Reviewing Katy Perry Indi was a case of “forget what you think you know.” I think of Katy Perry as the gorgeous and talented Teen Queen who sings catchy pop like no-one else. Her fragrances are cute and funny and have a wry grandeur, all done with a wink of irony. So when I heard she had a new one coming out, I thought, I’ll pass thanks. It’s probably like her other stuff: on trend but not my bag.
Boy, was I wrong. For a minute, there I’d forgotten that she’d shaved her head and done a studio album. Change of image, much? You bet. Indi is outstanding.
From Killer Queen to Meow and Katy Perry’s Mad Potion, Katy Perry’s fragrance range has taken a U Turn. Gone are the flashy,playful bottles with oodles of bling. In comes the simple black and white pillar bottle for Indi. It celebrates individuality, which in these troubled times, is a much-needed hand of compassion and acceptance, and I’m all for it.
So what does it smell like? Well it doesn’t smell like your run of the mill celebrity High Street scent, that’s for sure.
Top notes: Plum, tea, bergamot.
Middle notes: cyclamen, lily of the valley, cedar
Base notes: tonka, amber, musk, musk, musk etc
The combination of plum and tea gave me a milky, sultana, figgy vibe, and although this alleges to have cyclamen and lily of the valley in, I could only detect a generic musky “pink” flower- could well be cyclamen. It’s not a note I know well. The base is where the musk comes in: musk, musk, musk. Musk is a bit like vanilla in that it covers a vast spectrum within its category, and this is certainly the case here.
It’s not dirty musk, nor leathery musk, nor sexy inner thigh musk, but an ever-changing musk, at least on my skin. On me this musk smells clean, then chalky, then figgy, then patchouli-like, then earthy, then slightly mossy, then floral. It lasts hours and hours. It’s a beautiful chameleon of a scent and smells like it costs about four times the price.
Indi is of course, without gender. Nowhere will you find “For Men” or “For Women” and hurrah for that. My motto is, and always will be, if it smells good, wear it. Labels don’t matter.
Indi celebrates individuality and I salute this superb fragrance.
You can buy Indi from Superdrug– which seems to have the monopoly on it at the moment. Pop along and test it- I am sure you won’t be sorry. Prices start at £28 for 50ml. I bought mine and opinions are my own.
Over the past few years, I’ve encountered many people who wouldn’t dream of trying or buying a celebrity fragrance. Either the quality is in doubt or they don’t consider themselves a fan of said celebrity. In fact, a Twitter user even asked me why I wanted to smell like JLo, which is hugely missing the point.
My only problem with celebrity fragrances is that they keep getting discontinued. Out of my favourites from just three years ago, around six are impossible to get now. The rumour on the grapevine is that celeb fragrances are on the way out, or at least on the way down, and I have mixed feelings about this. Firstly, if all celeb fragrances were of the fruity floral fruitichoulil smellalike genre that so many were, then fine. See ya. No problem here. However, celebrity fragrances are like jumble sales. Some of it looks a bit same old same old, but when you rummage, you unearth gold and treasure.
The other great thing about celebrity fragrances is that they are not expensive. They’re competing with other celebrity fragrances which are also not expensive, so they can’t risk sky high prices. That’s not their demographic. Oh, and don’t forget that the celebrity doesn’t actually make them.
Celeb fragrances are made by respected houses such as Givauden, Coty and Elizabeth Arden. Some of the most respected noses in the business create the fragrances you see on the shelves. Caroline Sabas, who created Britney Spears Midnight Fantasy, Rihanna Reb’l Fleur and JLo Glowing also created Calvin Klein Downtown and Elizabeth Arden White Tea. Meanwhile, Steve Demercado, who created the superb Fancy Nights for Jessica Simpson, Queen for Queen Latifah and Paris Hilton Tease, is also responsible for Calvin Klein Escape and Marc Jacobs For Women.
So if you ever visualised Beyoncé in a lab coat with a pipette moaning about the price of orris butter, you can rest easy that her fragrances are actually made by experts.
What follows below is an up-to-date, up-to-the minute round up of celebrity fragrances that you can definitely easily buy at the moment at the time of going to press, I promise. Some are old faithfuls that have been around a while, and show no signs of leaving, and some are new. All of them are jolly good, at least in my opinion.
Sarah Jessica Parker Stash SJP
This is my number one favourite. SJP is rare in that she is deeply involved in the scents she creates and her own tastes influence what she launches. In the case of Stash, I applaud her for taking a risk. This smoky sandalwood and incense treat was never going to be a mass market crowd pleaser, but critics and fumeheads love it, as do I. Here’s my review and here’s where you can buy it.
