Imagine: you just bought a brand new expensive perfume all wrapped up in fancy packaging.
Excitedly, you take it out, spray it on, and enjoy the intoxicating aroma.
“Ahhh,” you think, “I can’t wait to smell like this all day long!”
To your surprise and dismay, however, an hour later you go to sniff the spot you sprayed and can’t smell anything.
What kind of malarkey is that?
You cue the sad music and mourn the loss of the hard earned smackers you spent on a perfume that’s little better than a bottle of smelly water.
We’ve all been there (or at least I have many, many times). And with the perfume world getting more and more complicated seemingly by the minute, how can you know what perfume will actually last?
Never fear! That’s why I’m here. But I’m afraid I have to burst your bubble just a little tiny bit.
How long lasting a perfume is is really dependent on the individual, their skin type, and their skin chemistry. Some perfumes won’t last on some people no matter what, while others will cling onto your skin for dear life, even if you don’t want them to.
So, there is no guarantee that these perfumes will last for a long time on your skin. But I’m pretty sure none of these will be gone after an hour.
In this list, I’ve collated some of the most popular modern women’s perfumes known for their longevity. From designer perfumes like Chanel’s Coco Mademoiselle, to niche staples like Frederic Malle’s Portrait of a Lady, you can’t go wrong with any of these if you want to smell loud and proud.
And so, in no particular order…
25. Chanel Coco Mademoiselle
Key notes: patchouli, orange, rose, jasmine
A modern classic first released in 2001, Coco Mademoiselle is an elegant perfume that is still one of Chanel’s most popular offerings. It also happens to be known for its powerful performance, too.
24. Thierry Mugler Alien
Key notes: jasmine, woody notes, amber
Thierry Mugler is a designer house known for making strong perfumes (looking at you Angel) and Alien is no exception. Housed in a brilliant purple flacon straight out of a H.R. Giger painting, Alien makes no excuses for being a powerful weapon of olfactory warfare. If you can’t handle your jasmine, stay away.
23. Yves Saint Laurent Libre Intense
Key notes: vanilla, lavender, orange blossom, tonka bean
This sexy yet elegant fragrance is all about grown-up, sweet-but-not-too-sweet vanilla, along with a hefty dose of lavender and white florals. Perfect for classy occasions in cold weather, Libre Intense is sure to please those looking for a long-lasting but not overwhelming experience.
22. Guerlain Black Perfecto by La Petite Robe Noire
Key notes: cherry, almond, rose, leather
Have you ever wanted to smell like amaretto and cherry jam spilled on a black leather couch near a vase of roses? But like, in a sexy goth kind of way? Black Perfecto is just the ticket. This sensual perfume by French house Guerlain is sure to satisfy ladies who are looking for a dash of darkness.
21. Tom Ford Black Orchid Parfum
Key notes: black orchid, rum, truffle, patchouli
The original Black Orchid was a scandalous vampiric classic of epic proportions, positively overflowing with dark sexuality, overripe fruits, and flowers of unknown provenance. The parfum both amps up and tones down the original EDP, adding a dash of rum from Tom Ford’s Velvet Orchid, cutting out some of the wilder floral notes, and mixing in a dollop of plum jam for good measure. Not for the faint of heart.
20. Dolce & Gabbana Light Blue Eau Intense
Key notes: apple, lemon, marigold, jasmine
The original Light Blue has been a summer staple for two decades, and the Eau Intense flanker is a worthy successor. Bursting at the seams with citrusy goodness, crisp green apple, and floral notes of marigold and jasmine, this happy and uplifting perfume will keep you smelling fresh even on the hottest days.
19. Jean Paul Gaultier So Scandal!
Key notes: tuberose, raspberry, milk, jasmine
Jean Paul Gaultier’s Scandal line is known for bombastically sweet, over-the-top perfumes, and this is no exception. So Scandal! is a creamy, fruity, floral, and oh-so-femme perfume that will be sure to satisfy your sweet tooth.
18. Givenchy Irresistible Givenchy
Key notes: rose, iris, pear, ambrette
The French design house Givenchy is known for keeping things classy, and Irresistible Givenchy certainly fits the bill. A classically feminine blend of fruit, florals, and musk, Irresistible Givenchy makes for a charming signature scent that lasts all day long.
