If you've ever wanted an in-depth rundown of the most popular perfumes from all the most popular designers and fragrance houses, welcome. You've officially stumbled upon paradise! As beauty editors, we receive brand-new perfume bottles, rollerballs, and even perfume brushes on a daily basis. But as with almost anything in life, there's something to be said for the classics—the most iconic and/or best-selling perfumes from all of the most popular fragrance names and designers in the game.
In honor of all the beloved OG elixirs out there, we've compiled an impressive list of bottled florals, citrus, musks, and gourmands (perfumes with sweet notes like vanilla, honey, and chocolate) sure to satisfy every perfume craving. Ahead, you'll find the 17 most popular designer perfumes of all time you can find. Tell your wallet to buckle up—it's in for a wild and pleasant-smelling ride.
You had to know this was coming. Chanel N°5 is, without a doubt, the most iconic fragrance of all time. It's been a staple within many a glamorous woman's fragrance wardrobe since its creation back in 1921. At the perfume's center is a floral bouquet of rose and jasmine with a touch of vanilla to deepen.
Customer Review: "I would describe the scent as cute. It's very girly and powdery. There is a subtle hint of fresh flowers. Pairing with a sweet scent would make a master combo!"
There are two camps in this world: those who favor Mugler's warm and floral icon Alien ($87) and those who prefer Angel—a softer, cotton candy–like concoction that's the ultimate guilty pleasure among fragrance lovers everywhere. Oh, and you, or perhaps your mom or sister, likely owned a bottle all through the '90s. (It was created by Monsieur Mugler in 1992.)
According to the brand's website, Angel was the first gourmand fragrance in the history of perfumery, with an iconic blend of patchouli, praline, red berries, and vanilla encapsulating the following three facets: "celestial, delicious, and voluptuous."
Customer Review: "This is my everyday go to scent I absolutely love it! I have gotten so many compliments from men and women on how amazing this perfume smells and they are 100% right I’m obsessed with it!"
Right up there with Chanel N°5 is Guerlain's historic stunner, Shalimar. It has a full-bodied scent that's made it one of the most recognizable in history—powdery but complemented with notes of vanilla, amber, iris, and bergamot. It's sultry and everlasting.
Customer Review: "Its a soft, vanilla scent. I get so many [compliments] every time I wear it. It's my favorite!"
Chances are you've smelled this popular perfume from American designer Calvin Klein about a bazillion times in your life. It's just that prevalent and is just what the doctor ordered for those who crave a crisp and clean fragrance. The fruitiness of pineapple and papaya are anchored with the sharper edge of notes like nutmeg, cardamom, and green tea.
Customer Review: "A good product that is good for everyday use. Only downside is it doesn't last for long, but the combination of citrus, green, and woody is very good for summer. I actually getting compliments on it."
Dior houses many very iconic and popular perfumes, but Miss Dior is, by far, one of the OG favorites in the game. It's delicately light and floral with vibrant bursts of bergamot, Grasse rose, rosewood, and pink pepper.
"It had to burst like that feeling of falling head over heels. A declaration of love, to loves," the scent's perfumer, François Demachy, said of the fragrance.
Customer Review: "Got this in a kit for my birthday gift, such a pretty, feminine scent."
Aptly named, this signature perfume from designer Ralph Lauren is, indeed, romantic. An effervescent capsule of all things fantasy and fairytale, this fragrance manages to combine velvety woods, extravagant florals, and seductive musk in its sleek trademark square bottle. As for the notes, the credits lay as follows: rose, marigold, ginger, chamomile, freesia, violet, lotus, day lily, patchouli, and a little bit of oakmoss and musk for good earthen measure.
Customer Review: "When I close my eyes and think of spring, this pops in my mind. It’s a lovely light, floral, and girly smell that's perfect for everything. Scent lasts a few hours and sprays evenly on skin [and] clothes."
No popular-designer-perfume roundup would ever be complete without the satiny scent that's been loved and worn by so many. Kind of like a warm and cozy hug in a bottle, this fragrance is a creamy, sheer layering of exotic Moroccan jasmine, lily of the valley, bergamot, and grounding hints of sandalwood, amber, and musk.
Customer Review: "Makes you feel sexy and classy at any age. So many compliments!"
When we think of Light Blue, all that comes to mind is high school, which is just one of the many proof points depicting how popular this Mediterranean perfume from Dolce & Gabbana is. It's citrusy and sparkly (not literally but conceptually) and feels like a wave-skimming cruise along the sea—think notes like citrus, apple, and bamboo.
Customer Review: "It is my summer scent! Very fresh! A classic! Love that I can layer it with other perfumes, too."
Founded in Stockholm back in 2006, Byredo could be considered one of the newer kids on the fragrance block. That said, the brand has risen with fast and furious pandemonium, and it could be said that each of Byredo's perfumes has a strong destined-to-be-iconic following.
Mojave Ghost is a standout and a best seller across countless retailers we cross-checked. Fans are uninhibited about their love of the eclectic composition of ambrette, magnolia, sandalwood, violet, musk, and cedarwood.
Customer Review: "I had been debating purchasing for weeks and I threw caution to the wind and bought Mojave Ghost based solely on reviews. Big win! It leans mostly on the floral note, but subtly. On me, it’s fresh and clean with the right touch of earthy for balance. It is quite a beautiful concoction and I will never buy another perfume based only on reviews. I won the scent lottery with this purchase and used up all my luck. Dive in! All is good!"
Without question, Santal 33 is the most popular perfume from this niche fragrance designer. According to the brand, the perfume's ambition is to capture the great American myth in an olfactory way. It's a unisex and crackling mix of herbs and florals like cardamom, iris, and violet paired with smokier notes of Australian sandalwood, papyrus, and cedarwood.
