There’s no denying the memory-evoking, confidence-boosting power of any characteristic scent, but it is the best-selling perfumes and colognes that leave a lasting impression year after year. Think Chanel No. 5 or the abundantly floral Miss Dior. But what allows these extraordinary scents to stand the test of time in an ever evolving fragrance marketplace?
“A classic fragrance is a work of art that is both distinctive and enduring, and as trends change and new technologies and raw materials are discovered, it continuously maintains appeal to a wide range of consumers,” explains Kate Oldham, SVP, GMM of beauty, jewelry, and home at Saks Fifth Avenue. And Oldham emphasizes how with this timeless charm, scents are less bound by traditional gender classifications (for example, perfumes for women or colognes for men), but rather the connections and feelings associated with them. Sarah Brown, executive director of Violet Grey’s Violet Lab, agrees. “It has to be recognizable and become someone’s signature, which is really the greatest achievement,” says Brown of what makes a fragrance truly timeless. “You know it when you see it…or rather smell it.”
Here, Vogue has tapped four beauty leads from our favorite retailers to answer the question: What are the best-selling perfumes that never go out of style? From Dior Sauvage to Costa Brazil’s Aroma, find their picks below.
Meet The Experts
- Sarah Brown, executive director at Violet Lab, Violet Grey
- Kate Oldham, SVP, GMM beauty, jewelry, and home at Saks Fifth Avenue
- Melinda Solares, beauty director at Sephora
- Autumne West, national beauty director at Nordstrom
Both Saks Fifth Avenue and Nordstrom name-check Aventus by Creed as a tried-and-true favorite. In fact, Oldham calls it “universally beloved,” while West deems it potentially one of the sexiest-smelling scents on the market. “There is a multitude of layers to discover that keeps you guessing and wanting to lean in for its addicting scent,” says West. “Bergamot, berries, jasmine, and oak moss are among the 12-plus notes infused in this cologne.”
Maison Margiela ‘Replica’ By The Fireplace
According to Solares, Sephora’s beauty director, Margiela’s By The Fireplace is especially popular around the holidays. “The scent emits the warmth and coziness of a crackling fire while snow falls outside, setting the perfect aromatic atmosphere for the season,” she says of its bouquet, which boasts notes of orange flower, chestnut, and vanilla accord.
Le Labo Santal 33
West says the draw to Le Labo Santal 33’s rich and woody fragrance lies in its lightness; it can easily be layered with other scents. What’s more, she continues, “The simple, minimalist packaging is customizable and also makes a great gift for a loved one during the holiday season.” Try a spritz for yourself to experience its violet accord, cardamom, and sandalwood composition inspired by the freedom and solitude of America’s West Coast.
Costa Brazil Aroma
“Our best-selling scents at the moment are what I would describe as classics-in-the-making,” says Brown of what’s leading Violet Grey’s fragrance edit. One scent is Costa Brazil’s Aroma, which she describes as “the new cult blockbuster—sticky, sweet, sexy, spicy, jungle vibes.” Housed inside its sleekly-designed bottle, you’ll smell a blend of white jungle flora, patchouli, cedarwood, vetiver, and amber accord, all sourced from the Amazon, evoking the jungle’s natural resin.
By Rosie Jane Leila Lou
“[This] feels like your favorite pair of blue jeans and a white tee: sexy, casual, and everyday,” says Solares, describing the best-selling perfume By Rosie Jane Leila Lou. “It has notes of pear, jasmine, and freshly cut grass that make you feel like you’ve had eight hours of sleep and a long shower. It is also a personal favorite!”
According to West, Dior Sauvage is “a noticeable scent [that] never feels overpowering,” making this nature-inspired cologne a Nordstrom customer favorite. Bringing together notes of bergamot, Sichuan pepper, and ambroxan, perfumer François Demachy sought to create a fresh fragrance inspired by masculinity and authenticity.
D.S. & Durga I Don’t Know What
Brown considers D.S. & Durga’s I Don’t Know What a super modern take on fragrance. “This is an ‘enhancer’ that can be worn alone or layered with other scents to create something new,” she explains of its wearability. Through its blend of bergamot essence, iso e super, and vetiver acetate, it enhances any scent it’s layered with.
Tom Ford Ombré Leather
“Tom Ford’s Ombré Leather has the tactile sensuality of rich black leather, which emits a genderless aroma with the depth of warmth and spice,” says Solares. “This scent tends to make individuals feel beautiful and desired, and is especially popular among men.”
Parfums de Marly Delina La Rosée
Oldham divulges that Delina La Rosée by Parfums de Marly has quickly become a top-seller at Saks. “It is both sweet and sexy, making it the perfect day-to-night scent,” she says. This delicately feminine bouquet brings together water flowers, peony, rose essence, bergamot, and vetiver to serve as a lighter take on the perfumery’s beloved signature Delina fragrance.
Jo Malone London Silver Birch & Lavender
“Don’t let the lavender in Jo Malone’s Silver Birch & Lavender fragrance fool you,” says West. “This scent leads with crisp freshness while ending with woody notes of silver birch. Customers enjoy how fresh and clean this scent is.” That said, its vibrancy makes the scent excellent for year-round wear.
Bond No.9 New York Lafayette Street
“Lafayette Street by Bond No. 9 draws influence from the vibrant street in downtown New York near Bond’s headquarters,” explains Oldham of this best-selling oriental fougère at Saks. Bergamot, coriander, fresh florals, apple, vanilla, dry wood, and tonka bean are just a few of the notes that complete this brawny aroma.
“The unique notes in YSL Y eau de parfum are proving to be a favorite among both men and women customers for its surprising notes of sage, apple, and vetiver,” notes West. Crafted by french perfumer Dominique Ropion, Y can be best described as fresh, deep, and masculine—inspired by Yves Saint Laurent’s classic look: a white T-shirt and leather jacket.
Vyrao Witchy Woo
Brown notes Vyrao’s Witchy Woo as another fragrance on its way to building a massive fan base. This intense elixir pairs Moroccan orris absolute, thorny rose, nutmeg, cinnamon, and black pepper with patchouli, frankincense, and musk to create a rich, sensual perfume inside a bottle that contains a Herkimer diamond crystal energized by healer Louise Mita. The result? Amplified energy to promote courage and creativity.