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5 Staple Scents To Have In Your Perfume Collection

Humans have been using perfume since the days of the ancient Egyptians. Indeed, historians believe it was the Egyptians who invented perfume. The name comes from the French per fume, which means “through smoke” because people used to burn resins, fragrant woods, and gums to release their scent. Sweet-smelling woods and resins would also be soaked in oil and water and then applied to the body. Perfumes can be derived from minerals such as amber, animals, or parts of plants. Here are five you should have in your collection.


1. Gardenia

The gardenia is a shrub that thrives in warmer climates and produces big, beautiful flowers that give off a heady, luscious, and unmistakable scent. Gardenia was created by Isabey in 1924, a time when gardenias were found just about everywhere, whether in bridal crowns, bridal bouquets, or buttonholes. As such, gardenia-scented perfumes were marketed toward young women, and Isabey wasn’t the only perfumer who produced them. Other gardenia perfumes came from the House of Chanel a year after the debut of Isabey’s perfume and Tuvaché in 1932.

A fact that many of its admirers didn’t know about Gardenia, and gardenia perfumes in general, is that it’s not really made from the flower. It is hard to extract scent from a real gardenia, but the fragrance can be mimicked by blending the chemical gamma-nonalactone with other floral fragrances.


2. Bal a Versailles

The House of Jean Desprez has been making perfumes since at least the 1930s, and Bal a Versailles is one of its most memorable scents. Created in 1962, this perfume brings a scent bold enough to cut through the fetor of the Sun King’s court. It seems every type of wildly fragrant flower goes into this perfume. There are roses, of course, but also jasmine, sandalwood, vanilla, rosemary, mandarin, and orange blossoms, along with amber and civet, a scent derived from an animal much like a wild cat. Bal a Versailles was believed to be Michael Jackson’s favorite scent, and the perfumer made sure he never ran out.


3. Dirt

There is a place in your collection for this perfume that smells just like its name. Created in 1996 by the Demeter Fragrance Library, it joined that perfumer’s other scents of Laundromat, Snow, and Grass. At least partially created as an answer to prestige, somewhat over-the-top fragrances such as Bal a Versailles, Dirt is prized by its wearers. Its smell is not only rather lovely but it can be worn everywhere, for every occasion. You can wear it to a fancy ball, or you can wear it when you’re in your pajamas working from home.


4. Baccarat Rouge 540

Created by Maison Francis Kurkdjian in 2014, this perfume was created to celebrate the 250th anniversary of Baccarat crystal and originally cost $4,000 a bottle. This was at least partially due to the fact that the bottle’s clear crystal was melded with solid gold powder and heated, which gave it a sensational golden-red hue.

Baccarat Rouge 540 also distinguishes itself in that it’s not described by top, bottom, or middle notes but by breeze, heat and mineral. Breeze is largely saffron and jasmine, heat is cedarwood and mineral is ambergris, a waxy substance ejected from the gut of the sperm whale. The other scents that go into its unforgettable fragrance are marigold, amberwood, and fir resin.


5. L’Air du Temps

Created in 1948 by Nina Ricci, this perfume came to prominence during the recovery after the Second World War. Indeed, its bottle is probably as famous as its fragrance, with its two entwined Lalique doves symbolizing both peace and romance. This made the bottle hard to open, but it was worth it for the sweetness of its scent with its just noticeable notes of pepper and spice. So gentle is this perfume that it’s associated with post-war motherhood and baby boomers and remains a favorite even today.



Creating perfume is a true art form. As with any art, the price range can vary. But there are options for everyone. These 5 scents are staples that are a great start for any collection. With these, you are prepared for every occasion, formal or casual.

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