Marks and Spencer Autograph New York

My local Marks and Spencer branch sadly doesn’t carry Fragonard  or the Lyn Harris range, but I am always quite happy with the affordable selection they have on display, just for me, it seems, since it doesn’t get terribly busy.

Marks and Spencer can hold their heads high when it comes to affordable every day scent. I seem to have accumulated an embarrassing number of purse sprays, thanks to the purse (spray) friendly price tags of around £5 for 10ml.

 Autograph New York stands out from the other pretty daytime florals, and from  Issey Miyake smellalike Isis, because New York simply has more muscles.  It is woodier and muskier and more grown up than the other pretty girls. In reality, New York itself smells nothing like this of course.  My good friend Catherine, who lived there for a decade, describes the smells as “cigarettes, coffee, gasoline”. Maybe a challenge for the realist Demeter house of perfume?

Top notes are: Bergamot, Gardenia and Apricot. Middle notes: Rose, Jasmine, woods, Base notes: Heliotrope, Vanilla, Sandalwood and Musk. (- Fragrantica)

Straight away, those cosy rich Apricots make their presence felt against the transparent green background of the Bergamot, then the Woods creep in, then the Roses and then the whole thing is rounded off with a neat White Musk and Sandalwood finish.  This stops just short of being spicy, but is on the cusp of being Oriental. Whereas I can’t bear Peaches in scent, Apricots in scent are somehow richer and less sweet, in the same way that a raisin is richer than a grape.

The Gardenia is  a slight disappointment. A glimpse of a petticoat, and it was gone. And I’m not sure it was the real deal. It all looked a bit faux from where I was standing.

What really stands out in the base notes of New York are the Musk, the Woods and the Apricots. The combination leaves this as a perfect day to evening scent, though longevity is related to price.  Being an EDT, and being on the cheap side of cheap (though it doesn’t smell like it) this does need topping up. However they do these handy purse sprays…( see paragraph two above).

It’s kind of a vicious circle, but not one that bothers me too much. It’s cheap and affordable (hooray!), but it doesn’t last long (Boo!), but that’s OK, because it’s cheap and affordable (hooray!) and so on.

However, short lived purse sprays are the instant gratification of perfume and I could do well to learn a lesson I am always teaching my children. Learn to wait.

My problem is that when purse sprays come in pretty boxes and make such lovely treats for under a fiver, I’m never going to get round to affording that Guerlain, am I? It’s a beautiful scented trap. Which doesn’t last long. But that’s OK because it’s cheap and affordable etc …and off we go again.

Incidentally, many people swear this smells like Donna Karan Cashmere Mist. I haven’t smelled it so I can’t vouch for it, but I am outnumbered by those who think so.


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