17. Paco Rabanne Pure XS For Her
Key notes: popcorn, vanilla, coconut, peach
Perfumes from the design house of Paco Rabanne tend to be “love it or hate it”. Some can’t stand their garish, over-the-top style, while others can’t get enough. No matter how you feel about them, a Paco Rabanne fragrance is bound to attract attention. Pure XS For Her is a unique combination of buttery popcorn with juicy peach, sweet vanilla, and a tropical bouquet of ylang-ylang, coconut, and orange blossom. Sweet, nutty, floral, and oh-so-sexy, Pure XS For Her will last on you all day and night.
16. Narciso Rodriguez – For Her
Key notes: musk, amber, African orange flower, osmanthus
A modern day classic composed by master perfumer Francis Kurkdijan and first released in 2003, For Her has stood the test of time. Beautifully blended, For Her features exotic florals like African orange flower and osmanthus floating on top of Narciso Rodriguez’s signature musky base. A must-try for musk lovers.
15. Prada La Femme Intense
Key notes: ylang-ylang, tuberose, frangipani, iris
A heady blend of creamy tropical flowers, vanilla, and Prada’s signature squeaky clean iris-based DNA, La Femme Intense is a statement piece of a fragrance that projects power and femininity. You won’t fail to be noticed wearing La Femme Intense, and it’ll last all day (and then some).
14. Valentino Voce Viva Intensa
Key notes: vanilla, jasmine, orange blossom, oakmoss
A classy and sensual blend from Italian designer Valentino, Voce Viva Intensa deepens and enriches the already long lasting Voce Viva with an elegant combination of vanilla, white florals, oakmoss, and citrus.
13. Bvlgari Goldea
Key notes: ylang-ylang, amber, musk, raspberry
A lavish floral amber from the Spanish house Bvlgari, Goldea is an ode to the tropical flower ylang-ylang. Sweet, musky, fruity, and rich, this sweet-but-not-too-sweet fragrance won’t fail to attract attention all day long.
12. Giorgio Armani Sì Intense
Key notes: blackcurrant syrup, rose, patchouli, benzoin
One of the most recent installments in the popular Sì line from Giorgio Armani, Sì Intense adds a hefty dollop of blackcurrant syrup to the trademark cassis-rose combination of the original, which is intensified with fruity davana and a rich base of patchouli, benzoin, and vanilla. Sì Intense is the perfect fragrance for a night out on the town, and will definitely turn heads.
11. Dior Joy Intense
Key notes: rose, jasmine, vanilla, sandalwood
A clean, classy, and feminine blend, Joy Intense combines a classical floral bouquet of jasmine, rose, and neroli with rich vanilla, sandalwood, musk, and tonka bean. This is more “day on the town or at the office” than sexy seductress, but it will keep you smelling good all day long no matter where you decide to wear it.
10. By Kilian Rolling in Love
Key notes: almond milk, tuberose, iris, vanilla
A feminine and sensual perfume from the niche fragrance brand By Kilian, Rolling in Love strikes a chord with its bright red bottle and the creamy, powdery, slightly smoky goodness housed inside. If you like tuberose of the creamy and swoon-worthy variety, you owe it to yourself to try this out.
9. Maison Francis Kurkdijan Oud Satin Mood
Key notes: rose, oud, vanilla, violet
One of the sexiest and most delicious oud fragrances on the market, Oud Satin Mood gets the balance just right with a clean and slightly smoky oud paired with beautiful Turkish and Bulgarian rose, rich vanilla and benzoin, and powdery violet. It also happens to have absolutely eternal longevity. You will smell like the sexiest Turkish delight on the planet for at least three days. Just. Try. It.
8. Jo Malone Dark Amber & Ginger Lily
Key notes: ginger, sandalwood, cardamom, ambergris
British niche fragrance house Jo Malone isn’t exactly known for making powerful perfumes. The black-bottled Cologne Intense line, however, is an exception. Dark Amber & Ginger Lily is a spicy affair, with zesty ginger, cardamom, and pink pepper mingling with a bouquet of flowers on a rich and smoky base of ambergris, olibanum, leather, sandalwood, and patchouli. Inspired by the Japanese Kohdo ceremony, Dark Amber & Ginger Lily is both unique and effortlessly chic.
7. Memo Paris Sintra
Key notes: marshmallows, milk, orange blossom, vanilla
Sintra by the French niche house Memo Paris is a gorgeous, sensual, and perfectly wearable gourmand fragrance inspired by the numerous palaces of the Portuguese city of Sintra. Pairing the typical eau de cologne notes of petitgrain, orange blossom, and neroli with oh-so-gourmand notes of caramel, milk, marshmallows, and red berries results in a lush fragrance that will satisfy any sweet tooth but still manages to keep things classy.
