22 best perfumes of all time - from classic scents to niche fragrances

Whether you're after Chanel, Dior or Tom Ford, discover your new favourite fragrance from our list of the best perfumes of all time

A collage of the best perfumes of all time
(Image credit: Future)

Picking a new fragrance can be overwhelming, so we’ve done the blotting, spritzing and wafting for you to compile a definitive list of the best perfumes of all time. 

Fragrance can have the biggest - yet often subliminal - impact on our memories and emotions, so it’s no surprise then that these classic scents (and even some perfume dupes) have enduring appeal. Unlike many beauty products, most of us remain faithful to our favourite fragrance and buy our signature scent on repeat, even if it has a hefty price tag - because yes, there is a difference between cheap and expensive perfume. Sometimes all you need is a spritz of something special to satisfy your self-care needs - and even better if it's one of the best long-lasting perfumes that lingers all day.

"We find that the classic fragrances continue to be bestsellers," says Megan Mosley, John Lewis fragrance and make-up buyer. "They are key staples to build a fragrance wardrobe that can be added to over time. Chanel, Dior and Creed are our most popular amongst new and more niche fragrance brands such as Floral Street and Le Labo," she says.

Whether you’re looking for some scent-spiration to uncover a new favourite fragrance or just interested to see if your personal go-to has made it into the best perfumes of all time, choose one of these and you’re guaranteed to smell gorgeous. And remember, there's no need to save it just for special occasions, as perfumes need to be replaced every three to five years.

How we picked the best perfumes of all time

  • Sales figures: We've taken a look at which perfumes remain best sellers after years on the market.
  • Consumer reviews: The best perfumes of all time are also those that are top-rated, so we've only included fragrances that consumers love.
  • Celebrity favourites: Nothing solidifies a product as a cult favourite quite like a celebrity endorsement, and several of the perfumes on our list are loved by famous faces.
  • Beauty editor picks: Our beauty editor has more than 15 years of experience in the beauty industry and that includes trying and testing all kinds of fragrances, so we've included her favourites.

22 best perfumes of all time, ranked

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