Category Archives: cheap perfume that smells good

Chloe Original by Karl Lagerfeld 1975: A Seventies classic at Seventies prices.

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Chloe Original is not to be confused with the current Chloe with a bow around its neck. Chloe Original was created by Karl Lagerfeld in 1975 and is a little bit of a retro classic (although it was not called Original back then. The flotilla of remakes could not have been predicted).

Available for under 15GBP for 50ml (see below), this is easily obtained and a good use of anyone’s perfume budget.  When I first tried it, I found it cloying and too rich with no room to breathe.

However, fast forward a few years and my understanding of scent, and particularly Tuberose, persuades me that this is a very good perfume indeed, and a 1970s classic at that, worthy of standing shoulder to shoulder with its contemporary: Anais Anais.

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The most dominant top notes are Aldehydes (just in the beginning before they fade to powder), Peaches (sadly not a favourite) Honeysuckle and flowers galore. Even if Peaches are not your thing, and they’re certainly not my cup of tea, do bear with Chloe because after a while it turns into a Rose, Tuberose, Jasmine flowerfest with a little Sandalwood and Amber to round things off.

For some, the busy-ness of the many flowers may be de trop, but if you “get” or like Tuberose (they are not always mutually exclusive), then you have yourself a bargain. It is a warm, rich floral, as opposed to being a “fresh” floral or a light cologne floral.

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Longevity is very good at around eight hours, and the price is right too. You can find Chloe on Amazon for a mere 16.50 for 50ml, although I have seen it even cheaper in High Street stores such as Bodycare and Savers, should you be near a branch. I bought a bottle last year for 9.99 for 30ml in my local branch of Bodycare and they are still there.

I have a soft spot for Seventies perfumes and enjoy wearing them. It reminds me of the decade when I was a child and times seemed more simple.  When they are of good quality such as Chloe Original, it’s worth doling out a tenner for a blast from the past that has aged rather well.

 

 

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Michael Kors Very Hollywood: Very Gardenia

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 I underestimated Michael Kors Very Hollywood , seeing it for the first time in my local Asda in the bargain cabinet next to the ubiquitous bargain favourite: Elizabeth Arden Sunflowers.  However, when I got home, I unearthed a sample and tried it. Well, dear reader, I shall be returning to the Asda bargain shelf where this was a mere £15 for 30ml, and such a pretty bottle too.

My first thought after spraying was Tuberose, but it is in fact Gardenia, and a rather beautiful one at that.  There is fruit as well.  As you know, I am no fan of fruity floral accords unless we are talking citrus, but in between some “Frozen” Bergamot (pardon?) and some Mandarin, there sits a little Raspberry. However, the Raspberry is suitably reined in, preventing this from being too fruity floral/cookie jar.

Top notes are all about the fruit: Orange, Bergamot and Raspberry. A top note with too much fruit usually has me running for the hills and this one didn’t.  In fact, I would say the middle note of Gardenia comes through within minutes, followed by the Jasmine.  There are also middle notes of Orris Root and Ylang, neither of which I could discern, but maybe I didn’t want to to- so enchanted was I with the beautiful white Gardenia.

Basenotes are Amber ,Musk and Vetiver, all of which are present and correct and noticeable.  However, the Gardenia welcomes you in, shows you round and never leaves your side, reminding me of an over solicitous Elizabeth Taylor in white maribou.

All in all, the Raspberry shows just enough restraint to make me a fan, and that Jasmine/Gardenia combo is a knockout. The glitzy name covers up a rather gracious daytime floral.  Longevity could be better at around four hours, but spray clothes and hair for longer lasting power, and you’re all set for the day.

Fragonard Étoile: How Perfume Should Be

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 Fragonard provides everything I want from a perfume: Fantastic packaging, traditional scents unswayed by fleeting celeb fashions, good longevity and extremely good value for money.  Not so cheap I’m worried, but just expensive enough to reassure me.

 Fragonard Étoile is no exception when it comes to divine packaging. Just look at it.  I’d probably buy it even if it smelled horrible just to have that bottle in my possession.

 Étoile is in a Lime/White flowers mash up that smells like an expensive soap I once owned which was called French Lime and made both me and the bathroom smell amazing. The more Étoile blooms on my skin, the more I love it.

 Étoile has dominant Bergamot that works exceedingly well alongside Jasmine and Gardenia.  Gardenia can be a little cloying, like its friend Tuberose, but the Bergamot cuts through any cloying-ness and  lifts the white flowers from creamy to refreshing, even chalky, like wet cliffs. It’s utterly delightful and growing on me by the minute.

