My dear Avon Lady Jill gave me a little perfume sample when she dropped off a late item yesterday. I’m used to this now- Avon launches wide and often, which is fine by me. However, when Jill said “This one’s called Imari” I stopped in my tracks. “Just a minute,” I thought, “that one’s only available in the USA.”
Dear reader, and fellow Avon fan (probably if you’re reading this) it is true. Imari is coming to the UK.
This has got me very excited because if they can bring Imari to us, then what else can they do? I have always thought that if Avon did a heritage range of old favourites, then the people in my age group, i.e. late forties (but we look younger) would snap them up before you could say Foxfire. Dare I hope for Eau Givree? For Odyssey? For Charisma? My wishes are not impossible dreams. They did after all, bring Timeless back when customer clamour deafened, and jolly good it is too.
But did you know for instance, that the USA Avon brochure has Sweet Honesty, Odyseey, Candid and Night Magic? Dare I hope we’re getting them too over here in the UK?
So what’s Imari like?
Well it opens with citrus for a clean, bright opening. There’s a nice bit of soapy aldehydes in the beginning, before this lurches into rose and patchouli territory, with some big noticeable white flower notes. It’s all rounded off with a bit of musk, incense and amber. Despite calling itself a chypre, this lacks the mossy note that qualifies it as one, but I’m not going to nit-pick, because I want more. There is a touch of vanilla in the finish, but its warm and cosy rather than sweet and cakey.
Avon has a particular talent for channelling into what’s hot on the high street and providing its own, more affordable take on current trends. What delights me about this one is that Avon is looking beyond its younger demographic. After all, they have all the vanilla and fruity florals and praline combos they could ever dream of. What joy then, to get something for me and my tribe of fellow grand dames of a certain age (but look younger). Imari was originally created in 1985, and we know how great all those fragrances were.
Avon Imari will be in the next brochure and you can queue behind me if you like. It won’t be expensive. Avon UK, if you’re reading this, please bring the others over too!
My Avon obsession tightens its grip. I am helpless to resist and at seven quid a bottle, I don’t want to.
Avon Rare Pearls is my latest purchase. I bought it after reading the notes that were in it, and sniffing the Avon brochure scratch’n’sniff page,- so not much to go on. However, this distinctive daywear is worth a punt and I’m jolly glad I have a bottle.
The bottle itself has an opaque pearl coloured glass body and an angular top that looks like glass but is plastic. It goes happily alongside my cherished bottle of tuberose heavy Avon Rare Platinum.
So what does it smell like?
Well, it opens with green notes and florals straight away. There’s a kind of mustiness that I rather like. It’s similar to the scent of a bouquet just before it goes past its best before date: you know, floral, vegetal and overly rich just before the flowers conk out and die.
Actually the notes are rosewood, honey, plum and pepper, with magnolia diving in before they’ve quite finished their number. It’s the honey that made me think of flowers just before they go off. It’s actually a lovely smell that can fill a room.
The middle is all about the magnolia: a big, clean, white, flower. It’s creamy and soapy without going into heady tuberose territory-which is no bad thing in my book but it’s not everybody’s cup of tea.
The base is musk, patchouli and sandalwood, but really that just provides a milky, musky backdrop for more magnolia. This is a green, soapy, floral musk. What I smell doesn’t really match the notes: It’s nicer than I thought and has a pleasant fuzziness like a cosy blanket. This is perfect for work and should pass the commuter test too. I’m ever so fond of my seven-quid bargain!
I bought my 50ml bottle of Avon Rare Pearls EDP from my lovely Avon Lady Jill. It’s also available online. The price I quote was correct at the time of publishing and may vary, but there are usually special offers on. Opinions are my own.
Earlier this week, I asked you to send me your perfume problems. I then chewed the arm of my glasses and looked studious, whilst reading them, just like a proper Mumsy Agony Aunt.
I was so pleased to get so many questions, some of which I answer below. Incidentally, I also see questions on my WordPress dashboard which tell me what people type into Google in order to be led to my site.
There are two questions that I see every single day without fail. Yes, my friends, the two most popular questions are:
What’s the best Avon perfume?
What cheap perfume smells good?
Now you may have noticed that these two particular questions have entre blog posts devoted to answering them. Nobody can accuse me of not giving my readers what they want.
With that having been said, here are some other questions that I received this week.
I am very grateful to all who sent me a Dear Aunty Sam question. I wish I could tell you that there’s a T-shirt and a mug on the way to you, but I can’t. I think I may repeat this experience in future, so please do send any questions as they occur to you. I’ll be your olfactory DJ.
