Karl Lagerfeld Classic Lagerfeld EDT Fragrance Review

Karl Lagerfeld Classic

Mainstream Monday – Sniffing a Popular Perfume (and I’m reviewing the “vintage”)

I’m very open about my affection for late 1970’s and 1980’s classic masculine fragrances. I love these sort of powerhouses. The funny thing is that with time, it seems that many of these mega-masculine powerhouses are becoming more and more “unisex”. This may have to do with modern designer men’s fragrances appearing more “simplified”. And modern designer women’s fragrances are leaning more towards the complex than they were in the 1990’s. Or maybe all “vintage” smelling blends are just being lumped together because they’re different than what is launched today. And since there is a generation gap from then to now, people no longer have these masculine associations with these fragrances.

Lagerfeld is a blast of aldehydes and spice over a funky sweetness. Smoke, sweet florals, more smoke, leather and sticky honey. The dry-down is an amazing honeyed tobacco with boozy tonka and sweet amber. And a smooth 70’s era musk. In comparison to other powerhouse masculines from the era, Lagerfeld is much, much sweeter. It’s a sweet amber with the perfect amount of funk.

What I’m about to say is highly inappropriate, but I can’t help it. I imagine that Lagerfeld Classic is the reason why the world now has so many antibiotic resistant sexually transmitted infections. I’m sure it was some really sexy stuff back in the day. It has that perfect amount of “dirty”.

Notes listed include aldehydes, bergamot, nutmeg, sweet orange, estragon, cedarwood, jasmine, iris, patchouli, rose, sandalwood, tobacco, amber, oak, musks, vanilla and tonka bean. Launched 1978. PERFUMER – Ron Winnegrad

Or if you like Dolce & Gabanna Homme, Serge Lutens Chergui, Illuminum Wild Tobacco, aroma M Amber Rouge and/or Caron Parfum Sacre. It was once a powerhouse masculine but smelling it now, I see it as more unisex in comparison to others from the era.

Projection and longevity are above average.

My opinion on the modern formula is that it’s still good. It’s not exactly the same and it does lack some of the richness, but it’s far more interesting than 90% of the designer launches of recent years. Plus, the price of this stuff is impossible to beat.

You can find 2 oz and 4.2 oz bottles of the modern stuff for about $20 at discounters like And if you can find some “reasonable” priced vintage ones on eBay.

Victoria’s FInal EauPINIONA classic amber for the fellows but now loved by everyone that likes a good skanky amber. You guys know I like these sort of things.

Want more reviews? Try…


Pour Monsieur

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The Non-Blonde

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*Product obtained by me. Ad from The Non-Blonde. Fragrancenet contains an affiliate link. Thanks!

12 thoughts on “Karl Lagerfeld Classic Lagerfeld EDT Fragrance Review

  1. I smiled so much to see this, you have no idea. Karl Lagerfeld original (not the new, incongruously named “Classic”) was such a love of mine. In fact, finding it again on eBay was the final impetus to starting my blog, and it became the very first review, short in my excitement and glee at finally having it again in my hands.

    For me, it was always very clear that it was Lagerfeld’s ode to Shalimar, with a masculine, cologne-like twist at the start. I’ve had a few readers buy it because of my love for it, but their reaction to it really seems to depend on age. The younger ones, like one chap who wrote to me last week with some horror, is that it smells just like their grandpa or uncle. Older readers, however, seem to “get it” much more and really like it, including the women (especially those who love vintage Shalimar). So, I guess there still is a generational gap, but perhaps no longer a gender one?

    Either way, I think it’s incredibly sexy in its vintage form. And on a guy’s skin….. Man, it’s good. Back in the day, I used to make all my BFs wear it — an actual requirement of dating me, lol. 😀 God, it’s *so* good to see another fan here in you. Victoria, you rock!
    Kafkaesque recently posted..La Via del Profumo Tabac

    1. The good thing is that it does show up on evilBay for pretty reasonable prices. Well, for now it’s cheaper. Don’t let any ebay shops read this review!