6. Xerjoff Lira
Key notes: caramel, vanilla, blood orange, lavender
Italian niche brand Xerjoff brings out the big guns with one of the best feminine gourmand perfumes ever made in Lira. Effortlessly balancing succulent blood orange, gooey caramel, and rich vanilla with an aromatic brace of lavender and licorice, this is a decadent but sophisticated perfume that will have you smelling like the sexiest god damn lemon cake that ever walked the earth alllll day long.
5. Amouage Sunshine Woman
Key notes: osmanthus, almond, white tobacco, vanilla
You could choose pretty much any fragrance from Omani niche brand Amouage’s catalog and get something more-or-less eternal lasting power, but I’ve chosen Sunshine Woman since it’s fairly accessible to newbies and because I personally like it. This is a comfy, cozy, and sensual fragrance that truly radiates happy energy. Sunshine Woman opens with an explosion of powdery almond, piquant blackcurrant, and aromatic artemesia, along with the exotic floral-fruity note of osmanthus. It all calms down to a lush vanilla buttressed with wispy florals, rich white tobacco, and patchouli. It’s complex, but it’s extremely likeable. And, of course, it lasts all day, too.
4. Le Labo Rose 31
Key notes: rose, vetiver, cedar, cumin
If you’ve only ever smelt plush, pretty roses your whole life, you might be in for somewhat of a shock with Le Labo’s Rose 31. This is a rose laid bare, and has nothing to do with the jammy roses you might be accustomed to – green, spicy, woody, and sharp enough to draw blood.
However, once you’ve gotten those preconceived notions about what a rose should or shouldn’t be, Rose 31 proves to be a beautiful experience. It’s not all doom and gloom, though: there’s enough sweetness and cushioning musks to make this an altogether pleasant, albeit unique, perfume. It’s totally unisex too – so guys, if you’re reading this, don’t be afraid of this rose.
3. L’Artisan Parfumeur Couleur Vanille
Key notes: vanilla, sea salt, immortelle, cashmeran
Ever wanted to smell like a salted botanical vanilla praline on a windswept beach? Now you can with L’Artisan Parfumeur Couleur Vanille, one of those rare vanilla perfumes that is just as much at home in summer as it is in fall and winter.
Deep and rich, but with a fresh floralcy that keeps things from feeling too heavy, Couleur Vanille is a holy grail vanilla fragrance that lasts and lasts.
2. Montale Oudmazing
Key notes: grape, fig, vanilla, oud
An absolute slobberknocker of a fragrance that competes pound-for-pound with the longest lasting perfumes ever made, Montale’s Oudmazing is better described as a thermonuclear warhead than a fragrance. An explosion of ripe figs, pears, grapes, and oranges falls through a garden of jasmine and iris onto a dark and decadent base of oud, leather, vanilla, patchouli, and musk.
It’s crazy, but it works – it truly is an amazing oud fragrance that would smell divine on the right lady (or man). Use with caution, though; even one spray might be pushing it.
1. Frederic Malle Portrait of a Lady
Key notes: rose, incense, patchouli, raspberry
The undisputed queen of roses, French niche brand’s Portrait of a Lady (inspired by the Henry James novel of the same name) threw down the gauntlet when it was first released back in 2010. Still unvanquished, it has to be one of the most beautiful rose fragrances ever made: an immaculate blend of blood-red rose, dark patchouli, smoky incense, sandalwood, and spice, at once sensual and mystical.
Though its potency might have decreased somewhat over the years, it remains an absolute powerhouse of a fragrance that won’t fail to attract attention – and admiration.
The Final Word
Of course, this list has just scratched the surface of all of the long-lasting women perfumes available on the market.
However, I feel that you can’t go wrong with any of the perfumes on the list if you’re looking for long-lasting, high quality scents.
From high end niche perfumes like Le Labo’s Rose 31, to designer classics like Thierry Mugler’s Alien, this list showcases some of the longest lasting women’s perfumes available on the market today, for a range of budgets and occasions.
None of the perfumes on the list will be gone after an hour, at the very least – that I can promise you, unless you’ve got some seriously perfume-thirsty skin.
So dive in, explore, and test out the many perfumes on this list. There’s bound to be one (or two, or five) that works for you.