Should your collection contain classics?

Even if you donโ€™t like them or plan to wear them.

I dreamt of Chanel 5 last night, and how it smelled great on a woman in my dream. And then (still in the dream) I wanted to try it on myself because I wanted to remind myself of how it smelled. Now I want to do it for real.

Didn’t get to do it in my dream but it got me thinking.


Should I (as a retired perfumista ๐Ÿ˜€ ) have classics in my collection even though I know they are not really what I would wear?

Because having them would give me an instant reminder of what they smell like and why they are classsics. I would basically need only samples or miniatures for that purpose.

What do you think? I’m leaning towards yes.

The more complicated part is which perfumes would those be? Some of them are so changed from their original formulas that they don’t count, some no longer exist which makes having them an exercise in futility, and what actually constitutes a classic nowadays? A cult following?

I wonder what are your thoughts on the subject and which ones would you recommend?

I do think Iโ€™m fine with the Guerlains though. ๐Ÿ˜€

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13 thoughts on “Should your collection contain classics?

  1. bonkersvanessa May 3, 2021 at 20:55 Reply

    Well, speaking as a semi-retired perfumista myself(!), I’d say only if you want to and you are leaning that way as you say. I was actually keeping the dregs of a No 5 bottle for reference purposes but ended up giving it away. I do hope I have a sample still somewhere as that is one classic I’d also like to have on hand, to help with ‘consulting’ sessions I do from time to time. There are lots of people for whom No 5 is the default choice, even today with all the choice around.

    Beyond that, I am a bit sketchy about what I have that counts as a classic, or what I should own. Some Shalimar for sure, which I am lacking. I do have Chanel 19, though I don’t especially care for it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ines May 6, 2021 at 09:16 Reply

      I knew I could rely on other perfumistas coming up with classic ideas! ๐Ÿ™‚ Chanel 19 completely slipped my mind, probably because I have a small bottle of Chanel 18 which I love so when thinking of Chanel numbers that’s the one that comes to mind. ๐Ÿ™‚
      But I’m putting 19 on my list (even though I tried it a long time ago and wasn’t into it).


  2. Tara May 3, 2021 at 22:46 Reply

    I agree with V that you should do it if you’d like to but I don’t think anyone nerds to feel they should, unless perfume is a source of income in some way.
    You’re definitely on safe ground with Guerlains and Chanels for the most part but as for Dior…none of their classics are what they were sadly.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ines May 6, 2021 at 09:24 Reply

      Thank you for saying that, I was considering Dior but nothing came to mind that I might put on the list.


  3. Nose Prose May 4, 2021 at 00:48 Reply

    I asked myself a similar question about vintages before, but realized I didn’t want to go out of my way for them because then it would start to feel like work. It would be nice to have a “library” of classics if that’s possible. I guess there are no “shoulds,” just what you enjoy!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ines May 6, 2021 at 09:27 Reply

      That’s true, although I did hope I might receive a slight nudge in the direction of the title. ๐Ÿ˜‰ I guess when it turns out I do want a classic for future reference purposes, I will try and find it.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Undina May 6, 2021 at 00:26 Reply

    I think you should!

    I mean, not because otherwise you couldn’t be considered a hardcore perfumista and would be required to turn in your membership card ;), but because it would be interesting to check your perception of those as the time passes.

    Each person, of course, should define those “classics” for themselves, there is no universal list. For me… I’d say, Chanel No 5, Guerlain Shalimar, LHB and Mitsouko, Caron Tabac Blond, probably Patou Joy. There are other perfumes that I consider classics, but I like them ๐Ÿ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ines May 6, 2021 at 09:29 Reply

      Yaay, finally someone to push me in the right direction! ๐Ÿ˜‰
      It’s true what you say because the perception does change and it would be fun to try it out on classics (I guess they are classics for a reason so at some point it all just might fall into place).
      Thank you for the suggestions! Can’t believe I forgot about Mitsouko! I used to have a bottle for exactly that (seeing if I might start liking it) but eventually gave it up because I really couldn’t connect to that perfume.


  5. Asali May 11, 2021 at 20:28 Reply

    What a great question Ines, although Iโ€™m very late chiming in. Loved Undinas suggestions. I think yes too, BUT… I think only with things that you feel for in some way. So I canโ€™t really connect with Chanel in general, so my aldehyde Classic is Arpege, which I actually love. Dior for me is tough too, but I like an older version of Diorissimo that I have, and also an old Dioressence although I would not put that one in the classics group.
    Bandit perhaps and habanita? Tabac blond and you surely must like Fracas?


    • Ines May 14, 2021 at 12:40 Reply

      Oooh, I love your suggestions! Fracas definitely. ๐Ÿ™‚
      In the meantime I actually went to try Chanel 5 and that was a terrible letdown. I don’t know what they did to that perfume but I’m pretty sure it has nothing to do with the classic one. I barely could smell it and what I smelled was nowhere near what I remember, and then it disappeared after a few hours (and I tried the edp). Very disappointing.


  6. […] while ago I wrote about whether my collection should contain classics, if only for reference purposes. And lamented the fact that I don’t own a vintage variant of […]


  7. seletvanille October 11, 2022 at 00:19 Reply

    Yes for classics! For a person who is interested in fragrances, it’s a complete yes. A point of reference, a cornerstone, or a scandalous turn of matters. While you may not want to wear them, I can imagine many occasions where you’d want to smell them. To complicate it even more, I’d also ask how much time needs to pass before something turns from (over)hyped to a classic. I’ve recently heard a historian talk about newer democracies and making sense of 90’s -interestingly, she mentioned that there is something special about the 30 years mark that seems to give people a better, maybe even more objective perspective.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ines October 12, 2022 at 16:57 Reply

      That’s a good point. What age something turns into a classic. ๐Ÿ™‚ 30 years seems a good number…


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