I was born smack bang in the middle of the 80s. My mother was a big fragrance fan so my early childhood was scented by some of her favorite perfumes. And boy, have they stuck in my mind.
This got me thinking since a lot of the most popular 80s perfumes continued being well worn through the 90s when I got into fragrance myself. So I’ve put together a list of some of the most nostalgic perfumes from the 80s.
Discover the most popular perfumes from the 80s in this video:
15 Of The Most Popular Perfumes From The 80s
Perfume was hugely popular in the 1980s along with those wild hairstyles and brightly colored outfits. As soon as you catch a whiff of any of these scents, you’re immediately transported back in time. The good news is that a lot of them are still available today.
1. Tiffany Eau De Parfum
I always remember there being a bottle of Tiffany on my mom’s vanity unit in the late 80s. I think she must have received it as a gift after having my sister and she only wore it on special occasions. But the Tiffany Blue box made quite the statement decoratively speaking.
Tiffany is a beautiful floral fragrance for women that is super daring. It projects amazingly well so it was certainly one that people wore to grab attention. But Tiffany also features some unique notes making it a signature scent of many women including orange blossom, taif rose and those woody accords at the base.
2. Poison Dior
For young women going on a night out in the 80s, it was a crime not to have spritzed themselves in some of Dior’s most sensual perfume. Poison is a fruity fragrance designed, in the words of the brand, to mesmerize. And it does that extremely well.
Poison brings together the fun of fruits with the mystery of incense, spices, and woody notes. There’s something incredibly sexy about Poison that remains popular to this day. For me, it’s the Brazilian rosewood at the head that screams at you the moment you spray this perfume. If you want an 80s perfume that’s going to be the center of attention, Poison is it!
3. Temptation Impulse Body Spray
It might surprise you to learn that I only discovered Temptation in my adult years, despite it having been around since 1986. Impulse was the go-to body spray of the 80s and well into the 90s with Temptation being one of the most popular scents.
Temptation was great to keep in your school bag because it was one of the cheap perfumes from the 80s that appealed to young girls. The fragrance was created by Ann Gottlieb who’s also worked with brands like CK and Marc Jacobs; impressive.
A light, musky scent with the warmth of vanilla, Temptation was great as a delicate daytime fragrance. That said, since it’s a body spray, it wasn’t one that lasted through the day so you’d always need a top-up.
4. Obsession Calvin Klein
Before I get into what an amazing perfume Obsession is, let me just say that I HATE the bottle. It doesn’t have the bright exciting colors of the 80s but more of a drab, brown 60/70s vibe. Totally dull.
BUT.. and it’s a big but, looks can be deceiving because Obsession is a stunning amber spicy perfume for women that has become one of CKs biggest hits. It’s a very in-your-face fragrance that should be reserved for daring women who want to stand out.
I strongly remember my mother and her friends wearing this and the warm, spicy accords just feel comforting to me. That said, there’s a real sensual character to Obsession that makes it ideal for a night out.
5. Ex’Cla.Ma’Tion Coty
Launched in 1988, Ex’cla.ma’tion was one of the most iconic scents of the late 80s and early 90s. To me, it was far too much and for a cheap 80s perfume, it certainly had a kick to it. Just a few sprays of Ex’cla.ma’tion would get you noticed so it’s no wonder it was so popular.
I love the bottle. It embodies the pop culture of the 80s and little changed with the flankers that followed. Ex’cla.ma’tion blended floral and fruity notes perfectly with a woody base so there was something for everyone in terms of scent notes. But if you manage to get your hands on a bottle of this apparently discontinued scent, spray with caution. As I said, it’s strong!
6. Electric Youth Debbie Gibson Revlon
I mentioned that Obsession had a boring bottle for saying it was from the 80s but that’s where Electric Youth excelled. It comes in a brightly colored bottle with 80s style text so it isn’t going to go unnoticed.
And it isn’t only its appearance that’ll cause a stir. Electric Youth is a super strong perfume that projects enormously. It had a fun character bursting with fruity and sweet notes that were perfect for outgoing young girls with a passion for life.
For girls that idolized Ms Gibson, Electric Youth was a way of feeling a little more like the starlet.
7. Love’s Baby Soft
Ahhh, the pink bottle of Love’s Baby Soft takes me back. Not only was this a popular perfume throughout the 80s but well into the 90s. It even saw fame for the six years it was around in the 70s proving how beautiful it really was.
Love’s Baby Soft aimed to be innocent as well as sexy so it was a perfume that could be enjoyed by women from all walks of life and of all ages.
It was a highly floral perfume with some of my favorite notes like jasmine, lavender, and rose. But Love’s Baby Soft wasn’t in your face. In fact, I’d have said this would have been perfect for an intimate date thanks to its delicate sillage that shows both your coy feminine side and the side of you that dares to break out of that shell.
8. Night Magic Evening Musk Avon
Despite Avon being around for over a century by the time the 80s rolled around, the brand was super popular in this decade. People were really getting on board with affordable cosmetics and Night Magic was a perfume that every woman wanted to get her hands on.
As the name suggests, Night Magic was a perfect evening fragrance with floral notes, woods, and aldehydes. There was a real sophisticated feel to Night Musk but it wasn’t too over the top. In fact, this was another excellent date night fragrance thanks to its delicate yet obvious projection.
