On my dashboard at Iscent HQ ( which is very glamorous and doesn’t have workmen in it and a roll of old carpet in the porch), the most popular searches by a country mile are “cheap perfume” and “best cheap perfumes”. January was an especially busy month for the bargain perfume hunters and so I thought I would write a guide for good perfume under £15. I’ve done a list for under a tenner, and even a list for under a fiver, so here’s my list of best buys for under fifteen quid.
Whether you’re spoiling yourself or someone else ( Valentine’s Day is in 14 days), £15 can get you some really good stuff and with my trusty guide nobody will smell cheap. I wouldn’t do that to you.
1. Nina Ricci L’Air du Temps
This timelesss classic is always on my dressing table. With its combination of light airy florals and warm amber undertones, you cannot go wrong. Bizarrely, I found this on SportsDirect.com for a tenner.
2. Calvin Klein Obsession
A classic 80s Oriental that has by turns been both derided and admired. I think it’s time put this hard hitter back on the map. You can buy the 30ml for under £15 on allbeauty.com
3. Davidoff Cool Water
This ozonic light scent is a crowd pleaser and a safe bet. Easily obtained with change from your three fivers. You can get Davidoff Cool Water For Women from allbeauty.com currently at £10.95.
4. Elizabeth Arden Fifth Avenue
An appealing light-as- air floral, with lily of the valley and lilacs, 5th Avenue is an ideal office friendly scent. Check out my review here. You can get a 75ml bottle of this at allbeauty.com and I have seen it on offer at The Perfume Shop and The Fragrance Shop recently, although prices change frequently.
5. Sarah Jessica Parker Lovely
In a sea of smellalike celebuscents, Lovely stands alone as pure quality. With lavender and citrus in the opening, and musk, patchouli and amber in the base, this is another bottle that’s a permanent fixture on the groaning IScent dressing table. You can get a 30ml bottle from Fragrance Direct.
6. Library of Fragrance
There are too many to choose from this great range. All are £15, with some being only £10 ( check the Library of Fragrance site for details). In Boots, it’s two for £25, which works out even cheaper. My favourites are Musk #7, PlayDoh (think vanilla), Four Leaf Clover, Orange Blossom, Mahogany, Mango, Grass, Rain, Moonbeam and Salt Air.
7. Marks and Spencer
We are spoiled for choice these days at trusty Marks and Sparks. I recommend Monotheme Classic White Musk, Classic Sweet Violet, or Classic White Gardenia , currently at only 14.60. Fragonard is also on offer: Fragonard Jasmin or Sweet Pea are both currently at £14.40, or Rosie for Autograph, a fragrance made with centifolia roses, which I previously reviewed here and wear often and which is currently at £11.20.
8. LUSH:Gorilla Perfumes
For me LUSH Gorilla Perfumes are hit and miss but I suppose the beauty of them is that they’re not mainstream crowd pleasers. Gorilla Perfumes now has Three Volumes, and my two favourites are Karma and Imogen Rose from Volume One. You can buy Karma from £12 and a solid of Imogen Rose for just £10. Both are long lasting and good value.
Our old friends Avon almost always have decent special offers on which usually means you can buy two for £14. Offers vary, but my recommendations are Little Black Dress, Tahitian Holiday (which reminded me of Estee Lauder Bronze Goddess) and Premier Luxe, which is an iris/blackcurrant chypre. I also love the Scent Essence range, which has a great Bergamot fragrance.
Cacharel makes two of my favourites: Anais Anais (pronounced AN-ay-ISS) and LouLou. The former has been around since the 70s and the latter is a big 80s classic that takes me right back to my days listening to The Cure with a red wine moustache. Be sure to get the Anais Anais rather than the Anais Anais Premier Delice version, as the Delice version has been sweetened for the modern palate. You can buy Anais Anais from Escentual for £13 although it’s also easily found on the High Street .You can find LouLou in Boots for £14.99
So there you have it. If I had fifteen quid to spend, I would be very hard pushed to limit myself to one. Do let me know what your favourite perfume bargain is. I always love to hear from you.