Perfume is many things, but it certainly ain’t cheap.
Even your run-of-the-mill department store eau de toilette is, for most people, an extravagance. And if you’re wondering why perfume is so expensive, you can take a quick peek here for a more detailed breakdown.
But for the upper crust, the crème de la crème, a Macy’s perfume counter spritz just won’t do. There are fragrances available that will raise your eyebrows and make your bottle of Chanel No.5 look like little more than a drugstore splash.
There are a number of candidates for the most expensive perfume on the market. From luxury brands like Roja Dove and Clive Christian to limited editions of storied brands like Jacques Fath, in this list you’ll find eleven of the world’s priciest perfumes.
Let’s take a closer look.
11. Jacques Fath – L’Iris De Fath
Jacques Fath was once one of the most prominent names in haute couture, renowned for his costume designs for films such as The Red Shoes and for adorning the celebrated forms of stars such as Ava Gardner, Rita Hayworth, and Greta Garbo. The house of Fath was (and still is) famous for its perfumes.
L’Iris de Fath is a modern reconstruction of the 1946 release L’Iris Gris, widely considered to be one of the best iris perfumes ever made. Containing notes like peach, rose, oakmoss, jasmine, and, of course, a whopping dose of real orris butter, one of the most expensive raw materials in perfumery, a 1.0 oz (30 ml) bottle of L’Iris de Fath will set you back a whopping $1,850 USD.
But for you penny pinchers out there, never fear – you can now buy a 4 ml vial of the stuff for the low-low price of $85!
10. Clive Christian – No. 1
The British designer house of Clive Christian has long touted its No. 1 as being the world’s most expensive perfume. And for a time, it seems that that was the case – at least in 2006, it was regarded as the world’s priciest scent, at $2,150 per ounce.
Unfortunately for Mr. Christian, that no longer seems to be the case.
A 1.7 oz (50 ml) of Clive Christian’s No. 1 will now set you back a cool $850.
While that’s certainly not cheap by any means, No. 1 has now been eclipsed by other, eye-poppingly expensive scents.
The reason for the cost? The use of rare materials, such as Mysore sandalwood, in addition to a diamond-and-crystal bottle.
Want an even costlier variation on No. 1? You might try No. 1 Imperial Majesty. Housed in a 500 ml Baccarat crystal bottle with an 18-carat gold collar, only a handful were ever produced, valued at $12,725.
9. Jean Patou – Joy
Another perfume that was long considered to be one of the world’s most expensive perfumes, Joy, originally released in 1930, is another beauty by a heritage French house.
A single ounce of the formula once contained 10,600 jasmine flowers and 28 dozen May roses and cost $850/oz.
And while the perfume has undoubtedly been reformulated and is available at more affordable prices nowadays, it nevertheless retains a hint of its former, albeit faded glory.
8. Frederic Malle – The Night
French niche brand Frederic Malle is known for luxurious perfumes, such as Portrait of a Lady (one of my favorites) and Musc Ravageur.
However, for lovers of Middle Eastern perfumery, Frederic Malle also offers the Desert Gems – a collection of four opulent perfumes inspired by the Middle East, all of which are pricey.
The priciest of all, however, would have to be The Night, the crowning glory of the collection. Composed by master perfumer Dominique Ropion, The Night contains a massive dose of real oud oil, one of the most expensive raw materials on the planet, in addition to rose, frankincense, sandalwood, and saffron.
An 8.4 oz (250 ml) bottle of the stuff will set you back a whopping $3425, and that’s not including tax, shipping and handling!
7. Chanel – No. 5 Grand Extrait
You know how I said that some of the perfumes on this list might make your bottle of Chanel’s No. 5 seem like small potatoes?
Well, I spoke too soon.
Chanel No. 5 Grand Extrait is the densest and most concentrated version of No. 5, utilizing only the highest quality ingredient in perfume oil form. But that’s not what you’re paying for with this grand extrait – it’s the presentation.
Housed in a thick glass bottle, the 7.6 oz (225 ml) bottle retails for $2,150, while the 30.4 oz (900 ml) sells for $4,800.
But for the true connoisseur of No. 5, an even more luxurious edition is available, No. 5 Parfum Baccarat Grand Extrait. Made to celebrate the 100th anniversary of No. 5, this version comes in a massive crystal 2021 ml bottle designed by Baccarat, along with a crystal wand and a leather case. This exclusive piece, of which only 55 were made, is evidently one of the largest perfume bottles ever created.
I couldn’t find a price, but if the price of the red 30.4 oz (900 ml) bottle edition of No. 5, which cost $30,000, is any indication, this bottle likely costs in the hundreds of thousands.