9. Guerlain Samsara
There are two perfumes from Guerlain that immediately spring to mind when I think of the brand; Shalimar and Samsara. Where Shalimar is pretty intense and sensual, Samsara is much more feminine and ideal for romantic evenings.
Samsara was launched at the back end of the 80s and was a fragrance that made women feel powerful and opulent. Heavy on woody and floral notes, there was a perfect blend that made Samsara suitable for daily wear throughout the year. And the best news; it’s still around today!
10. Giorgio Beverly Hills
Launched right at the beginning of the 80s, Giorgio Beverly Hills was the signature for many women throughout the decade. It came in an elegant light bottle that screamed summertime which is good news since I think this is a perfect warm weather fragrance.
Giorgio Beverly Hills is a beautiful floral fragrance that is incredibly versatile. I think this versatility is why it was so popular in the 1980s as you could wear it just as easily to an evening event as you could for an afternoon at work.
11. Paris Yves Saint Laurent
Yves Saint Laurent has launched many perfumes over the years that have become firm favorites of mine. Paris is one of them. Wildly sophisticated and super elegant, Paris is a fragrance that allowed the women of the 80s to feel like they’d never felt before.
This floral perfume from the 80s had a whole host of flowery accords making it a versatile fragrance. That said, I think it works excellently as a daytime scent in spring or summer. What I love is that Paris is still widely available today if you’re looking for something to invoke nostalgia.
12. Drakkar Noir
While Drakkar Noir is a men’s fragrance, I just had to include it on this list since it’s so reminiscent of the 80s. Guys in this decade would swarm to buy this fragrance and it has all the key notes of a trusty 80s perfume.
With fresh mint, bergamot, and lemon blending with spices and woody notes, Drakkar Noir was dark, masculine, and super sexy. That said, Drakkar Noir wasn’t an uber obvious fragrance. If guys sprayed it, the perfume wouldn’t take over the room but rather had a sophisticated projection that felt rather expensive and elegant.
13. Anais Anais Cacharel
If you asked me to think of any perfume that encapsulates the 80s perfectly, it would be Anais Anais. While it was launched two years prior to the big 80, this fragrance was one of the most popular of the decade.
An amazing, light daytime scent packed with an array of feminine florals, Anais Anais had a sweet, innocent character.
The bottle was just as iconic as the perfume with its delicate floral pattern. Anyone who was anyone in the 80s had a bottle of Anais Anais tucked in their bag for a midday freshen-up.
14. Opium Yves Saint Laurent
Opium was actually launched at the back end of the 70s but this was one of the most popular perfumes of the 80s. In fact, Opium is so well-loved that YSL reformulated it in 2009 for the modern wearer.
Opium is an amber spicy fragrance that’s really mysterious and sensual. Notes of jasmine and myrrh at the heart just make this so intoxicating. If you’re going to buy a bottle, you’ll want to be aware that it’s a pretty strong perfume and a little really does go a long way. For this reason, I’d save it for a special occasion.
15. Estee Lauder Knowing
One of the most famous Estee Lauder perfumes of the 80s was Knowing. This was a floral aldehydic fragrance that was launched as the 80s were coming to a close. But even though it only featured in the latter part of the decade, it certainly made an impact.
Knowing is a warm scent with notes like cedar, coriander, spices, and amber that makes it perfect as a winter perfume. That’s probably why it was so popular as a Christmas gift. If you’re looking to get your hands on it now, you’re in luck; it’s still on sale but it can be a little pricey. That said, for how strong and long-lasting it is, it’s worth the investment.
List Of Discontinued Perfumes From The 80s
Looking back on the perfumes from the 80s, it’s hard to believe that some of them are no longer being made. A range of iconic scents went out of production, and today they’re difficult to track down. Here is a list of some of the most famous discontinued perfumes from the 80s. May they rest in peace.
1. Jovan Musk
Jovan Musk was a very popular cheap perfume from the 80s that is sadly discontinued. I love the floral notes of jasmine and lily. While this was a delicate perfume, it was one that attracted attention, especially as a signature scent.
2. Faberge Babe
Babe was so popular because it was such a unique scent. The perfume was actually a blend of around 117 fragrance notes but it was only on sale for around 15 years, including the entire duration of the 80s. There’s a huge fan base for this fragrance so, who knows, maybe it will make a reappearance.
3. Almay Fragrance For Women
I’ve seen people clamoring to get their hands on Almay which was a hypoallergenic perfume from the 80s. Sadly, it’s no longer made. But this was a light fresh fragrance with a pink floral scent that women adored as a day-to-day perfume.
4. Red Door Elizabeth Arden
If the striking red bottle didn’t catch your attention, the luxurious and opulent perfume inside certainly would. This amber floral perfume from the 80s was incredibly glam and perfect for a night out. In fact, with such a diverse range of notes and a long-lasting scent, I’m struggling to see why it’s no longer on sale.
5. Stetson Coty
Launched in 1981, Stetson was one of the most popular men’s perfumes of the 80s. There’s something iconic about this woody, musky scent. But what was great is that the blend was, for all intents and purposes, unisex. So, women got just as much wear out of it as guys.