A Definitive List of the Best-Smelling Perfumes of All Time (2024)

A Definitive List of the Best-Smelling Perfumes of All Time (1)

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A signature scent should be timeless, perfect for any situation and at any age. Whether you're into woodsy, crisp or sultry notes, the best perfumes for women feature irresistible aromas that linger on skin all day but never become cloying. But with so many fragrances on the market, finding your holy grail perfume can be a challenge. While you can always opt for one that stirs up a nostalgic memory (just think of Mom's oh-so-familiar scent), you may be looking for a signature scent all your own. One place to start: Classic perfumes that have stood the test of time.

Before you douse yourself with every sample in the perfume department, browse our list of the best-selling, most popular perfumes in the world, with options ranging from richly scented rose fragrances to cozy transitional scents to light and breezy summer perfumes featuring refreshing hints of vanilla and coconut.

Our top picks:

Whether you're shopping for yourself or looking for a gift she'll love, we've rounded up the all-time best women's perfumes for every occasion, scent preference and season, including affordable perfumes that won't break the bank. Find your new scent soulmate ahead!

1

Best Nighttime Perfume for Women

Yves Saint Laurent Black Opium Eau de Parfum

A Definitive List of the Best-Smelling Perfumes of All Time (12)

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Much like your daily cup of joe, this Yves Saint Laurent coffee-scented concoction is addictive and adds a bit of warmth to the palette. Blending swirls of rich coffee and vanilla with white flowers, it's a seductive scent that will wake you up (just in time for date night).

2

Best Citrus Perfume for Women

Chanel Coco Mademoiselle Eau De Parfum Spray

A Definitive List of the Best-Smelling Perfumes of All Time (13)

If you grew up admiring your mom's bottle of Chanel No. 5 perfume on her vanity, this equally enviable bottle — with more modern and energizing notes of orange, jasmine, rose and patchouli — is an elevated alternative to the classic.

3

Best Daytime Perfume for Women

Elizabeth Arden White Tea Eau de Toilette

A Definitive List of the Best-Smelling Perfumes of All Time (14)

Like a freshly ironed white button-down shirt, this Elizabeth Arden scent is always classy and never goes out of style. The subtle blend of white tea, sage, white iris and musk is softly inviting but not overpowering.

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4

Best Warm Perfume for Women

Ellis Brooklyn Super Amber Eau de Parfum

A Definitive List of the Best-Smelling Perfumes of All Time (15)

With a profile that we can only call wearable yet irresistible, this GH Beauty Award Winner charmed our Lab experts thanks to its warm scents of amber, musk and cedarwood. The fragrance smells cozy and soft but offers a subtle sweet aroma that melds seamlessly onto skin's natural scent.

5

Best Sophisticated Perfume for Women

Guerlain Mon Guerlain Eau de Parfum

A Definitive List of the Best-Smelling Perfumes of All Time (16)

You will feel like a world traveler with this luxurious Guerlain perfume: Notes of lavender from Provence, jasmine from India, sandalwood from Australia and vanilla from Papua New Guinea define this warm, rich fragrance.

6

Best Beachy Perfume for Women

Maison Margiela Replica Beach Walk Eau de Toilette

A Definitive List of the Best-Smelling Perfumes of All Time (17)

Conjure up the smell of the salty air and the feel of the warm summer sun with a spritz of this Maison Margiela Replica scent. It swirls notes of lemon, coconut milk and amber to mimic the scents of a seaside afternoon.

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7

Best Sheer Floral Perfume for Women

Estée Lauder Pleasures Eau De Parfum

A Definitive List of the Best-Smelling Perfumes of All Time (18)

On top of its attractive price tag, this Estée Lauder classic wows with its lightly floral fragrance. Designed to capture the "freshness of flowers after a spring rain," this scent features top notes of white lily, violet and green leaves.

8

Best Woodsy Perfume for Women

Le Labo Santal 33 Eau de Parfum

A Definitive List of the Best-Smelling Perfumes of All Time (19)

Smoky, spice and everything nice — Le Labo's most popular scent carries an unmistakably woody scent that combines musky cedarwood, leather and sandalwood base notes, balanced by subtle flowery accents. One beauty editor attests to its familiar rich scent that stays on forever.

9

Best Rose Perfume for Women

Dior Miss Dior Blooming Bouquet Eau de Toilette

A Definitive List of the Best-Smelling Perfumes of All Time (20)

Picture this: You're lounging in a French garden surrounded by freshly blooming peonies and roses. A few spritzes of this Dior floral fragrance will transport you there.

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10

Best Sparkling Perfume for Women

Lancôme La Vie Est Belle Eau De Parfum

A Definitive List of the Best-Smelling Perfumes of All Time (21)

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Perfect for warmer months, this light and sweet Lancôme fragrance features bright, effervescent notes of white iris, patchouli, vanilla and spun sugar.

