The 1960s was a decade filled with peace, love and a lot of fragrance. If you weren’t burning incense or dousing yourself in patchouli oil, you might have been choosing between one of the many perfumes on the market.
This was a time when people started having better access to fragrance as air travel opened up and passengers could buy duty-free perfumes. If you remember the scents of the 60s, you probably remember a lot of the perfumes and colognes I’ve included on this list. Let’s get nostalgic!
1. Faberge Brut – 1968
In its emerald green bottle and with one of the most unmistakable scents in perfume history, Brut is a cologne that everyone remembers from the 60s. It was launched towards the back end of the decade but quickly became a signature scent for many men. In fact, some of the old timers still go for Brut today.
Brut by Faberge is a spicy aromatic fragrance with a glorious zest at the head. It’s uber strong and doesn’t go unnoticed. For sophisticated men in the 1960s, this was an elegant but masculine scent that carried them from the office, to after work drinks and home to the wife all with one fragrance.
2. Bal À Versailles Jean Desprez – 1962
If you remember anything about Bal A Versailles, it’s probably the bottle. It has a very distinct appearance and looks incredibly vintage. But aside from this, the scent within is just as nostalgic and what many would describe today as a classic.
With a huge number of floral notes, woods, civet and amber, Bal A Versailles was a rich and glorious perfume for women from the 60s. This was the perfect evening fragrance for women that wanted to make a statement for all the right reasons. If you wore this, there was something super extravagant about how it made you feel.
3. Soir de Paris (Evening In Paris) Bourjois
A lot of people have confused this perfume with one called Midnight in Paris by Van Cleef and Arpels. But know that they’re not the same thing. Evening in Paris was actually created long before the 60s back in 1928 but it underwent some drastic changes. What started out as a very nutty vanilla scent, turned into a more floral fragrance during the 1960s.
Lots of the classic floral notes make an appearance; lily of the valley, rose and jasmine are all there along with heliotrope and iris for a more powdery accord. If you’re a floral fan and like a super strong, feminine scent then this nostalgic classic would be perfect for you.
4. Yves Saint Laurent Rive Gauche – 1970
Rive Gauche is one of YSL’s most iconic perfumes from the 60s and potentially ever. It gave women a new freedom to be something different, perhaps something they hadn’t been able to express until then.
Launched in 1970, this was a fragrance that took us out of the 60s but I feel like it deserves a place on this list. It was a floral perfume that allowed women to feel independent at a time when they were truly becoming liberated. So, it served as something much more than just a fragrance; more a symbol of change.
5. Chanel No 22 – 1922
I’m going out on another limb here and have chosen a perfume launched well in advance of the arrival of peace and love. But if you ask anyone that was around in the 60s, they’ll tell you that so many women enjoyed spritzing themselves in Chanel No 22.
Chanel No 22 is actually quite similar to its cousin No 5, which is one of the most popular fragrances of all time!
No 22 is a floral aldehyde fragrance that makes you feel glamorous and luxurious. Throughout the 60s, women who wanted to feel sophisticated would wear this and its character has not been lost even today.
6. Faberge Tigress – 1969
Tigress came in an animal print bottle that was somewhere between glam and classy. Being an amber fragrance, it was very fitting to the theme of perfumes in the 1960s so it quickly became a staple scent for many women.
Faberge’s Tigress was incredibly warm and rich with notes of amber and spices. It was brilliant in those cold 60s winters and perfect for a date night at a time when romance was changing. This perfume made you feel powerful and strong without taking away your femininity.
7. Oh! De London Tuvache – 1962
Made by Yardley and under the brand Tuvache, Oh! De London was a bright, fresh fragrance that was hugely popular with younger people in the 1960s. Not only did it have a beautiful floral scent but the bottle was brightly colored and perfectly fitting with the vibe of this decade.
Oh! De London by Tuvache could be smelled everywhere as spring rolled around. It was a sparkling fragrance that was ideal for fun days out but wasn’t stupidly overpowering so you didn’t have to make an outrageously loud statement if you didn’t want to.
8. Aramis Aramis -1966
Ask anyone what one of the most popular men’s colognes from the 60s was and they’ll probably say Aramis. The iconic bottle still adorns the dressers of sophisticated guys today and the old-school classic men’s scent is something that’ll stay ingrained in your mind forever once it passes your nostrils.
Many today would call this an old man’s cologne but I hasten to disagree. Yes, it’s a traditional blend of woods, earthy notes and that all important 60s patchouli but it feels elegant, powerful and masculine. You could just as easily wear this to impress today as you would have done all those years ago.
9. Hermes Caleche – 1961
Elegant, sophisticated ladies of the 1960s turned to the very first fragrance for women by Hermes to feel feminine and beautiful. This floral aldehydic fragrance was light, fresh and yet left a very prominent trail wherever you went.
Ideal for everything from the office to a romantic dinner, Hermes Caleche quickly became a go to scent for luxury-loving women. There was something slightly different about the character of Caleche compared to traditional floral aldehyde perfumes, making it feel more modern and free.
10. Diorissimo Dior – 1956
The 50s were a romantic era but some of that spilled over into the 1960s and one example of this was the lovely Diorissimo perfume. While it was launched in the late 50s, Diorissimo remained in the hearts of 60s women thanks to its fresh, green start and beautiful range of floral notes.
