Why Is Clive Christian Perfume So Expensive?

  • By: Nathan Cherry
  • Time to read: 4 min.

British niche fragrance brand Clive Christian has become a byword for luxury in the fragrance world. 

Established in 1999 by designer Clive Christian, the brand is intended to be a revival of a heritage perfume house known as The Crown Perfumery (founded in 1872), which was given use of the royal crown by Queen Victoria as a mark of quality. Since then, Clive Christian has become famous the world over for its claim for producing “the most expensive perfumes in the world”. 

But why exactly are Clive Christian perfumes so expensive? 

Clive Christian perfumes are expensive for a number of reasons. One is the high quality ingredients that go into their fragrances. Another is the often lavish presentation. Finally, Clive Christian perfumes are perceived as status symbols. All of that is reflected in the final price. 

Want to know more? Let’s take a closer look. 

The Price of Clive Christian Perfumes

The price of Clive Christian perfumes depends on the individual perfume. 

Fragrances like X Masculine and 1872 Feminine retail at ~$353 for 1.7 oz/50 ml ($7.06/ml). Crab Apple Blossom, one of the brand’s most popular fragrances, goes for around $458 for 1.7 oz/50 ml ($9.16/ml).

The original, foundational fragrance from the brand, No. 1 Masculine, goes for around $758 for 1.7 oz/50ml ($15.16/ml), and for a time was widely considered the most expensive fragrance in the world. Finally, the brand offers fragrances such as Baies Rose Iconic Elixir for ~$2614 for 1 oz/30 ml ($87.13/ml).

No matter what fragrance you purchase from the Clive Christian library – whether it be from the Original Collection, Crown Collection, Private Collection, or the Addictive Arts – you will be paying much, much more than your average run-of-the-mill designer fragrance. 

But how can the brand charge such sky-high prices? 

#1 – Quality Ingredients

Love the brand, hate it, or be indifferent towards it, I don’t think that anyone can deny that Clive Christian uses high quality ingredients in their perfumes. 

The brand claims to use two hundred and fifty ingredients in their top-seller, No. 1 (both the masculine and feminine versions), all of which are natural. Of course, natural raw materials are quite expensive, and that could certainly explain why the price of Clive Christians is so high. 

Clive Christian perfumes are also quite concentrated, starting at 20% concentration and going up from there.

If you don’t know what concentration is, don’t worry – I’ve got a guide explaining the whole thing for you to peruse right here

Of course, perfumery is all about the synthesis of art and science, nature and technology. Are all Clive Christian perfumes 100% natural?

I’m skeptical, frankly.

However, that doesn’t mean that they are somehow lesser, and it is clear to me that Clive Christian uses an abundance of quality materials in their blends. 

#2 – Presentation

The iconic Clive Christian flacon also contributes to the cost of the fragrances. 

The heavy bottles, with their characteristic crown-shaped cap, which the brand received leave to use by Queen Victoria herself, are obviously of high quality. Not to mention that there are a variety of different variations on the same theme – different colors, different textures (such as the golden appearance of No. 1), and different caps, too. 

Making such a large amount of bottles at such a level of quality can’t come cheap. And the costs of making the expensive, well-made Clive Christian bottles certainly reflects in the final price. 

#3 – Status Symbol

Finally, and perhaps the most important reason why Clive Christian charges such high prices, is the perceived value of the fragrances. 

Let’s talk turkey here. Yes, the ingredients used are high quality. Yes, the presentation is well made. But there are other brands that operate at a similar level of quality and presentation that charge significantly less. 

The exclusivity and marketing behind Clive Christian scents are part and parcel of what drives their pricing scheme. The brand is “royally approved”, a fact that the brand hastened to remind the public of when they presented a perfume to Queen Elizabeth II herself for her Diamond Jubilee in 2012. 

And the wealthy jetsetting class got whipped into a frenzy when it was reported that Katie Holmes opted to wear the pure perfume oil version of No. 1 for her wedding with Tom Cruise in 2006, at the height of public infatuation with celebrity.

Just like other British brands like Roja Dove and Boadicea the Victorious, Clive Christian is worn by the rich and famous, and has the price to boot. 

Of course, such clientele immediately attracts others who wish to become a part of that “secret club”. Again, that is not to say that the fragrances aren’t high quality, because they definitely are (I personally find 1872 Masculine to be wonderful, and have a positive view of X Masculine and No. 1 Masculine). However, you have to recognize great, effective marketing when you see it, don’t you? 

The Final Word

So, is the brand that makes “the most expensive perfume in the world” worth the high price? Of course, that is up for you to decide. But before you do, you should at least understand why Clive Christian charges the prices that it does. 

Clive Christian’s prices could be explained by a few different reasons. High quality ingredients and lavish packaging certainly contribute to the price tag. But the exclusivity and royal mystique that the brand attracts to itself is perhaps the most critical factor in determining the cost.