Top 10 Perfumes

Perfume is a very subjective thing. What is music to one person’s nose(!) is sometimes a clashing cacophony of horror to another’s! However as a natural perfumer I have been lucky enough to have smelled quite a lot of perfumes; it is my job after all; so I have compiled a list here of my all time favourite, top 10 perfumes!

Of course, this isn’t a rigid and set list- in reality as you go through life you are introduced to new scents and new brands, and whilst you never really “go off” a favourite perfume you constantly add new ones to the list. So this is more like a snapshot in time- a list of my top 10 perfumes for right now. All of these particular perfumes have been chosen for a special reason though, and as well as smelling beautiful they each capture a mood and a fantasy which are suited for unique occasions and times in your life.

There are far more delicious perfumes out there than a top 10 list of perfumes could do justice to- so if your favourite perfume doesn’t appear on this list of top 10 perfumes, I have no doubt it is still very lovely.

My list of top 10 perfumes is in no particular order- it is just a list of my top 10 favourite perfumes for different occasions.


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1) Malabah, by Penhaligon’s.

Malabah definitely deserves a place on my top 10 perfumes list, and should be on the list for any Oriental fragrance lover as is a really quality perfume. Created by Penhaligon’s, London it’s an oriental style perfume, which captures the heart of the East Indian spice trail- sensual and exotic with rose, Orris, Amber, Earl Grey Tea, Coriander, and plenty of Ginger. The glory of this perfume is that it manages to perfectly fulfil the role of the oriental perfume, transporting your far away on an exotic adventure, whilst still somehow managing to be light, fresh, and subtle. Subtly is not normally something we associate with rich oriental perfumes but Penhaligon’s have achieved it here!


2) Dark Amber and Ginger Lily, Jo Malone.

Jo Malone has produced many perfumes which are wonderful in their simplicity. Indeed devotees of her perfumes are encouraged to layer and mix their scents together to create new blends and experiences! Dark Amber and Ginger Lily stands entirely alone however, as a perfume that is deeply elegant and sensual; the perfect choice for a woman rather than a girl. Inspired by the Japanese Kohdo or Incense ceremony the perfume is enriched by the scent of rare Kyara wood, blended with Amber, Black Orchid, Cardamom and Waterlily. The fragrance is unusual and hard to describe- but if you are like me you will be mesmerised by it. It is the perfect match for a stylish evening out and definitely one of my top 10 perfumes.


3) Romance, Ralph Lauren

This is a relatively obvious choice, appearing in most high street stores, but I really do believe it deserves a place on my list of top 10 perfumes! It is light and fresh and youthful, and unlike many predominantly floral perfumes, not at all sickly or cloying. The epitome of Romance, and perfect for a summers evening or even a daytrip. Notes include White Violet, Oakmoss, Patchouli, Ginger, Rose, Camomile, Marigold, and freesia.


4) Honour Woman, Amouge

Dedicated to the tragic story of Madame butterfly, Honour Woman by Amouge is a work of Art for any lover of White Flowers. Delicately balanced, elegant and clean cut there is an enigmatic stream of passionate longing running through that captures the spirit of its muse so well. A lush bouquet of white flowers draws you inexorably forward, to then be captivated by deeper, darker notes of Amber, Oppoponax, Vetiver, Leather, and Frankincense. It is a legend in a bottle; and such a refined name too!


5) Hypnotic Poison, Dior

This legendary forbidden fruit of a perfume deserves its cult status and its place on my list of top 10 perfumes. Everything about it, from the notes to the voluptuous bottle whisper of hidden secrets, seduction, and the spirit of the femme fatale. This is the perfume to wear when you require instant charisma and impact.

I have chosen Hypnotic Poison, rather than its sister, Poison, as this has the spirit of the other whilst being heavier on the musk. It is Poison, but a steamier, sultrier, more blurred around the edges version- I find it even more effective somehow; although they are both beautiful perfumes, and if you are not keen on musk you had better try the original Poison instead!

The notes of this vivid, hypnotising perfume include Vanilla, Almond, Caraway, Jasmine, Musk, Cedar, Oakmoss, and Sandalwood. This really is a secret weapon in any seductress’s wardrobe!


6) Sheer Beautiful, Estee Lauder

Quite simply the very sheerest, very lightest, most delicate perfume I have ever smelled- and also perhaps one of the most romantic! This is not always what you want to find in a perfume of course, but for those light-hearted days where you want just a suggestion, a whisper of something beautiful without being overpowering- this is your perfect partner. For me anyway, it is a little waft of heaven...It is also probably the nearest thing a commercial perfume can come to resembling an actual flower; seeming so natural and uncloying, delicate and innocent. It is the fairytale dream of romance, devoid from all reality, but an alluring safe haven for all those who dream of true love...

