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5 must-have fragrances for women

Chanel No. 5 perfumeIn an ideal world, all women would own a bottle of Chanel No. 5.

In 1921, Gabrielle "Coco" Chanel tasked perfumer Ernest Beaux with creating a fragrance that would define women. Nearly 100 years later, Chanel No. 5 remains the top-selling perfume in the world. Why is it called Chanel No. 5? Because it took Beaux five attempts to get it just the way Coco Chanel wanted it.

Chanel No. 5 has been the fragrance choice of many celebrities, including Marilyn Monroe and Nicole Kidman. The notes that make up this famous fragrance include aldehydes, bergamot, lemon, neroli and ylang-ylang; a heart of jasmine, rose, lily of the valley and iris; with a base of vetiver, sandalwood, vanilla, amber and patchouli.

Just four years after the release of Chanel No. 5 came Jacques Guerlain's now famous Shalimar, another fragrance every woman should own. Shalimar is said to be inspired by an Emperor's love for a woman he met in the Gardens of Shalimar and the Taj Mahal he later built for her. Shalimar is nothing if it's not the epitome of an exotic oriental fragrance, complete with sweet, floral notes of jasmine, iris, rose and vanilla.

Yves Saint Laurent's Opium came to fruition in 1977 turning traditionally light fragrances on their head. This opulent fragrance, with its bold and sensual blend of mandarin, bergamot, jasmine, vanilla and patchouli, became one of the all-time best sellers in fragrance. The marketing campaign for Opium was just as intriguing, if not a little risque, given its comparison to the "fatal ecstasy" of falling in love.

Sugar and spice and everything nice. That's Thierry Mugler's Angel perfume. Relatively new compared to the classics like Chanel No.5 and Shalimar, Angel became a staple of the 1990s as a fun, flirty gourmand fragrance. Its near edible notes of bergamot, vanilla, chocolate and caramel make Angel a tempting, delectable delight.

This list of must-have fragrances would not be complete without a little love for Calvin Klein. The first designer to purposefully create a unisex fragrance, Calvin Klein released CK One in 1994 in one of the biggest fragrance launch campaigns in history. CK One came to represent androgyny and was fronted by a waifish Kate Moss. It was instantly popular and still is today.


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