5 Best Perfumes for Older Women In 2023 (Buying Guide & Review)


Hey lady! Welcome to my 2023 review of the best perfumes for older women.

After hours of researching and testing, I compiled a list of five of the most loved and worn fragrances for the mature woman. Then I ranked them based on scent accords, quality, longevity, and value for money.

These are by far the best fragrances of the group.

Perfumes for older women don’t have to smell stuffy or stale. Choose one of these fragrances, and you’ll be wearing a refined, sophisticated scent that’s reflective of your savviness and helps amplify your presence.

Ready to smell lovely as an older woman?

Let’s get to it!

The 5 Best Perfumes for Older Women

The 5 Best Perfumes for Older Women

As we age, scents that were appropriate as teens, young adults, and even as professionals, may no longer be a good fit for your lifestyle.

Whether you’re still part of the workforce or would describe yourself as being part of a different life category, personal fragrances are still memorable and leave lasting impressions.

As I always say, scent is subjective, so this list is not definitive. Consider it to be a starting point on your journey towards finding a fragrance that you’ll enjoy wearing.

1. Most Iconic Perfume for Older Women: N°5 Eau de Parfum Spray by Chânél

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Year Released: 1985
Fragrance concentration: Eau de parfum
Fragrance family: Floral aldehyde
Best seasons: Winter, fall, spring, early summer
Ideal occasion: All day; casual or formal; special occasions
Longevity: 8+ hours
Bottle size: 100 mL (3.4 fl oz)
Approximate price: 💲💲💲

When I think of sophisticated fragrances for older women, the first one that comes to mind is Chanel N°5. Described as the “very essence of femininity,” this airy floral fragrance has been at the top of best perfume lists for decades.

Although this fragrance was released decades ago, it isn’t dated, but timeless.

As the story goes, in 1921, Gabrielle Chanel commissioned Ernest Beaux to create “a woman’s perfume, a scent of a woman.” She was presented with a series of samples and chose the fifth one, naming the original parfum version of this iconic scent, N°5.

Considered the world’s first abstract fragrance, Ernest Beaux masterfully used aldehydes to add levity and brightness to every scent note in this perfume, as aldehydes are known to amplify existing accords.

It wasn’t until 1986 that Jacques Polge created this eau de parfum version of the original 1921 parfum. With a few additional notes on each layer, this eau de parfum version is even more complex without straying too far from the original.

N°5 Eau de Parfum Spray by Chânél

Top notes include ylang-ylang, neroli, and aldehydes with the addition of peach and bergamot. May rose and jasmine remain in the center along with powdery iris and the freshness of lily-of-the-valley.

As N°5 dries down, sandalwood and vetiver are amplified by bourbon vanilla and patchouli.

Certainly nuanced, you might want to try a sample instead of making a blind purchase, but it’s unlikely that you’ll dislike this scent.

N°5 is a sensual, yet elegant fragrance that you’ll want to have in your collection as a mature woman.

Pros

  • Timeless, sophisticated fragrance
  • Unlikely to be discontinued
  • Airy floral scent
  • Can be worn in many environments

Cons

  • Many others also wear this scent
  • It’s somewhat expensive

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2. Highly Feminine Perfume for Older Women: Romance Eau de Parfum by Ralph Lauren

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Year Released: 1998
Fragrance concentration: Eau de parfum
Fragrance family: Fruity floral
Best seasons: Spring, summer, early fall or early winter
Ideal occasion: Day fragrance; early evenings
Longevity: 6+ hours
Bottle size: 100 mL (3.4 fl oz)
Approximate price: 💲💲

Just as the name implies, this perfume is romantic and sensual with an air of timelessness.

Top notes include mandarin essence, pink pepper, and white violet leaves. At the heart of this fragrance lies rose, jasmine, marigold, and geranium. Romance dries down to patchouli, oak moss, and musk.

The scent of Romance is almost tactile. Velvety and intimate, if it were possible to capture moments of burgeoning and lasting love, then this is how those moments would smell.

