Look at that! Two Marks and Spencer reviews in two days. As you may gather, I didn’t leave empty handed yesterday. I came away with a tiny 15ml bottle of Rosie for Autograph Summer Rose.
Rosie Huntingdon Whitely is the face of many M&S lines, namely her lingerie and make-up range. In 2015, the first scent, Rosie for Autograph, was launched, and jolly good it was too. You can read my review here. I’ve recently run out and need another one. It’s a fabulous centifolia rose scent. After that, came Rosie for Autograph Nuit (which I haven’t tried) and in summer 2106, the latest flanker Summer Rose was launched, which is what I’m reviewing today.
Summer Rose opens with pear and blackcurrant which hooks up with the sandalwood straight away. I’m afraid I got a few whiffs of pencil shavings before this settles down, but no matter, that phase didn’t last long.
The middle is all about the heady jasmine sambac,: a highly popular ingredient lately which appears in many bestsellers. If you read between the lines, you may see me roll my eyes (it’s in everything right now!). There are roses which are fairly prominent, and lily of the valley, which I couldn’t pick up at all- shame, because lily of the valley is one of my favourite notes.
The grand finale still has pear, roses, a bit of woody stuff and some heady jasmine. In a blind test, I would have said this was peony and patchouli, which gives you some idea of how it comes across. Even if the notes don’t match. This is of course, subjective- you may have a different experience.
Summer Rose is pretty and light and will be a big crowd pleaser. I applaud the availability of 10ml and 15ml bottles in Marks and Spencer. It puts perfume treats within everyone’s reach and it’s a great way of testing a scent before committing to a full bottle. The rest of the perfume department is pretty good too: check out the Monotheme range, the Fragonard and the Roger & Gallet.
Stockists You can buy Rosie for Autograph Summer Rose instore or online. It’s exclusively stocked at Marks and Spencer. A 30ml bottle is just £14 and makes a great gift.
The problem with celebrity fragrances is that they keep getting discontinued. Out of my favourites from just three years ago, around six are impossible to get now. The rumour on the grapevine is that celeb fragrances are on the way out, or at least on the way down, and I have mixed feelings about this. Firstly, if all celeb fragrances were of the fruity floral fruitichoulil smellalike genre that so many were, then fine. See ya. No problem here. However, celebrity fragrances are like jumble sales. It might look like a load of junk but when you rummage, you find gold and treasure.
The other great thing about celebrity fragrances is that they are not expensive. They’re competing with other celebrity fragrances which are also not expensive, so they can’t risk sky high prices. That’s not their demographic. Oh, and don’t forget that the celebrity doesn’t actually make them. Celeb fragrances are made by respected houses such as Givauden, Coty and Elizabeth Arden. I really can’t see Beyoncé in a lab coat with a pipette moaning about the price of orris butter, can you? Lovely mental image though.
I have found some absolute gems among celeb fragrances and I am genuinely sad not to be able to buy some of them anymore.
What follows below is an up-to-date, up-to-the minute round up of celebrity fragrances that you can definitely easily buy at the moment at the time of going to press, I promise. Some are old faithfuls that have been around a while, and show no signs of leaving, and some are new. All of them are jolly good, at least in my opinion.
Sarah Jessica Parker Stash SJP
This is my number one favourite. SJP is rare in that she is deeply involved in the scents she creates and her own tastes influence what she launches. In the case of Stash, I applaud her for taking a risk. This smoky sandalwood and incense treat was never going to be a mass market crowd pleaser, but critics and fumeheads love it, as do I. Here’s my review and here’s where you can buy it.
Sarah Jessica Parker Lovely
I wear this regularly and now that my 100ml bottle is going down, I’m looking to replace it. It suits just about everyone and to me, it has a wonderful 50s retro feel. You can read my review here. Many compare it to Narciso Rodriguez For Her. You can buy Lovely in many places at varying prices. I bought mine from here.
A wonderfully clean scent that reminds me of freshly washed hair and clean laundry. It lasts for ages too. Launched in 2002, this shows no sign of going anyway and has become a classic for good reason. You can buy it here.
Britney Spears Curious
This was launched way back in ’04, which is a long time ago in the perfume universe.. I complimented a friend on this and asked her what she was wearing- I was surprised when I found out it was Britney Curious as I’d written it off. Its use of magnolia and pear sets it apart from the usual pink sugary fruity florals and it has a lovely light feel to it with no stickiness. Extra points for the beautiful blue glass bottle, and if you can get one with the puffy squeezy atomiser, even better. You can buy it here.
