Money, money, money.
Like it or not, money runs the world. As such, emulating the rich and famous, from the clothes they wear, the cars they drive, and yes, the perfumes they use, is something that will never go out of style.
Of course, rich people are just people. And just like everyone else, some love perfume, while others could take it or leave it.
Yet it’s undeniable that some people just smell expensive. Do you want to, too?
Smelling expensive isn’t unattainable. In this list, you’ll find 11 luxurious perfumes, from designer staples like Hermès’ 24 Faubourg to nouveau-niche classics like Maison Francis Kurkdijan’s Baccarat Rouge 540, that will make you smell filthy rich.
Let’s get into the list, shall we?
11. Chanel Coromandel Eau de Parfum
Key notes: patchouli, white chocolate, amber, incense
Practically any Chanel perfume is going to smell at the very least classy, but Coromandel, from the brand’s upscale Les Exclusifs collection, is downright regal. Inspired by Coco Chanel’s love of coromandel lacquered screens from China, Coromandel is an opulent oriental perfume that practically requires a fur coat and pearls to be pulled off with the proper panache.
A heady blend of rich patchouli (not of the headshop variety, mind you), white chocolate, vanilla, benzoin, amber, incense, bitter orange, and florals, all topped off with the characteristic Chanel sheen, Coromandel will have everyone wondering what perfume you’re wearing.
If you want an even more expensive and intense experience, opt for the parfum version.
10. Maison Francis Kurkdjian Baccarat Rouge 540 Eau de Parfum
Key notes: saffron, ambergris, amberwood, fir resin
Maison Francis Kurkdjian’s Baccarat Rouge 540 practically took the luxury perfume world by storm when it was released in 2015. It has since inspired a whole host of smell-alike’s, including Ariana Grande’s Cloud. Inspired by the trademark red crystal of Baccarat chandeliers, Baccarat Rouge 540 is a scent that must be smelled to be understood. Almost entirely composed of synthetic accords, it can best be described as “sexy cotton candy” with an almost plasticky saffron note at the top.
That might sound strange, but the scent trail of Baccarat Rouge 540 is absolutely intoxicating and irresistible. All of this has made it a best seller for the brand and one of the most popular perfumes on the market.
One thing is certain: it smells like money. Try it for yourself and see what all the fuss is about.
9. Frederic Malle Portrait of a Lady
Key notes: rose, raspberry, incense, patchouli
A list of expensive smelling perfumes would simply be incomplete without mention of a Frederic Malle perfume. There are many candidates you could choose, including Monsieur, a dark, boozy patchouli, or Carnal Flower, an intoxicating tropical tuberose, but I’ve chosen what is in my opinion the brand’s masterpiece: Portrait of a Lady.
A dark, deep, and rich blend of Turkish rose, raspberry, patchouli, incense, and spices, Portrait of a Lady was inspired by the Henry James novel of the same name, and designed as the signature perfume of the novel’s protagonist, Isabel Archer.
Portrait of a Lady positively reeks of quality, and won’t fail to attract notice. You definitely won’t smell like anyone else, in the best way.
8. Hermès 24 Faubourg
Key notes: hyacinth, white flowers, iris, amber
Of all the major designer brands, the house of Hermès strikes me as one of the classiest, and 24 Faubourg is certainly no exception. Released in 1995, 24 Faubourg is one of the older perfumes on the list, and would probably be more suitable for women 30 and up. But what an intoxicatingly rich and beautiful perfume it is – an explosion of white florals contrasted with bitterly green hyacinth, succulent peach and orange, and a supple undertone of soap, amber, and woods.
24 Faubourg is practically the incarnation of the old adage, “Money talks, but wealth whispers.” Elegant, but never showy, it is rumored that 24 Faubourg was the signature scent of Princess Diana in the later years of her life. If that’s not an endorsement, I don’t know what is.
7. Dior Privée Ambre Nuit
Key notes: amber, rose, pink pepper, grapefruit
One of my personal favorite perfumes of all time, Ambre Nuit is an absolute showstopper from Dior’s upscale Dior Privée collection. More than smelling expensive (which it does), Ambre Nuit is one of the only perfumes I know of that smells romantic; it never fails to elicit sighs of pleasure wherever it goes.
To me, it smells like a rose and a slice of grapefruit suspended in the most airy and ethereal amber imaginable. Ambre Nuit manages to balance deep and rich notes of amber and rose with fresh, succulent, and uplifting grapefruit and zingy pink pepper.
