In 1921, Coco Chanel created Chanel No 5. It was revolutionary. Marilyn Monroe reportedly wore it (and nothing else) to bed. One bottle is sold every 55 seconds worldwide. It’s the top selling fragrance in the world.
It smells disgusting.
Seriously. Have you taken a whiff of Chanel No. 5? It’s the worst kind of granny fragrance; I question the nose of any woman under the age of 40 who enjoys the way it smells. (Fragrance is a very personal thing, without a doubt…but the aldehydes Coco used in Chanel No. 5 were purposely designed to be avant-garde, metallic, and artificial. I don’t want to smell like an aging robot, thanks.)
Perfume junkies like me know that a transcendent juice can change your life. There are scents for work, scents for weekends…and then there are those scents that make you want to rip your clothes off and get down to business. Here are a few of the best. Not for the faint (or the floral) at heart…
Tom Ford Black Orchid, $60:
The designer/director/sex god that is Tom Ford once famously said he wanted this fragrance to smell like the inside of a man’s crotch. (I know — ew, right?) Don’t be fooled: this scent is legendarily delicious. It’s gorgeous: musky and spicy, with a hint of faded florals, and 100% animalistic. Ignore the whole “sweaty man’s crotch” description and just promise me you’ll check it out next time you’re at Sephora or Neimans. PS: The original perfume is great; the hard-to-find oil, which clings to your body like a second skin, is even better.
Narciso will forever be linked in my mind to Carolyn Bessette Kennedy, one of the all-time classic style icons. Cool and elegant, Carolyn also had a notoriously fiery temper—the same dualism that exists in this gorgeous scent, which I imagine she would have loved. With honey flower, orange blossom, amber and tactile wood, it’s seriously sophisticated for day…but undeniably hot for night. And when you get down to it, sexy or no (sexy), this perfume just smells freaking good.