Customer Review: "I'd take a bath in this scent if I could afford it. I hope I'm buried with a bottle when I die."
FYI: This best-selling perfume is so popular it's often sold out on Diptyque's website. Luckily for you, the slightly subtler eau de toilette version is available to snap up at the department store instead. Featuring fluttering hints of Turkish rose, musk, iris, pink peppercorn, orange blossom, tuberose, and jasmine sambac, Do Son was inspired by the childhood memories of one of Diptyque's three founders, Yves Coueslant.
Customer Review: "I wore this to a women's event and two people have already ordered it! It smells so good I carry the solid version with me to add for later in the day."
Frédéric Malle perfumes are iconic. In fact, you can't really go wrong with any of the brand's intoxicating releases because they're just that good and just that beloved. Every single one has been carefully created by the best perfumers in the industry, but Carnal Flower has to be a signature scent within the fragrance space. Perfumer Dominique Ropion spent over two years laboriously perfecting the lush blend of musk, orange blossom, and tuberose, and the result, to be honest, is beautiful. It's been around since 2005 and is a favorite for a reason.
Customer Review: "I bought a 3.4 oz bottle of this masterpiece and although it was hard to drop that much money [on] a fragrance, it was worth it. Every time I wear it, it lifts my spirits, it makes me happy, I get tons of compliments. It is tuberose with a hint of coconut to give it that floral, beachy vibe. It is so intoxicating! It's only been six months and I'm almost out :( time to fork out the money for a new bottle!"
If you're a history and Old Hollywood buff, you'll agree with the masses and adore this iconic perfume from Serge Lutens. It's rumored to have been inspired by legendary German actress Marlene Dietrich and has a full-bodied scent rich with notes of glamorous florals like rose and violet, spicy black pepper, and grounding musk.
Customer Review: "This fragrance is so subtle—a mix of rose and citrus. Not overbearing in any way. So happy I was sent a sample by some company, and so happy to be able to buy on Amazon."
This popular designer perfume from Tom Ford is so legendary and perpetually in demand that it's often low in stock or sold out at our favorite beauty retailers. Yes, there are other über-iconic Ford fragrances like Fucking Fabulous and Black Orchid, but Oud Wood is the unexpected sultry scent that fragrance insiders covet and admire most. Blame it on the mysteriously elegant (and perfectly intense) mix of sultry wood, vanilla, and a hit of spice.
Ford says this about the fragrance: "Oud Wood envelops you in rare oud, exotic spices, and cardamom, then exposes its rich and dark blend of sensuality."
Customer Review: "If you’re like me and you have a more discerning fragrance pallet than a common scent like a Bond 9 or Creed, then this fragrance is the one. Hands down, top three fragrances in my collection.
Clive Christian has been around since 1872 and is, bar none, one of the most covetable brands of designer perfume you've maybe never heard of. According to the retailer, this particular best-selling scent is "inspired by the world of luxury interiors and furniture" and features notes of amber, cedarwood, and mandarin. Oh, and if you're curious about the showstopping packaging, it's a design based on Queen Victoria's crown. (Clive Christian acquired the Crown Perfumery, of which Queen Victoria was a customer, in 1999.)
An exotic and enticing concoction courtesy of perfumer Alberto Morillas, this specific scent from the Kilian house is a universal best seller. Top notes include osmanthus, base notes include amber and cedar, and right at the heart is Egyptian narcissus. The inspiration, according to Kilian's website, is as follows: "The uninhibited Good Girl Gone Bad finds herself in a luscious floral whirlwind in the garden of good and evil."
Customer Review: "I got a sample of this. I wore it out, got so many compliments I had to purchase it. It is a head turner and has grown to be one of my absolute faves. This makes you feel sexy and sophisticated and lingers after you leave the room. It's powerful but not overbearing or overwhelming. It is lasting, even after a few days after I wear it it still is on my clothing when I am about to do laundry. If you are thinking about this don't hesitate to buy it."
Jo Malone London is one of the most applauded and well-known names in the scent space, and since it's hard to choose a favorite, we resorted to skimming the brand's website to take a peek at its best-selling olfactory concoctions of all time. At the top of the list? This warm and enveloping perfume mix of jasmine, marigold, and poignant ylang-ylang. It's both delicate and earthy, with glowing touches of amber and vanilla.
Customer Review: "I love this scent on its own, but paired with wood sage and sea salt [it's] amazing!!"
This article was originally published at an earlier date and has since been updated.
Erin has been writing a mix of beauty and wellness content for Who What Wear for over four years. Prior to that, she spent two and half years writing for Byrdie. She now calls Santa Monica home but grew up in Minnetonka, Minnesota, and studied writing, rhetoric, and communication at University of Wisconsin, La Crosse. She studied abroad in Galway, Ireland, and spent a summer in L.A. interning with the Byrdie and Who What Wear family. After graduating from UW, she spent one year in San Francisco, where she worked as a writer for Pottery Barn Kids and PBteen before moving down to L.A. to begin her career as a beauty editor. She considers her day-to-day beauty aesthetic very low-maintenance and relies on staples like clear brow serum (from Kimiko!), Lawless's Lip Plumping Mask in Cherry Vanilla, and an eyelash curler. For special occasions or days when she's taking more meetings or has an event, she'll wear anything and everything from Charlotte Tilbury (the foundations are game-changing), some shimmer on her lids (Stila and Róen do it best), and a few coats of the best mascara-type product on earth, Surratt's Noir Lash Tint.