What do classic perfumes mean to you? Well, for me they’re iconic scents that define the era in which they launch. And before even smelling them, I know they’re going to be different to the rest. Take Calvin Klein CK One, for example – the no-gender fragrance that captures the smells of green tea, bergamot and musk, and sparked the unisex trend back in 1994.
‘The great classic fragrances have broken moulds, set trends and re-written the rules – importantly they also endure,’ says Master Perfumer Roja Dove. ‘They are the originals and give rise to many variations and imitations. Since commercial perfumery began at the very end of the 19th century, an average of 250 fragrances have been launched globally each year, which up to now means that perfumers have created some 30,000 fragrances. Of these less than 0.2% have achieved the status of being classed a true classic.’
So it’s clear that being a classic fragrance is the equivalent to having a gold medal or getting an A* – or you could even say being the Queen Bee! But what’s the recipe of a classic fragrance nowadays?
Well, according to Roja Dove, one has to wait approximately 10 years before a fragrance can be considered a classic. ‘Today marketing teams tend to work on research briefs, market analysis and minimising risk factors, resulting in fragrances that tend to be safe, similar and some-what uniform,’ says Roja. ‘But luckily there are still people who believe passionately in an olfactory project and however many times they are told they should modify their creation, they believe enough in what they imagined. They dreamt of a smell they had never smelt before. This smell will make fragrance spiral off in a new direction and the scent will join the elite band of true classics.’
Fascinating, eh? Yes. There’s always a reason to celebrate the skill behind classic scents. And if I pretend to fast-forward the clock to 2067, 50 years from now, I reckon you’re looking at four classics of the future…
Marc Jacobs Decadence for her
If you didn’t experience the hype when Marc Jacobs Decadence launched in 2015, where were you? The gorgeous bottle, shaped like a handbag with a luxe gold chain and black silk tassel, will never go out of fashion, while the contents tick ALL the right boxes – liquid amber, rose and plum, for a whiff of luxury. This has classic written all over it.
Guerlain Mon Guerlain for her
What could be more classic than Mon Guerlain? Nothing. This signature scent, in its pretty pink bottle, oozes lavender, vanilla and sandalwood for a sweet, sophisticated blend. And, in my book, this is as classic as they come – and will be just as good in the future world. Rejoice!
Paco Rabanne Olympea for her
A spritz (or 10) of this a day will keep your troubles away. Fact. The bold blend of salted vanilla, lily and jasmine makes this scent totally addictive, while the totally chic bottle is a classic in its own right.
Jimmy Choo Man for him
Meet any guy’s answer to a classy scent. Yes, Jimmy Choo Man for him is the perfect night-time companion – just match with a suit and cufflinks, and voila! You’ll smell like a profesh when you wear it, thanks to its notes of pink pepper, suede and lavender – and so will the fellas in 50 years’ time. Trust me, it’s a classic in the making.