2 Perfume-Obsessed Beauty Editors Sound Off on the Best Perfumes of All Time

Beauty Editor Perfumes: Chanel No5 Advent Calendar

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We love all things beauty here at Who What Wear, but if there’s anything we love above all, it’s fragrance. We could talk about fragrance for hours on end and would not get sick of it. We’re constantly Slacking about new fragrance launches, our favourite perfumes of all time and how a certain scent smells on our body chemistry. It’s truly a lifestyle.

I personally use fragrance as a way to enhance however I feel that day. When I first started wearing perfume, I wanted to find a signature scent or something I could wear every day that would remind people of me. (Funnily enough, I chose Tom Ford Black Orchid, which you’ll find on this list.) As I got older, I realised that fragrance could be more than something someone remembers about you. Fragrance can be a form of self-expression—the perfect finishing touch to an outfit, a way to evoke an old memory or a way to match how you feel.

Senior beauty editor Erin Jahns feels the same way about fragrance that I do. We set some time aside to decide definitively what we think the best fragrances of all time are. Don’t worry. We’ll still Slack back and forth about perfume, but now, we have a guide to reference as a starting point.

Beauty Editor Perfumes: Slack Chat

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Tom Ford

We both love:

Key fragrance notes: Black truffle, bergamot, black orchid, black plum, noir gourmand accord and patchouli.

Erin Jahns: I feel like Tom Ford Black Orchid is such a cult classic that never gets old and never feels cliché.

Katie Berohn: I would bathe myself in Tom Ford Black Orchid.

We both love:

Key fragrance notes: Palo santo wood accord, ebony wood accord and rose.

KB: Ébène Fumé is a new obsession. It reminds me of Black Orchid, but less fruity. 

Erin's pick:

Key fragrance notes: Pêche de vigne accord, blood orange, cardamom, heliotrope, davana oil, rum absolute, cognac, jasmine absolute sambac, sandalwood, benzoin resinoid, cashmeran, vanilla, tonka bean absolute, labdanum absolute, styrax resinoid and patchouli.

EJ: Both Bitter Peach and Ébène Fumé are next-level.

Katie's pick:

Key fragrance notes: Leather, tonka bean and sage.

KB: Personal big fan of Fucking Fabulous, but I can’t wear it all the time. 

EJ: It’s a strong scent. A mood. 

Beauty Editor Perfumes: Slack Chat

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Erin's pick:

Key fragrance notes: Cyprus, lemon and oak.

EJ: My friend taught me this trick with Costa Azzurra (which is amazing on its own). But layer it with Tubereuse Nue, and it’s to die for. Like actual drool.

Byredo

Katie's pick:

Key fragrance notes: Bergamot, lemon, pepper, juniper berries, incense, pine needles, orris, amber, vanilla and sandalwood.

KB: Byredo is its own universe. I’m personally a big fan of Gypsy Water.

Erin's pick:

Key fragrance notes: White rose, pink pepper, aldehyde, violet, neroli, peony, blonde woods, sandalwood and musk.

EJ: Blanche is so underrated. Truly such a good clean, crisp linens scent.

Erin's pick:

Key fragrance notes: Sichuan pepper, ambrette seeds, damascena rose, orris, musk and ambroxan.

EJ: I think Young Rose—which is newer—is my favourite of all time, though. Actual heaven. It’s perfect. I’ve been wearing it even though it’s a little juicy, which makes it perfect for summer. 

Erin's pick:

Key fragrance notes: Black pepper, juniper berries, leather, orris and violet.

EJ: It’s so good. I don’t know why it’s not more well-known. I have the hair-perfume version of it and am obsessed.

Maison Margiela Replica

Katie's pick:

Key fragrance notes: Pear, lily of the valley and musk.

KB: On the first day in April when it gets above 15°, I genuinely have to wear Springtime in a Park. It’s non-negotiable. 

Erin's pick:

Key fragrance notes: Aquatic accord, iris absolute and red seaweed accord.

EJ: I swear it smells like a really expensive perfume.

We both love:

Key fragrance notes: Pink pepper, orange flower petals, clove oil, chestnut accord, guaiac wood oil, cade oil, vanilla accord, Peru balsam and cashmeran.

