Wearing Your Mum’s Perfume- Drugstore Classics From the 1970s

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Are you one of those people who recoils at the idea of smelling like their Mum? I am.  I confess that I very rarely wear the same perfume as my Mum, no matter how much I like it.  In fact I try not to introduce her to perfumes I love for that very reason. No offence Mum, if you’re reading this! ( I bet she’s not) and happy birthday for tomorrow.

However, as a child of the seventies I am having a big  fit of nostalgia lately. So many new releases from the last two years have been berry-heavy, vanilla heavy and have more in common with an ice cream sundae than a cosmetics counter.  It used to be aldehydes and oakmoss and now its all candy floss and Kate Moss (which rhymes if you say it right). When did it become cool to smell like cupcakes instead of eating them? Is it any wonder that I long for the seventies?


Seventies fragrances are generally looked down on by the youth of today and no wonder: modern tastes have moved on.  However, as an ardent fan of Coty L’Aimant and Panache and Avon Timeless I fully embrace those aldehydic affordable scents from my formative years and I reckon retro scents are due for a comeback.

I’ve picked ten of my favourites out below just in case you, like me, fancy a shot of retro fragrant frugality.  I have only selected perfumes you can still buy today and perfumes that are still comparably affordable (not counting eBay where even the discontinued can be had for the right price)).  In fact, the added bonus is that all the fragrances I have listed come in at well under a tenner and some are nearer five pounds.   Is it too early to use the C word?  Of course not.  Here I go then- these would make great affordable Christmas presents. Check these out:


Avon Timeless:An ambery, powdery scent created in 1974.  Avon discontinued it in favour of more modern releases but customer demand brought it back in 2012. My Avon Lady tells me it’s her bestseller.

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Tweed:Tweed is underrated if you ask me.  Its chock full of citruses and flowers,  goes a bit Mr Sheen  for a bit with lavender and beeswax, then ends up with a woody, patchouli afterglow that lasts a whole day. Cheap as chips and a pleasant change among the sweety/cakey miasma of the Twenteens.


Panache: I wear this often.  Its jasmine, aldehydes and roses last around twelve hours on me, making my little 3.95 bottle fantastic value for money. You can still get it for well under a tenner.


Coty L’Aimant: Many Chanel No 5 fans eschew this  gem, when actually, they were launched a few years apart in the late 1920s and smell very similar.  Longevity is excellent and despite its tiny price, it never smells cheap.


Yardley Lavender: I’ve got the lot: Yardley Rose, Yardley April Violets and Yardley English Lavender. You can’t beat a classic floral. I also love to layer April Violets over existing scent that isn’t, in my open ion, “violetty enough”


Lace: Formerly Yardley Lace, this is now made by Taylor of London. Lace opens with aldehydes and citrus notes, goes through a  blousy, rather loud  floral phase and beds down into moss, amber and  patchouli.  It’s similar to Chique, but soapier.


Chique: With hand on heart I can genuinely tell you that this mossy chypre reminds me of Estee Lauder Knowing and gets better the longer you wear it.  Chique is under ten quid and I proudly own a wear a bottle myself.  Wouldn’t be without it.


Elizabeth Arden Blue Grass: another spicy aldehyde, full of peppery geranium and classic roses.  Perfect from the fridge in summer. Still very good value and widely available.


Charlie Blue: Okay I admit, I didn’t used to like this at all, but once I entered the chypre portal, it made more sense to me. It’s very cheap, very long lasting and has a mossy, spicy base that is harder to find over the High Street counter today. Its remarkably cheap, usually under £4.


Jovan Musk For Women: Launched in 1972 and still going strong today: Every Fragrance Wardrobe needs a musk and this is a good one. This has not dated since its launch and is not just a good quality musk on its own but is excellent for layering too. I bagged my bottle locally but you can find it on Fragrance Direct or Amazon UK.



Jovan Musk is available from FragranceX, Coty L’Aimant is available from allbeauty.com or Fragrance Direct, Tweed, Chique, Lace and Panache are all available from Amazon UK and allbeauty.com, Yardley fragrances are available from Boots or allbeauty.com, Elizabeth Arden Blue Grass is available from Escentual or allbeauty.com, Charlie Blue is available from Boots or Amazon UK, Avon Timeless is available from AvonShop UK.


