I have been wrapping up a few projects over the past few days, which turned out to be rather busy. I returned home on Sunday night to discover your great responses to Guy Robert’s list of legendary perfume classics. Now, I would have loved to know your own classical favorites. If you were to make a list of fragrances everyone must try at least once, what would it include?
Here are my own choices (in no particular order, limited to a practical number, not including anything that was discontinued or reformulated beyond recognition):
Chanel No 5 — an example of a classical floral aldehydic fragrance, a beautiful abstraction.
Chanel Bois des Iles — it was lost in the shadows of No 5, but its avant-garde spirit and beauty are beyond the influence of time. If I were to pick the only Chanel, Bois des Iles would be my personal choice.
Chanel No 19 — elegant and assertive, an exquisite example of an intensely green fragrance in the family of Balmain Vent Vert (the original).
Caron Nuit de Noël — a perfect example of the elegant Caron style.
Caron Pour Un Homme — a quintessential pairing of lavender and amber.
Guerlain Mitsouko — one of the first remarkable chypres, a fragrance family combining citrusy, floral, woody, mossy, musky and/or ambery facets.
Guerlain Shalimar — the Oriental of orientals.
Guerlain Vol de Nuit — perhaps not the most famous of Guerlain’s, but a remarkable fragrance which is far ahead of its time when it appeared in 1933.
Guerlain Nahéma — it was a complete flop for Guerlain, primarily because of the circumstances surrounding its launch. Yet, passionate, voluptuous and daring, Nahema remains as a fascinating example of Guerlain’s brocaded and rich style.
Christian Dior Eau Sauvage — a luminous and radiant composition that has shown that flowers and virility are not the mutually exclusive concepts.
Christian Dior Diorella — a brilliant juxtaposition of youthful innocence and smouldering sensuality.
Christian Dior Dioressence — a unique green oriental.
Estée Lauder Youth Dew — a fragrance that changed the face of American perfumery.
Estée Lauder White Linen — a precursor for the new monolithic style of perfumery that blossomed further in the 1990s.
Robert Piguet Fracas — the ultimate and perhaps unsurpassed tuberose fragrance.
Knize Ten — a quintessential leather. Caron Tabac Blond, Robert Piguet Bandit and Chanel Cuir de Russie are the other excellent examples.
Ralph Lauren Lauren and Polo — the first two paired fragrances, the quintessential American scents.
Whenever I make these, I realize that they become merely a tip of an iceberg…