Top 10 Most Iconic Fragrances of All Time according to UK survey & Top 3 Bestsellers in France {Fragrance News}

Chanel-No5-New-China-Series.jpgChanel No. 5, New China Series, 2007 by Chinese artist Ma Jun -- The Chanel No. 5 bottle is so iconic it appears still recognizable in the glazed Chinese ceramic medium.

(A bottle of No. 5 is said to be sold every 55 seconds around the globe.

According to a survey conducted by the Superdrug store chain in Great Britain, the top cult fragrance of all time is considered to be Chanel No. 5 - the oldest composition also in this survey - based on perceptions of the women respondents in the UK who were polled in November 2008. The survey included 2000 participants. The next two are CK One (2) and Eternity (3), both by Calvin Klein.

Next, we have Coco by Chanel (4), then Dior Poison (5), Ghost by Ghost (6) a very popular scent in the UK which is less often mentioned in the US and France...

Cacharel Anais Anais (7), Lacoste Pink (8) currently Superdrug's bestseller, Yves Saint Laurent Opium (9), Beckham Intimately Her (10).

It looks like you do not need to have been on the market for a long time to be considered iconic. Beckham Intimately Her was launched in 2006.

Matthew Twigg, Superdrug fine fragrance buyer declared: "All the perfumes in the top 10 have adorned dressing tables across the country and will remain staple scents for years to come."

In France, Chanel No. 5 was the best-selling perfume in 2007 followed by J'Adore by Dior and Angel by Thierry Mugler, both which do not appear in the Superdrug 10-most-Iconic-perfumes-of-all-time list but would probably appear in a similar survey, were it conducted in France.

Via, Superdrug

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6 Comments | Leave a comment

  1. Hmm. Very interesting survey, although I would never use iconic and Beckham Intimately Her in the same sentence:)

    • Are you saying this as an UK resident? It's hard to fully gauge the impact of her image and of the advertising campaigns and the level of sound bites Posh and her perfume got if one is not subjected to the treatment. But I would tend to agree just going by the perfume -- it is a bit "exotic" a choice.

      I want to clarify that "Iconic" certainly does not mean "best". In fact perfumer Edmond Roudnitska was a rather harsh critic of Chanel No. 5 calling it a commercial success rather than a great fragrance composition per se. Iconic is really about the orchestration of the image of a perfume, the accidents of history that sustained it, and what not...

      There is also the whole support system from the fashion brand itself and the feedbacks the perfume and fashion brands offer each other, which may also be functioning for Posh. You bought Chanel No. 5 to have a piece of the world of Chanel haute couture.

      Chant Wagner
  2. I do see what you mean. Victoria is definitely a fashion icon, in the UK and around the globe. (I have recently moved to Europe, and the Beckhams are much bigger here than in the States!) But as a fragrance, I think it is a bit early to use the description "icon" for a scent only a few years old. I think icon is one of those buzz words that can irk some people with its overuse or at least a perceived misuse. But all this buzz must be good for business, so congrats Posh!

    • I think that this is an interesting question. Why? Because, just by looking at the time-frame criterium, then we can wonder what happened to perfumes that were iconic in their times, such as L'Idéal by Houbigant or L'Aimant by Coty. One is dead, the other one still available but without the iconic character it used to have. And then on the other hand, I remember perfumes such as Poison by Dior which benefited from a massive prestigious campaign and which became quickly iconic of a certain year, then period of time. I am also thinking of Giorgio by Beverly Hills: very quickly you could smell it on virtually everyone and it remains iconic of a certain age. I think people toady can still feel their former iconic character and historians will have to point out they they were. So I would think a priori that there are qualitative differences between different kinds of "iconic" fragrances. Certainly nevertheless their common point should be that they made a strong impact, very lasting or not. There is also the case of Angel for which it, apparently (haven't done a critical research on that) took time to become iconic although I have personally to say that when it came out I noticed it and bought it immediately. It just smelled different and I smelt it then on a good number of people.

      The next question I would like to ask is of what it is iconic of when a perfume gains momentum after a while rather than immediately?

      Chant Wagner
  3. Superdrug is, for want of a better way of putting it, the most downmarket of the high street chemists, and their stock of perfumes is pretty poor compared to Boots or department stores - there's a lot of B-list celeb scents on their shelves. If their survey was mostly of their own customers, you're unlikely to see many old classics on the list.


    • Thank you for this interesting field-report.

      Yes, absolutely there is also the problem of the customer-base bias, not to mention that of the pool of respondents. I don't know if there were any economic incentives to answering that poll, but it might have further skewed the results.

      Chant Wagner

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