Sarah Jessica Parker Lovely
I wear this regularly and now that my 100ml bottle is going down, I’m looking to replace it. It suits just about everyone and to me, it has a wonderful 50s retro feel. You can read my review here. Many compare it to Narciso Rodriguez For Her. You can buy Lovely in many places at varying prices. I bought mine from here.
A wonderfully clean scent that reminds me of freshly washed hair and clean laundry. It lasts for ages too. Launched in 2002, this shows no sign of going anyway and has become a classic for good reason. You can buy it here.
Britney Spears Curious
This was launched way back in ’04, which is a long time ago in the perfume universe.. I complimented a friend on this and asked her what she was wearing. I was surprised when I found out it was Britney Curious as I’d written it off as mass market teen queen fodder. Its use of magnolia and pear sets it apart from the usual pink sugary fruity florals and it has a lovely light feel to it with no stickiness. Extra points for the beautiful blue glass bottle, and if you can get one with the puffy squeezy atomiser, even better. You can buy it here.
Rogue made an impact on me because it didn’t go in the obvious direction that it could have. I t could have gone all pink pepper and red berries and vanilla, but it didn’t. In fact, it reminded me of Serge Lutens Daim Blond, which is all about the unusual but genius combination of suede and apricots. Here’s my review of Rogue and here’s where you can buy it.
Rihanna Reb’l Fleur
I have a full 100ml bottle of this. I wouldn’t normally have thought of buying it, but my dear brother picked it out for me himself for my birthday. I was so touched. I hardly ever get perfume as a gift (violins!) and I was delighted to get this whopper. Reb’l Fleur is a heavy hitting, patchouli rich fruity floral with a hit of coconut and vanilla. Sillage is massive and longevity huge. Two sprays in the morning and you’ll be sorted till tea time. You can buy it here.
Celine Dion Sensational
By a happy turn of fate, I stumbled across this in my local Lloyds Pharmacy when I was picking up my husband’s prescription. There was a tester at the till and it was on special offer at 9.99. I didn’t buy it that day, and when I went back, it was gone. However, I fell in love with it. It lasted at least seven hours and was a delicious melange of pear, plum, freesia, lily of the valley and violet. It opens like a juicy tropical fruit scent and segues into a stunning musky floral. The nose behind it is the legendary Maurice Roucel. This one is at the top of my Wanted list. You can buy it here.
Elizabeth Taylor White Diamonds
This opens like an aldehyde and ends like a chypre. Full of old school Hollywood glamour, this is bursting with all the rich white flowers: tuberose, jasmine, neroli. It’s not really one for the young palate of today, but as a fan of classic chypres and big eighties sillage, this is right up my street. It’s cheap as chips and widely available. Round of applause for the diamante choker round its neck. You can buy it here.
9. Adam Levine For Her
This is a real gem that often goes under the radar. Lisa Jones let me borrow her bottle and I was very impressed. This comes in a smart white box in a bottle that’s shaped like a microphone. This is a woody, slightly spicy scent with a long, langorous sandalwood base. It is so cheap I was suspicious, but I can vouch for its fabulousness. Plus you know, Adam Levine. Cor. You can read my review here and buy it from here for less than ten quid. Oh, and it’s totally unisex, so ignore the “For Her” label.
Jessica Simpson Fancy Nights
This has featured on my previous best celeb scents list and it qualifies for this one because it is still available and still cheap. It has patchouli, papyrus and amber, and many say that it is a dead ringer for Prada Amber ( and it is!). Still available on Amazon for under £20 for a big bottle. Here’s my review.
The ones I miss
The following celeb fragrances are either available but three times the price they were, or impossible to find. Reader, I mourn them: JLo Deseo, Hilary Duff with Love, Sarah Jessica Parker The Lovely Collection- Dawn, Endless and Twilight, Queen by Queen Latifah, Manifesto by Isabella Rossellini.
The ones I want to try
Antonio Banderas’s vast range (he has been launching scent since 1997), Drew Barrymore’s new ones, Joan Collins’ new ones for Marks and Spencer, Sofia by Sofia Vergara and Elizabeth Taylor Gardenia and Passion, which I still haven’t tried.
How about you?
What celebrity fragrances do you like to wear? Which ones do you miss? Which do you want to try? Do let me know. I always love to hear from you.
“Who is Adam Levine?” I thought, and “Why is this shaped like a microphone?”