Its fresh and spicy introductory notes reflect the spark of new love. And then those moments transition into the gentleness of rose and sweetness of jasmine. Fresh, aromatic geranium helps maintain the mystery while aromatic marigold lends a steady undertone.

Prickly oak moss is balanced by the powdery sweetness of musk while patchouli keeps the romance grounded and sweet.

This fragrance is unmistakably feminine, and its price point is more accessible than Chanel.

It’s simply a lovely perfume that makes a statement without being too bold or overbearing. Romance is perfect for the composed and graceful older woman who walks with dignity without the need for being flashy.

There have been subtle changes to the fragrance formula over the years, but this perfume still has a classic, poetic fragrance that deserves a space in your fragrance collection.

Pros

  • Lasting, classic fragrance
  • Lovely, delicate floral aroma
  • Great value for the bottle size
  • Can make a nice signature scent

Cons

  • Mostly limited to day use
  • It’s a pretty common scent that others will be wearing

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3. Best Gourmand Perfume for Older Women: La Vie Est Belle Eau de Parfum by Lancôme Paris

Lancôme La Vie Est Belle Eau de Parfum - Long Lasting Fragrance with Notes of Iris, Earthy Patchouli, Warm Vanilla & Spun Sugar - Bright & Warm Women's Perfume - 3.4 Fl Oz
  • ENERGIZING WOMEN'S FRAGRANCE: "La Vie Est Belle," a French expression meaning "life is beautiful," is about choosing your own path to happiness and inspiring others. Joyous femininity is expressed through this energizing women's perfume
  • FEMININE SCENT: With notes of iris spring flowers and the intoxicating earthiness of patchouli. These are layered alongside perfume notes of delicious spun sugar and sensual warm vanilla. Plus, like a bright blooming bouquet, it also has other flowery hints of exotic Arabian jasmine sambac and sparkling Tunisian orange
  • REFILLABLE BOTTLE: The 3.4 Fl Oz bottle is now refillable and recyclable. The new refillable bottle has an updated packaging, with a “Refillable” callout on the outer package.
  • HOW TO APPLY: Apply parfum on your neck and wrist, as well as in the creases of your knees and elbows for a long-lasting, strong scent
  • FRANCE HAS A WORD FOR BEAUTY: LANCÔME. Since its founding in 1935 by visionary parfumeur Armand Petitjean, the luxury brand has been synonymous with efficacy, innovation, and French elegance

Year Released: 2013
Fragrance concentration: Eau de parfum
Fragrance family: Gourmand floral
Best seasons: Fall, winter, spring, early summer
Ideal occasion: Day and evening fragrance
Longevity: 8+ hours
Bottle size: 100 mL (3.4 fl oz)
Approximate price: 💲💲💲

Honestly, women either love or hate this perfume, so it would be best to test it out in order to determine which side you’ll land on. But there’s something warm and inviting about La Vie Est Belle.

If you’re an older woman seeking out a modern scent that’s also sophisticated, then you might want to try La Vie Est Belle. As its name implies, it’s a scent that reminds you of how beautiful life can be.

The inspiring concept behind this fragrance is choosing your own path towards happiness while inspiring others to do the same. This is an energetic and joyful fragrance.

La Vie Est Belle is so sweet that its singular top note is spun sugar. Powdery iris is its heart note, and this perfume dries down with patchouli and warm vanilla.

But this fragrance layering is approximate. Even Lancôme places these notes on different layers depending on what information is accessed, and it’s common for there to be changes to each layer over time. The main accords, though: spun sugar, vanilla, patchouli, and iris will all rise to dominance at one point or another while wearing this fragrance.

In Lancôme’s defense, so many perfumers attempt to replicate this fragrance that they might choose not to be completely transparent about how it unfolds on the wearer.

Due to its strong projection, you might want to spray on less than you normally would for other fragrances. One or two sprays is more than sufficient for a lasting scent experience.

