Perfumes Under a Fiver: The IScentYouADay Christmas Guide to Perfume for The Frugal

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Christmas is coming, the Goose is getting fat,

Please put a penny in the old man’s hat.

If you haven’t got a penny, a farthing will do,

If you haven’t got a farthing, then God bless you.

Don’t think I’m being too early- there are only one or two pay days until Christmas.  Already the shops are full of Quality Street and Tinsel and I’m trying to stay away from the Lebkuchen so that Santa trousers don’t have to be my only fashion choice.

Perfume sales sky rocket before Christmas: it is no accident that Autumn is perfume launch season, and the selection on the High Street at the moment can be a) overwhelming and b) expensive.  From my dashboard here at IScent HQ, I can see  the most frequent internet search terms that lead people to my site.  The searches that I am seeing over and over again are “good cheap perfume” and “cheap perfume that smells good”.   I can see there’s a demand, and like an olfactory Wonder Woman, I’m here to solve your problem.

It sounds unfeasible that in a world where living costs are so high, it is still possible to buy perfume that doesn’t smell like cat wee for five quid, but it can be done.  Like all things, it’s just a matter of being selective.  I’m not promising you the moon and the stars, (or Sun Moon Stars– yuk!) but wearable, decent perfume for you or a friend or a colleague (if you’re doing Secret Santa) is within the reach of even the thriftiest shopper.

Here goes: I have smelled the good, the bad and the ugly to make this list:

 Perfume for Under a Fiver.

 In no particular order, all of these perfumes are under five quid and would be ideal for Secret Santa gifts or stocking fillers. Prices correct at time of writing


  1. Jean Yves Grasse Experience: For fans of Aromatics Elixir, this mossy chypre can be had for under a fiver. Available from Amazon UK
  2. Coty Chanson D’Eau: a wonderfully green and uplifting scent from Coty.  For under a fiver you get a free body spray too.  You can buy it from Amazon UK
  3. Coty L’Aimant The perennial classic.  I prefer the Parfum de Toilette to the cologne spray and  you can get it for under a fiver on Amazon UK.  To me, it always smells similar to Chanel No 5.
  4. Taylor of London Panache: the darling of the seventies, don’t write Panache off.  It’s a great floral aldehyde with 12 hour longevity.  I wear it regularly and its especially good in cold weather. You can buy gift sets for a laughably cheap 3.99 on Fragrance Direct
  5. Chique Another Taylor of London classic:  Its utility packaging and Seventies name hides a terrific mossy chypre that left me reminded me of Estee Lauder Knowing.  Buy a set off FragranceDirect for 3.99 .
  6. Avon Timeless Available from AvonShop Uk for five quid, this is a powdery, ambery classic that was brought back by popular demand. My Avon Lady, the lovely Jill, can vouch for its popularity.
  7. Milton Lloyd Tweed Mademoiselle– a fruity floral that smells like many new releases,  and is even better than many more expensive mass market fragrances.  Its a fruity floral (not my favourite genre, but always a bestseller),  and is light  and pretty with  the emphasis on the florals.  Anyone who likes Miss Dior Cherie might like this one too. You can buy it from Amazon UK.
  8. Bronnley Lime and Bergamot: From trusty Bronnley comes a light citrussy floral cologne that is a real crowd pleaser.  Currently on sale on Fragrance Direct for 4.99
  9. Milton Lloyd Panache Mademoiselle: if you like the light airiness of Estee Lauder Pleasures then you’ll love this. You can buy it from Fragrance Direct for 3.99. I have a bottle myself.
  10. The Body Shop White Musk Mini Spray: a perennial favourite, the legendary White Musk now comes in an affordable handbag sized bottle that costs a mere five quid and you can buy it  right here.

So there you have it- perfume under a fiver?  Yes it can be done and I wouldn’t let you buy it if I wouldn’t wear it myself. Let me know your thoughts on fragrant frugality! I always love to hear from you.


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10 thoughts on “Perfumes Under a Fiver: The IScentYouADay Christmas Guide to Perfume for The Frugal”

  1. I wore Chique this week and enjoyed it greatly. And I can also vouch for Avon’s Timeless, having snagged a bottle of that, too, on your excellent recommendation. I am now looking forward to either getting a restock of Aromatics Elixir for Xmas or failing that some of the Grasse Experience you suggest. (I’m a big Aromatics fan and have ripped through a small bottle at a rate of knots.)

    I will also add the perennial high street favourite for budget perfumes that pack a smell alike punch: Lidl. I’m not sure if their range comes in absolutely under the five pounds mark, but they do occasionally have half price offers that bring their famous Suddenly Madame Glamour (Coco Mademoiselle dupe) well under it. I’m sure I got a bottle for three quid once! And their other perfumes and gents’ fragrances are also pretty darn good. X-Bolt for men is the Boss dupe, and there was another one, too, wasn’t there? Another Boss copy – was it Boss Orange?

    1. Ah yes, Lidl. I have a permanent bottle of Suddenly Madame Glamour on my dressing table and it really does smell like Chanel Coco Mademoiselle. It cost me 3.99 and I would recommend it. The other one they did was called Lidl Suddenly Diamonds which paid homage to Boss Orange for her and was very good and also only 3.99. However, it was a very limited edition and they have no plans to re stock that one. The men’s fragrance, Lidl X Bolt is, in my opinion, identical to Hugo Boss Bottled and costs only 3.99. I have reviewed all of them on this blog somewhere.

      Oh and I love Chique- it lasted about 12 hours on me!

      Sammy xxx

    1. I found Marks and Spencer to be a real treasure trove last Christmas. They had 100ml bottle gift sets for half price on some days which made it excellent value for gift buying. I managed to bag a 100ml Butterfly gift set (with obligatory body lotion!) for only £6. I daren’t go to my local branch since your tip off about the good stuff arriving as I can’t trust myself to be alone there and in possession of a credit card. I am more likely to find something I like among the Fragonard, Roger at Gallet and Monothemes in M and S than I am in a whole street full of Perfume Shops.

      1. You bet your sweet patooty you will! Monotheme Cuir is to die for and it’s about 25 quid, which in the world of fragrance is zip! I wish they would sell more Fragonard soap, as I really love them. But then I’m an odd bird. 🙂

      2. I went into M and S. I broke all my rules and came out smelling like five Fragonards at the same time and couldn’t tell which one I liked best. I really need to calm down. My eyes were like saucers when I went in there! What joy!

  2. I’m interested to see you championing the current L’Aimant. Vintage is not hard to find, but mine has lost its top notes and buying more vintage may not be any better. Maybe I should give the current version a go …

    1. Hi Annemarie, I did find that the modern cologne spary was not my cup of tea at all. One of the main characteristics of L’Aimant, as you know yourself, is its strength. It’s no willo the wisp and I think it didn’t work as a cologne. However, I bought the parfum de toilette very cheaply in my local Boots and it was fabulous with depth and great longevity so I would say no need to seek out vintage but get the strongest one you can buy. I also hear the creamy skin perfume is nice and robust too!

      best wishes and thanks for dropping in!


  3. Thanks, that sounds like good advice so I’ll take it! I love the warmth if L’Amant. No 5 is beautiful, but more aloof.

    1. Hi annemarie,

      I am a latecomer to the L’Aimant party. My late beloved grandmother wore it as her signature scent and it took me a very long time to be able to wear it. But now I do, in full blown homage to her, and as the penny finally dropped and I became a lifelong fan, I thought “Hey, Nanna was really onto something here!”. Add a peppermint and a hint of eucalyptus and I smell just like her. I do miss her. She was always such a lady.

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