Well, being a middle aged Mum who listens to Elaine Paige’s excellent Radio 2 show, I had to educate myself on Adam Levine when I was handed a bottle of Adam Levine For Her. He’s the lead singer of Maroon 5, has fully embraced yoga and is an outspoken supporter of same sex marriage. In other words, he sounds like he’s just my cup of tea. (NB I can only do three yoga things, but I’ve yet to meet a yoga person I didn’t like.)
Now I’m no snob when it comes to celeb scents: I’m never without Jlo Deseo or Jessica Simpson Fancy Nights or SJP Lovely, but I couldn’t help but wonder what Adam Levine was going to bring to the party.
Well, he has very kindly brought not a fruity floral, not a vanilla cup cake concoction, but a really excellent sandalwood fragrance that impressed me no end. The best thing about it is that it costs under ten quid. With this kind of high class white packaging and a bottle that reminded me of not so much a microphone as a sky scraper, I call this an unexpected delight.
Adam Levine For Her opens with saffron, citrus, marigold and spices. I got green and juicy fig, which always smells like unsweetened sultanas to me. If that sounds like faint praise, it’s not. I love it. Combined with a hint of peppery spice, this was a promising First Act. The drydown gave me a little fright when I had pencil shavings for about three minutes, (when it should be roses and jasmine) but then it righted itself and the musty, musky sandalwood emerged and stayed put for the next few hours. Oh, and then the jasmine and roses turned up, better late than never.
It’s so refreshing when a celebrity scent takes a different path from the blanket best seller genre of the day. This spicy, woody scent is so perfect for cold weather that I’ll be ordering it by the crate come winter. In fact, it’s also pretty good for Wales in August. It’s cardigan weather. Again.
Longevity could be better. I sampled the Eau de Parfum strength and was expecting a little more from it, but it stayed on my sleeve until the next day and smelled wonderful.
Big thanks to Lisa Wordbird, who loaned me her bottle for review purposes.
Taylor Swift Incredible Things was just one of the samples included in my Scent with Love Discovery Box from the Perfume Society. After trying and not exactly loving Wonderstruck, I had misgivings, but Incredible Things was a pleasant surprise.
It opens with fruity pink pepper (which being a berry is more fruity than peppery) and lemon. These notes are immediately taken over by musky flowers: namely passion fruit and vanilla orchid, which gives it a touch of Lancome Hypnose ( or Avon Eternal Magic which smells similar). The main event for me though, is the inclusion of white amber, vetiver and suede. These prevent this from being too candy shop, although one Fragrantica reviewer compared it to a Yankee candle. I can’t say they are wrong, but I rather like a Yankee candle.
Despite the fact that I am currently waving the No More Vanilla placard, this is vanilla heavy. However I think it is redeemed by the inclusion of the suede. Yes it’s very sweet, but it has taken a welcome cosier sidestep and being her fourth scent, I think the talented singer songwriter is getting onto the right track with this. The bottle is pretty too, and I appreciate the flower pattern on the bottle in lieu of showy butterfly/plastic sculpture fanfare.
I won’t be getting a full bottle- I’m a mossy chypre kind of woman, but I reckon Taylor Swift has another hit on her hands with this one.
You can buy Taylor Swift Incredible Things from Debenhams, Superdrug and Amazon to name but a few. Or you could do what I did and get a Perfume Society Scent with Love Discovery Box and try the spray sample first. Prices are reasonable at under £15 for a gift set and will help this be a big seller.
Cheryl Fernandez-Versini re-debuts tonight on the UK’s X Factor. She also debuts her first ever perfume StormFlower this week. Coincidence? No just common sense PR.
Cheryl Tweedy Cole Fernandez-Versini has the dubious honour of being Mr IScent’s favourite member of Girls Aloud. He has all their albums and Cheryl’s too. Naturally, Cheryl is not a patch on me in any way, and he loves me the most, we decided.
I tried StormFlower today and I must say that yes, I quite liked it. I was hoping it wouldn’t be the bearer of too much vanilla as so many celeb scents have been lately, and I was fearing it would be too sweet for my taste, knowing that Cheryl is partial to a bit of Viktor and Rolf Flowerbomb.
My first impression of StormFlower is freshly sliced Papaya, followed by Freesia, followed by a pretty generic base note of faded top notes with a faintly spicy synthetic finish.
In fact, the top notes are mandarin and nectarine. Nectarine is thankfully not as talcum powdery or as sickly as peach can sometimes be, and seems to be juicier and lighter. Mandarin is always welcome with its citrussy refreshing tang. Middle notes are Freesia, which is noticeable and is coupled well with the juicy top notes. Added to the mix is a touch of peach blossom which again shows restraint from an all too easy peach fest.
