Top 500 Modern Perfumes : The Data

Mmmmm Birthday Pie Chart Cake....
Over the last few weeks, you may have been following our 500 Greatest Modern Perfumes countdown, which was created to celebrate our 15th Birthday. A few people (okay, mainly Persolaise!) have been asking for some fancy stats and graphs of the data contained within those 500 fragrances. 

If you haven't seen the list, you can view it all here, and you may wish to look at it first if you wish to avoid spoilers!

Done that? Good. On with the stats.

Year of launch​


2007 seems to have been the best year for fragrance releases in the time period. Unsurprisingly 2015 is the most poorly represented in the list – partly due to less data available for the more recent releases, and partly due to the fact that this data was collated half way through the year. If we did this again in 2020, we will probably see a lot more scents from 2015 showing.

Gender split​


It's a pretty even split. There is a slightly more male fragrance bias the nearer you get to 1, this is probably due to the fact that for the first few years of this websites life, it only had details of men's fragrances, and although its evened out somewhat since, there are more active male members than female members.


Brands with more than 1% of the 500 perfumes​

Here are all of the brands whose fragrances make up more than 1% of fragrances in the list. (ie, perfume brands with more than 5 fragrances featured)


Guerlain are the company with the most fragrances in the Top 500, with 27.

Parent Companies with more than 1% of the 500 perfumes​


Parent companies are the companies which own many perfume brands. LVMH win this one, due to owning Guerlain, Dior, Acqua di Parma etc. For this statistic, I've used the parent companies of the brands currently, rather than time of launch.

Quick Primer

  • LVMH (Dior, Guerlain, Acqua di Parma, Fresh, Kenzo, Givenchy, Bulgari)
  • Lauder (Estee Lauder, Donna Kara, Frederic Malle, Le Labo, Jo Malone, Tom Ford, Zegna, Michael Kors)
  • L'Oreal (YSL, Ralph Lauren, Giorgio Armani, Lancome, Viktor & Rolf, Cacharel)
  • Shiseido: (Serge Lutens, Issey Miyake, Jean Paul Gaultier*, Elie Saab, Narciso Rodriguez)
  • Coty / P&G**  (Gucci, Calvin Klein, Hugo Boss, Dolce & Gabanna, Beckham, Bottega Veneta, Escada, Marc Jacobs, Chloe, Stella McCartney, Alexander McQueen)
  • Puig (Paco Rabanne, Carolina Herrera, Prada, L'Artisan Parfumeur, Comme des Garcons, Penhaligon's, Nina Ricci)
  • Clarins (Thierry Mugler)
  • Inter Parfums (Van Cleef & Arpels, Lanvin, Agent Provocateur, Mont Blanc)
  • Elizabeth Arden (Britney Spears, John Varvatos, Juice Couture)
  • Euroitalia (Versace)

* Jean Paul Gaultier will move to Puig from 2016.

**I've lumped these together, as Coty have recent acquired P&G's Prestige fragrance division, though they are currently running sepeately



Perfumers with more than 1% of the 500 perfumes​


The top perfumers here are ones that work as in-house perfumers for brands that are highly represented in the list. ie,Ellena (Hermes), Sheldrake (Serge Lutens & Chanel), Polge (Chanel) and Wasser (Guerlain)

Flankers and offshoots​


18% were a flanker or offshoot. Don't take the number as being too exact, I whizzed through the list quickly on this one. Any fragrance that had a name based on a previous fragrance from the brand was included. Different concentrations were included (ie, Extreme, Intense, EDP). Not included were fragrances that were part of a range (ie Hermes Jardin series), or a fragrance designed for the opposite gender that came later (ie, D&G Light Blue pour Homme)



Just over 8% of the fragrances contain 'oud' or have 'oud' in the name. 

Discontinued Fragrances​


Over 10% of fragrances in the Top 500 are discontinued. The chart below shows which brands have the most discontinued fragrances in the list. (Note: O'driu's discontinued fragrances were limited editions)



Brand types ​

Okay, this is a little arbitary, but wanted to give an indication of the types of brands included. 


I made quick decisions about which brand fitted into which category – everyone will have different opinions as to which brands belong to which, but this will give an idea of how I decided.

  • Mainstream: In this category are the majority of designer fragrances, etc
  • High-end Mainstream: More high-end mainstream brand, particularly ones with separate more exclusive lines (eg, Dior, Guerlain, Chanel, Tom Ford etc)
  • Niche fragrances: Small, mainly independent companies, who take a more artisanal approach to making perfumes. (eg. Divine, Different Company, Histoire des Parfums, Ormonde Jayne, Parfums d'Empire)
  • Mainstream Niche: Niche brands that reach a wider, more mainstream audience, or are an arm of a large corporation (eg, Jo Malone, L'Artisan Parfumeur, Creed, Acqua di Parma, Serge Lutens)
  • DS/MM/OS (Direct Sell, Mass Market and Own stores): A bit of a catch-alll category for low cost fragrances (Old Spice, Axe), Direct Sell (Avon), and Own stores (L'Occitane, Body Shop, Lush)
  • Celebrity: Fragrances which are sold under the brand of a celebrity (In the list were Britney Spears, Antonio Banderas, David Beckham, Sarah Jessica Parker, Gabriella Sabatini and Tim McGraw)
  • Indie Perfumers: Small perfumers who work independently (Andy Tauer, Bruno Fazzolari, Slumberhouse, Vero Kern, Sonoma Scent Studio etc)



I hope you had fun watching the list count-down, I certainly enjoyed compiling it. Perhaps we'll do it again when we get to 20 years.


Happy Birthday Basenotes!


About the author
Grant is the founder and owner of Basenotes and lives by the sea.

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