Marks and Spencer is becoming a force to be reckoned with in the High Street Fragrance Wars. Lyn Harris of Miller Harris fame has climbed on board and produced a remarkable range at a reasonable price. Roger and Gallet are also to be found on their shelves, as are Fragonard, with their exquisite packaging. Sadly, and apologies for the anti climax, none of the aforementioned ranges have reached my local branch. Sadface. There’s a still a good selection though, if you keep walking past choky, cloying Florentyna.
I have it on good authority that Per Una Exquisite smells almost exactly like the much missed Houbigant’s Quelques Fleurs. Autograph New York is a fresh floral with gourmand vanilla basenotes. It’s also no secret that Marks and Spencer Isis smells very similar to Issy Miyake L’Eau D’Issey, the ozonic fragrance hit of the Nineties.
This review is for Per Una Originale Eau de Toilette. Although Per Una Originale is not a dupe or a copy, I could not help noticing that it is very similar to Sarah Jessica Parker’s Lovely. Here’s what the M and S website says “Flowers of magnolia, jasmine, rose and summer freesias mingle with a sensuous background of woods, heliotrope and patchouli to give added depth.”
Just like Lovely, the opening is all fresh, light flowers, no Tuberose, nothing too heady, followed by a background of Patchouli to give it that slightly Fresh Spicy accord. It is hard to point out the differences as they are so slim. I think Lovely has the edge though, certainly on longevity. Prices are good for Per Una Originale, starting at £4 for a 10ml purse spray: a good way to try before investing in a big bottle. However, at £12 for a 50ml bottle, you wouldn’t have to sell your house to afford it. Looking online, current offers include buy one get one half price, so you may as well buy a few different ones to test. Any excuse…
I have bought a 10ml bottle which is the perfect size for my handbag. It is slightly more floral than Lovely (more Magnolia and Rose), but a very close contender: a pleasant fresh fragrance with a resonant Patchouli-Lite base.
Affordable, accessible, and a wide enough range to avoid smelling like everyone else, Marks and Spencer have got it right.