Last year I wrote a post about smellalikes, and then another. And then this one. You see, I often get asked if there are alternatives to people’s favourite scents that are either cheaper or a replacement for a discontinued favourite.
The more fragrances I review, the more I have realised that you can usually find something in the same vein as a long lost favourite, or even a cheap bottle that will tide you over until the piggy bank is full again. From my dashboard here at IScent HQ, I see more searches for “cheap perfumes that smell good” and “what smells like…?” than anything else (apart from my post on Gucci Envy). People still want to smell good, but the perfume coffers are not always overflowing.
Here’s my updated list of smellalikes, based on my personal experience after nearly two years of blogging and reviewing. This is not an exhaustive list- I’m sure I could do another one in six months time as I smell and review even more of the blighters.
Narciso Rodriguez For Her: the leader of the pack when it comes to florals with a woody patchouli base- which in turn smells like Sarah Jessica Parker Lovely– which isn’t far from Avon Rare Diamonds (which was six quid in the last brochure I saw).
Chanel Coco Mademoiselle: the floral oriental bestseller- which smells very similar to So Elixir by Yves Rocher, and if you can’t afford either then Lidl’s Suddenly Madame Glamour will tide you over at 3.99. If you haven’t got a Lidl near you, you could also try Milton Lloyd Miss Tutu which does the job with a slightly lighter hand for under a fiver on Amazon UK.
Iris Poudre: Iris Poudre was created by Pierre Bourdon for Editions Frederic Malle and currently costs around 125 Euros for 50ml. Bourdon also created Ferre by Gianfranco Ferre (see photo) which smells exactly like Iris Poudre but is less than 40GBP for a whopping 100ml.
Chanel No 5: The behemoth of perfumes, that aldehydic chypre is never off the top ten list- and also smells very similar to Coty L’Aimant, which can be had for around 6GBP. In fact, I prefer L’Aimant. No 5 was launched in 1924 and L’Aimant in 1927. Both vintage style classics if you ask me.
Robert Piguet Fracas: the last word in classy Tuberose – which also smells like Madonna Truth or Dare, which was inspired by her mother’s scent, which was, you’ve guessed it, Robert Piguet Fracas.
Chanel Cristalle: A green chypre as fresh as grass with a little galbanum and Moss to keep it gorgeous. If you like this, you’ll love O de Lancome which is cheaper. Personally, I want both. New launch Yardley Jade smells almost exactly the same as Cristalle and currently costs under ten quid.
Lancome Hypnose is a mysterious Passionflower Oriental which retails at around 20 GBP for 30ml. Or if you’ve only got seven quid, you might be able to bag yourself some Avon Eternal Magic if you’re quick and you look in the sale brochure.
Gucci Envy– how I miss that green, green, floral, metal accord! Whilst I wait for Gucci to see sense, you could try Isabella Rossellini Manifesto, Jo Loves No 42 The Flower Shop, or Issey Miyake A Scent. I do.
Can’t stretch to L’Eau D’Issey by Issey Miyake? Try Marks and Spencer Isis (now renamed Aqua). It’s not an exact duplicate, but it’s a good match for the genre with its lovely ozonic notes and affordable price.
Chanel No 19: the ultimate classic, still classy after all these years. But I have it on excellent authority that Jacomo Silences is very similar and costs less than 30GBP
The Body Shop Amazonian Wild Lily reminded me of Marc Jacobs Daisy. It’s light, green and refreshing and because it comes as an oil, nobody will mind you dabbing it on in a crowded train.
DKNY Be Delicious is a dead ringer for the Marks and Spencer pretty scent Butterfly. Both have cucumber, lemon and apple. No prizes for guessing which is cheaper.
Coty Aspen For Men is a delicious green and lavender combo that smells similar to the very spendy Creed Green Irish Tweed. Except the Coty one is far cheaper and I adore wearing it myself (I even bought some for myself *cough* I mean Mr IScent)
Thierry Mugler Alien is a steadfast seller, but if the piggy bank won’t co-operate, you can always try Yves Rocher So Elixir Purple, like a slightly softer Alien. More E.T than Close Encounters.
Another Milton Lloyd steal here for fans of Dior Poison. Milton Lloyd Chacal smells very similar indeedy to Poison, and even has the same longevity, although not quite the endless depth of it. Available from Amazon UK for around five quid.
Fans of Chanel Allure may like to know that Milton Lloyd Bondage L’Affaire has often been compared to it, and has a fancy pants Duran Duran stylee box which costs under five quid on Amazon UK.
Paco Rabanne Lady Million is a bestseller at every High Street perfume counter that I visit, but if you say yes and your piggy bank says no, then you could try Colour Me Femme Gold by Milton Lloyd for under five pounds. The EDP is especially long lasting.
Clinique Aromatics Elixir is a timeless classic, but if the real thing is beyond your reach, many people consider Jean Yves Grasse Experience to be a dead ringer. I can vouch for its longevity- fabulous. You can buy it from Amazon UK.
And finally, one from friend of the blog Lisa Wordbird. She tells me from first hand experience that Bath and Bodyworks Coconut and Lime Breeze is not a million miles away from Creed Virgin Island Water and costs a fraction of the price.
As always, I love to hear from you. Do you agree or disagree with my choices below? Have you found a brilliant smellalike you want to share?
Acknowledgments: many of the Milton Lloyd bottles were kindly given to me by Milton Lloyd for which many thanks. Opinions are my own.