Tag Archives: Charlie Blue

Fragrance Under Five Quid- The 2015 Guide

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You may have gathered by now, since I am on post Number 602, that I am rather fond of perfume. Since I intend to review 1001 perfumes and I don’t have the income of an oligarch, I could be creating a case of fiscal fiddlesticks for myself.

In fact, from my site dashboard here at Iscent HQ, I see many daily internet searches leading to my site that read “good cheap perfume” or “cheap perfume that smells good” – so I know I am not alone in my quest for thriftiness.

Luckily I love a bargain, a cheapie, and a swapsie and I leave pride and snobbery at the door. I have therefore thrown myself on the martyr pile and selflessly sourced, borrowed and tested the following fragrant bargains, for you, my dear readers.

This is not the first time I have done a “Perfume Under a Fiver” article , but it is the latest 2015 update and it comes at a time of year when shopping rises up the Agenda. In the world of scent, availability and price changes as fast as the weather, so an update was, I felt, necessary. I hope you like the following perfumes I have listed. I would wear all of them, dear reader, and wouldn’t sell you down the river.

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Milton Lloyd

Milton Lloyd is owned by World Class Fragrance who have taken over a lot of Yardleys and Lentherics from the Times of Yore. You can still therefore buy some good 70s stylee drugstore classics such as Lace, Panache, Chique and Tweed. All of these have been reviewed on this blog. But did you know that there are modern flankers to accompany them? Panache Mademoiselle reminds me of Estee Lauder Pleasures, Tweed Mademoiselle is an excellent light fruity floral and Chique Mademoiselle is a light rose musk When you shop around on Amazon or Fragrance Direct or buy direct from Milton Lloyd, you can find them all for five pounds or under.

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The Body Shop

The Body Shop is currently on my Good List for making gorgeous 10ml purse sprays available for a fiver.  My favourite is trusty White Musk but you can also get Madagascan Vanilla, Indian Night Jasmine, White Musk Smoky Rose, Amazonian Water Lily, Atlas Mountain Rose or another favourite of mine, Fijian Water Lotus. Some of these are online and some are only available in store.

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Al Rehab

Al-Rehab perfume oils can be found on Amazon UK.  Coming in at well under a fiver, these purse sized roll ons are great value for your purse and last ages. You can wear them alone or layer them to mix and match until you find something you like. Try Choco Musk, Red Roses or Green Tea. Lovely packaging too. These are so cheap that you can afford to blind buy without going bankrupt.

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The Classics

Classic is another term for trusty perennials. Scents such as Gloria Vanderbilt, Coty L’Aimant and even the Charlies have been steadily in the background since I was a slip of a girl (decades ago). You can usually get a small bottle for under a fiver and I have reviewed them all on this site, except the Charlies.  Charlie Blue grew on me and now I can appreciate its mossy, woody longevity in a way I didn’t used to.  Try allbeauty.com (where I also found Jovan Musk oil for 4.95) or Fragrance Direct, where I always find something I like for not many pounds.

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Avon Calling

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Trusty Avon always has bargains, and despite their insistence on moving with the times against this customer’s will, you can be sure of a bargain. The under-a-fiver fragrances aren’t always obvious, but in every brochure there is usually a special offer. I often see classic Soft Musk for a fiver, as well as ambery chypre Timeless for the same price.  However, in this month’s brochure, the bargains are amazing: Spend twelve pounds on fragrance and get three 10ml purse sprays free. For your twelve pounds you could get a bottle of Soft Musk and bottle of Timeless  at £6 each, or three Avon Scent Essences for £12. That could be a total of six fragrances for just twelve quid. When my Avon Lady, Jill, comes tomorrow, I shall be ordering three Scent Essences and my three purse sprays, working out at two quid each. I hope none of my friends are reading this or the cat’s out of the bag.

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Marks and Spencer

When I’m in Marks and Spencer looking at knickers and posh tins of biscuits, I often find  a little purse spray ends up in my basket- oops!  But for prices that land between £3.50 and £5 for a 10ml handbag spray, who can blame me?  In fact, when they have the 3 for 2 offer on, who can blame me for buying three?  Try Autograph Blush for a light airy floral scent, or True Red if you like fragrances that are similar to Hugo Boss Red.

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My name’s Samantha and I’m a frugaleer. Join me, why don’t you?

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Piggy Bank photo from Snapple.com.

Pound coin photo from grandadevans.me.uk

Cartier Baiser Du Dragon: My Retro Friend with The Futuristic Price Tag


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Trying Cartier’s Baiser du Dragon today gave me two immediate reactions. Firstly: this is a glorious contrast to yesterday’s airy Lavendar, and Secondly: Why does this make me think of the 1970s?

This has a boozy start that I recall from my olfactory memories as a child in the 70s. My mother would often spray a perfume that would have the same high alcohol starting note before settling down to something more sophisticated.  This smells like many perfumes I have known from that era, but none that I can name. If I went to an old fashioned chemist in the back of beyond, maybe I could buy a bottle of something similar from a dusty shelf.

So why was I sent back to the 1970s? Was it just the Hai Karate style bottle with the plastic dipper? Or maybe it was the slight powderiness about it that smells a little retro, almost a Imagelittle like Charlie Blue (don’t shoot me, I don’t like Charlie, I’m just talking about the genre).  Just as the booze and the powder merge and fade, I am left with Patchouli. In fact, this reminded me a little of Borneo 1834, except that it lacks the Oompa Oompa of Borneo.

Now either my hayfever is playing tricks on me, or Dragon sillage isn’t very loud. I was testing the Parfum, no less, which you would expect to have impact, but sadly, this is no Lanvin Arpege when it comes to super strength. With Arpege, three dabs lasts me twelve hours and it just gets better and better. Baiser du Dragon seems to have been sucked up and absorbed into my skin within two hours flat, leaving a faint ghost of almonds and Patchouli in its wake before going “pouf” and disappearing.

I like this enough to wear again, but I secretly wish I was trying an Eau de Toilette just so I can upgrade to a stronger version. Unfortunately, after the Parfum, there’s only extrait and I’m not sure I want it badly enough to start tracking it down.

I was alarmed, gaspingly so, at the hefty price tag on this: on Amazon it was £116.99 for 50ml Eau de Toilette. I thought I must have got it wrong. To me this is a a pretty good Oriental with poor lasting power, (at least on me), and a definite 70s vibe. It’s good, but it’s not THAT good. Is it just me?

I looked this up in Perfumes the Guide to see what the Emperor of Scent had to say about. My puzzlement was vindicated. I give him the last word:

I handed a smelling strip to my colleague Ian Smith, an analyst of thirty years’ standing…he passed a judgment that has so far not been appealed:

That’s nineteen-bloody-seventy-two Old Spice, that is’”

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