The disappointment here is in the base note which dries down into a nothing-special cheap smelling synthetic muddle. It’s supposed to be sandalwood, vanilla and musk (nothing new there), but falls rather badly at the final hurdle. The base note cheapens the promising start and pretty, feminine middle phase.
It can come as no surprise that I’m about to start using X Factor metaphors, so here goes. Would I put StormFlower through to the next round? Well for starters it depends on the calibre of the other candidates. Some years in X Factor, there are mediocre finalists that wouldn’t have got to the finals had they been on the show the year before. I feel that this is the case with StormFlower. In light of nothing else particularly robust in the celeb field this year, this is a strong contender, but had this been the year that say, Sarah Jessica Parker Lovely was launched, then it wouldn’t have even got to Boot Camp.
But don’t listen to me: this pleasantly uplifting tropical and fruity scent will sell and sell and then probably sell some more. Madame Ferndandez-Versini (how exotic that sounds!) can sleep tight, knowing all her direct debits will go out this month with a bit of change in the bank for a treat.
I won’t be buying this, but I’m pretty sure thousands of others will, and fair play to them.
Jennifer Lopez was one of the first celebrities to launch her own signature fragrance line. She follows early pioneers of Celeb scents Cher, Elizabeth Taylor and Antonio Banderas.JLo Glow was launched back in 2002, and has broken records with its hugely successful sales figures. It is worth looking at an early celeb scent to see how and why things changed so much from Elizabeth Taylor White Diamonds andJLo Glow (both very good) to the fruity floribundances we have today. (PS I just made up the word floribundances. You may use it. You’re welcome).
Today in 2013, High Street perfume shops would look very meagre without the vast range of celeb scents padding out the shelves. It has become a phenomenon. I often tell people (and my Mum) it is worth remembering that all celeb scents are made by professional, experienced Noses, but are often at the cheaper end of the market. Keep looking past the tacky packaging (I’m looking at you Justin Bieber) and you stumble across a gem such as Jessica Simpson Fancy Nights or Hilary Duff With Love: both celeb scents that I consider excellent. The name means nothing to me, I just want to know if it smells good. And if it does, I’ll wear it. I don’t care whose name is on the bottle. My snobbery went out the window a while back when I spent 3.99 on 15ml of Duff’s With Love and I had an epiphany smelling the rich Tropical Guaic Wood . Not what I expected at all.
I often think the celeb scent market is like a jumble sale. It may look unpromising, but if you keep trying, you may find treasure.
Right at the start, before the boom began, there was JLo with Glow. Still around now, and still a steady seller, I tried it recently and was very pleasantly surprised. It’s soapy and clean smelling, like freshly shampooed hair. It reminded me a little of Cacharel Noa, only without the bloom’n’fade coffee bean opening.
The soapiness is not aldehydic, like say, First by Van Cleef and Arpelswhich stands a league above, but it is more Herbal Essences. If you, like me, buy your shampoo based on whether you like the smell, then you may like this clean hair scent with light flower petals, light grapefruit, and gentle White Musk.
After the soap faded into an innocent gentility, there was some definite Tuberose action going on, which lasted until the very end. Longevity was excellent in fact. I tried two sprays of Glow at 9.15am and at 6pm it was still close to skin. Not bad at all for a good value scent. I had a slight issue with the fact that the very last hours of the basenotes were a bit synthetic, but the good points outweigh the bad by a long chalk.
Adding to the bonhomie I am feeling towards this gem is the rumour that JLo is very involved in her scents, and they are much more than a sign off to her. I am already a fan of JLo Deseo, and now I am a fan of Glow too.
Back in 2005, I often saw photos of Kate Moss dating Pete Doherty and despaired of them ever finding a bar of soap or some toothpaste. She appears to have cleaned up her act since, although I can’t help thinking that this enigmatic stalwart of the modelling world probably smells of cigarettes and Glastonbury. She does scrub up well for work though, so if I focus on her indisputably glamorous side, I can probably enjoy her fragrance: Kate by Kate Moss.
The packaging is pretty and retro in a seventies sort of way and opening notes are delicate and pretty- you can immediately pick out the pretty Peony and Violet Leaf. It is an inoffensive scent, ideal for office wear, and mild enough to squoosh on in the morning. And squoosh you must! This scent is fleeting and faint, and needs a good blast in order to make even an apologetic impact, though impact may be too strong a word. One spray will not pass muster. Use lavishly and you still won’t offend even the most delicate of asthmatics.
