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Guinness Awards Record for Most Expensive Perfume

Renata Espinosa
December 10th, 2007 @ 1:48 PM - New York

A rose is a rose, and a perfume is a perfume, right? Well, not if it's the "World's Most Expensive Perfume." Clive Christian No. 1 was awarded the Guinness World Record for being the most expensive perfume on Saturday, Dec. 8, at Saks Fifth Avenue in New York.

Composed of the rarest ingredients in the world with no regard to their cost, No. 1, which has been produced by Clive Christian for the past six years, retails for $2,350 for 30ml of the pure perfume. Only 1000 bottles each of the men's and women's perfumes are released each year.

The single most expensive bottle of the Clive Christian perfume, the No. 1 Imperial Majesty bottle made of Baccarat Crystal and inset with a white diamond on the neck, was on display Saturday as well at Saks. Valued at over $200,000, only 10 bottles were ever produced.

Fans of No. 1 include Sir Elton John, who used the scent to perfume the gardens at his White Tie and Tiara Ball and Katie Holmes, who wore it on her wedding day for her marriage to Tom Cruise.

Clive Christian flew in from London to receive the official award from Guinness World Records. When his company acquired the Crown Perfumery in 1999, the British perfume company originally established in 1872 granted the crown of excellence by Queen Victoria, he set out to revive the company's history of luxury by creating the most exquisite perfumes, though he said they never set out to break the world record.

"The brief that was given to them for No. 1 was that they had to produce the best possible perfume that was known to mankind, and they were to ignore all costs and buy whatever they considered would produce the best results, even taking into account that it might not be sustainable," said Christian. "In other words, next year, we may not be able to do it. Nobody has ever done that. No. 1 does change, year by year."

"The by-product of that is that it became ridiculously expensive to actually produce that," continued Christian. "We didn't expect it to be as well-received as it has been, which goes to show that if you produce something so well, the world will respond well to it."

Christian said the two ingredients in particular make this perfume so expensive. Natural aged sandalwood from India, for example, which is so prized it is regulated by the Indian government, is an ingredient in No. 1.

Tahitian vanilla is another, which Christian explained goes through a labor-intensive process to procure.

"The vanilla pods ferment, and then tiny crystals form on the outside of the pod, and we actually reap the perfume of the vanilla, from those crystals - not actually from the pods," said Christian.

Though Christian may be the man behind the world's most lavish scent, one of his favorite scents doesn't hail from an exotic locale or rare flower, though you might be hard-pressed to find such a smell today.

"A great smell and sensation was when I was a child," said Christian. "They used to have over a railway line, those metal bridges that you don't have any more. And when they had a steam train, if you stood, directly above it, as the steam train went through it, you were covered in steam, so it was quite an experience. You had the smell of the steam, and of the carbon, and the different goings on, and that was a powerful, energetic smell."

"So get a steam train, stand underneath it, and it will curl your hair!"

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