Rogue made an impact on me because it didn’t go in the obvious direction that it could have. I t could have gone all pink pepper and red berries and vanilla, but it didn’t. In fact, it reminded me of Serge Lutens Daim Blond, which is all about the unusual but genius combination of suede and apricots. Here’s my review of Rogue and here’s where you can buy it.
Rihanna Reb’l Fleur
I have a full 100ml bottle of this. I wouldn’t normally have thought of buying it, but my dear brother picked it out for me himself for my birthday. I was so touched. I hardly ever get perfume as a gift (violins!) and I was delighted to get this whopper. Reb’l Fleur is a heavy hitting, patchouli rich fruity floral with a hit of coconut and vanilla. Sillage is massive and longevity huge. Two sprays in the morning and you’ll be sorted till tea time. You can buy it here.
Celine Dion Sensational
By a happy turn of fate, I stumbled across this in my local Lloyds Pharmacy when I was picking up my husband’s prescription. There was a tester at the till and it was on special offer at 9.99. I didn’t buy it that day, and when I went back, it was gone. However, I fell in love with it. It lasted at least seven hours and was a delicious melange of pear, plum, freesia, lily of the valley and violet. It opens like a juicy tropical fruit scent and segues into a stunning musky floral. The nose behind it is the legendary Maurice Roucel. This one is at the top of my Wanted list. You can buy it here.
Elizabeth Taylor White Diamonds
This opens like an aldehyde and ends like a chypre. Full of old school Hollywood glamour, this is bursting with all the rich white flowers: tuberose, jasmine, neroli. It’s not really one for the young palate of today, but as a fan of classic chypres and big eighties sillage, this is right up my street. It’s cheap as chips and widely available. Round of applause for the diamante choker round its neck. You can buy it here.
9. Adam Levine For Her
This is a real gem that often goes under the radar. Lisa Jones let me borrow her bottle and I was very impressed. This comes in a smart white box in a bottle that’s shaped like a microphone. This is a woody, slightly spicy scent with a long, langorous sandalwood base. It is so cheap I was suspicious, but I can vouch for its fabulousness. Plus you know, Adam Levine. Cor. You can read my review here and buy it from here for less than ten quid. Oh, and it’s totally unisex, so ignore the “For Her” label.
Jessica Simpson Fancy Nights
This has featured on my previous best celeb scents list and it qualifies for this one because it is still available and still cheap. It has patchouli, papyrus and amber, and many say that it is a dead ringer for Prada Amber ( and it is!). Still available on Amazon for under £20 for a big bottle. Here’s my review.
The ones I miss
The following celeb fragrances are either available but three times the price they were, or impossible to find. Reader, I mourn them: JLo Deseo, Hilary Duff with Love, Sarah Jessica Parker The Lovely Collection- Dawn, Endless and Twilight, Queen by Queen Latifah, Manifesto by Isabella Rossellini.
The ones I want to try
Antonio Banderas’s vast range (he has been launching scent since 1997), Drew Barrymore’s new ones, Joan Collins’ new ones for Marks and Spencer, Sofia by Sofia Vergara and Elizabeth Taylor Gardenia and Passion, which I still haven’t tried.
How about you?
What celebrity fragrances do you like to wear? Which ones do you miss? Which do you want to try? Do let me know. I always love to hear from you.
Avon Femme is a competent fruity floral that has a legion of fans and is a steady seller. Avon Femme Icon was apparently intended to be an evening version of Femme. However, as much as I love Avon, I think I prefer the original in this instance.
Avon Femme Icon opens with strawberry and raspberry. Both are prominent, and it’s a photo finish when it comes to which is dominant. Suffice to say, this has a sweet and fruity opening which I rather enjoyed.
However, it was the middle and the base that I found difficult with this one. The middle notes (and they don’t always happen in the middle) are iris and rose. Unfortunately, I just got pink bubble bath rather than either. flower. It’s not unpleasant though. I like pink bubble bath.
The base is simply patchouli and musk and this is where it went a bit biscuit-y one me. Unfortunately, the fruit has gone a little synthetic by now and the combination of this with the pink bubble bath, andsome very weak and thin patchouli, did not get the thumbs up from me.
However, this review is, of course, purely subjective. I have a dear friend who wears any Avon scents that don’t suit me and they all smell really wonderful on her. So don’t listen to my moaning- try it for yourself. I love that Avon does a lot of affordable purse sprays, so check out the brochure or the Avon UK website. They always have a special offer on, so don’t stop at one.
