It’s Friday the 13th!
My March perfume roundup took a while to compile; as you can see, I was a busy sniffer!
- Cacharel Anaïs Anaïs EDT
- Cacharel Scarlett
- Cacharel Yes I Am
- Cartier La Panthère
- Chanel Chance Eau Tendre
- Chanel Coco Mademoiselle Intense
- Chanel Cristalle EDP
- Chloé Fleur de Parfum Chloé
- Chloé Love Story EDP
- Chloé Nomade
- Clinique Aromatics Elixir
- Dior Addict EDP
- Dolce & Gabbana Light Blue Eau Intense
- Elie Saab Le Parfum in White
- Elizabeth Arden Untold Eau Fraîche
- Giorgio Armani Code Cashmere
- Givenchy Dahlia Divin EDP
- Givenchy Play for Her EDT
- Guerlain Aqua Allegoria Pera Granita
- Guerlain L’Instant EDP
- Guerlain La Petite Robe Noire Eau Fraîche
- Jennifer Lopez Blue Glow
- Lanvin Eclat d’Arpège
- Marc Jacobs Daisy Eau So Fresh
- Marc Jacobs Decadence EDP
- Mugler Angel Eau Sucrée (2018)
- Mugler Aura
- Oscar de la Renta Bella Blanca
- Ralph Lauren Romance Rosé
- Ralph Lauren Tender Romance
- Reem Acra Reem Acra
- Stella McCartney L.I.L.Y
- Yves Saint Laurent Mon Paris EDP
Anaïs Anaïs EDT
1978 | Roger Pellegrino, Robert Gonnon, Paul Leger, Raymond Chaillan
Top Notes: orange blossom, hyacinth
Heart Notes: rose, lily, jasmine
Base Notes: amber, sandalwood, incense
This one has been around for a long time, and while it’s never been one to which I paid much attention, I recently thought I’d resniff it. It has also recently been relaunched in EDP and EDT; I am pretty sure I tested the old version, since the bottle had the old style cap, which is as wide as the bottle itself.
Anaïs Anaïs is perfectly fine, and very 1980s-smelling. Strong, big florals, lots of powder. I don’t really have a reaction either way—I wouldn’t choose to wear it myself, but it smells fine.
I have seen this (and Cacharel Amor Amor) on the $19.99 rack at Shoppers Drug Mart, but maybe that’s just been to clear out the old bottles over the last year or two.
2009 | Honorine Blanc, Olivier Cresp, Alberto Morillas
Top Notes: citrus, tea, pear
Heart Notes: jasmine, orange blossom, honeysuckle
Base Notes: white musk, honey, sandalwood
Named for the character Scarlet O’Hara from Gone with the Wind, Scarlett is initially fairly pretty and clean-smelling, with bright citrus notes mingled with delicate white florals. It quickly turns into something musky and a little cloying—honey is often tricky for me this way.
I was quite surprised to see a tester for this older perfume at Shoppers Drug Mart recently! The adorable bottle doesn’t have anything written on it, and the box was nowhere to be found, so I had to squint at the tiny sticker on the bottom to figure out which fragrance it was.
Yes I Am
2018 | Honorine Blanc, Christophe Raynaud
Top Notes: mandarin, raspberry
Heart Notes: ginger flower, jasmine, gardenia, amber
Base Notes: milk, sandalwood, cardamom
I can’t tell you how much I wanted to despise this perfume. I hate the name, which sounds asinine, and I hate the bottle, which reminds me of a particularly vulgar-looking larva.
(Also, what’s going on with Cacharel and the multiple perfumers? I suppose they don’t subscribe to the notion that too many cooks spoil the broth.)
But, alas, I kind of enjoy it. Not enough to want a bottle, thank goodness, but yeah, I don’t mind it at all. It’s very floral and fruity and spicy and sweet, but there’s a delightful creaminess to the base that I really like. Like a 1990s floriental bomb mixed with whole milk. In a gorgeous bottle, and with a classier name, I may have succumbed and bought it—from an online discounter, of course. But my gosh, is that bottle revolting.
La Panthère EDP
2014 | Mathilde Laurent
Top Notes: rhubarb, strawberry, dried fruit, apple, apricot
Heart Notes: gardenia
Base Notes: musk, oakmoss
The rich and spicy dried fruit notes are very strong in the opening, and give this perfume a distinctly old school vibe. Very elegant and serious. It’s a little too potpourri and still-life for me.
Chance Eau Tendre
2010 | Jacques Polge
Top Notes: grapefruit, quince
Heart Notes: jasmine, hyacinth
Base Notes: musk, iris, cedar, amber
I don’t know what I expected, considering I don’t like the original Chance. This, too, is a snooze to me. Lightweight, girly, and mostly impressionless, like the scent of a fancy shampoo. Barely any longevity, as well, which seems very Chanel these days. I know everyone has had to reformulate over the last several years, but Chanel’s reformulations are so fleeting!
Coco Mademoiselle Intense
2018 | Olivier Polge
Top Notes: citrus
Heart Notes: rose, jasmine, fruits
Base Notes: patchouli, tonka bean, vanilla, labdanum, musk
Well, I don’t like Coco Mademoiselle, and I don’t like the Intense version any better. If you don’t like the patchouli in Coco Mlle, it’s heavier in the Intense. I only sprayed this on a card and I just couldn’t take it. Maybe one day I’ll give it a try on skin, just out of curiosity. Maybe.
If you love the original, then by all means give this one a try. I’ve heard that the reformulations have done bad things to Coco Mlle’s longevity, so Intense might be a good way to go if you’re finding staying power an issue for the original.
