There are some fragrance fans who would never consider celebrity scents or Avon perfumes. There are some who say that in fragrance you get what you pay for. I dispute that. I’ve smelled amzing, cheap scents and unpleasant expensive ones. In fact, if this were an episode of Newsnight, I’d be on the panel, looking sternly over the top of my glasses and arguing the case that inexpensive fragrance can be good, great even.
I would present the case for Avon Today, Tomorrow, Always, My Everything for Her. I would make allowances for the name that is, admittedly a bit of a mouthful, and I would point out that the nose behind this inexpensive beauty is none other than living legend Olivier Cresp, who co created the iconic and perennial Angel for Thierry Mugler.
First of all, it’s OK if we abbreviate, so let’s call this TTA My Everything. There’s a For Him too, but we’re talking about the For Her version, if labels matter (another Newsnight topic?).
There are only three notes: bergamot, rose and crowd-pleasing praline. Personally, praline isn’t my cup of Typhoo, but only a fool ignores public demand. Praline is one of the main notes in Lancôme La Vie est Belle, which has been scenting the streets of Britain since it came out way back in 2012. The fragrance buying public have gone mad for gourmands in the last five years and whilst I’m more of a mossy chypre kind of woman, I can understand the buzz.
TTA My Everything opens with powerful bergamot and rose. The bergamot makes the rose smell sharper and mingles with it until you think you’re smelling a lime coloured rose or a rose-coloured lime. They blend seamlessly, giving this a delicate opening that gets stronger the longer you wear it.
The praline comes in gradually, and despite being one third of the notes, it doesn’t overtake or dominate. In fact I would say this is a rose citrus with warm sweet edging. It really reminded me of Nina Ricci Nina which combines apples and praline, so if you like that you might like this too. I love the different rose nuances in My Everything. It seems to come and go in waves. In fact, if you’ve ever tried the aforementioned La Vie est Belle and found it too sweet and wished the floral notes were stronger, then this would suit you down to your boots.
Avon Today Tomorrow Always My Everything For Her is coming soon. I was lucky enough to get a sample from my lovely Avon Lady, so watch this space for when it comes out. Opinions are my own.
This will be available soon from your Avon brochure or from Avon UK. The current prices of other fragrances in TTA range is £14 for 50ml EDP, so I imagine this would be in that price bracket too. Owning an Olivier Cresp for £14? Yes, indeed.
Sit up and take notice, Kenzo fans: Kenzo Takada has made a fragrance for our chums at Avon. Avon LIFE For Her has just launched and I managed to bag myself a sample ( there’s also a For Him but I haven’t tried that one). Being a pre-Christmas launch, I wasn’t expecting anything quite so light and summery, but the only rule in perfume is that there are no rules. LIFE is Kenzo’s take on violet, so as a violet fan I couldn’t wait to get stuck in.
LIFE opens with a white tea note. It’s similar to Elizabeth Arden Green Tea but less metallic and less green. There is prominent water lily, making this a treat for fans of The Body Shop Fijian Water Lotus who want something in the same ozonic vein. A touch of apple adds to this clean wholesome accord.
By the middle phase I’m still waiting for those violets to turn up, and I do believe they sneak in dressed as irises to fool me. There is the typical iris sobriety here: a touch of grey rootiness that is contrasted here with a bright floral sweet note. Nothing to do with vanilla or gourmand: it’s more like the sweetness of a small spring flower magnified into intensity. The vegetal note from the iris sticks around, and the musk mallow (aka ambrette) does nothing to dispel it. There is allegedly patchouli to round things off, but I still found this to be an ozonic tea scent.
It’s pretty and light, and would be the ideal scent for a hot day if you like your fragrance to be of the the airy, green tea sort. It’s not for me right now, but I’ll give it another go in summer, when it will go perfectly with short sleeves and a cloudless sky.
Avon LIFE is available exclusively from Avon. In the UK try Avon UK or your Avon rep.
Avon is a prolific launcher of fragrances. I don’t think a brochure goes by without a new fragrance and I particularly love the scratch and sniff pages. This week I was given a little sample of a new Avon perfume by my lovely Avon Lady Jill, who I mention frequently. She comes to my door like a fragrance dealer and delivers her packages round the neighbourhood. She no longer brings her adorable Basset Hound Cody, since my Ginger Tom cat Ian saw him off. I digress.
Avon to me, is hit and miss, but that’s just because they cast their nets wide. For instance, Avon Far Away is not my cup of tea but is their Number one best-seller. I smell it everywhere when I’m out and about. However, their latest launch: Perceive Oasis is so good that I plan to stock up in case they discontinue it like they did with Perceive Dew a few years ago.
