Perfume, one of the hottest selling beauty and fashion items.
Ever sit back and think about how many people buy and use perfume on a daily basis? When we first thought about it, it startled us to realize that it seems like everyone owns some version of their favorite scent. From pure essential oils to designer blends, people from all walks of life use fragrance.
As a matter of fact, a recent study published by Alexander Kunst, states that “as of May 2017, 92 percent of American women stated that they wore fragrances, with 41 percent doing so on a daily basis. Such consumer behavior means that perfume and cologne retailers in the United States have a broad target market available”.
YES, 92% of women own and wear perfume — on special occasions or every day!
With such a large target market it’s easy to understand why the perfume market is growing by the minute. This brings us to wonder which scents are truly the most iconic fragrances available at Dossier.
First of all, what makes a fragrance iconic? It’s not just a bestseller in its category. It’s a bestseller that lasts for years, and that really brought something new and special to the world of perfume at the time of its launch.
Let’s talk about 3 of the most revolutionary and timeless perfumes, each of which changed perfumery in its own way and became a cult-following fragrance!
An all-time favorite for many women, this classic fragrance might remind you of your classy grandmother or your elegant mother. Originally known as Chanel N°5, this scent is one of the best-selling perfumes, not just in the United States, but in the whole world. It was created by Ernest Beaux in 1921, meaning Chanel N°5 turned 100 in 2021! This scent has been notoriously worn by many celebrities, which helped in increasing the popularity of this perfume.
Chanel N°5 has been (or at least, almost been) the first fragrance to “overdose” the aldehydes, synthetic molecules discovered more than a century ago.
On its own, one might find aldehydes’ scent rather aggressive and cheap, due to their somewhat laundry or sterile smell. However, when married with a floral bouquet (like jasmine, ylang ylang, rose in Chanel N°5) they boost the floral notes, adding a dazzling touch, unlike any other raw material.
Although most specialists credit this innovation to Coco Chanel’s will to create, new, inimitable, and incomparable perfume, an old legend often circulates claiming the overdose of aldehydes in Chanel N°5 was due to a weighing error of Ernest Beaux’s laboratory assistant.
It has long been one of the best-selling perfumes in the world.
From the beginning of the creating process of the fragrance, it was clear that this perfume was entirely unlike any other.
Thierry Mugler was inspired to create a perfume that drew on the scents of the funfairs of his childhood memories. To formulate such a unique fragrance, Mugler decided to take a brand new approach and use an excess of ethyl-maltol (AKA veltol), a synthetic molecule which had previously been used mainly in the flavor industry.
The smells of ethyl-maltol evokes a mix of cooked fruits, caramel, cotton candy, praline, brown sugar, and grilled almonds!
When the fragrance was launched in 1992, this gourmand explosion, in addition to a high level of patchouli, hit the perfume world like a bomb, causing as much rejection as obsession.
Angel’s success started off slowly, with a mixed commercial reaction at the beginning. The popularity of the perfume then grew gradually, until it became an incredible market leader in France, as well as in many other countries.
Angel is now recognized for having opened the way to the family of gourmand perfumes, which have become more than trendy. The success of these scents today (like Life is Beautiful, Flowerbomb, Miss Dior Chérie, Black Opium…) are owed to him, as they reflect, in a more softened way, the combination of gourmand notes with patchouli.
There are perfumes propelled by advertising campaigns, effigies, or by a recognized brand, which quickly propel them to becoming best sellers. However, there are others that don’t have all these advantages, but nevertheless manage to gain traction themselves slowly by their olfactory assets. This is the case of Santal 33 at Le Labo.
Le Labo is one of the first new generation indie or niche brands, founded in 2005 by two French, former L’Oréal employees, who decided to open their first store in New York. Their creations are genderless, qualitative, and focused on a star raw material. Even if some other of their creations meet great success too, it stands independent of the Santal 33 phenomena.
Created in 2011, Santal 33 became “the smell of New York”, before expanding to other cities in the United States and around the world.
Sandalwood 33 is a tribute to the precious sandalwood, often underused, and usually considered as a second player in fragrances formulas. In this unique perfume, sandalwood is the hero! Violet and iris give it a more textured feel, and musk emphasizes its natural second skin inflection. Qualitative, minimalist, Woody Sandalwood is a comfort bubble conveying a strong feeling of inner sensuality.
Yet, did you know that before being a perfume, Santal 33 was… a candle? Indeed, Santal 33 is a trickle up of the Santal 26 candle launched a few years before.
It seems that Iconic fragrances often came from a breakthrough: introduction of a synthetic raw material in Chanel N°5 (at a time when it was still incongruous), use of a flavor molecule for Angel, and the trickle up of a candle into a fragrance for Santal 33.
It looks like to become truly iconic, you have to think outside the bottle.