Beauty: Forgotten Perfumes

Man Holding Nose

I was listening to 6 Music the other day and whooped with joy when I heard Blue Boy's Remember Me for the first time in what must have been years.

As I raved in my dressing gown like a nana, it occurred to me that this is the same elation I feel when I spritz on some Rive Gauche after a long interval of wearing the chart-topping scents du jour.

The nature of perfumery is that a fragrance arrives in a flurry of glossy advertising and, if it's also decent-smelling and pretty, we all obsess over it for a spell. One could walk into any ladies' room in the early 90s, for example, and almost become high on the rich, sweet fug of Thierry Mugler's Angel. Twenty years later, not so much (despite it still being, while not to my taste, a truly magnificent perfume).

So here are six scents that have enjoyed their moment in vogue and have settled into a quieter role as elder stateswomen – confident, wonderful and respected, having earned their stripes and leagues of loyal wearers.

Partners: I've deliberately chosen non-obscure perfumes available in almost every town centre, so on Christmas morning there's no excuse for presenting her with charcoal briquettes and a bag of Mars Planets from the local Texaco.

YSL Rive Gauche, from £32.50, theperfumeshop.com
God, I love it so much. Elegant, floral perfume in a chic, metal canister. It will never leave my collection.

Estée Lauder Youth Dew, from £26, esteelauder.co.uk
I am predicting a big comeback for this once-celebrated scent. Retro, sexy and girly, yet complex.

Thierry Mugler Cologne, from £18, muglerstore.co.uk
A soap-based fragrance may not sound exciting, but this underrated classic makes me swoon.

Narciso Rodriguez For Her, from £48, boots.com
If you like your perfumes rich, musky and a bit filthy, this is heaven. A flavour of the month that became a classic.

Calyx, £46, harrods.com
Prescriptives makeup is sadly no longer with us, but its fruity, grown-up scent endures. Fresh, light, unusual.

Clinique Aromatics Elixir, from £23, clinique.co.uk
I always think differently of a woman wearing this. It's bold, confident and kick-ass, never mimsy.

Powered by Guardian.co.ukThis article was written by Sali Hughes, for The Guardian on Friday 14th December 2012 22.59 Europe/London

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image: © Kevin Rawlings