I was wary when I saw Pineapple in the top notes, but I can safely report that there wasn’t so much of a hint of it, nor should there be (great on pizza, terrible in fragrance!) Base notes allege to be Musk, Cedar and Patchouli, but if this ever lasts long enough to contain base notes, I’ll eat my cat.
Several reviewers on Fragrantica have compared this to Stella McCartney’s Stella in Two Peony. I have smelled both, and there are indeed similarities. I can tell you though that the difference is, unsurprisingly, that Stella costs more and lasts longer. You get what you pay for in this case.
However, Kate by Kate Moss is harmless and inoffensive, unlike its namesake, who I always thought was more of a L’Air de Rien sort of girl. It’s as if some one has tried to tame a wild girl and make her be a secretary. Worth a tenner though, and we should always be grateful about absent pineapple.
I always imagined Dame Elizabeth Taylor to smell outrageously glamorous with a hint of booze on her breath. She was always a little de trop. Too many diamonds, too much hair, too much make up, but somehow…somehow she could get away with it because she was Elizabeth Taylor.
Her first fragrance was Passion, launched in 1988, a year after Cher had cornered the then tiny celeb fragrance market with Uninhibited. Celebrity fragrance was fairly new then, but Elizabeth Taylor’s range was created by Elizabeth Arden so it was in good hands. Passion was followed with White Diamonds in 1991, and in 1993 a diffusion line was born: Diamonds and Emeralds, Diamonds and Sapphires and Diamonds and Rubies. Today the range includes Black Pearls, Violet Eyes, Gardenia, Elizabeth Taylor Forever, and several variations on White Diamonds.
This review is for Diamonds and Rubies. Created by famous nose Sophia Grojsman, Diamonds and Rubies is disappointing, yet not surprising. It smells very Eighties, despite being created in the early caring sharing Nineties that was encapsulated fragrance-wise by the advent of Eau D’Issey and Cool Water. Diamonds and Rubies is an old broad on a barstool whilst everyone else sips mineral water and eats salad.
Top notes are listed as being Lily, Red Rose, Lilac, Almond…oh and Peach. Don’t forget the Peach. In fact one spray of this and you will never ever forget the Peach.
The top notes when I sprayed were: synthetic Peach, Talc (Peach Talc of course), Plasticine and Booze: Something like Brandy or Peach Liqueur, at any rate, something sticky and outdated and too sweet.
After half an hour (of wrinkling my nose) I sniffed the drydown. I had more spice this time, in the way that mulled wine is spicy, but still those boozy peaches were sneaking around waiting to drown me when I wasn’t looking.
Not only did I dislike this, but it genuinely baffled me how this dreadful mess could smell good on anyone. It made me think of someone wearing a peach satin peignoir, covered in talc, with matching slippers and a drink problem. It also made me think of the downstairs toilet in a vicarage I once visited.
Cheap can be good or cheap can smell cheap. I’ll leave it to you to guess what category I put this into. Some of the others are much better, I like White Diamonds, but this turkey doesn’t do a Dame justice.
I tried resisting. I tried dismissing them as bandwagon wannabes, but the tide was too strong. The fact is, when celebrity fragrances are made by the likes of Coty and Clarins, then you can’t help but sit up and take notice.
When the tide becomes a tsunami, it’s worth looking into. Are they all just also-rans or are some celebrity fragrances serious contenders?
It was the late Dame Elizabeth Taylor who is generally credited with bringing out the first celebrity perfume, Passion” in 1988. From the House of Elizabeth Taylor we had Passion, White Diamonds, Violet Eyes, Diamonds and Rubies, Diamonds and Sapphires, Diamonds and Emeralds, Gardenia, Elizabeth Taylor Forever, and Black Pearls. So pretty much her entire bedroom. I shall write about some of these at a later date. Made by Elizabeth Arden, the fragrances had excellent pedigree and few could ever call Dame Elizabeth tacky or cheap (although in private she could tell a dirty joke that would make a sailor blush).
However, In fact it was Cher who brought out the first celebrity fragrance in 1987, called, not surprisingly, Uninhibited.
Not long afterwards, in 1997, Antionio Banderas brought out Diavolo, and when JLo dipped her toe in the scented water in 2002 with J-Lo Glow, the tsunami was starting to gather speed.
Today, the market is flooded. Everybody from reality stars to pop stars, actresses and athletes are bringing out their own range of fragrances. There are too many to ignore, so we may as well get stuck in. Resistance is futile.
This week, I will be donning my aviators, getting a stalker, and refusing interviews: Yes, I’m going all celeb on you. I will only be reviewing celebrity fragrances for the next week. As always, my reviews are subjective and I am only giving my personal response to a scent. And as always, I am always interested in yours too.