What I particularity admire about Fragonard is that despite their high quality and beautiful packaging, they offer very big refills at very good prices.  You can buy 600mls of Étoile for only 57Euros.  Compare to that many High Street scents and you have incredible Imagevalue.  My only concern is that if I did have 600ml of Étoile I would be splashing it everywhere, pouring it in the bath, and using it like Eau de Cologne, and then being sad because it would run out after a week. Sometimes small rations are best, so I would opt for the 100ml bottle, still a steal at under 30GBP.

If, dear readers, you can get yourselves down to Marks and Spencer, you can bag yourself Imagea 100ml EDT bottle for a mere £26.  You may see me in the queue with an overflowing basket. Oh! and have you seen the little sampler boxes? My dears! I’ll just have to tell my children that only one of them can go to university.  Did I say basket?  I meant trolley.

The Fragonard range is available at larger branches of Marks and Spencer and also online.

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Dita Von Teese: Dita Von Teese for Women: Classy and Elegant

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Considering that Dita Von Teese For Women EDP is less than 20GBP a bottle, it’s not half bad. It certainly doesn’t smell as cheap as it is, despite the fact that the actual fragrance must have been produced cheaply once mark ups and overheads are taken into account.

Dita Von Teese is one of today’s classier stars. I’d rather see ladylike Dita’s spangly tassels than a barely dressed starlet on the red carpet letting it all hang out. Slim yet voluptuous, classic and elegant, Dita will never go out of style.

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newindianexpress.com

Dita Von Teese for Women smells delightfully feminine, with a retro vibe about it that defies today’s sweet fruity candy floss efforts and Baby Angel derivatives. It is definitely for evening wear, or more specifically, date wear.  It opens, unusually, with Bergamot, which is a brave choice considering it ends in smoky Guaic woods, Patchouli and Musk. Through it all comes the heady Tiare flower, a creamy white flower, less intense than tuberose but no less pretty.  Somehow it works. The Bergamot and floral opening gives a grown up and prim impression that leads into something more seductive as the evening wears on. By the end of the evening you’ll be unfastening your pearls for sure.

I cannot review this perfume without mentioning the stunning bottle. Black and fluted, it has an unmistakeable vintage vibe, and its black tassel is a cute little quirk. This is what I was hoping Kylie Minogue Couture was going to smell like, except that it let me down with a cheap and empty smelling faux vanilla base note. Not so Dita Von Teese, with its classy basenotes ending the show with a smoky trail of spiced Musk in its wake.

Poor Dita is in the unenviable position of having her fragrance reviewed the very day after I have reviewed the masterpiece that is Un Jardin en Mediterranee. However, I have also had to clean up after a small boy and a wayward kitten today, so it’s all about balance.

 Dita Von Teese for Women probably won’t be a favourite Must Buy, but I admire and like it, and the little handbag bottle is just adorable.

Bravo Dita.

Next Just Pink: And Other Budget Buys

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Since starting my blog, I have smelled hundreds of perfumes that have been completely new to me, the good (Amouage Dia), the bad (Halston Catalyst) and the ugly (Thierry Mugler Womanity).

I have smelled expensive scents that smell cheap and cheap scents that smell expensive.  My current perfume crush is Carillon Pour Un Ange which retails at around 99GBP for 50ml. I  have only small phials of it.  For Now.

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However, there is a place for inexpensive every day perfume that costs so little that you don’t get all miserly  and anxious when you’re down to the last cenitmetre.  There are several excellent options on the High Street right now.  Marks and Spencer are doing pretty good Imagethings with their affordable range.  I have already reviewed Per Una Originale and I have been told that Per Una Exquisite is a dead ringer for the much mourned Quelque Fleurs by Houbigant. The Body Shop stocks trusty White Musk oil, as well as their Scents of the World range (very pretty but longevity not great on me).

I have heard good things about the Next range of fragrances but had not encountered them myself until recently.  Yesterday I treated myself to an inexpensive bottle of Next Just Pink.   And it’s just fine.

For an everyday office scent, this fits the bill. It won’t break the bank at 7.50GBP for 30ml and if you find someone who loves it, they do admirable gift sets too. It  has three notes, according to Fragrantica: Green notes, red fruit and floral notes, so it’s pretty vague.

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Here’s what I think it smells like: Roses, Peony, Soft Musk, Freesia and a whiff of Violets.

It’s pretty, in a clean laundry sort of way and won’t offend anyone. It would also make a good fragrance for a young teen just starting out on their perfume Odyssey.

However, many reviewers compare Just Pink favourably to Ralph Lauren Romance.  I have a sample of this so I tried it side by side.  Ralph Lauren has slightly more depth, but surprise! Our budget buy outlasted it on longevity.  Note by note, there wasn’t much in it.

