Perfume is a tricky subject: There are no circumstances under which one person’s beloved fragrance can be guaranteed to suit another. One thing we can all agree upon, however, is that the best classic perfumes are classics for a reason. The Chanel No. 5s and Thierry Mugler Angels of the world have managed to stick around despite their advanced age, which is a true testament to how good they are, even if they don’t appeal to everyone’s senses. These five classics are our picks for those that really deserve a little more attention in 2015. What’s old is new again.
Of all their beloved fragrances, Guerlain Shalimar is the classic perfume house's most popular. Nearly a century after it was originally formulated, Shalimar never smells like it belongs in the past. It's named after—and inspired by—the Garden of Shalimar, built by an Indian Emperor for his wife, for whom he also built the Taj Mahal. She was clearly one hell of a woman, which is only one of the reasons while we'll always wear this soft, totally unique fragrance with pride.
The name may allude to current trends, but Nina Ricci L'Air du Temps holds up nearly 65 years after its creation. If the two doves encircling the classic bottle imply a fly-by-night nature, think again: This fragrance has serious staying power, thanks to rich florals like gardenia and jasmine over notes of spicy musk and sandalwood.
Where does one even begin to describe Kiehl's Original Musk? It's the musk fragrance to end all musk fragrances, inspired by the brand's legendary "love oil," which was reintroduced to the public in the early '60s. As the name "love oil" would suggest, there's something subtly sensuous in this perfume's warm, clean nature: It plays off your skin's real scent rather than lying on top of it, which makes for a unique yet one-size-fits-all experience.
Dior Miss Dior is something of a newer classic—launched in 1947 alongside Christian Dior's first couture collection, the formulation has changed over the years, but it still stays true to its complex original notes. Miss Dior is the epitome of all things chic and ladylike, with bright, floral top notes that eventually relax into smoky patchouli, amber, and vanilla. We'd say it's the rare classic perfume that even a non-fragrance snob will immediately fall in love with.
Born in 1977, there was quite a bit of controversy surrounding the release of Yves Saint Laurent Opium, which actually served to better publicize the divisive fragrance. Opium is not for the faint of heart: It's intense and spicy, almost heavy, and wears best at night because of its distinctive, moody vibe. That certainly doesn't take away from the fact that it's really, really good, and turns just about woman into a vamp.