I got bitten by the perfume bug again and wanted to hit up Shoppers Drug Mart for some sniffing. For those who don’t know, Shoppers is a Canadian drugstore chain with a fantastic selection of higher-end beauty products sold at locations with a BeautyBoutique. Unfortunately, I went on Labour Day yesterday, and I was greeted by a cordoned-off prestige fragrance section!
I asked a sales associate about it, and it turns out that Ontario has a Retail Business Holidays Act which states that only pharmacies under a certain square footage may open on holidays like Labour Day. So, this Shoppers Drug Mart location, being over the allotted size, cordoned off certain areas to circumvent the by-law. I noticed that other sections blocked off were the prestige skincare section (Vichy, Nuxe, La Roche-Posay, etc.) and, bizarrely, the shampoo aisle. The SA said she’d be happy to help me out if I wanted to try any of the fragrance testers, but I didn’t want to bother her since my plan was to try out quite a lot of perfumes.
The fragrances on my shortlist were:
- Balenciaga – Florabotanica & Rosabotanica (re-test)
- Burberry – Body
- Burberry – My Burberry Black
- Givenchy – Hot Couture (EDP & EDT, re-test)
- Gucci – Rush (for some reason, I’ve never tested this)
- Jean-Paul Gaultier – Classique & Classique X (re-test)
- Jean-Paul Gaultier – Ma Dame
- Lolita Lempicka – Elle L’aime (re-test)
- Lolita Lempicka – Sweet
- Marc Jacobs – Divine Decadence
- Miu Miu
- Oscar de la Renta – Live in Love
- Paco Rabanne – Olympéa
- Rihanna – Nude & Rogue (re-test)
- Salvatore Ferragamo – Signorina (EDP & EDT)
I wasn’t sure whether all of these were available at one location—but now, with most of the “prestige fragrances” blocked off, I’d probably only get to try some of the less expensive items on my list.
In the end, here’s what I got to test:
Notes (Liquid Cashmere Black): black cherry, rose, jasmine, patchouli, sandalwood, praline.
Notes (Liquid Cashmere White): bergamot, lemon, osmanthus, vanilla, musk.
Shoppers Drug Mart likes to give special displays to some newer fragrances, so Liquid Cashmere Black and Liquid Cashmere White had a nice setup outside the cordoned off area. These are actually flankers of flankers (Liquid Cashmere to Cashmere Mist). I do like the original Cashmere Mist, which was given to me by a friend, but I didn’t really bother testing these properly. I just sniffed the nozzles, and wasn’t intrigued enough to continue. At least Cashmere Black did smell kind of deep and sultry.
Hot Couture EDT (2000)
Notes (Hot Couture EDT): citrus, raspberry, strawberry, apple, spices, rose, tuberose, vetiver, amber, white musk.
Notes (Hot Couture EDP): citrus, magnolia, pepper, vetiver, sandalwood, amber, musk.
I did get to smell one thing on my list! Hot Couture had a special display outside of the cordoned-off area (like the Donna Karan scents, except Hot Couture was displayed this way due to a new gift set). Unfortunately, it was only the eau de toilette—the eau de parfum is somewhat different for this scent, so I really wanted to try both. The EDT is, despite its notes (I’m not usually into berry scents), really wonderful! Its sparkly berry is pretty and not sickeningly sweet, and the drydown has a bit of tobacco about it (guess it’s the vetiver plus musk?) to temper the fruitiness. This is going on my wishlist, for sure, despite the silly name. I do like the fashion-inspired pinked-edge swatch motif on the label, though.
Live Irrésistible EDT (2016)
Notes (Live Irrésistible EDT): pear granita, raspberry, pineapple, rose, pimento, red berries, blonde wood, musk.
Notes (Live Irrésistible EDP): pineapple, rose, spices, amber.
I’m pretty sure they only had the EDT on display, not the EDP. I didn’t care for this at all: it smelled juvenile and a little cheap. I think it’s that pineapple top note, which I tend to find unpleasant. And more berries, which I usually don’t care for. I’ve never really liked any of the Very Irrésistible fragrances I’ve tried, though. My DH actually got me the original gift set once, and I ended up giving it away. (Another reason for gift budgets! Heh.)
Jardin Précieux EDT (2015)
Notes: pear, rose, jasmine, tea, peach, woody notes, musk.
Another Givenchy! (And yet, they never seem to have the Eaudemoiselle flankers like Ambre Velours and Bois de Oud that I am dying to try.) I don’t usually like the pear note—Burberry Brit EDT is an exception—and it’s kind of meh and forgettable here. The tea is a nice idea, but I didn’t really sense it. The scent is just really light. Pretty, but nothing special, just like the bottle design.
Notes: mandarin, peony, rose, apricot, peach, white musk.
I’m not a huge fan of the Miss Dior Chérie line (’cause that’s what the current Miss Dior was called, originally—Dior have since depressingly relabeled the original 1947 Miss Dior as Miss Dior Originale, and it’s been poorly reformulated), though the very first incarnation of Miss Dior Chérie was quite nice, with its caramel-and-popcorn notes that are no longer in the current Miss Dior.
Anyway, Miss Dior Blooming Bouquet (and I never smelled the original flanker, 2008’s Miss Dior Chérie Blooming Bouquet—confused yet?) is quite pretty and, as most Diors are, blended beautifully. It’s not interesting enough for me to purchase, but it’s a lovely, girly scent.
White Shoulders EDC (1945)
Notes: aldehydes, white florals, lilac, lily, orris, amber, benzoin, musk, civet, oakmoss.
Not sure what possessed me to try this one. I’m sure it’s been reformulated such that it doesn’t smell much like the vintage versions. I found the current version sharp and screechy, and I’m not a big fan of aldehydes, either.
Notes: citrus, pink pepper, pink rose, ylang-ylang, red berries, patchouli, creamy musk, cedar.
They didn’t have testers out for any Rihanna ‘fumes except this new one, Crush. It’s fine, nothing too special. I really want Nude, and possibly Rogue, but wanted to revisit them before purchasing.
Encounter edt (2012)
Notes: mandarin, cardamom, rum, pepper, jasmine, patchouli, cognac, oud, cedar, musk.
Yep, that’s Alexander Skarsgård in the ad campaign. And yes, I like to try men’s scents, too. The opening is a bit alcohol-y and sharp, but it does dry down to something more warm and woody, and a little bit boozy. If you can find it cheap, it’s worth a buy. I wouldn’t wear it myself, as it seems a bit too masculine for me.
I hope to go back to Shoppers soon, when the prestige fragrance section is open again.
Oh, and I picked this up from Shoppers’ CA$19.99 fragrance shelf…gotta love the bottle, of course! Hope I find the Tattoo flanker there, sometime.