There’s a lot to be said for a well made, High Street perfume with a friendly price tag. I’ve smelled no end of mainstream new launch fragrances in the £30 for 30ml price bracket that have no more to offer than this. Next Just Pink is going in  the handbag.  *cough* along with the other seven I already have in there.  Must get round to sorting it out.

Escada Sexy Grafitti: What You Can’t Fight, Embrace.

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For all my rants and grouchiness about ubiquitous fruity floral fragrances and their alleged popularity that spreads and clings like Japanese Knotweed, I do believe I have stumbled across one that I actually like. I’m afraid to buy it though, in case Escada think I want them to make more fruity florals.  I will stick to using my generous 2ml free sample, which I am currently plastered in. It’s rather lovely.

Now who is the clever Nose who has persuaded me to like a fruity floral scent? None other than our old friend Dominique Ropion. I told you he was versatile. In Escada Sexy Grafitti he has brought us a scent that bursts with Raspberries, Blackcurrant and Lemon in the opening notes. However, if, like me, you are thinking of dessert by now, you can rest assured that M.Ropion has kept it delicate and pretty and fresh, rather than smelling like something bees want to visit. (Are you listening Britney? I haven’t forgiven you for Midnight Fantasy aka Death By Candy Floss).

As the fruit falls away (apart from robust raspberry), the flowers come out to play. Violets are discernible, as is a touch of pretty Peony, and a little Lily of The Valley. In fact, the juxtaposition of all this produces another smell not unlike peppermint.  It’s fresh and playful with a hint of soapiness. Unlike many other fruity floral scents (and there are currently about 50 gazillion) I find this refreshing and light hearted rather than sticky and sickly. It ends with a faint touch of pale Woods and Musk, although the sweet Raspberry never really leaves at all.  I would also like to thank  M.Ropion for leaving out Melon and Peach. Thank Heaven for small mercies.

I have often ranted that there are too many fruity florals on the market, and I stand by that, but maybe in a cacophony of noise, you can sometimes pick out a sonata.

Sarah Jessica Parker The Lovely Collection:Dawn

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Being a huge fan of Sarah Jessica Parker Lovely and seeing that she has created a very affordable diffusion range, I was curious to try Dawn. I own a bottle of Endless, which is a  pretty floral musk, that lacks lasting power,  and I have briefly tried the mildly spicy Twilight (not to be confused with the Vampire/Wolf uber franchise) but it was only recently that I managed to bag a sample of Dawn.

I am pleased to report that it is utterly delightful and not remotely offensive. It could easily be worn first thing in the morning on a commuter train and everyone would be thinking of dew drops and flower petals, rather than “Somebody Open A Window!”

Opening notes are Citrus notes, Angelica and Violet leaf. I can’t vouch for the Angelica, because, to be completely frank, I have no idea what it smells like. The Citrus and Violet Leaf, I can indeed recognise, and it’s a lovely light-as-air combination. The middle note is Orchid Flower, which mingles nicely with the Violet, keeping this feminine and light. Base notes include the following (according to Fragrantica) Orris Root, Musk, Vetiver, Oakmoss and Vanilla.

What I actually got was Musk and maybe some Oakmoss (probably not the real thing, especially at this price!), with just enough to keep it Green rather than too Sweet. Orris root and Vetiver were on vacation  every time I smelled this.

Dawn stays light and airy, like petals. The Ozonic description would usually put me off, but this is a lovely light blue airy scent that would make an ideal gift for a young teenager who didn’t want to drown in anything heavy. The Violet Leaf completely won me over.

My sample led me to purchase a full bottle, and that happens less often than you might think. Longevity is a bit of an issue, but I always get round that by spraying clothes and hair to carry the scent for longer.

This is  a wonderful airy start to a day, like a breeze coming through a window, and would be great for office wear. It’s lightness makes it very sociable. This is a corker of a bargain too and one I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend if you like your scents breezy, light and feminine.

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Jessica Simpson Fancy Nights: Papyrus and Patchouli and Other Non Sequitirs

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 I was dead against trying this, having read Luca Turin’s review of “Fancy”, (he labels it apple pie) and believing it to be in the same vein. It very much is not. What persuaded me to buy’n’try Fancy Nights was an amusing and charming review by Katrina of Australian Perfume Junkies who described an evening wearing this scent. On asking her husband what he thought of her fragrance, he mistakenly thought the smell was the taxi they were in. A celeb scent that smells like a new taxi? I’m there! Where do I sign up?

Some further praise from Katrina led me to believe this could be another celebuscent surprise, much in the vein of Hilary Duff With Love: a wonderfully maverick non fruity floral, that frankly, has balls.

The second thing that made me buy this was the ridiculously cheap price of£14.95 on Amazon.co.uk.