How about you? Do you have a favourite Avon fragrance? or even a not-so-favourite? Do let me know. I always love to hear from you.
I got my purse spray of Avon Femme Icon from my Avon brochure. It was just £1.99. Check out Avon UK online. Opinions are my own.
Now that my blog is four, I thought I’d better do some housekeeping. One of my most popular articles is “Perfume for Paupers”, written two years ago. It was my guide to how you can smell good without blowing the budget. It was written from the heart (and from past experience ), since I believe that you don’t have to be rich to smell good.
However, as you know, the industry changes faces like a kaleidoscope in even a short space of time. For example, many celeb scents that I reviewed then, have been discontinued, and many new affordable options have appeared on the market in just two years. However, much of what I wrote in my earlier article still stands: shop around, be selective, use eBay, look past the label. I reckon it’s time for an update. Here’s my guide on how to smell good without feeling bad.
Leave your snobbery at the door
I used to be in an exclusive long term relationship with Chanel Cristalle and would only rarely have flings with other scent on the side. During a frugal period in my life, I decided to shop around, and my love affair with scent truly blossomed. I hold allbeauty.com and Home Bargains responsible for this. I bought the cheapest scent I could afford and ended up finding some firm favourites. High price tags do not always mean high quality., and vice versa. Don’t overlook celebrity fragrances either. They are all made by professional Noses and are usually cheaper than other brands. Some of my favourite celeb scents are under £10.
Ok, I’m starting to sound obsessed with Avon now, but when you an find a decent perfume for under seven quid, well, then it’s very hard to stay away. In fact my SOTD is Avon Rare Platinum and those tuberose wafts are very pleasing to my nose today. Avon Perceive Oasis was my summer scent more than any other in 2016. I even bought a back up bottle.I give Avon a further thumbs up for selling purse sprays at just £3 and for currently selling Scent Essence Lime Verbena for just £2.50 for 30ml. All prices correct at time of posting.
I have bought a lot of perfume from eBay and have never been let down. EBay is pretty strict on counterfeit and it’s not worth most people’s trouble to try and sell the odd fake. Having said that, there’s no guarantee it’ll never happen to you, but in seven years I’ve not been conned. EBay is also great for perfume samples which helps avoid costly blind buys. I’ve also scored some blinders from a local car boot sale. Never underestimate how much somebody else can dislike a perfectly good bottle of perfume and be desperate to get rid of it. That, my friends, is when you circle and swoop.
Success stories: 100ml of Cabotine for £3.99 on eBay, bottle of LouLou and assorted samples for £7 on eBay, bottle of half used 100ml of Rive Gauche for £4 at car boot sale. Full 50ml bottle of Chanel Coco EDP for £26 on eBay.
Some of my favourite cheap and cheerfuls are the kind of scent young folk today might label as “Nan perfume”. I prefer the term “classic. ” Nobody will put me off Coty L’Aimant or Chique and I could buy both bottles with ten quid and still have change for a Daim Bar.
If you’re saving for a bottle of the good stuff and in between bottles,, why not just buy a few samples and use your favourites on high days and holidays? It’s cheaper than a full bottle and you can always smell expensive without having a shelf full of posh bottles and no money in the bank.
You’d be amazed how many of your friends have been given perfume they don’t like and don’t wear. Nobody seems to throw it away though, so get asking. You might find they have one of your favourites and that dusty bottle you can’t get rid of might be just their cup of tea. I dare you to ask four friends if they have a bottle of perfume they don’t really wear. It also works on forums such as Fragrantica, Mumsnet and Fragcomm.
Many men’s fragrances are cheaper than women’s ( though not all). There’s no rule that says you can’t wear his stuff or that he can’t wear yours. Having said that, although I reguarly raid my husband’s scent collection (I chose most of it- ergo it’s mine.) I can’t see my husband borrowing my SJP Lovely to wear for work anytime soon. Shame. Florals can smell good on men.
Here’s what I mean by cheap and cheerful for chaps: Old Spce (cheap as chips) doesn’t smell a million miles away from Yves Saint Laurent Opium. (Thanks for the tip Portia of APJ), and Avon men’s fragrances are truly excellent. I wore Wilderness for Men for the whole of August one year, with a pretty sun dress. I say Pah! to labels. If it smells good wear it.