Perceive Oasis is all about the peony. Peony is one of the most delicate and feminine floral notes in fragrance. It doesn’t have the headiness of jasmine or the creaminess of tuberose- it’s all delicate flowers and ballerinas and fairy wings. Perceive Oasis combines peony with violet leaf and a white musk finish.
It is an uplifting scent, with hints of clean laundry and springtime in it, yet done very simply. It veers towards the ozonic if anything, but that just adds to the clean, clean, clean vibe.
On Fragrantica, some members list this as smelling similar to Chloe, and I would agree with that, although this is lighter and is more peony than rose.
It is currently only £7 a bottle and I have already placed my order. What a lovely surprise this was. Poor Jill will have to use a wheelbarrow to deliver my Avon if they keep this up.
You can buy Avon Perceive Oasis from Avon Shop UK, and prices vary from £7 to £11 depending on that month’s offer. In my book, that makes this a solid gold bargain.
Mother’s Day is one of the busiest times in High Street perfume departments and no wonder. For many people (not me!) perfume is a luxury item that they feel self indulgent buying for themselves. It is seen as a treat, in a similar vein to a box of chocolates.
There are usually three problems with buying Mother’s Day Fragrance: a) Either you don’t know what your Mum likes or, b) you think you know what she likes but she secretly went off it years ago and has to make happy faces when she unwraps it for the umpteenth time, or c) what she used to like has been discontinued or reformulated and she wants something new.
I’m going to put a few ideas out here that ought to help with all of the above. There’s the Classics, the Discovery Sets, and finally, at pocket money prices, there are the Cheap and Cheerfuls. At these prices, if you’re buying for your Mum, you may as well pick something up for yourself…
These are the stalwarts that have been around for years and which, in my opinion, don’t get enough love from younger perfume fans. If your Mum likes the mossy chypres, orientals and aldehydes of the Seventies and Eighties, these are all safe bets.
Good enough to make a grown woman weep, Ysatis fans are rarely casual about their love for this oriental chypre. Ysatis is priced very reasonably for such classic quality and prices start at £24.50. You can read my review here. Ysatis can be bought from Boots,Amazon and trusty allbeauty.com
Estee Lauder Cinnabar
For oriental fans, Cinnabar is a classic that’s hard to beat. It’s been around for a long time whilst fashions have come and gone, and it still stands majestic on the beauty counter. You can read my review here and buy it from Amazon, House of Fraser and John Lewis.
Yves Saint Laurent Opium
It’s not as good as it used to be, but it’s still a very good oriental. Find my review here. There’s another review here which compares old and new. Die hard fans really know their stuff, but sadly the original formulation is only on eBay these days. You can buy Opium from John Lewis, Boots and House of Fraser to name but a few. Do not confuse this with Black Opium, which is very different indeed. (I’m pulling a face and being tactful).
Chanel No 5
Arguably the most famous fragrance in the world. I have seen more red faced men buying this than women. Personally I’m not keen, but its popularity shows no signs of waning ever. At all. I like it on other people, but on me it smells like stale face powder. My review is here and you can buy it everywhere: Boots, John Lewis, and Escentual to name but a few.
Miss Dior Originale
This is the one that’in the glass houndstooth check bottle, not the pretty floral Miss Dior that comes with a little bow. It’s green and mossy and longlasting. I much prefer it to the latest incarnation of Miss Dior (which is pretty good, but is more of a fruity floral) You can buy Miss Dior Originale from John Lewis, House of Fraser and Amazon.
Clinique Aromatics Elixir
I can’t believe I haven’t reviewed this one. With aldehydes, spices and oakmoss, I often happily find myself in a miasma of this whilst gadding about town. It’s usually on more mature perfume lovers: the youth of today are missing a trick. You can buy Aromatics Elixir from House of Fraser, Amazon and John Lewis.
TASTER SETS AND DISCOVERY SETS
Many perfume houses offer a “Try Some Then Buy One” service, which is a great way of getting some samples to try and a follow on bottle of your choice afterwards. Another alternative is buy a sample set and a voucher. Here’s a selection of the best:
I’m a big fan of 4160 Tuesdays and can’t hide it.: quirky artisan scent hand made with passion in a London studio. If you haven’t tried any yet, enter the portal now! For £95 you can get 7 samples and a voucher for a full 100ml bottle of whichever is her favourite. It works out cheaper than buying the bottle and samples separately by £20. Here’s the link you need to the site.