6. Louis Vuitton Les Sables Roses
Key notes: Bulgarian rose, oud, saffron, ambergris
Louis Vuitton is certainly not a brand known for being cheap when it comes to price or quality, and their perfume line is no exception. Rose and oud is a pretty overdone combo nowadays, with almost every brand having taken a crack at it, but rarely has it been executed with the level of intensity, opulence, or quality of ingredients exhibited in Les Sables Roses.
Downright photorealistic, bright, creamy, and subtly sweet rose is braced with a smooth (not-animalic) oud, rich and ever-so-slightly-salty ambergris, and pepper. You’ll smell like a Gulf sheikah, and best of all it’ll last for a day and then some.
5. Tom Ford Soleil Blanc
Key notes: coconut, tuberose, ylang-ylang, pistachio
Want to smell like an expensive person sunbathing on a beach in Bali or the Bahamas? Look no further than Tom Ford’s Soleil Blanc. This smells like one of the most opulent and elegant sunscreens ever made. Tropical tuberose and ylang-ylang is blended with a gorgeous coconut cream, mixed with vanilla, cardamom, and amber, and garnished with pistachios.
If you want a sexy, long-lasting, and expensive-smelling summer fragrance, look no further.
4. Penhaligon’s The Tragedy of Lord George
Key notes: woody notes, brandy, tonka beans, shaving soap
A deep, rich, and manly barbershop fougère fragrance from the classic British house Penhaligon’s Portrait Collection, The Tragedy of Lord George is the perfect fall and winter signature scent for guys who want to smell classy AF.
Inspired by the smell of classic shaving soap and brandies drunk in well-upholstered manor house drawing rooms, there is something so effortlessly sophisticated about this dark, smoky, soapy, woodsy concoction. The scent of a 19th century earl. If that doesn’t smell expensive, I don’t know what does.
3. By Kilian Angel’s Share
Key notes: cognac, cinnamon, vanilla, praline
If you’ve ever wanted to smell like the most expensive cinnamon roll in existence, this is the fragrance for you. By Kilian, a brand founded by Kilian Hennessey, heir to the Hennessy clan and its cognac empire, is a house known for dishing out boozy delights, and for making Love, Rihannah’s signature perfume.
Angel’s Share is inspired by the same term in the cognac, brandy, and whiskey business, which refers to the small percentage of alcohol lost to evaporation as the liquid ages in oak barrels. That means Angel’s Share is boozy with a capital b – but don’t worry, this is one you can wear to the office.
Sumptuous cognac blends with oak and delectable gourmand notes of vanilla, praline, and cinnamon. You’ll smell like you’re sipping Henny and eating an upscale cinnamon roll before a roaring fire, in the most fabulous way possible.
2. Prada Infusion d’Iris
Key notes: iris, incense, cedar, benzoin
One of the least expensive perfumes on the list, but still one of the classiest and most elegant nevertheless, Prada’s Infusion d’Iris is a cool, calm, and composed perfume that would not smell untoward on someone like Cate Blanchette or Tilda Swinton, or perhaps a chic Parisian who owns a minimalist clothing brand.
Swirls of Prada’s trademark powdery iris are contrasted with dry woods, incense, biting green galbanum, and white flowers, in a graceful blend that projects a certain effortless je ne sais quoi. Infusion d’Iris is not a screamer, rather choosing to announce itself with a wispy trail that will keep anyone in your wake sniffing. An ageless beauty for the airy elf types.
1. Guerlain Angélique Noire
Key notes: angelica, vanilla, pear, jasmine
An absolutely brilliant green, musky, herbal vanilla, Angélique Noire is a perfectly blended gem of a fragrance. Angelica, a smell often compared to cloves or aniseed and sometimes used to represent musk, is paired with airy jasmine, barely ripe Bartlett pear, dusty caraway seeds, dry cedar, and a rich, deep, full-bodied Bourbon vanilla, in a blend that practically oozes quality, purity, serenity, and sophistication. I imagine rich, upper class, and chic Parisian women smelling like this: not a hair out of place, perfectly put together, and incredibly beautiful.
This level of composition, quality of ingredients, and clarity could have only been accomplished by classic French perfume house Guerlain. An outright stunner.
The Final Word
In this list, I’ve offered 11 of the most expensive smelling perfumes on the market. From rosy beauties like Louis Vuitton’s Les Sables Roses to abstract and airy blends like Prada’s Infusion d’Iris, any of the perfumes on this list will make you stand out from the crowd.
And remember, smelling expensive is not always about announcing your presence in a room with your scent. “Money talks, but wealth whispers.” Sometimes the most luxurious and expensive smelling scent might not be a screamer, but will stand out for its beauty, quality, and discretion.
If you’re looking for an expensive smelling perfume, there’s bound to be one on this list that’ll scratch the itch.