Pros

  • A not too sweet gourmand
  • Balanced well with floral notes
  • Long lasting with strong projection
  • Simply a lovely and classy fragrance

Cons

  • Popular scent that will be worn by others
  • Somewhat expensive

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4. Best Amber Perfume for Older Women: Opium Eau de Toilette by Yves Saint Laurent

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Yves Saint Laurent Opium for Women Eau de Toilette Spray, 3.0 Ounce
  • A floral woody fragrance for women
  • Enchantment, mystery, magic & exoticism
  • A sheer sensuality, a voluptuous, provocative and controversial fragrance
  • Recommended for evening wear

Year Released: 2009
Fragrance concentration: Eau de toilette
Fragrance family: Spicy Amber
Best seasons: Fall, winter, early spring, or early summer
Ideal occasion: Evenings; special occasions
Longevity: 6+ hours
Bottle size: 90 mL (3 fl oz)
Approximate price: 💲💲💲

First introduced in 1977, this reformulated and repackaged version of Opium was released in 2009 due to regulatory changes. Opium is a still strong fragrance that leans towards being a unisex scent.

Opium has experienced its fair share of controversy. Committees were formed to ban its initial release in the 1970s. A couple decades later, Opium was marketed in a highly sexualized manner, being met with much opposition in many countries.

It seems that those initial reactions have died down and the fragrance is solely seen as such.

Top notes of mandarin and bergamot are joined by myrrh, jasmine, and carnation as heart notes. Its singular dry down note is amber.

Spiciness comes by way of the carnation floral notes and partially due to myrrh resin. It’s possible that patchouli notes have also been added to the base, but this might vary according to the bottle year printed on your packaging.

Opium eau de toilette is spicy, provocative, and sensual. Better worn at night during special events, this scent is memorable and intoxicating.

Pros

  • Long lasting fragrance
  • Strong sillage and projection
  • Warm and spicy fragrance
  • Ideal for evening events

Cons

  • Limited seasonal use
  • Less value for the price

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5. Best Fresh Perfume for Older Women: Philosykos Eau de Parfum by Diptyque

Diptyque Philosykos Eau De Parfum Spray for Women, 2.5 Ounce
  • Launched by the design house of Diptyque
  • Blend of fig leaf, coconut, green accords, cedar, woody accords, and fig tree
  • Long lasting fragrance

Year Released: 1996
Fragrance concentration: Eau de parfum
Fragrance family: Woody
Best seasons: Spring, summer, early fall or winter
Ideal occasion: Evenings; special occasions
Longevity: 6+ hours
Bottle size: 75 mL (2.5 fl oz)
Approximate price: 💲💲💲💲

If floral, gourmand, or spicy notes aren’t your thing, you might prefer this fresh take on a perfume for older women.

Although it will tug at your purse strings, Diptyque’s Philosykos is a wonderfully fresh fragrance that warmly dries down.

Translating into, “friend of the fig tree,” this fragrance was inspired by a summer at Mount Pelion in Greece where you’d have to cross through a fig tree grove in order to reach the sea. So, Philosykos celebrates all aspects of those fig trees – from their roots to their fruit.

Fittingly, you’ll smell woody notes reflective of the tree bark, syrupy tree sap, fresh fig leaf notes, and then the milkiness of the fruit. In addition to the layers of fig notes, you’ll experience hints of black pepper.

Philosykos Eau de Parfum by Diptyque

As a unisex fragrance, Philosykos is fresh, subtle, and memorable. This fragrance is evidence to the fact that older women do not have to smell like flowers in order to leave a lasting impression.

Philosykos doesn’t last as long as you’d expect an eau de parfum to last, but its uniqueness more than compensates for this downside. Philosykos is a stunning fragrance that will cause you to quietly stand out from the crowd. Understated, yet meaningful. It’s a natural scent for those who don’t really want to “smell” as though they’re wearing perfume.

Pros

  • Fresh but not offensive
  • Unique scent that not many others will have on
  • Warm, gentle dry down
  • Lacks floral notes

Cons

  • Very expensive price point
  • A bit too fresh for some wearers

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How to Choose the Best Perfume for Older Women

Certain fragrances simply work well for older women. Gone are the days when you’ll want to leave a trail of fruity sweetness that is Cloud. Nor do you want to project the modern freshness of Idôle.