Jo Loves is the brainchild of Jo Malone MBE, former CEO and founder of Jo Malone. Jo couldn’t stay away from fragrance and started her own perfume house on a smaller scale after stepping down from her original flagship business. You can buy a Fragrance Discovery Gift Experience for £100 which includes samples and a voucher for a full bottle.
The Perfume Society Discovery Boxes
These boxes contain around ten hard to get samples and a couple of very good beauty treats such as hand cream, skin serum or nail polish. A VIP Subscription at just £25 gets you a free Discovery Box and a discount off all the other Discovery Boxes on offer as well as many more benefits throughout the year. Your Mum might well find a brand new favourite and learn something along the way: each box has testing notes and sniffing strips. Quick plug- I have five VIP subscriptions up for grabs, but be quick- entries must be in by 25th February at midnight. See my post here to find out how to enter.
Pell Wall Perfumes
Pell Wall is a perfume house that consists of a delightfully eclectic mix by Shropshire based Nose Chris Bartlett. A set of minis costs just £49 for 9 x 10ml bottles. My favourites are Pretty in Pink and Deep Purple. Try the website and read my reviews here and here.
THE CHEAP AND CHEERFULS
Cheap needn’t smell cheap. Some of my favourite and most frequently worn perfumes cost under ten quid. You can often find me wearing some of the following. In fact I wear them more often than my posh stuff because I know I can afford to replace them when they’re empty.
This was my grandmother’s favourite. It came hot on the heels of Chanel No 5 and there are many similarities in this powdery aldehydic gem, created in the 1920s. My review is here and you can buy it from allbeauty.com or Fragrance Direct. Often you can get beautiful gift sets with talc, body spray and a little cosmetics bag for under ten pounds. (The one pictured is from Fragrance Direct and is 6.99 currently).
Tweed makes some people pull faces and say “old Lady”- a term I avoid, but I say don’t knock it till you’ve tried it. It used to be made by Lentheric but is now made by Taylor of London. My Mum wears Tweed and it smells amazing on her. It’s woody and mossy with a nice bit of citrus in the opening notes. You can read my review here and buy it from Boots, allbeauty.com and Fragrance Direct.
Avon has been a favourite among several generations of women in my family. My late Nanna used to like Soft Musk and Timeless, as does my Mum today. Avon launches new scents all the time, and prices are so reasonable that even a blind buy won’t break the bank. Here’s my guide to my Avon Top Ten. You can buy online from AvonShop UK.
Marks and Spencer Rosie for Autograph
This is an excellent rose scent, that smells far more expensive than it’s low price. Containing centifolia roses, this is a beautiful perfume and the one I chose for myself for Mother’s Day last year. Here’s my review. It’s currently only £11.20.
Elizabeth Arden Blue Grass
Blue Grass was another of my late grandmother’s favourites. It is widely available for under a tenner and is especially good sprayed fridge cold in hot weather. I reviewed it here. You can buy Elizabeth Arden Blue Grass from Half Price Perfumes , Fragrance Direct or Superdrug.
That’s my round up for Mums everywhere, including me! So what scent reminds you of your Mum? Do feel free to comment below. I always love to hear from you.
Here’s a Little Stocking Filler for Weary Shoppers: Avon Scent Essence is a new line of just three scents, each with a theme: there’s Romantic Bouquet, Sparkly Citrus and Vibrant Fruity. I’m a sucker for a nice citrus scent so that’s the one I bought.
Priced at only four pounds and with simple packaging, the range has few notes and does what it promises. In the case of Sparkly Citrus, it is full of pleasant refreshing lime and a hint of lemon and fades to a subtle floral, still retaining its lightness and never getting heavy. The base notes sound heavier than they are: they become a flatter version of the top notes with a bit more flowery stuff going on (namely freesia), and bit less lime juice. All the stages are good, but the top note is my favourite.
Even though winter invites the spices and woods out of your fragrance wardrobe, if you’ve been Christmas shopping in an overcrowded, over heated mall, there is always, always a place for a zingy citrus. I also can’t help thinking that a citrus is a good bet for a gift recipient even if you don’t know their taste. Everybody needs cooling down at some point at Christmas. Avon Scent Essence Sparkly Citrus fits the bill.
Stockists: Avon fragrances can be bought from your Avon rep or online via Avonshop UK. I can’t find it on the Avon USA site, but I did find lots of great fragrances we UK customers can’t get over here! Sweet Honesty, Odyssey, Imari, Night Magic Evening Musk, Haiku, Marine Musk…. Hey Avon, come back here, I want a word with you!
