Saturday Question: What Is Your Favorite Perfume Decade?

I don’t think any single year got as much of “bad publicity” as 2020, and deservedly so I must add. So, I doubt it will ever be remembered as anyone’s favorite year in any respect, including perfume releases (though, I hope we’ll see soon everyone’s “Best of 2020” lists). But one year is not much either in anyone’s life or in perfume lifespan, so let’s step back and from afar look at decades, including the one that is being concluded by this blighted year.


Saturday Question on Undina's Looking Glass


Saturday Question #42:

What Is Your Favorite Perfume Decade?

You can choose by any criterion, be that the most perfumes from that decade in your collection, decade from which your most favorite perfume comes, a decade you think was the best for perfume industry – or any other way you want to look at it. Just tell us your reasoning.

Decades start from XXX1 and end with XXX0, e.g., 1981 – 1990 (otherwise, in the first decade AD there would have been just 9 years, not that I expect too many votes for perfumes for those times).

My Answer

Having a luxury of my perfumes being recorded in a database, I was able to count how many perfumes from each decade I own (I included only bottles, both regular and travel sized). Would you guess, which decade produced the highest count? The current one. Did you guess?

But while it is completely understandable that I accumulated the most perfumes from the decade during which I’ve been blogging about perfumes and reading all the perfume blogs, I don’t consider this decade to be my favorite: if anything, it’s a decade when dear to my heart niche perfumery got flooded with uninspired and jump-on-the-bandwagon-type releases.

So, I decided to see what decade produced the most of perfumes from my “Never want to be without” list. And my answer is: 2001 – 2010. In general, that list is quite diverse, but eight perfumes that I love, including my second all-time perfume love and the reason I went down the rabbit hole leading into the PerfumelandOrmonde Jayne Ta’if was release during that decade.

Ormonde Jayne Ta'if Parfum

What Is Your Favorite Perfume Decade?


38 thoughts on “Saturday Question: What Is Your Favorite Perfume Decade?

  1. I would like to be slightly contrary and say 1984-1994 were my favourite perfume years. Ysatis, Poison, Byzance, Cabotine, Feminité du Bois, Sublime: these were the heady scents of my young adulthood, when designer releases were a big deal and department store scents still had quality ingredients and years of thoughtful creation behind them. Those were my perfume glory days. That said, I am still finding things to love, so perfumery is definitely not dead, but it has changed a lot.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I’m going with 2001-2010. Going through my spreadsheet I’m finding most of my all time favorites from that decade. I haven’t tracked release date so I can’t do a count of bottles to know which decade is most represented.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I agree that 2001 to 2010 was the most amazing for development of many amazing niche fragrances and that the niche world has become too overpopulated since then with ‘me,too’ fragrances with nothing really to add.

    But, my favorite perfume decade is 1991 to 2000! Yes, what many call the dreadful nineties, saw the creation of some of my favorite Lutens niches and the designer fragrances that brought me to understanding perfume notes and to realizing what I really loved. I still love these 90’s gems: Bvlgari pour Femme, Bvlgari Black and Chopard Casmir. Rose, violet, iris, incense, vanilla and tonka, amber are still notes that I seek out in perfumes and these lovelies introduced me to them and taught me to love them.
    Some of the best Lutens, IMHO, were also created in the 90’s, my love Encens et Lavande, Iris Silver Mist, Santal Majuscule, all the ‘bois’ Lutens, such as Bois Oriental, Feminite du Bois. And some of my fall time fave Lutens were created in 2000- Ambre Sultan, Arabie and Rose de Nuit.

    You all have inspired me so that I do have a list of all my perfumes now, decants, etc. and when I acquired them. I’m going to add the date these beauties were created to my list.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Batch codes and release dates clicked with me early on, because I was questing for oakmoss, sandalwood and civet and so made note of dates; little did I know how the hobby would expand!

      Liked by 1 person

      • That’s interesting! I wasn’t paying any attention to dates before 2010 when I started my perfume database. Before than I usually recognized newly launched perfumes, last year launched perfumes and the rest :)


    • I’m glad you have a list of your favorites! Lists give me a sense of order :)

      Serge Lutens perfumes were the main reason I considered that decade, but still, some of my favorites from the brand were created in the decade I’ve chosen.