11

Best Uplifting Perfume for Women

Marc Jacobs Daisy Eau de Toilette Spray

A Definitive List of the Best-Smelling Perfumes of All Time (22)

Since 2007, Marc Jacobs's youthful mix of wild strawberries, jasmine and vanilla has charmed with its approachable, fresh fragrance and playful flower cap.

12

Best Musky Perfume for Women

Narciso Rodriguez For Her Eau de Parfum

A Definitive List of the Best-Smelling Perfumes of All Time (23)

Like Narciso Rodriguez's popular little black dresses, his iconic fragrance is synonymous with chic simplicity. The spritz is centered around notes of musk, amber, wood and vanilla.

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13

Best Luxury Perfume for Women

Maison Francis Kurkdjian Baccarat Rouge 540 Eau de Parfum

A Definitive List of the Best-Smelling Perfumes of All Time (24)

A Definitive List of the Best-Smelling Perfumes of All Time (25)

This Maison Francis Kurkdjian creation quickly rose to fragrance fame thanks to its irresistible, head-turning aroma. It's the most unique mix of jasmine, cedar and amber that’s warm, sensual and strong yet somehow soft — totally addictive and the kind of signature scent people stop and ask about.

14

Best Earthy Perfume for Women

Jo Malone Wood Sage & Sea Salt Cologne

A Definitive List of the Best-Smelling Perfumes of All Time (26)

Now 15% Off

Not every woman wants to smell like a bouquet of flowers. For an earthier scent, this Jo Malone cologne includes just two simple notes: sea salt and sage. Don't be surprised if your partner winds up stealing a spritz or two.

15

Best Fall Perfume for Women

Ralph Lauren Romance Eau de Parfum

A Definitive List of the Best-Smelling Perfumes of All Time (27)

Envelop yourself in the crisp scents of autumn with this classic Ralph Lauren fragrance. Notes of white violet leaves, marigold and oak moss conjure up memories of a cozy fall hike beneath changing leaves.

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16

Best Fruity Perfume for Women

Trish McEvoy No. 9 Blackberry & Vanilla Musk Eau de Parfum

A Definitive List of the Best-Smelling Perfumes of All Time (28)

A Definitive List of the Best-Smelling Perfumes of All Time (29)

This Trish McEvoy fragrance elevates fruity notes like blackberry and plum by balancing them with richer hints of woods, vanilla and musk. We're fans of its subtle, irresistible sweetness balanced with warmth.

17

Best Rich Floral Perfume for Women

Viktor&Rolf Flowerbomb Eau de Parfum

A Definitive List of the Best-Smelling Perfumes of All Time (30)

A Definitive List of the Best-Smelling Perfumes of All Time (31)

Like a bottled-up bouquet, Flowerbomb's fresh-smelling fragrance bursts with warm and spicy floral scents of jasmine, freesia and rose — though it's balanced by base notes of patchouli, musk and vanilla. Inspired by garden parties, the Viktor & Rolf perfume is housed in a cheeky grenade-shaped bottle and earns its cult-favorite status for its versatility in both daytime and nighttime.

18

Best Softly Scented Perfume for Women

Philosophy Amazing Grace Eau de Toilette

A Definitive List of the Best-Smelling Perfumes of All Time (32)

Whether your nose is sensitive to strong smells or you're looking for something subtle to wear every day, this Philosophy fragrance won't envelop you in an overwhelming cloud of heavy scents. Crisp citrus notes of orange and grapefruit are combined with soft white florals for a delicate finish.

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19

Best Layerable Perfume for Women

Gucci Bloom Eau de Parfum For Her

A Definitive List of the Best-Smelling Perfumes of All Time (33)

If the first day of spring is your happy place, consider this light and subtle bouquet of tuberose and jasmine from Gucci your perfect perfume pick-me-up.

20

Best Summer Perfume for Women

Dolce & Gabbana Light Blue Eau de Toilette

A Definitive List of the Best-Smelling Perfumes of All Time (34)

Dreaming of sipping your favorite drink on the beach? Spritz on Dolce & Gabbana's summery co*cktail of Sicilian lemon and tropical jasmine to satisfy your sunny day craving.

A Definitive List of the Best-Smelling Perfumes of All Time (35)

April Franzino

Beauty Director

April (she/her) is the beauty director at Good Housekeeping, Prevention and Woman's Day, where she oversees all beauty content. She has over 15 years of experience under her belt, starting her career as an assistant beauty editor at GH in 2007, and working in the beauty departments of SELF and Fitness magazines.

A Definitive List of the Best-Smelling Perfumes of All Time (2024)

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