In the past, I may have mentioned before that I find Avon a bit hit and miss as far as fragrances go, but I have noticed a definite change lately. Whilst I still question the relentless frequency of new launches, every now and then they come up trumps and deliver the goods, and this has been happening more frequently of late. The strongest quality in Avon’s favour is the price. Competitive doesn’t even begin to cover it. Sometimes the low budget really shows, and sometimes you may find that you have in your hands a genuine bargain.
I also like that they listen to their customers. When Timeless was discontinued in 2012, Avon customers clamoured for its return. To their credit, Avon listened and brought it back earlier this year. I like it when that happens.
In the last six months, I have tried a number of Avon fragrances that have really impressed me. When you think that they usually cost around between £5 each when on special offer or £13 for two at full price , then the value is unimpeachable ( only Premiere Luxe reaches the dizzy heights of £14, but it reminds me of Armani Si). However, the question remains- at these prices do you have to compromise on quality? Well the answer is yes and no.
One range that I don’t get on with is the Today Tomorrow Always range. I have tried them all and don’t like any of them. They seem to have a flat synthetic base note in common that seems to disagree with my skin. Full marks for gorgeous heavy glass bottles and glossy packaging though. I know the range has many fans, so it may just be me.
Avon, if you are reading this, thanks for years of fond memories of trusty favourites such Eau Givrée, Foxfire, Charisma and my first ever perfume, Pretty Peach. Many a childhood Christmas was enhanced by novelty soaps almost too pretty to use and pretty perfume bottles and all sorts of wonders that my mother and grandmother ordered for me from their Avon lady. For all those memories, thank you.
And one last point- please can we have Avon Odyssey back in our UK brochures? It’s available in the USA and we would like it too. Thank you very much. As you were.
You may have noticed that here at IScentYouaDay I like to slip in a Top Ten every now and then, so here’s my Avon Top Ten. Prices vary between £5 and £14.
1. Avon Little Black Dress: A light white floral that keeps its shape: gardenia and honeysuckle with a woodsy finish
2. Avon Timeless: created in 1974, discontinued in 2012 and bought back by popular demand in 2014. Ambery spicy and powdery. A winter treat.
3. Avon Premiere Luxe: A fabulous chypre with blackcurrant, gardenia and woods. Could pass for something three times the price on the High Street.
4. Avon Soft Musk : A classic floral musk that lasts for hours and costs the same as a bottle of wine. (in Lidl)
5. Avon Tahitian Holiday: Reviewed earlier in my blog. A coconutty white floral. Perfect for hot weather. The poor woman’s Bronze Goddess.
6. Avon True Life For Her: A light and pleasant rose/peony combo ideal for everyday casual wear and cheap as chips.
9. Avon Summer White Sunrise: a change from the norm for Avon: a refreshing floral scent with notes of pear and orange blossom.
10. Avon Far Away: not my personal favourite but I couldn’t leave it off the list. This is Avon’s bestseller and I know several people who adore it. It’s rich with Vanilla, coconut , sandalwood and floral notes. It’s instantly recognisable, and a customer favourite.
And sneaking this one in on the end in the hope that our friends at Avon are reading this…
Top Ten of fragrances I Would Love Avon to Bring Back
Regular readers of IScentYouADay might be familiar with my views on Avon. If not, here is a potted version: 1. The Golden Oldies were fantastic, 2. To me, many of the current scents have the same cardboardy basenote 3. Now and then they throw a real gem into the mix.
Avon Summer White Sunrise falls into category three “Now and then they throw a real gem into the mix”. Sunrise is new to me: I hadn’t seen a big launch anywhere and I never miss an Avon brochure, but looking at Fragrantica, I see there are three in the series. Summer White, Summer White Sunset, and Summer White Sunrise. I can happily report that Avon Summer White Sunrise is rather lovely and will not be given away or sold on eBay as I have often done in the past.
Summer White Sunrise opens with very distinctive Pear, which lasts from Top Note to Base Note. There is often a slightly sharp tinge to Pear, akin to the Acetone/Pear Drops similarity. If you like Pear, read on, if you don’t, then this might not be your cup of tea.
