Are you one of those people who recoils at the idea of smelling like their Mum? I am. I confess that I very rarely wear the same perfume as my Mum, no matter how much I like it. In fact I try not to introduce her to perfumes I love for that very reason. No offence Mum, if you’re reading this! ( I bet she’s not) and happy birthday for tomorrow.
However, as a child of the seventies I am having a big fit of nostalgia lately. So many new releases from the last two years have been berry-heavy, vanilla heavy and have more in common with an ice cream sundae than a cosmetics counter. It used to be aldehydes and oakmoss and now its all candy floss and Kate Moss (which rhymes if you say it right). When did it become cool to smell like cupcakes instead of eating them? Is it any wonder that I long for the seventies?
Seventies fragrances are generally looked down on by the youth of today and no wonder: modern tastes have moved on. However, as an ardent fan of Coty L’Aimant and Panache and Avon Timeless I fully embrace those aldehydic affordable scents from my formative years and I reckon retro scents are due for a comeback.
I’ve picked ten of my favourites out below just in case you, like me, fancy a shot of retro fragrant frugality. I have only selected perfumes you can still buy today and perfumes that are still comparably affordable (not counting eBay where even the discontinued can be had for the right price)). In fact, the added bonus is that all the fragrances I have listed come in at well under a tenner and some are nearer five pounds. Is it too early to use the C word? Of course not. Here I go then- these would make great affordable Christmas presents. Check these out:
Avon Timeless:An ambery, powdery scent created in 1974. Avon discontinued it in favour of more modern releases but customer demand brought it back in 2012. My Avon Lady tells me it’s her bestseller.
Tweed:Tweed is underrated if you ask me. Its chock full of citruses and flowers, goes a bit Mr Sheen for a bit with lavender and beeswax, then ends up with a woody, patchouli afterglow that lasts a whole day. Cheap as chips and a pleasant change among the sweety/cakey miasma of the Twenteens.
Panache: I wear this often. Its jasmine, aldehydes and roses last around twelve hours on me, making my little 3.95 bottle fantastic value for money. You can still get it for well under a tenner.
Coty L’Aimant: Many Chanel No 5 fans eschew this gem, when actually, they were launched a few years apart in the late 1920s and smell very similar. Longevity is excellent and despite its tiny price, it never smells cheap.
Yardley Lavender: I’ve got the lot: Yardley Rose, Yardley April Violets and Yardley English Lavender. You can’t beat a classic floral. I also love to layer April Violets over existing scent that isn’t, in my open ion, “violetty enough”
Lace: Formerly Yardley Lace, this is now made by Taylor of London. Lace opens with aldehydes and citrus notes, goes through a blousy, rather loud floral phase and beds down into moss, amber and patchouli. It’s similar to Chique, but soapier.
Chique: With hand on heart I can genuinely tell you that this mossy chypre reminds me of Estee Lauder Knowing and gets better the longer you wear it. Chique is under ten quid and I proudly own a wear a bottle myself. Wouldn’t be without it.
Elizabeth Arden Blue Grass: another spicy aldehyde, full of peppery geranium and classic roses. Perfect from the fridge in summer. Still very good value and widely available.
Charlie Blue: Okay I admit, I didn’t used to like this at all, but once I entered the chypre portal, it made more sense to me. It’s very cheap, very long lasting and has a mossy, spicy base that is harder to find over the High Street counter today. Its remarkably cheap, usually under £4.
Jovan Musk For Women: Launched in 1972 and still going strong today: Every Fragrance Wardrobe needs a musk and this is a good one. This has not dated since its launch and is not just a good quality musk on its own but is excellent for layering too. I bagged my bottle locally but you can find it on Fragrance Direct or Amazon UK.
Jovan Musk is available from FragranceX, Coty L’Aimant is available from allbeauty.com or Fragrance Direct, Tweed, Chique, Lace and Panache are all available from Amazon UK and allbeauty.com, Yardley fragrances are available from Boots or allbeauty.com, Elizabeth Arden Blue Grass is available from Escentual or allbeauty.com, Charlie Blue is available from Boots or Amazon UK, Avon Timeless is available from AvonShop UK.
With thanks to Milton Lloyd who kindly provided me with Tweed, Panache, Chique and Lace. Opinions are my own.