EJ: I also always pull out By the Fireplace this time of year—a classic.

KB: By the Fireplace is simply one of the best winter perfumes out there.

Chanel

We both love:

Key fragrance notes: Aldehydes, jasmine, neroli and sandalwood.

KB: My grandma used to wear Chanel N°5, which is maybe the most classic perfume out there, to be honest.

EJ: 1000%.

Erin's pick:

Key fragrance notes: Grapefruit, quince, rose accord and white musk.

EJ: I wore Eau Tendre in high school because I thought it made me smell sophisticated. I still love it, though.

Diptyque

Erin's pick:

Key fragrance notes: Fig leaf, fig, white cedar, coconut and tree sap.

EJ: I love the classics. Philosykos is probably my all-time favourite.

Erin's pick:

Key fragrance notes: Peppermint, geranium and patchouli.

EJ: I fell hard for Eau de Minthé when it launched, which was a plot twist.

Katie's pick:

Key fragrance notes: Tobacco smoke, tonka bean, cedarwood and juniper berries.

KB: I will wear Orphéon until my dying day. It’s that good.

Frédéric Malle

Erin's pick:

Key fragrance notes: Tuberose, sweet melon, coconut and musk.

EJ: Frédéric Malle Portrait of a Lady and Carnal Flower fight it out? Carnal Flower personally speaks to me. 

KB: I can’t think of a dreamier floral.

We both love:

Key fragrance notes: Turkish rose, patchouli, benzoin, cinnamon, sandalwood, musk and frankincense.

KB: Portrait of a Lady is just classic.

EJ: So timeless.

Serge Lutens

Erin's pick:

Key fragrance notes: Geranium, rose, palmarosa, patchouli, moss and honey.

EJ: La Fille de Berlin is one of my most treasured beauty products. It’s a must for anyone who loves rose.

Ellis Brooklyn

Beauty Editor Perfumes: Slack Chat

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We both love:

Key fragrance notes: Dark rum, honey and vanilla bean.

EJ: It’s like the grown-up version of Pink Sugar that we all wore in middle school.

KB: Yes. It’s so sweet, but I don’t find it cloying. 

EJ: I think it’s my favorite Ellis Brooklyn ever.

Glossier

We both love:

Key fragrance notes: Pink pepper, ambrette seed, ambrox and iris.

EJ: Controversial opinion, but I will wear Glossier You until my dying day.

KB: I feel like Glossier You is a good pick for that. It’s such a unique fragrance. It smells different on everyone—which, I guess, is the point. 

EJ: Yes, it’s special!

Maison Kurkdjian

We both love:

Key fragrance notes: Jasmine, saffron, cedarwood and ambergris.

KB: I feel like Baccarat Rouge 540 is a classic.

EJ: Oh my God, yes. Honestly one of the best unisex fragrances ever. 

KB: Everyone I’ve ever met that smells amazing… It’s almost always that one.

EJ: But it isn’t overdone!

Katie's pick:

Key fragrance notes: Calabrian bergamot, Sicilian lemon, white bouquet and light and musky woods.

KB: I love how it smells so much [that] I made my boyfriend start wearing it.

Beauty Editor Perfumes: Slack Chat

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Le Labo

Erin's pick:

Key fragrance notes: Bergamot, bay leaves, black tea, fig, hay, tobacco, cedar, vetiver and musk.

KB: Every day, I walk around New York City, and all I smell is Santal 33. At a workout class, on the subway, in a bar… enough! I love it, but we need to mix it up. 

EJ: If I had to choose, it would be Thé Noir 29 instead. 

KB: Ooh. Now that’s a good Le Labo pick.

Jo Malone

We both love:

Key fragrance notes: Ambrette seeds, sea salt and sage.

Beauty Editor Perfumes: Slack Chat

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Atelier Cologne

Katie's pick:

Key fragrance notes: Lemon, jasmine and vanilla.

KB: In the citrus category, I also have to toss in Atelier Cologne Lemon Island. It smells like Sunday morning.

Next up, The British Perfume Rosie HW, Victoria Beckham and Meghan Markle Have in Common

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