Dior is a luxury brand and this was something that appealed to the women of the time. A few sprays of Diorissimo and they could be whoever they wanted to be. The elegance of the prominent lily of the valley simply made you feel a million dollars without being too OTT.
11. Heaven Sent – 1969
There isn’t a whole lot of information on Heaven Scent by Helena Rubinstein and the fragrance has long been discontinued. However, you may still be able to get your hands on a compact through private sellers. Note that the 1969 version of this was a solid version of the previously released spray from 1941.
What made this stand out from the crowd was that this solid perfume came in a stunning golden turtle shaped container. Hidden inside a Tiffany blue box, it felt super luxurious. With a fresh citrus head and a beautiful floral heart, Heaven Sent was a delightfully delicate spring fragrance.
12. Speidel British Sterling – 1965
Some fragrances from the 60s are still around today and British Sterling is one of them. Why? Well it’s just such a darn good perfume, that’s why! It’s not too overpowering but it’s unique enough to get you noticed.
There is a beautiful warmth to British Sterling that feels almost comforting. With a rich array of spicy notes, leather and woods, this cologne was perfect for cozy nights in by the fire or winter walks. I love how this smells so delicious but delicate.
13. Aqua Manda – 1969
Aqua Manda was a staple fragrance for many people in the 1960s. Being a unisex perfume, it was something that could be enjoyed by all and with those strong hits of patchouli, it’s no wonder it was so popular.
Being one of the later perfumes from the 1960s, Aqua Manda was also a popular 70s fragrance. However, it was discontinued but made a comeback in 2013 when beauty Brand Development created their own version of this iconic perfume.
14. Madame Rochas Helene Rochas – 1960
Let’s go right back to the beginning of the Swinging Sixties where we find this breathtaking floral aldehyde perfume for women. My goodness this was a powerful punch! And it was so well loved that there was a relaunch in the late 80s.
With a complex blend of all your favorite floral notes and a dash of woody musk at the base, Madame Rochas made you feel feminine and beautiful. You wouldn’t have worn this if you didn’t want to cause a stir because Madame Rochas was loud and proud but I love it!
15. Swank Jade East – 1964
Just the very look of Swank takes me back to the 60s; it’s that green bottle that does it for me. It does look a little tacky, I’ll admit but Swank was a hugely popular men’s cologne from the 60s, especially for younger guys.
Fresh citrus and spices at the head blend with powdery notes and vanilla for something that’s hugely unique and undoubtedly unmistakable. Speak to any young girl from the decade and she’ll tell you that her cute boyfriend used to douse himself in this. It’ll certainly take you back and ignite some romantic memories.
Sadly, this incredible fragrance is discontinued.
16. Givenchy L’Interdit – 1957
OK, this isn’t a fragrance that was launched in the 1960s but it was one that seriously captured attention throughout the decade. L’Interdit was actually made for Audrey Hepburn and was a floral aldehyde perfume with a complex blend of notes that were super feminine and glamorous.
However, this edition of the classic scent should not be confused with the new version of Givenchy L’Interdit that many of us are familiar with today. That is very much based around white florals and woody which is vastly different but just as delightful as its 1960s ancestor. Original bottles can still be found online but they’re typically used and extremely expensive.
17. Diorling Dior – 1963
You might recognize the flacon for Diorling and that’s probably because of how remarkably similar it is to the iconic J’Adore. A heady floral perfume for women, Diorling was feminine and yet surprisingly sexy.
At a time when women were getting more in touch with their powerful side, this was the perfect opportunity for Dior to introduce such a fragrance. The leathery base wasn’t super common in female perfumes so made way for a totally new personality that many women had not experienced before.
18. Dior Eau Sauvage – 1966
Today we are all familiar with Dior Sauvage but this modern fragrance was inspired by the original Sauvage from the 1960s. It actually contains many of the same notes as the new version but isn’t entirely the same. For men that want real nostalgia, Eau Sauvage is the way to go.
Eau Sauvage is a fresh, uplifting and unmistakable cologne from the 60s filled with glorious accords of florals alongside herby notes of basil and rich woods and amber at the base. This truly classic scent was masculine and powerful without being OTT so was often favored by the more sophisticated gent.
19. Canoe Dana – 1936
Canoe by Dana was made almost three decades before the 1960s began but I still had to include it on this list as it was HUGELY popular throughout the 60s. This aromatic men’s cologne was light enough and fresh enough that women also used to wear it.
Talk about versatility!
But that wasn’t the only reason that Canoe was such a popular choice for a signature scent. With floral notes like geranium and lavender alongside the classic patchouli, this was a real nod to the character of this decade.
20. Monsieur Balmain Pierre Balmain – 1964
If you’re part of the younger generation, you might confuse this 1964 men’s cologne with the newer version that was launched in 1990. But if you want a vintage and traditional scent, I’d always say go back to the original.
Monsieur Balmain was a highly aromatic fragrance with a lot of detail and intricate. For serious perfume lovers, you’ll notice how the character changes from zesty at the head to floral and a very woody, musky base.
Final Words on 60’s Perfume
Weren’t the sixties a real blast? This decade saw so much change in terms of culture, music and how we generally lived our lives.
But one of the things that so many people look back fondly on are the fragrances of the 60s. There was much easier access to perfume than ever before and with scents like patchouli and florals dominating the scene, there were some vibrant and beautiful scents around.
While some of these perfumes have sadly been discontinued, many are still on the shelves today. So, if you want a blast from the past, these perfumes will quickly take you back.