      Interestingly, when Bvlgari Black was released, I didn’t like it at all. And now it’s one of my favorites.


  4. I also have happy memories of my 20s in the ’80s, and the scents I casually wore back then, but objectively speaking I have to agree with the noughties, which coincides with my falling down the rabbit hole. By 2010 the initial irrepressible desire to acquire more and more bottles was starting to wane, and I’d agree that the general quality of releases in the next decade was less exciting too.

    Liked by 2 people

      • I have VERY recently admitted that smaller bottles are going to be good enough. I have slowly started releasing back-ups, too, for the same reason. I’m feeling that a really good experience can’t always be repeated or sustained, so aloha vintage Margaretha Ley, etc., when the bottle goes fzzzzzst!

        Liked by 1 person

  5. I surprised myself when answering your question: I am an 80’s girl! I too have a spreadsheet so I saw right away where my favorites clustered. During the 80’s I think I had Avon Pearls and Lace(a delicate ’80’s scent), then White Linen (1978) and Shalimar. But, after I saw my list, I jumped up and spritzed on Jardins de Bagatelle (from ’83) to enjoy while I finish my answer. The ones that make me smile whenever I sniff: Max Factor Epris, Herb Alpert Listen, and…yes, you saw it coming: Giorgio. But I can be a proper perfumista with Samsara, Safari and Poison. I will always smell good in Beautiful and Knowing and Laura Ashley No. 1. And if I like Giorgio you might guess that I <3 LouLou, too. I have to say hello this week to Jessica McClintock and Avon Imari, though my Imari is a modern bottle. Not to run on, but I got most of this collection by bottom-fishing Ebay soon after I fell down the rabbit hole around 8 years ago. I branched out quickly and do have my niche shelf, but an incense and sandalwood-rich $5.75 vintage LouLou has a lot of MPG, even if the sprayer is broken and I have to dribble it on!

    Liked by 2 people

    • I’m not familiar with the most of perfumes you mentioned because when/where I was growing up in 80s, we had a very limited access to perfumes, so I wasn’t exposed to them even on the older generation’s dressers. Of course, since then I encountered some of them, but, in general, that isn’t “my” decade.


  6. I would say the “noughties” for mainstream perfumes (CK Euphoria, Hugo Boss Deep Red) and this decade for niche. Most likely it’s because I just started with niche last year, so most of my exposure has been to newer releases.


  7. Difficult question. Like Vanessa i have most perfumes from 2001-2010. I suppose falling down the rabbit hole in this period, that makes sense, there are a lot of good perfumes that I wear often. I could possibly say the 1910s or 20s for bringing a lot of the master pieces, but my all time favourite Vol de Nuit from 1933, does not have a lot of decade company…
    I’m possibly undecided 😁


  8. A tricky one, Undina. But If absolutely have to choose one it would be the 1980s. There’s something about the big, bold and audacious scents of that decade that really appeals to me. Of course, without the shoulder pads.


  9. My favorite decade is 1975-1985! Here are some of the beauties I wore back then: Armani by Giorgio Armani, Jil Sander III, Trussardi, K de Krizia, YSL Paris, Missoni, J’ai Ose, Valentino, Mystere de Rochas, Vu by Ted Lapidus, White Linen, Cinnabar, Kouros, Halston…
    If they were available in the same formulations as they used to be, I think they’d make 80 percent of my perfume wardrobe today.

    Liked by 1 person

    • How fascinating! From your list I know that I tried YSL Paris, J’ai Ose and White Linen, but I don’t remember the first two and I didn’t like WL, but it might be that my mini bottle is off.


  10. 2000-2009, when weird got deliberate rather than accidental. CdG was pumping out incenses and single noted oddities. L’Artisan gave us Tea for Two, Dzongkha, Timbuktu and so many more. Betrand Duchaufour was on fire! Niche was creative, exciting and still financially accessible. Genuinely new ideas were popping up everywhere!


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