The five most popular fragrances of all time

In a 1954 interview, when asked what she wore to bed, the movie star provocatively responded: “Chanel No 5.”

Faced with row upon row of fragrances, choosing the right fragrance for yourself or your partner, can be frightening.

Your choice may even affect your love life as research shows that physical attraction may actually be based on smell.

If you want to be sure you have a winner, sample the fragrances that have truly stood the test of time.

According to, these are the top five sellers of all time:

1. Chanel No. 5 by Chanel

Chanel No. 5 by Chanel

No other perfume has achieved the iconic status of Chanel No. 5.

Launched in 1921, this was the first perfume to combine multiple scents at a time when fragrances normally featured a single-flower scent (notes include jasmine, sandalwood, amber, aldehydes and ylang-ylang).

The perfume was a startling break from tradition.

Marilyn Monroe’s unsolicited endorsement of the fragrance provided the type of publicity businesses only dream about.

In a 1954 interview, when asked what she wore to bed, the movie star provocatively responded: “Chanel No 5.”


2. Joy by Jean Patou 

When the real-life Scarlett O’Hara (Vivien Leigh) first met Clark Gable before filming Gone With the Wind, he is said to have noticed that she smelled like violets. However, the British actress was a devotee of Joy by Jean Patou.

When the 1929 stock market crash bankrupted many of Jean Patou’s clients he was moved by compassion for his loyal clients and friends.

The excentric perfumer created a fragrance designed as a gift to chase the Depression blues away.

No expense was spared and the finest raw materials were used.

An incredible 10,000 jasmine flowers and 28 dozen roses are required to create 30ml of the perfume (which may explain the price tag).

Joy, with the signature notes of May Rose and Jasmine, has been worn by iconic stars including Grace Kelly, Sophia Loren, Jacqueline Kennedy and Vivien Leigh.


3. Shalimar by Guerlain 

Often photographed spritzing on perfume, Rita Hayworth was a fan the blockbuster 1925 oriental fragrance Guerlain Shalimar.

Shalimar is history’s first Oriental-scented perfume.

Its notes – including bergamot, amber, iris and vanilla – blend to infuse a sensuality into Shalimar that earned its reputation as the ‘forbidden fragrance’.

Jacques Guerlain introduced the fragrance in 1925.

He’s said to have been inspired by the love story of Princess Mumtaz Mahal and her husband, Indian Emperor Shah Jahan who built the Taj Mahal for his wife.


4. Opium by Yves

Saint Laurent Opium has been a top seller for over 40 years.

Saint Laurent Opium’s top notes include mandarin orange, coriander and pepper; middle notes that include jasmine and rose; and base notes that include myrrh, cedarwood and sandalwood.

Launched in 1977 by perfumer Jean-Louis Sieuzac the perfume’s name infuriated America’s Chinese population, who saw it as an insult to their history with the drug and demanded he use an alternative name.

Ironically, the controversy greatly increased sales.


5. L’Air Du Temps by Nina Ricci

An emblematic fragrance, symbolic of love, peace, and freedom.

This feminine scent includes the top notes of carnation and gardenia, middle notes of centifolia rose and base notes of Mysore sandalwood and iris.

It was 1948 when the fragrance was launched – a significant time in history just after World War II – and the dove crowning the bottle was designed as a symbol of peace representing a new era of world peace.


>>>  Expect to find the latest trends in Beauty, Health and Wellness in Ballito, here.

>>> Meet the top players in the North Coast property industry. See our Property People feature.



Do you want to receive news alerts via WhatsApp? Send us a WhatsApp message (not an sms) with your name and surname to 061 718 4438.

Please read our WhatsApp broadcast list disclaimer.
Join us on BBM at 59015786
Join the conversation on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.


Latest News


Next Story x
Making waves in the townships

Thanx for your referral. We have no doubt your friends will love our newsletter as much as you!

Don't forget to verify your email.

to our FREE newsletter
SUBSCRIBE to our FREE newsletter.

SELECT your titles:

North Coast Courier

Your details:

Your friends: