What determines perfume greatness? Highest quality materials? Natural materials? A talented perfumer?
Maybe all of those things and more.
But here's what makes a perfume great to me:
Give me something that I don't expect, something that combines elements I have never smelled together before. Think outside the box. Break the rules. Even if I decide it's not for me, please get my attention.
2. Make It Last
No matter how well a perfumer meets criteria #1, if the perfume disappears in an hour, it can't qualify as great. I'm not opposed to re-applying once during the day, but more than that is just unacceptable. A great perfume has staying power.
3. Perfect Sillage
Sillage is a funny thing. Too much will kill an event and too little says, 'wallflower.' What I want is the Goldilocks of sillage. A great perfume should confidently occupy a three foot circumference of personal space. More than that and you're trying too hard. Less than that? Your perfume isn't great.
4. It Tells A Story
Great perfume is an adventure, changing from top notes to base notes, keeping you guessing all the way. It should not just sit there on your skin and do nothing. While a great perfume 'has you at hello,' it should also deliver a goodnight kiss worth waiting for.
5. Oh. My. God.
That's what you're compelled to say when you encounter a great perfume. You feel different - more alive - than you did before. A great perfume is not just experienced through smell, but also through your emotions and your instincts. You just know.
What makes a perfume great to you?
image from facticeworld.com