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It’s one of those rare fragrances you could wear your whole life. TS Ça Sent Beau (Kenzo) tangerine fougère$ There are two known roads to creating a striking, topnotch perfume: do either a virtuoso version of a known classic form (the silk satin ballgown) or a brilliant invention (the Diane von Furstenberg wrap dress). Kenzo’s appropriately named Ça Sent Beau (That Smells Beautiful) from 1987 navigates the latter route, thanks to perfumer Françoise Caron, whose earlier Ombre Rose for Jean-Charles Brosseau still stands as proof of the possibility of finding a novel structure using a few simple, familiar materials.

The result was the fragrance that properly put Shiseido on the map. Unusually, Sheldrake and Bourdon generously credit each other with the basic idea. When Lutens decided to open his fragrance shop in the Jardins du Palais Royal in Paris, like a publisher he needed several titles to kick off his collection. Enter the technique known as overdosage, widely propagated by Bourdon, in which a backstage component in one perfume is moved to the forefront in a new composition, a sort of rotation in perfume space.

Because sizes, concentrations, and cost of materials vary widely, price indications are intended to help readers shop for fragrances in a given price range and should not be interpreted as a measure of value for money. 31 Rue Cambon (Chanel) floral ambery $$$ I cannot remember the last time, if ever, a perfume gave me such an instantaneous impression of ravishing beauty at first sniff. There is an affecting softness, a gentle grace to 31 that beggars belief. Such a classical masterpiece must, by definition, be standing on the shoulders of giants, and identifying them can be a compelling game.

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