Natural fragrances and perfumes have been around since ancient times, bringing pleasant and evocative smells to living spaces, hair and skin. It is only since the 1800s, however, that we’ve had the capacity to create perfumes as we know them today.
A great perfumer (or 'nose') is considered both a chemist and an artist, mixing chemicals and ingredients to create the most pleasant, layered aromas. In modern society, both men and women wear cologne and perfume; it's a luxury market, and people generally expect to hand over a pretty penny for a beautifully decorated bottle and a classy fragrance. It's a safe gift choice and an indulgence that remains popular even in recessionary times.
Of course, most people wouldn't expect to spend anything close to the amount that the fragrances on this list cost. From light, floral fragrances to strong musky smells, the art of perfume making is an ever-evolving practice and particularly pricey or hard-to-come-by components hike up the price of the finished product. The eye-watering prices of the following 10 most expensive perfumes and colognes in the world are influenced by the design of the bottle, current trends, and the rarity of the ingredients involved. In the commercial fragrance industry, luxurious perfumes are bought by the ounce, not the bottle, so we've ranked the perfumes' prices in this way.
10 Annick Goutal Eau d'Hadrien - $441.18 per ounce
9 JAR Bolt of Lightning - $765 per ounce
8 Joy by Jean Patou - $800 per ounce
7 Caron Poivre - $1,000 per ounce
6 Hermès 24 Faubourg - $1,500 per ounce
5 Clive Christian No. 1 - $2,150 per ounce
4 Chanel Grand Extrait - $4,200 per ounce
3 Baccarat Les Larmes Sacrees de Thebes - $6,800 per ounce
This perfume is expensive for both the aroma itself and the bottle it comes in. Baccarat is a luxury crystal glassware manufacturer and one of the leading choices in artisan bottle creation for high-end perfume companies around the world. In 1998, the company launched three of its own limited edition fragrances, and this one was the least produced, making it the rarest and most valuable.
2 Clive Christian No. 1 Imperial Majesty Perfume - $12,721.89 per ounce
1 DKNY Golden Delicious Million Dollar Fragrance Bottle - $1 million
In 2011, DKNY unveiled its golden-apple-shaped million dollar bottle of perfume. The company teamed up with famed jewelry designer Martin Katz to create a special one-of-a-kind edition of the company’s top-selling fragrance. The bottle is crafted in 14-karat yellow and white gold and contains 183 yellow sapphires, 2,700 white diamonds, a 1.6-carat turquoise Paraiba tourmaline from Brazil, a 7.18-carat oval Cabochon sapphire from Sri Lanka, 15 vivid pink diamonds from Australia, 4-rose cut diamonds, a 3.07-carat oval cut ruby, a 4.03-carat pear shape rose cut diamond, and a 2.43-carat flawless vivid yellow Canary diamond adorning the cap.
All in all, the bottle contains 2,909 precious stones, but the best part is that the aforementioned stones have been hand placed to replicate the New York City skyline. The process took nearly 1,500 hours to complete. After being unveiled and showcased across the globe, a silver lining for the ridiculously expensive fragrance bottle was announced: The bottle would be sold to a perfume enthusiast and all proceeds would be donated to the global charity Action Against Hunger.
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