Both fragrances are wonderful, but usually only when worn by individuals in the appropriate age group.

As you age, your tastes change, but so do your preferences and motivations for wearing personal fragrances. Gone are the days when you need to wear a particular scent in order to garner attention.

Your presence is more established now – simply by being you. And it’s time for your fragrance to reflect your more seasoned demeanor.

This doesn’t mean that you have to reject gourmands, alternatively, you’d want your gourmands to intricately unfold.

The best perfumes for older women are remarkably blended to gradually disclose their truths, so to speak, over time instead of metaphorically blurting it all out at once. Scents for mature women are memorable without being overstated.

This is why La Vie Est Belle is one of the most popular scents in the “best perfumes for older women” category. There’s liveliness to this fragrance that’s at once captivating and warm. It leaves an intriguing trail and lasts forever.

When selecting the perfume that’s best for you, it can help to keep some pointers in mind.

Get Familiar with Fragrance Categories

Whether you never knew what they were or need a refresher, it helps to have at least a broad understanding of fragrance categories.

There are five main fragrance categories: fresh, floral, oriental, woody, and gourmand. Within most categories, you’ll find subcategories.

Fresh Category

  • Subcategories: aromatic, citrus, aquatic, green, fruity

Possibly the widest ranging fragrance category, fresh notes can smell like sweet pineapple, cut grass, or clean aquatic accords.

Most often assigned to top and middle fragrance layers, you’ll experience them more in scents marketed as unisex or for men.

Floral Category

  • Subcategories: soft floral, floral oriental

Most commonly associated with perfumes, these familiar scent notes can be used in fragrances for women and men.

In many cases, floral heavy perfumes are worn during warmer months of spring and summer.

Oriental Category

  • Subcategories: soft oriental, woody oriental

Spicy is the word most closely associated with this fragrance category. In addition to spices (like cinnamon and clove), you might find resinous notes, like myrrh added to oriental fragrances.

Woody Category

  • Subcategories: mossy woods, dry woods, aromatic woods

A pretty straightforward category. Most often used as base notes, there are times when you can find wood accords at the heart of a scent. They’re more scarcely used as a top note.

As you can tell by the subcategories, there’re a range of woody scents from the very dry to moist mossy woods.

Gourmand Category

There really isn’t a set of subcategories for this fragrance group. Gourmands include edible notes, like chocolate, caramel, coffee, honey, marshmallow, and so on.

This category is the newest kid on the block. Thierry Mugler was the first to release a gourmand fragrance and it’s since been most popular with fragrances for younger age groups although when blended well, you can also find gourmand fragrances for older adults.

Cross-Category Blending

Taking it a step further, each category or subcategory can be blended with other fragrance families.

This is why you’ll see some scents referred to as a Fruity Gourmand or Aromatic Floral Oriental. Actually, some of the best fragrances aren’t linear but include scents from more than one scent category.

It can take some time to determine which categories and fragrance family combination you prefer. But an easy way to start narrowing your options is to remove from the list those you know that you dislike.

Take a Look Around

Lastly, consider current lifestyle changes, new needs and preferences, and even what’s worked for you in the past.

Need a special occasion fragrance? Want to try a fresh scent instead of adding another floral fragrance to your collection? Take your time, explore, test, and then settle on a scent.

Conclusion

Chânél’s N°5 is hands-down the most iconic and best perfume for older women.

It’s airy, long-lasting, and floral without being too flowery. This sophisticated fragrance epitomizes the essence of the mature woman.

If you’re looking for something less traditional but equally refined, consider Philosykos by Diptyque.

Fresh and simply complex with a hint of spice, you might enjoy how this fragrance stands out from the rest.

In any case, consider your scent preferences, current needs, and what’s worked out for you in the past, and then take a chance on one of these fragrances.

Grace

Hello and welcome to Fragrance Advice! My name is Grace Young, and I’ve been drawn to fragrances since I was a little girl. There's just something about scent that brings me so much joy! 

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