These mini rollerballs are available from Amazon and eBay. Containing no alcohol, and usually in rollerball format, these are an unbeatably cheap way to layer notes or wear the scent alone. The jasmine and the rose single note fragrances are pretty good too. They make good presents and a 10ml rollerball is perfect for even the smallest of handbags.
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.
Christian La Croix has been making scent for Avon for nine years now and the latest release (2015) is Bijou. I ordered a little 10ml purse spray to get to know it.
The top notes are pear, apple and orange. Middle notes are vanilla orchid, jasmine and gardenia. Base notes are vanilla, musk, star anise and sandalwood.
It opens with bold white flowers, pear and vanilla. It’s light and flowery and off to a good start, apart from the tell-tale vanilla which takes a front seat straight away which spoiled it a bit for me.
The white flowers stick around a bit, but the vanilla seeps through to every stage which makes this smell a little generic. Vanilla is every bleedin’ where at the moment, and I long for a new release that dares to skip it, however, they are making this for people who like vanilla in everything, so I can’t exactly say they’re wrong.
The overwhelming accord is pear/vanilla/jasmine, which will no doubt be popular, but for me, this is nothing original or unique and not particularly exciting. Although this is an eau de parfum, longevity was very poor. There was an overly sweet vanilla-y floral scent on my arm for about an hour and then..nothing.
Some Fragrantica users have said that this reminds them of YSL Black Opium, and its probably the combo of pear, vanilla and jasmine, although to me, Black Opium is a sugary Espresso in a sparkly bottle.
Still, full marks to Avon for doing more purse sprays these days. And full marks to Avon in general for making lots of lovely stuff. I bought this for £3.60, so you can try it (and others) without breaking the bank. Just because I don’t like it doesn’t mean it won’t suit you.
Christain La Croix Bijou is available from Avon online or from your lovely Avon rep, if they are anything like mine, who is called Jill and is smashing.
Intrigue used to be Yardley Intrigue but is now made by Taylor of London. It’s a traditional floral chypre that I should imagine a younger palate may describe as “old lady.”
I feel very strongly about such a term when used regarding perfume. Whenever I hear somebody use that term I replace it with “retro” or “Grand Dame” or “classic”, because so many powdery chypres were exactly that. These mythical “old ladies” knew a thing or two about perfume.
Secondly, the more mature women round these parts, always smell fabulous. On them I smell wafts of Cinnabar, Aromatics Elixir and White Linen. My Mum smells incredible in classic fragrances such as Panache and Tweed. Whereas a much younger perfume wearer recently floored me ( in a bad way) with a thirty foot trail of Diesel Loverdose in all its sickly sweet glory. Thirty foot away! I kid you not.
Glad I’ve got that off my chest, now let’s look at Intrigue.
Described as a floral chypre, this has top notes of citrus, violet and petitgrain, middle notes of rose and jasmine and a base note of cedarwood, musk and moss.
It’s a powdery floral that reminded me a little of Worth Courtesan without the knickery finale.
Despite opening with citrus and petitgrain, this is not an astringent eau de cologne intro, it’s a musky, soft floral with a mossy and woody base. In fact all the notes seem to come out at once and stay put, making a floral woody accord with a wake of soft feathery musk.
On Amazon, reviews are favourable, apart from a few fans of the original who state that it is not as it was. This is their right, and I cannot correct them as I haven’t smelled the original. However, as a very cheap and very cheerful floral chypre, this is a great little treat.
You can buy Taylor of London Intrigue on Amazon UK or on Perfume Click (they are awaiting stock at the time of posting this). Prices are upwards of six or seven quid. I had mine for Christmas.
Avon Mesmerize Black for Her is a new release from Avon: one of many new releases, which can be a good thing or a bad thing. On one hand, too many new releases can dilute quality and impact, but on the other hand if you don’t like one, just hang on a bit because another will be along in a minute, a bit like British Weather.
I have tried two Avon new releases in as many months and I don’t think either of them were sufficiently unique or special enough to rave about. I recently reviewed Avon Cherish, which was an acceptable, marketable fruity floral with lots of caramel (you can find my review elsewhere on this blog. The search box is to your right. Strange things happen when I provide a link to my own site on my site!) Avon Mesmerize Black For Her is also fruity floral and also marketable and will probably sell, but I do not find it either unique or exciting.