Today my bottle of Fancy Nights arrived. With it’s dark green glass and faux gilt lid, it’s Arabian Nights Vegas Style. The smell is great. Not a blueberry in sight. Not so much as a whiff of candy floss. This is grown up and not all that commercial, and thank Goodness for that! (We have Steve Demercado, the creator, to thank for this refreshing restraint).

The top note is Papyrus, possibly where the “new cab” smell comes from. I have never come across Papyrus in a scent before and I can tell you that there is a definite “new office” or “modern bookshop” whiff about it. For someone who loves the smell of fresh paint and new carpet, this was somewhat of a kinky find.

The drydown kicks in with milky Patchouli and Sandalwood, leaving a dusty and milky spice trail. I didn’t quite get the Jasmine and Rose notes that this supposedly has, but the hint of Bergamot was there, and rather nice in among the Amber and Sandalwood.

All in all, this is new books, a bit of patchouli and a kind of milky, quiet spice.

The blonde, ditsy, sexy starlet did well. I am reminded of a quote from Dolly Parton: “I don’t mind when people call me a dumb blonde, because I know I know I’m not dumb, and I also know I’m not blonde”

Fancy Nights joins With Love in my Inexpensive Celebrity Scent “Hidden Gem” Hall of Fame.

PS If you like Prada Amber, then this is exceedingly similar, but you didn’t hear that from me.  I wasn’t here, OK?

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Avon Week: Absynthe by Christian Lacroix

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Christian LaCroix has created several fragrances exclusively for Avon: Noir for Men, Rouge for Women, Nuit For Women,  Nuit for Men, and Christian La Croix Absynthe. It’s not the usual run of the mill Avon stuff either.  Absynthe has guts and gusto and isn’t afraid to tread a tightrope away from being A Safe Bet.

 Absynthe is one of Avon’s most expensive fragrances, yet it can still be bought for as little as £12 for 50ml in some brochures.  It was created in  2009 by Laurent Le Guernec,  who has also worked on  Lovely by Sarah Jessica Parker,  twelve fragrances for Bond No 9, four for Liz Claiborne,  and  Aromatics Elixir Parfumer’s Reserve for Clinique to name but a few of his successes. Despite it’s affordability and ubiquity, Absynthe is a decent scent that can stand shoulder to shoulder with more expensive contemporaries.

My lasting impression of Absynthe is that it reminds me of the bitter Greek Wine, Retsina, made of pine resin.  It opens with dry, bitter notes: Myrrh and a hint of Wood and Anise. Wormwood is strong too, as you would find in the notorious namesake drink.  Middle notes are softer and more feminine introducing flowers and a hint of pretty White Musk. The base is clearly  Amber and Musk, and the Wormwood from the opening stays true throughout.   There is a sweet note in there too, that I cannot name. I would have said Vanilla or Tonka Bean. It’s not overpoweringly sweet though, more like the sweetness of a glass of Chardonnay. I would also have described Absynthe as having Green notes too. The drydown is, to my nose, a dry, Green and Woody combination that has a refreshing bitterness. There’s a faint hint of Liquorice too, from the Anise in the opening blast.

Although LaCroix has also created Absynthe for Him, I don’t know why he bothered since this would comfortably merge from one to the other. I could easily pretend I bought this for my husband and then steal the whole damn bottle.

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Avon Week: Timeless

Avon.com
Avon.com


Now we’re talking. I bought a bottle of Timeless in 2012 and was dismissive of it.  In my naivety I labelled it “powdery” and “old lady”. Since my recent epiphany regarding the chypre genre (Thank you Balmain Jolie Madame, I’ve never been the same since), I have changed my outlook on Chypres.

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In Timeless, we have in our midst an excellent and very affordable chypre  (sans oakmoss) that users compare to Rochas Femme or even Gres Cabochard.   Another fan says it is a cross between Obsession and Dana Tabu.

Prominent notes include aldehydes, opoponax, patchouli and amber.   It opens with spicy citrus, beds down into an old fashioned floral with roses and jasmine, and finishes off with an ambery powder accord that isn’t done enough these days.

Timeless was created in 1974 and has fans that have been wearing it ever since.   On the Avon Shop UK page,  buyers are clamouring for it.  On Fragrantica, it is praised to the skies.  On my humble left arm, it smells amazing and has great lasting power.  In fact Avon, did a very daft thing which they quickly put right after listening to their cusotmers.   Timeless was at one point, discontinued.  Such was the uproar from their non-millenial,  long term, customers that Avon very kindly brought it back again.  Wise move, Avon

I tried a sample of Timeless EDT today and was knocked for six. The powdery old fashioned smell I once foolishly tossed aside is terrific. It’s classic, spicy and feminine.  It could hold its own alongside many more expensive brands and not even blush.

Stockists: Timeless is available from Avon UK at the excellent price of £5, although prices and offers may vary.

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