It was inspired by the fragrance of the Mariage Freres tea shop in Paris. Notes of American botanicals give it a wonderfully bright purity.
Ormande Woman, Ormande Jayne
A deeply feminine perfume of oakmoss, cedar and amber with a low lingering sweetness to temper the resinous leanings. The sweet top notes stem from violet, jasmine and exotic black hemlock. A complex and sophisticated scent with a suitably exclusive price tag.
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