With thanks to Milton Lloyd who kindly provided me with Tweed, Panache, Chique and Lace. Opinions are my own.



8 thoughts on “Wearing Your Mum’s Perfume- Drugstore Classics From the 1970s”

  1. There’s been a bottle of Jovan Musk on my desk for over a month. I grabbed it out to move it on and thought, “I’ll just give it one last spritz” BOOM! Now I know why I bought it. Even though it’s a softly, softly synth musk it is absolutely addictive and the joy of going spritz crazy and knowing you can never skunk anyone. Add to that the joy of it’s incredible cheapy cheap status. LOVE IT!
    Portia xx

    1. My dear Portia- drench yourself my friend! You just can’t beat a plain, decent, does-what-it-says-on-the-tin- musk
      Always a pleasure to hear from you!

  2. My mother wore Jovan Musk for Women as her “everyday” scent when I was a kid in the 70s (her “dress-up” scent, for rare evenings out, being No. 5 parfum). She still wears it occasionally, though I think she more often wears Esprit d’Oscar now, or Elizabeth Arden 5th Ave. for information occasions.

    It still smells good – aldehydes, warm skin musk, light florals. And what a bargain.

    1. Your Mother has great taste. Jovan Musk hasn’t changed and is still a good bet. I love Elizabeth Arden 5th Avenue but haven’t tried Esprit D’Oscar. I shall look out for it. Thanks so much for sharing your comments 🙂

  3. My fave throwback scents from the disco 70s were:

    1) Cachet – Prince Matchabelli – also found this on Ebay

    2) Avon Timeless – forever and always my favorite Avon scent

    3) Jovan Woman – I can still find this gem in some Walgreen drugstores 💗👍

    4) Coty Emeraude – same as Jovan Woman above, but also on Ebay

    5) Fabergé Tigress/Tigress Musk (you can find this one on Ebay but its quite pricey

    6) Sophia by Coty – found this one on EBay as well

    7) Toujours Moi – dome drugstores still carry this, but can also be found on Ebay.

    These are just a few of my personal 70s favorites… I never wore Charlie cos I just didn’t like how it smelled…to each his own.

    1. Well this deserves a proper long answer.
      ! Cachet- I used to wear this and I remember it so well. It was quite loud for the teenager I was at the time, but I’d recognise it again in a second.
      2. Avon Timeless. I love this one and I call it highly underrated. It was launched in 1974 and was a best seller for years. Avon decided to discontinue it in 2012 and customer outrage was so big that they brought it back. My Avon lady says it’s her bestseller and in some cases, it’s the only thing many of her customers ever order. It’s also cheap as chips.
      3. The whole Jovan range is an absolute steal price wise. I love Jovan musk and Jovan White Musk and the price is so low- I saw some for around £7. Bargain.
      4. Emeraude continues to elude me. I really want to try it and it hasn’t gone up too significantly in price. I’m sure I’m going to love it. I’m a big fan of L’Aimant.
      5. Never heard of this but I must own it. Tigress is such a good perfume name. It sounds right up my street.
      6. Sophia by Coty. Unless I’m mistaken I do believe this is the very first celebrity scent back in 1981. Cher brought one out back in 1987, I think, then Liz Taylor launched hers and the rest was history. But first, there was Sophia, who must surely be the most beautiful woman in the world.
      7. Another fabulous scent. I found some on eBay a couple of years ago but it’s very scarce now. “Spicy with a French accent”. https://iscentyouaday.com/2014/04/02/dana-toujours-moi-with-a-spicy-french-accent/

      LadeeGee- you and I have so much in common! xx

      1. IScent yes we do!!! And Cher’s perfume was called Uninhibited which was launched in the very early 90s. To me, it was a great scent, somewhat reminiscent of a combo of Magie Noire, SpellBound with a dash of Timeless thrown in. Guess I’ll be lurking Ebay to find it lol

      2. That sounds so up my street. I love Magie Noire, Spellbound and Timeless. Add a celebrity scent label and I’m all over this. I bet it’s really expensive. The good stuff always is now. I remember the time I bought a bottle of With Love by Hilary Duff for 3.99. Now its well into double figures. 🙁

        Sam xx

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