There are only three notes listed: mandarin, jasmine and sandalwood. It is packaged as a floral oriental but I have to say that what I got was a rather sickly overly fruity scent with too much sandalwood, which was ridiculously synthetic smelling, thus preventing it from being enjoyable. Luckily I only bought the purse spray and not the full bottle. It’s kind of like when you’ve left an orange in a bag and you can smell it through the fabric, only the fabric has been sprayed with some kind of wintry air freshener.
Sorry Avon, I know you still do some good stuff at unbeatable prices but this did not move me.
Avon Mesmerize Black For Her is available from AvonShop UK or from your Avon rep. This week the price is only £7 for a 50ml bottle. My Avon Lady is called Jill and is lovely.
I still stand by my motto- you don’t have to be rich to smell good ( but you’d be in trouble if you had an Amouage habit). Seriously though, I get so many searches for “budget perfume” and “cheap perfume that smells good” that I know there is still a strong demand for good, accessible scent. Buy cheap doesn’t mean smell cheap. There. That’s another motto.
In writing this guide, I have to put out this disclaimer: prices may vary from site to site and store to store and month to month, but today, these prices are pretty much the norm with just a quid or two either way depending on stockist. This guide is similar to the 2014 guide elsewhere on this blog, but with just a few changes to reflect changing prices or new discoveries.
1. Coty L’Aimant– it’s at the top of every bargain guide I write. If you like Chanel No 5, this was made six years later in 1927. It’s a powdery floral with lasting power that many more expensive perfumes still can’t match. My tip is buy the Parfum de Toilette and not the cologne. I bought my bottle from Boots.
2. Jessica Simpson Fancy Nights: A bargain buy that smells remarkably like Prada Eau de Parfum. Its has papyrus and patchouli and makes for a smooth milky, spicy scent that is far from the usual celeb-u-scent fruity floral. You can buy it from allbeauty.com.
3. Intimately Beckham For Her: I see this around a lot and it’s always well under ten quid. But here’s why it’s a good seller: it’s a light and pretty floral that is ideally suited to work or everyday and passes the commuter test ( i.e nobody will faint on the morning train). Available from Boots, Superdrug, Amazon UK, or my local chemist!
4. Next Just Pink: A darling of a scent that is very much in the same vein as Narciso Rodriguez For Her or Ralph Lauren Romance. Available from Next. A 30ml bottle costs just £8.
5. Elizabeth Arden Green Tea Flankers. There are no less than five of these on allbeauty.com right now- all under ten quid and all good. I know because I’ve tried them. They make great presents for friends and are crowd pleasing refreshing daytime florals. This is not to say they are dull or predictable, but it’s a good brand that’s a safe bet, and they are all particularly wearable in summer. Try Elizabeth Arden Green Tea Camellia or Elizabeth Arden Green Tea Honeysuckle.
6. Kantali by Milton Lloyd. Now don’t shoot me, but this smells a bit like Opium and only costs five quid. When I say YSL Opium, I don’t mean the fabulous powdery pre- reformulation stuff , but a thinner version of the new one that you can buy everywhere. It lasts at least six hours and I like it. Think a pared-down Opium style eau de cologne with eau de parfum staying power. You can buy it from Amazon UK.
7. LUSH solid perfumes: LUSH Gorilla are a bit hit and miss with me, but having said that, they inspire passionate reactions, which is a good thing. LUSH solid perfumes come in delightful quirky tins and are priced between £6 and £9 depending on the scent. Try LUSH Karma for £9. Longevity is… Wow. You can buy it from LUSH instore or online.
8. Jovan Musk For Women. You’ve got to have a musk on in your scent wardrobe and Jovan is a good bet. Currently under £10 on allbeauty.com, either Jovan or Alyssa Ashley are a safe pair of hands for a decent and affordable musk fragrance.
9. The Body Shop Smoky Poppy Eau de Toilette 30ml. Currently £8.50 and part of a range of 30ml scents at the same price. Smoky Poppy is an Oriental-lite which I was quite taken by, and there are others in the range such as Honeymania, Vanilla, Moringa, Strawberry and Coconut. Great for layering, but only eau de toilette strength so may need lunch time top ups.
10. Avon: You can’t do a bargain perfume list without including our dear friends Avon. Avon Timeless retails at around £6 ( depending on the brochure) and is an ambery chypre that was brought back by popular demand after being discontinued. Little Pink Dress is a lovely day time floral with lots of Peony, and Avon no 1 Bestseller Far Away and all its flankers were recently on sale for as little as £7 a bottle. I also love the Avon Scent Essence Sparkly Citrus which I bought for only £4.
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.