Words: Lauren Carbran
What do classic perfumes mean to you? Well, for me, they’re iconic scents that define the era in which they launch. And even before 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 scent of green tea, bergamot and musk, and sparked the unisex trend back in 1994.
‘The great, classic fragrances have broken moulds, set trends and rewritten the rules – importantly, they also endure,’ says fragrance expert and historian 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 as a true classic.’
So it’s clear that being a classic fragrance is the equivalent to having a gold medal or getting an A*. But what’s the recipe for 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 are safe, similar and somewhat 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 aroma will make fragrance spiral off in a new direction and the scent will join the elite band of true classics.’
Fascinating, right? Yes. There’s always a reason to celebrate the skill behind classic scents. And if I pretend to fast-forward the clock to 2069, 50 years from now, I reckon you’re looking at four classics of the future…
LANCOME IDOLE FOR HER
If you haven’t already experienced the hype of Lancôme Idôle, then where have you been? The gorgeous flat-lay inspired bottle, which is one of the slimmest in the world (at 15mm), will never go out of fashion, while the contents tick ALL the right boxes, too – rose plus jasmine for a whiff of luxury. This has future classic written all over it.
YSL LIBRE FOR HER
We all know how legendary YSL scents are. So say hello to the Queen Bee of future classics, the new YSL Libre. This signature scent, in its gold, elegant bottle, oozes lavender and orange blossom for a sweet, sophisticated blend (oh, and Dua Lipa is the face of the fragrance - big news). In my book, this is a versatile pick that will never get old.
GUCCI MEMOIRE FOR HER AND FOR HIM
A spritz (or 10) of this a day will keep your troubles away. Fact. The new, free-spirited scent is a work of art, filled with Roman chamomile, jasmine petals and sandalwood, making for a totally addictive blend. Oh, it’s also a unisex scent with Harry Styles as the face of the campaign. This doesn’t even have to try and be a future classic, because it’s already made the cut.
MONTBLANC EXPLORER FOR HIM
Meet any guy’s answer to a classy, future-classic scent. Yes, Montblanc Explorer for him is the fragrance for you adventurous guys who want to stay fresh and woody at the same time – just match with a backpack and a ticket to a faraway place! That’s right, this was worn to be explored in, just like the three perfumers who travelled all over the world to discover the finest, rare ingredients (the bergamot is from Italy, vetiver from Haiti and patchouli from Sulawesi, an Indonesian island). Trust us, it’s a classic in the making.
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