Notes in this ethereal confection include Pear, Linden Blossom, Mimosa, and Lily.


7) Opium, Yves Saint Laurent

What can I say? Most people have certainly heard of this perfume! Dark, dangerous and controversial it either makes passionate lifelong converts or enemies straightaway...Do you love it, or do you hate it? It’s just like Marmite.

Personally I’m giving this perfume a very well deserved place on my list of top 10 perfumes. The smoky allure of this rich and complex perfume is achieved by a delicate balance of many, many notes, some of which include; mandarin, bergamot, lily of the valley, jasmine, carnation, myrrh, vanilla, amber, sweet myrrh, and patchouli, clove, coriander, pepper, bay leaf, cinnamon, peach, orris, sandalwood, vetiver, opopanax, labdanum, castoreum, incense, and musk- phew!


8) Flowerbomb, Viktor and Rolf

Literally, like a lot of flowers, kind of mixed up together in a bomb of pink wonder- yet managing to be so fresh and modern and quite a lot like catnip for girls really...In my humble opinion!

This sweet, sassy, and very flirty perfume sports notes of Jasmine, Freesia, Orchid, Bergamot, tea, Rose, and Patchouli. Unfortunately due to a great advertising campaign etc. it is quite a popular fragrance so a lot of other ladies are wearing it at the moment- I am hoarding my bottles for the future when Flowerbomb mania has died down a little, as it’s a joy to wear.


9) Angel, Thierry Mugler

My absolute favourite gourmet perfume- in such an awesome blue star shaped bottle!

Angel by Thierry Mugler is one of the most unique perfumes currently available in our department stores, as it does not contain a single floral note. For this reason it’s another one of those perfumes which you either love or hate (obviously I personally love it as it’s on my list of top 10 perfumes!).

Notes in this unique and deliciously addictive perfume include: Chocolate, Vanilla, Caramel, Berries, Honey, and Bergamot. Yum! It really is very moreish, and many people find that if they don’t like it at first sniff, it soon grows on them...And men seem to love it- maybe food really is the way to their hearts!


10) Amarige, Givenchy

A real classic floral perfume, with a positive radiance. There’s just something about this one that I can’t quite put my finger on- it is streaks ahead of most other perfumes in its genre, a connoisseurs delight; and interestingly it is the perfume which people most often ask what it is I am wearing when I wear it. It is truly timeless, appeals to most noses, and has one of the best staying powers I have come across- spray Amarige on your scarf and the scent will linger on until you put it in the wash!

This refined, graceful, and charming perfume features  notes of peach, plum, orange, mandarin, Mimosa, Neroli, Tuberose, blackcurrent, Gardenia, Acacia, Tonka bean, Cedar, Sandalwood, Vanilla, Musk, and Amber.


Sticking to a list of top 10 perfumes is really hard!


Here are a couple of other perfumes that really deserved a mention in the top 10 perfumes list too:

Rich Hippy, The kiss – A really sensual mix of Jasmine and Frangipani with citrus notes. Best of all this is organic and made from wild crafted plant and flower extracts.

Feerie, Van Cleef and Arpels- I adore this perfume although I can never quite work out whether it’s the perfume I most like or the bottle; which is the most enchanting thing you will ever see on your dressing table, with a little silver faerie resting on top of it. An elegantly fruit concoction of currants, violets and citrus, with Bulgarian Rose and Jasmine at the heart.

Inis, Fragrances of Ireland- An Oceanic perfume didn’t quite make my top ten, but if you are looking for a wonderfully fresh yet refreshingly different take on the marine/oceanic fragrance genre you might like to try Inis (which means Island in Gaelic). Notes of Lily of the Valley, Geranium, Sicilian Lemon dominate, with subtle marine notes and a light yet complex base of Sandalwood, Oakmoss, Musk and spices.

Artemisia, Penhaligon’s- This fragrance (featuring Nectarine, Green Apple, Lily of the Valley, Violet and Vanilla) is probably the most strangely ethereal perfume I have ever encountered- and suits its faerie-like name very much. It is so light you can almost blink and miss it, but yet it lasts and evolves in a magical way- well worth trying!


I hope you enjoyed my top 10 perfumes! (and the other ones...When you love perfumes it really is hard to stick to just 10!)


If you love perfumes maybe you would like to try your hand at designing your own!? Visit our Perfume Studio today to create your own unique signature perfume.