It’s interesting how some fragrances are able to stand the test of time and some simply cannot. I’ve been thinking more about this recently because I’ve become obsessed with some vintage perfumes, but cannot stand others. The key seems to be able to withstand trendiness and slick marketing campaigns, with broad enough appeal to survive fads.

In that vein, this is my list of the ageless… tomorrow will bring the aged.

Guerlain’s Shalimar (1921): I’ve already waxed poetic about Shalimar, but truly, I can’t say enough. This perfume captures smokiness, florals, and musk with just the right balance. It smells dusky rather than dusty, and, on the right woman, is still very modern.

Chanel No. 5 (1921): Arguably the most famous perfume in the world and notably what Marilyn Monroe claimed to wear to bed. Maybe it’s due to Marilyn, or maybe it’s due to ever-inventive advertising. Whatever the reason, Chanel’s genius comes alive with each bottle.

Opium by Yves Saint-Laurent (1977): I admit, this one can smell dated when sprayed in profusion, but just a little spritz provides enough sillage to draw one closer. It’s exotic and rich, and has enough structure to rein in the musk. Opium is due for a renaissance.

Obsession by Calvin Klein (1985): Ok, hear me out – Obsession really suffered by those obnoxious ads from the 1980s. But give it another try – it hits all the right notes. Similar to Opium, Obsession is ironically best in small doses. And when it works, it is marvelous.

Hermes Eau d’Orange Verte (1999): A truly unisex scent, this is an absolute classic. Green, bitter, but with sweet orange water floating up. Perfection.



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