Dear Aunty Sam,
Like you, I miss Gucci Envy and only have a little bit left. What can I wear instead when this runs out?
A good question and one to which I still seek an answer myself. We’ve asked the Why Did it End? question but the wind took our words away and no answer was given. Meantime, here are some that I find have some of the Gucci Envy notes in common, namely green notes, lily of the valley and hyacinth.
I’ve fallen in love with Yardley’s Polaire. But as ever with Yardley 20 minutes in and unless I’ve gone nose blind I can smell nothing at all. Is there something out there that smells the same, but with actual longevity and a bit more sillage?
I haven’t smelled Yardley Polaire recently so I’m working blind here. However, I notice that the prominent notes are pear, freesia and rose. There are two scents that also contain these notes. One is Dior J’Adore and the other is Elizabeth Arden Fifth Avenue ( although more freesia than pear) However, if you want to stick with Polaire, there are a couple of things you can do to extend its life.
What I usually do is spray my hair. Hair carries scent very well- usually until bedtime! However, some people claim this dries hair out. Secondly, and I’m going to talk boobs here, spray it in your cleavage before you get dressed. As your body heats up throughout the day, you get nice little wafts under your nose. You can also make scent last longer by moisturising skin before applying it. Don’t forget a quick spray on your lapels or scarf.
There is another theory, however. Some people say that when a perfume really suits you, you stop being able to smell it. This is so subjective that I find it difficult to prove, but there may be some truth in it. Maybe Polaire just really suits you!
EDIT: I have since discovered that the ebautiful Celine Dion Sensational is a smellaike too. This one lasts ages on me.
Dear Aunty Sam
I have begun to make some fragrances. I have at least three that are absolutely delightful, unlike anything else I’ve ever tried. I really feel there’s a market for these, especially in this size, being affordable for almost everyone.
How do I go about getting someone to be willing to sell my fragrances in their shop (either online or not) or work with me in promoting mine?
Firstly, congratulations on your perfumes. I do love an entrepreneurial spirit. Secondly, before you sell them commercially, do they meet the necessary compliance? There are many perfume ingredients that have been banned by IFRA in order to ensure that scents do not cause rashes or reactions. Forgive me if I’m preaching to the converted- you may well already know this. Thirdly, have you tried Etsy? There are many beautiful handmade scents there and it strikes me as a good starting point.
I would really recommend one of the Studio days run by Sarah McCartney of 4160 Tuesdays. What she doesn’t know about making and selling perfume just isn’t worth knowing. You can find out more from the 4160 Tuesdays website. Oh, and in answer to your question about promoting your scent, my advice is, as you might imagine, harness the bloggers!
That’s all I’ve got room for this week. I hope you enjoyed my first brave fumble into the mailbag. Do you agree with my responses? Do you have any questions of your own? Do let me know. I always love to hear from you.
Lately I have been asked many questions by people with queries about perfume. These vary from “what smells like…?” queries to “Where can I get…?” queries. It got me thinking, my friends. How about a little post that’s all about your perfume questions and queries?
Just email me or post your question below or on Twitter or Facebook and I will do my very best to answer them. You can even be anonymous if you like!
So, fire away. Do you want to know if there’s a smellalike to a long discontinued favourite? Does a newly reformulated favourite resemble an old one? Which are the best cheap and cheerfuls? Tell Aunty Sam your scented dilemmas. I’m all ears and all nostrils!
I have in my hand a little Avon purse spray of Avon Attraction For Her. It was just £1.99 for 10ml.
Avon Attraction is a fruity floral with a touch of on trend gourmand, and nobody can accuse Avon of not being bang on the money when it comes to rapidly changing perfume trends.
Attraction opens with pear, blackberry and pink pepper, which is a sweet berry not a spice. The pear and blackberry are more summery than autumnal, and the pink pepper makes this smell either very of-the-moment.
The middle phase is jasmine, orchid and musk. I have a bit of a problem with orchid in that I don’t think I have ever liked it as a note. It always smells synthetic to me. I’ve yet to find it in a context that I’ve enjoyed. It smells synthetic here, but luckily, it does not dominate and there’s still much to like here. The musk joins in and stays put, making its presence felt throughout.
The base does a bit of fancy footwork with warm amber, leathery labdanum, vanilla and, here’s the uber trendy bit, praline! So, with the fruity pink pepper, the fairly generic jasmine and the praline base note, you have a version of many current perfumes. Except I paid £1.99 for 10ml.