      You’re so right. It’s a masculine Shalimar. And that would explain my love for it.

      I think people attracted to perfumes like these have a certain taste…and they don’t care about gender marketing in perfume. It’s funny with perfume because we can never underestimate associations. I was very lucky to grow up in a non-perfume wearing home. I have none of the “this is grandpa’s perfume” hang-ups. It’s also funny to think if we have a 13 year old smell JPG Le Male now, she’ll probably think it smells like her father. Have a 13 year old smell stuff from the 80’s and it now smells like grandma/pa!

      I wish I could get David to wear this. He just doesn’t do these classic masculines. So in the meantime, I’ll wear it!

  2. Oh my god, I LOVED Lagerfeld and wore it exclusively for years. It helped me feel more confident. I felt so daring at the time, but I’ve always found more to wear on the boy side of the aisle. The last time I pulled out my bottle and sniffed, it seemed way sweeter than it used to.

    1. When I only had access to designer perfumes, I would wear the masculine ones. But, now times have changed and all of the masculines smell like some sort of grout cleaner baked into a cupcake…on sail to the ocean, lol. Going back, so many of these 70’s/80’s make some really cool and unexpected “feminines”.

      You know, I’m wondering if that amber (or tonka, something) is “aging” sweeter with time? Regardless, I do like what I smell. I love a good amber.

  3. My younger brother had a splash bottle of this in the 80s. When we would knock the bong over, which happened a lot, he would sling a bunch of Lagerfeld around the room. You just can’t imagine what his room smelled like, with the smoke, spilled bongwater, teenage boy, and a whole bottle of this perfume. Dear God. Haven’t smelled it in years but I can instantly recall this blend.

    He also used to think it was hilarious to decant bongwater into a spray bottle and chase people around spraying it on them.

    I’ll have to put it on my list to smell (again).

    1. Why do I love this story so? I guess because I can completely see it in my head. It strangely has me longing for a sweaty bong water version of Classic…I seriously could see that working.

      And his bongwater “cologne”, I think a niche house could market that 🙂

  4. I miss the old Lagerfeld some awful. I, too have noticed the strong resemblance to Shalimar. In fact, in the past I’ve often mistaken Lagerfeld on men to Shalimar. That fragrance definitely comes to mind every time I use vintage Lagerfeld. I was introduced to it when my dad was gifted at Christmas 1990. I was 9 or so. He kept using Aramis and Tuscany so I asked if I could have it since I was sneaking sprays before school. He gave it to me and I wore that and Obsession for men until high school. In my opinion, when they switched the logo from the art deco font to the block font, the fragrance was changed dramatically. This was ’98-’99. The original box was more of a beige color, and it was more shiny. The lid was real metal on the original as well. Such a sad shame to see this truly special fragrance suffer. Anyhow, I’m more than happy to wear the current Shalimar edp and Fragonard Reve Indien as substitutes. Better than nothing!


    1. I love that you wear Shalimar. That makes me so happy. I wish more folks were wearing Shalimar but I definitely wish more men wore it. It really is a lovely perfume and oddly enough, it’s “old school” masculine. I think many people just write it off as some old fragrance and ignore it.

      Lagerfeld Classic is a great fragrance (or was). Slightly off topic – A few years ago, Lagerfeld launched those Karl fragrances. Fashion mags went on and on about Lagerfeld’s “first” perfume launch. I found it very irritating because how quickly everyone forgot about Classic! The next irritating part was that those new fragrances aren’t good at all. Totally generic and with no personality 🙁

    2. I’m here a year later with 24-4 oz bottles of the vintage stuff. I went a little crazy in the past year hoarding vintage Lagerfeld, Ciara 100 and 80 and Obsession for women – I grew to prefer it’s Aliage plus amber over the men’s version. These are my triumvirate fragrances. I couldn’t imagine not having them. I guess I’m an amber lover too.

      1. Yay! I’m supportive of this vintage hoarding! I’m so happy that someone is buying up all those epic 80’s fragrances.

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