6. Baccarat – Les Larmes Sacrées de Thèbes
An exclusive to Harrods in London, Baccarat’s Les Larmes Sacrées de Thèbes was released in 1998 as an homage to ancient Egypt, along with two other fragrances, Une Nuit Étoilée au Bengale and Un Certain été à Livadia.
Housed in a pyramid-shaped crystal bottle containing a formula laden with myrrh and frankincense, it was a limited release that has since been hailed as one of the most expensive perfumes ever produced, valued at a whopping $6,800/oz.
Unfortunately, Les Larmes Sacrées de Thèbes has been discontinued, so if you’re able to track down a bottle, you’ll likely be paying even more.
5. Bond No. 9 – New Bond Street Amphora
The house of Bond No. 9 is a niche brand known for their perfumes inspired by New York City and their signature bottles.
New Bond Street is one of the brand’s most popular perfumes, a lavish gourmand fragrance combining coffee, chestnut, cacao, and vanilla.
If you’re a diehard fan of New Bond Street, you’re in luck! New Bond Street Amphora is the ultimate collector’s item for fans of the brand.
Housed in a massive 42 oz (1242 ml) bottle adorned with 3,000 Swarovski crystals, this beautiful piece of fragrant art will only set you back $7,500.
4. Roja Dove – By Appointment
British niche house Roja Dove has several perfumes that could be considered among the most expensive on the market.
However, By Appointment takes the cake in terms of price. Only one bottle of the stuff exists, and it can only be smelled, as the name implies, by appointment at the Roja Dove boutique on the sixth floor of Harrods in London.
An opulent creation containing 31 notes of the highest quality, By Appointment comes in a crystal flacon with a gold, amethyst, and diamond cap and has real gold flakes floating inside
The price of this opulent juice? A mere $100,082.25.
3. DKNY – Golden Delicious Million Dollar
DKNY’s Golden Delicious is a fairly common designer fragrance available for a pretty average price.
However, for the truest, most ardent devotees of Golden Delicious, a fabulously luxurious version is available. This exclusive bottle is decorated with 2,909 precious gemstones, including 183 yellow sapphires, 2,700 white diamonds, 15 pink diamonds, 4 rose-cut diamonds, oodles of rubies and sapphires, and gold, all arranged in a such a way as to recreate the skyline of New York City, a process which took 1,500 man hours.
The price of this glittering extravagance? As the name implies, $1,000,000 smackers.
All the proceeds, however, were devoted to charity.
2. Spirit of Dubai – Shumukh
I would be remiss if I did not include a perfume from Spirit of Dubai on a list of the world’s most expensive perfumes. This UAE based niche house has produced some of the most luxurious perfumes ever made, containing dozens of fragrance notes and ingredients of the highest quality.
However, with Shumukh they’ve really outdone themselves. More of an art installation than a perfume bottle, Shumukh stands at 6 feet (2 meters) tall (on top of a leather base that is itself 6 feet tall) and a staggering 3 liters (3000 ml). The bottle is decorated with 3,571 diamonds, pearls, 13 lbs (5.9 kg) of pure silver and 5 lbs (2.5 kg) of 18-karat gold. It won two Guinness World Records: one for the tallest perfume bottle commercially available, and another for the most diamonds on a perfume bottle.
The fragrance itself is an opulent Middle Eastern perfume, containing real Indian oud, Mysore sandalwood, Turkish rose, and oodles of other notes.
The price of this staggering creation? A gobsmacking $1.3 million.
Truly, Shumukh is a fragrance made for a sheikh.
1. Morreale – Le Monde Sur Mesure
As opulent as Shumukh is, it has only slightly been eclipsed by French brand Morreale.
Morreale is a brand owned by the descendants of French aristocrats. It offers a bespoke perfume service by which clients are allowed to design their own perfume and bottle from the ground up.
Each bottle is unique, comes in 5 liter, 7 liter, or 10 liter size, and requires at least a year of intensive labor to produce. Encased in 18 karat gold armor and encrusted with between 20,000 to 40,000 precious stones, this is the apogee of opulence. In addition, each customer receives a lifetime supply of their creation.
The price? Well, it starts out at $1.5 million and goes up from there. One of the more recent bottles was purchased by an anonymous buyer for $1.8 million, and past clients have included Emirati sheiks.
Who knows? When you’ve got that kind of money to throw around, the sky’s the limit.
The Final Word
In this article, we’ve seen 11 of the world’s most expensive perfumes.
From exclusive editions of old staples like Chanel No. 5 to Middle Eastern luxury, there are many contenders for the title of most expensive perfume. However, French brand Morreale is the current record holder, at $1.8 million.