Since many of you were interested to learn the European list of top sellers, here are the top 20 feminine fragrances for France. A quick glance at the list reveals that it shares only a few similarities with the US list of top sellers—there are many classics on the list, including the American gem Clinique Aromatics Elixir; the tendency overall is towards the oriental and floral oriental blends (in contrast to the fruity-floral perfumes that still drive sales in the US). Also, the brand name is one of the most important factors in determining what might end up on the top seller list.
20. Lancôme Ô de Lancôme (1969)
A classical cologne that still retains its vibrancy and freshness—an elegant citrus-orange blossom accord suspended over a mossy, ambery base.
19. Clinique Aromatics Elixir (1971)
A bold, dramatic chypre that has a beautiful dry quality, reminiscent of an aged whisky.
18. Nina Ricci L’Air du Temps (1948)
L’Air du Temps has had a strong following in France for decades. While this elegant spicy floral has been reformulated on several occasions, it still has an iconic status.
17. Paco Rabanne Black XS for Her (2007)
A rich woody composition with a bright fruity top and a violet and rose heart.
16. Thierry Mugler Alien (2005)
Alien failed in the US, but in France, this original (yet challenging) composition of musky woods and jasmine sambac has really taken off. I recommend wearing it in tiny quantities at first because it is an extremely rich and potent blend.
14. Jean Paul Gaultier Jean Paul Gaultier Classique (1993)
The original “face powder and lipstick” accord gives Jean Paul Gaultier an interesting retro quality, while the floral oriental composition on the whole is all about 1980s high maintenance glamor. A memorable composition.
13. Cacharel Amor Amor (2003)
The juicy orange accord of Amor Amor is contrasted with the warm, sweet base of amber and sandalwood. The initial effervescent, bubbly opening is very appealing, while the powdery backdrop makes it seem even more exhilarating. I have never really appreciated the radiant and joyful aura of Amor Amor until I smelled it on a friend and was completely enchanted by her beautiful sillage.
12. Givenchy Very Irrésistible (2003)
I will not mince words on Very Irrésistible. It is a fragrance I detest, and I cannot comprehend its popularity. A thin floral passing for a rose that brings to mind the sharpness of furniture polish.
11. Yves Saint Laurent Opium (1977)
Once upon the time, a great spicy oriental. The version currently sold in stores (2009 reorchestration) bears less relationship to the original than the derivative flanker Belle d’Opium.
10. Yves Saint Laurent Paris (1983)
A violet bouquet that gives the illusion of a rose, Paris is a legendary fragrance with a large family of offspring. A voluptuous, deep cleavage perfume!
9. Nina Ricci Nina (2006)
Dolce & Gabbana Light Blue + cotton candy = commercial success
8. Christian Dior Miss Dior Chérie (2005)
Miss Dior Chérie is essentially Chanel Coco Mademoiselle with a strawberry and popcorn accord, yet the idea is marvelous—a charming, coquettish fragrance that despite its rich gourmand notes manages to retain a degree of sophistication. Unfortunately, this year Miss Dior Chérie was relaunched and reochestrated, and it is now missing the very accord that made it interesting. The 2011 version of Eau de Parfum and 2010 version of Eau de Toilette smell not unlike Chanel Chance—fruity patchouli + cotton candy. The packaging, on the other hand, is gorgeous.
7. Lolita Lempicka Lolita Lempicka (1997)
Although Lolita Lempicka followed Thierry Mugler Angel in its gourmand scented footsteps, it is still one of its most original and interesting children. The woody gourmand core of the fragrance is embellished with green ivy leaf and anise notes, which give a pleasantly crisp touch. Quite elegant.
6. Guerlain Shalimar (1925)
A gold standard oriental, Shalimar is built on the contrast between cool bergamot and warm vanilla. Rich rose, jasmine and leather notes add interesting embellishments to this simple, yet remarkable composition.
5. Kenzo Flower (2000)
Flower by Kenzo is heir to the grand parfum tradition of Guerlain L’Heure Bleue—a soft floral oriental composition where the tender and sweet musk notes replace the classical languorous animalic notes. Radiant and vivid, it is a memorable modern take on a classical theme.
4. Chanel Coco Mademoiselle (2001)
(US 2010 # 1 )
Source: France department stores sales records