Along with the Pear is a pleasant burst of Mandarin, which prevents this from being a typical fruity floral, and more of a citrus floral. The middle notes include Orchid, which you may recall was also present in all its synthetic glory in the dreadful Avon Incandessence. Thankfully, it’s not detectable here, or at least to my nose it isn’t. This is a simple scent with simple notes done well. You may also find Orange Blossom and a hint of Rose in there- I certainly did. The whole thing is pleasantly rounded off with a Musky base: not too much to be sexy, but just enough to calm the notes down pleasantly before they retire for the day. I often find a Musk base rounds things off smoothly and this is certainly the case here.
There is a hint of hairspray when you first spray this but that could be the association between Pears and Acetone. Summer White Sunrise is delightfully light and pretty, and makes a good summer daytime fragrance, especially since it only cost me five quid in the last brochure. Bravo Avon! More like this please!
I know, I know, I never thought I’d write Avon and Radiohead in the same sentence, but it was the first thing that leapt unbidden to my mind when trying to describe Avon Incandessence.
I tried Incadnessence long ago before I was best mates with Fragrantica and before my perfume obsession had gone full throttle. At the time it reminded me of the colour yellow. It was bright yellow to my mind, like plastic yellow cellophane. I didn’t like it.
I now have a bottle in my possession (not for long, I’ll be passing it on) and all I can think of is the Radiohead song Fake Plastic Trees.
There is some note in here that really bugs me, but I can’t name it. I would have thought it was cheap fake sunshine since it tries so hard to be a sunny, floral scent, but ends up smelling like plastic. I looked up the notes on Fragrantica for a clue and this is what I found:
Top notes: Orchid, Lily of the Valley, Cyclamen. Middle Notes: Tulips, Peony. Base notes: Orchid.
Here’s where I think the mystery is solved: in every description of Tulip, Orchid and Cyclamen, it is pointed out that these notes do not come from the flower but are synthetic. Now at Avon prices, we can’t expect Rose Absolute or priceless oils, but to use three synthetic notes as the leading stars? Well, the synthetic-ness isn’t strong enough to carry a scent and make it good. This total lack of authenticity (which is possible at a low price- look at Coty L’Aimant) means that Incandessence is, to me at least, a plastic mess. It smells cheap and overly sweet and the initial yellow cellophane imagery remains.
I acknowledge that many floral notes are created in a lab, and that IFRA regulations saw off a lot of genuine petal action in the manufacture of perfumes, but dear Avon, at least try and hide the fact!
To be honest, I wouldn’t even use it as air freshener. But what do I know? Customers won’t let them stop making it. This is a steady seller and Avon has even started bringing out flankers- a sure sign that Incandessence is here to stay.
I am a big Avon fan, although as I have said many times, the fragrances are hit and miss. The bestselling Avon fragrance, and one which they dare not discontinue for fear of riots, is Far Away. In fact, as I walk around my local town centre, I smell the slipstream of at least three people wearing this, every single time. It is immensely popular. However, to me it smells like Vanilla and Coconut talc and it’s not to my taste at all. It could be worse though, and I certainly don’t object to it. It is instantly recognisibale, however.
You can imagine my surprise then, when I tried Avon Far Away Exoticand thought it smelled very pleasant. It opens with ripe and juicy fruit: thirst quenching, like freshly cut apricots (I found out it is actually Mandarins and Mangos). So juicy and unexpected was this that I could not stop sniffing and even briefly contemplated buying a bottle.
However after three hours of genuinely enjoying the lush fruits, Far Away Exotic reverted to type and the basenote ended in the familiar vanilla/coconut talc of the original Far Away. I was nearly there! And for under 6GBP (current price), I wouldn’t call it bad value at all. To be honest, anything that doesn’t smell like fruity floral candy floss deserves a chance. We need to encourage changes of direction.
Ding Dong! Reasonably priced beauty products, fragrance and miscellany calling!
Yes trusty old Avon is still at it and going strong. The Avon modus operandi is almost Draconian in this Digital Age. A brochure is brought to your door, a form is filled in by hand with a pen, and given to a representative that comes back two or three weeks later with your goods. When High Streets are falling like dominoes, it’s almost miraculous that the Avon lady still stands, with a smile.
Of course the Digital Age hasn’t completely bypassed our trusty friends at Avon. There’s a website where you can order items and leave reviews, and many people text or email their Avon reps now, although that does not exempt them from the long wait for their goods. In fact the long wait is kind of half the fun. Usually by the time I’ve waited three weeks I’ve completely forgotten what I’ve ordered. It’s like a lovely present chosen by someone who knows your tastes perfectly. Which, in a way, it is.
I’ve mentioned Avon in earlier posts, and I’ve promised you an Avon Week. That week is here, dear readers, and it starts now.