I’ve always done everything to excess. My mother often tells me that as a kid, I had no off switch when it come to noise and food. Not much has changed since my formative years except for the fact that perfume has now become the outlet for my excessive personality (although I still have time for noise and food), meaning that over the period of time for which I’ve been interested in the subject, I’ve amassed quite a collection of scents.
Having lots of perfume is a good thing, after all, variety is the spice of life, as they say. But it can also be suffocating at times and the sheer thought of there being so much fragrance not being used in my house can be quite unsettliung. It’s a strange balance to strike – one wants variety, but at the same time it can pay to have a more selective approach to what perfumes one wears.
If anyone asks me whether I have a top five perfumes (or a top ten/twenty-five etc), my stock answer is always a definite; “oh, there’s no way I could only pick five”. But the truth is that this has changed over the last year or so and I do feel that I can now quite easily pick out some of my all-time favourites from the many bottles that sit neatly in boxes under my bed or are scattered untidily around the house.
So, to challenge myself, I have put together a list of my top five fragrances – five perfumes that I simply could not live without and if I had to hand over my collection (begrudgingly, of curse), these would be the ones that would stay. They are the non-negotiables and range from the ‘old faithfuls’ to more recent loves. But whether they are new additions or trusty friends, these are the five perfumes that I simply could not do without, right now… (they are subject to change, of course).
So without further ado, my top 5 perfumes (in no particular order) are:
- Angel by Thierry Mugler: Ah, I love this trusty old gal and I always come back to her. Yes, she’s confrontational with that massive drag queen of a patchouli note and one really does need to be in the mood for all of that sweetness, but my DNA is practically infused with the scent, so Angel and I are two peas in a pod. We will always be together.
- Kingdom by Alexander McQueen: Kingdom was my very first perfume. Of course, I’d worn other fragrances before discovering it (Le Mâle etc) but it was the first scent that I truly fell for. Kingdom taught me that a perfume doesn’t have to smell of flowers or changing rooms (i.e. the dreaded clouds of Lynx/Axe) and instead can be evocative of sweaty bodies, writhing in ecstasy. Kingdom is gone now but I remain faithful to my stash, I just hope that it never runs out!
- OUD by Maison Francis Kurkdjian: When I first heard that Francis Kurkdjian was going to launch an oud fragrance under his eponymous brand I had low expectations. Oud really is everywhere and for the most part, the fragrances in the genre all cover similar ground. Kurkdjian’s OUD however, is entirely different and presents a silky/laundry musk-y citrus oud that feels like a second skin. I could wear it all day, every day.
- Alien by Thierry Mugler: It’s no secret that I’m a card-carrying member of the Muglerati and there isn’t a fragrance in the Mugler lineup that I don’t like. Alien, Mugler’s second feminine perfume, is one of my all-time favourites because it doesn’t smell like anything else on the planet. The syrupy jasmine note is pushed to extreme proportions and volumes, whilst the woody, fuzzy parts of the scent provide both jagged edges and smooth curves. Alien is a work of art – a stroke of genius, but it’s also the perfume I was wearing when I first met my husband-to-be. There are just so many reasons to love it!
- Portrait of a Lady by Editions de Parfums Frederic Malle: It’s no surprise that I love this one, really – it ticks all of my boxes. Volume? Check! Longevity? Check! Amazing jammy/fizzy rose? Check! Awesome woods and patchouli to ground said rose? Check! This perfume, like me, demands attention and is perhaps the only thing I own that I could describe as heartbreakingly beautiful. It should be law that everyone owns a bottle.
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What are your top five fragrances?
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Image 1 via halfway-to-paradise.com; blog.missala.pl; thefragranceshop.co.uk; fragrancedirect.co.uk; and barneys.com.