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What makes a fragrance supremely expensive? The raw materials that go into its making? Perhaps. The world’s most expensive perfumes also have the world’s rarest and priciest ingredients. Brand equity, perhaps? Maybe. The most expensive perfumes come from the most exclusive high-fashion brands. The sparkling limited edition crystal bottle it comes with? Most certainly.
What’s clear is that the lucky few who wear these perfumes are willing to spend on one bottle what many of us take months to earn. Much of the worldly pleasures we experience are, after all, dictated by our olfactory senses. The nose knows.
Here are seven of the most expensive perfumes in the market today. One common quality of all the scents on the list is their longevity. Many were created years earlier and are still highly sought after today. Price isn’t the only object. Many of these are also rare and extremely hard to find. These reasons, plus the enchantment that the actual scents provide, contribute to the fascination.
If we can’t afford to wear them or at least be near a person who does, knowing might be the next best thing to smelling.
1. Clive Christian’s Imperial Majesty [$215,000/16.9 oz.]
Famed perfumer Roja Dove created the scent known as Imperial Majesty from rose oil, orris root, jasmine, and Italian cinnamon. The bottle is made of a material so difficult to work with that one of every three attempts breaks during the production process. The neck of the bottle is made of 18-carat gold inset with a five-carat brilliant-cut diamond.
2. Baccarat’s Les Larmes Sacrees de Thebes [$1,700/0.25 oz.]
Translated as “Sacred Tears of Thebes,” the fragrance designed by Christine Nagel smells of myrrh, frankincense, amber, jasmine, geranium, ylang-ylang, cardamom, basil, myrtle, sandalwood and musk. The bottle, handmade by Baccarat artists and largely responsible for the price, is capped by an amethyst crystal with a bubble of yellow crystal blown inside to house the scent.
3. Clive Christian’s No. 1 [$2,150 / 2 oz.]
Clive Christian No. 1 is a fragrance that smells like luxury. No cost was spared in the creation of this fragrance. The scent has top notes of bergamot, lime, Sicilian mandarin nutmeg, cardamom and thyme. The heart notes are more of heliotrope, ylang-ylang, jasmine, rose, and lily of the valley while the base notes smell of sandalwood, cedar wood, amber wood, vanilla, and vetiver. Its bottle is handmade from lead crystal, while the neck is 24-karat gold-plated sterling silver, set with a solitaire.
The men’s version of No. 1 is also the world’s most expensive perfume for men ($2,350 / 2 oz.)
4. Caron’s Poivre [$2000/2 oz.]
Created by Michel Morsetti in 1954, Caron’s Poivre has been described as possessing a strong, brave and a bracing unisex scent – spicy pepper top note, rich floral heart, and woodsy base notes. It comes in a Baccarat bottle that is beautified with Crystal and white gold collar.
5. Hermes’ 24 Faubourg Extrait [$1,500 / 1 oz.]
It’s named after the Parisian address of the Hermes flagship store. Designed by Maurice Roucel and Bernard Bourjois, the scent is based on ylang-ylang, orange blossom, jasmine, iris, vanilla and ambergris. It’s available in a more affordable packaging but the Extrait limited edition comes in 1-oz St. Louis crystal bottles. With just 1000 bottles sold all around the world, patrons of exclusivity won’t wince at the price.
6. Chanel’s N°5 Parfum Grand Extrait [$4200.00/30 oz.]
The purest form available of the world’s best known perfume. Coco Chanel wanted a perfume no one could copy so perfume designer Ernest Beaux used the most expensive ingredients available at the time of its creation (1921) — jasmine from Grasse, Rose de Mai, and superior ylang-ylang among them. Its signature and defining feature is a 1% overdose of aliphatic aldehydes, the chemical that lends sparkle to fragrances.
7. Jean Patou’s Joy Baccarat Pure Limited [$1,800 / 1 oz.]
Only 50 limited-edition inscribed Baccarat Pure Parfum bottles are created each year for Jean Patou Joy. For two short weeks in summer the 10,600 flowers required for just one bottle of Joy are harvested in Grasse, France. A floral bouquet of Bulgarian rose, Ylang-Ylang, Tuberose and Grasse Jasmine compose the scent of this timeless masterpiece.