There are two ways of looking at this. My view is that Avon is making scent that resembles the stuff you can buy far more expensively over the counter, but for a fraction of the price. Or, you could call it generic. Personally, I’m all for a good bargain, so I’m sitting on the Pollyanna side of the fence.
Over on trusty Fragrantica, some Fragranticans are comparing this to Love Me by Victoria’s Secret or By Invitation from Michael Buble.
My only bugbear is that I would have liked more projection and longevity, but as a handbag standby, I’m happy with what it gives me.
Avon Attraction is available from Avon UK Online or from your Avon rep if you have one. I paid for mine myself and opinions are my own.
The Avon Cherish campaign is fronted by the impossibly beautiful Abbey Crouch and her equally impossibly beautiful mother Karen. It’s a cliché, but yes they really could be sisters. It’s a pity then that I did not love Cherish as much as I liked the lovely spokesmodels.
A couple of years ago, I was about to give up on Avon: many of the perfumes seemed same-y and synthetic and despite the low prices, I didn’t think they were value for money anymore. However things have turned around now and you can see how much I like Avon again if you look at my Top Ten Avon Fragrances article on this blog.
I have noticed a trend for pink pepper overkill lately and Cherish is no exception. Pink pepper is a red berry rather than pepper and there is way too much here for my taste, making it syrupy and overly fruity. As if there wasn’t enough sweetness going on, Cherish opens with cherry blossom and caramel and beds down to a sandalwood base, . This was a disappointment to me-not because I don’t love sandalwood- I really do, but the sandalwood in Avon perfumes is not a patch on what I hope for. It’s more vanilla candles than smoky spicy wood.
The problem with Cherish is that is smells entirely synthetic. You can just about make out some Jasmine Sambac, but not in a good way. The cherries hit you on the nose all the way through, but in an overly manufactured way that reminded me of plastic fruit and air fresheners. The caramel popped up to make it modern (caramel appears to be BIG right now but I would rather eat it then smell of it), and I lost all hope for a redeeming woody base note when the whole thing drowned in glucose.
Having said all that, I think Cherish meets the tastes of the young and modern and will probably sell pretty well. But I’m going to be diplomatic and say they didn’t make it with me in mind. There. That covers everything, without, I hope, sounding too rude. I love you Avon, but I’ll sit this one out.
By the way, if you like Lancome La Vie est Belle, this is pretty similar.
You can buy Avon Cherish from your Avon rep or online. Current price is £14 including free gifts, but Avon has frequent special offers so prices may vary in future.
I have been trying not to review this, but since I wore it off and on for five days and loved it (to me , five days on the trot is a long unbroken run), I thought I’d better get it off my Non-Hairy chest.
For a long time now, I have been getting impatient with Avon fragrance for women. I finally gave up after my eighth bottle of women’s fragrance ended up with the same nasty basenote as the previous seven, for which certain eBay buyers are grateful. When they discontinued the fabulous Timeless, I was indignant. When they brought out yet another series of new fragrances in their last brochure, all fruity floral, their fate was sealed. No longer would I order any more Avon fragrances for Women (with the exception of Avon Soft Musk, which is a jolly good Musk and excellent alone or used for layering).
However, over in the Men’s section, there were all sorts of good things going on. With promises of Musk, Patchouli, Amber, Juniper, Grapefruit, Cypress Greens, Woods, Orientals, Lavender and Mandarin zest, suddenly my ears pricked up again.
I ordered a bottle of Wilderness for Men simply because I liked the sound of the notes: Amber and Patchouli are enhanced by wood notes and musk and hints of juniper and grapefruit. At 7GBP for 100ml, I figured this blind buy wouldn’t bankrupt me and I suppose I could always give it to my husband.
When it arrived from Jill, my Avon Lady, it was a very hot day and I wasn’t sure if I wanted Amber and Patchouli. Actually what I wanted was an icy Pimms, but let’s not be greedy.
The Patchouli and Amber were remarkably refreshing and this may be down to the Grapefruit and Juniper lightening both notes up. The juice itself is sea green, with a black lid, and unlike the women’s fragrance range, it actually smells like its ingredients. I can easily pick out the Grapefruit and the Patchouli. There’s a slight powderiness to it too, that I like. The powderiness falls into the chalky and clean category, like a fresh white mist, making this a great summer buy and smelling more expensive than it should at this ludicrously cheap price. It’s an EDT rather than an EDP, so longevity is only around three hours, but as usual, I spray clothes and hair to make it last longer.
Finally my Avon brochure is back in favour, or at least the back half of it is. Sometimes you have to move stuff if you want to find something.