1993 | Jacques Polge
Top Notes: mandarin
Heart Notes: peach, melon, ylang-ylang, jasmine
Base Notes: vetiver, oakmoss
I’ve been exploring the Chanels more, after discovering that I really, really love Allure EDP and EDT, and another new love is Cristalle. Cristalle was originally released in 1974 as an EDT; the perfumer was Henri Robert. In 1993, Chanel released a softer and sweeter rendition of the original, with somewhat different notes: bergamot, hyacinth, and rosewood vs. mandarin, ylang-ylang, peach, and melon.
Cristalle EDP shares some notes (oakmoss, vetiver, citrus, peach, jasmine, ylang-ylang) with another fruity chypre, and one of my very favorite perfumes: Mitsouko. It stands to reason that I loved Cristalle EDP, and it will be in my collection sooner rather than later. I am reminding myself to also go and test the EDT, though I suspect it will be too sharp and green for my taste.
I do so wish that Cristalle was packaged in the same kind of bottle as the Nº 5 and Coco fragrances, though!
Fleur de Parfum Chloé
2016 | Michel Almairac, Mylene Alran
Top Notes: verbena, raspberry
Heart Notes: rose, cherry blossom
Base Notes: rice powder
I honestly cannot remember this, but I know I didn’t care for it…at all. I want so much to like a Chloé perfume. It makes no sense at all, considering they love to use notes I adore: Rose! Verbena! Rice! And yet, I never like anything they release in their beautiful, beribboned bottles. Damn, damn, and damn again.
Love Story EDP
2014 | Anne Flipo
Top Notes: neroli
Heart Notes: jasmine, orange blossom
Base Notes: musk, wood notes
I marked this down as a “like”, but as with Fleur de Parfum Chloé, I can’t remember it. I’m sure it was rosy, pretty, fleeting, and incredibly dull.
2018 | Quentin Bisch
Top Notes: Mirabelle plum, citrus
Heart Notes: freesia, jasmine, peach, rose
Base Notes: oakmoss, amberwood, patchouli, sandalwood, musk
The opposite of Cacharel Yes I Am—I love everything about this gorgeous bottle (inspired by the popular Chloé Drew bag), and wanted to finally find a Chloé I love. It was not quite meant to be.
Nomade is a very elegant, well-made scent. It’s quite different from the über-popular rosy Chloé scents, and I think it embodies the Chloé vibe extremely well. The feeling is subtle, leafy, natural, earthy. Sounds perfect, right?
Sadly, there is something in the drydown that I don’t really like. Not sure whether it’s the amberwood, which seems to be popping up in everything nowadays, or just some kind of musk they’re using. It’s not horrific (like a similarly off-putting note in Jason Wu’s signature) but it is enough that I don’t think I’ll be buying Nomade.
The bottle, by the way, is every bit as lovely in person. Sigh.
I’ll probably retest it one day, just to make sure I really don’t want it. Heh!
1975 | Bernard Chant
Top Notes: aldehydes, coriander, chamomile, sage, lemon verbena, bergamot, rosewood, geranium
Heart Notes: carnation, white florals, rose, ylang-ylang, orris
Base Notes: sandalwood, patchouli, musk, oakmoss, vetiver, incense
Clinique’s very first fragrance is older than I am! The notes appear to contain everything but the kitchen sink. And while what I smelled would have been a newly reformulated version, it still packs a massive wallop. This is incredibly strong stuff.
It’s not at all to my taste—much too herby, incense-y, and sour—but I can certainly see how it has a cult following. Aromatic, indeed!
2002 | François Demachy
Top Notes: mandarin leaf, orange blossom
Heart Notes: jasmine
Base Notes: vanilla
Dior Addict was originally released in 2002, and it has since been reformulated at least twice (2012 and 2014 versions have a metal band around the base of the cap). Now, I am not 100% sure, but the tester I used did not have such a metal band, and it had a gold knob on the cap. Also, on the old bottles, the “cap” is not really a cap, and you just depress the knob on top to spray. The new bottles have caps that come off. So I’m going with the idea that the store still had an old tester out.
Anyway, regardless of which version I tried: Addict is a deep, gorgeous, sweet and heady white floral. I kind of feel like I should love it—it’s heavy on vanilla and citrus notes—but it’s just a like for me. For whatever reason, modern department store Diors don’t really earn my attention. I understand the appeal, but there are similar scents I prefer (YSL Cinéma and JPG Classique, for two), so I’m glad I don’t feel the need to worry about which version of Addict I want to get!
DOLCE & GABBANA
Light Blue Eau Intense
2017 | Olivier Cresp
Top Notes: lemon, green apple
Heart Notes: marigold, jasmine
Base Notes: amberwood, musk
I’ve never liked Light Blue. There, I said it. One of the most popular and wearable fragrances of our time, and I dislike it. The opening is all nasal-piercing grapefruit to me, and the drydown is a horrid musky mess. But it is well-loved by many others, and Dolce & Gabbana have seen fit to release an Intense version of what is meant to be a light, summer scent. Sure thing.
Now, I don’t think it’s the amberwood, since I like some fragrances with it and hate others—so I feel the culprit must be some sort of musk that everyone’s using these days. Whatever this musk is, I despise it because it smells very strongly to me of burning plastic. There’s loads of this stuff in Light Blue Intense, so I get hit with burning plastic from the first sniff. No, thanks. I’d rather wear Light Blue. Geez.
(In case you’re wondering what I like in place of Light Blue, try Moschino Cheap & Chic I Love Love, which has the added benefits of being less expensive, having a cuter bottle, and being sold under a slightly less controversial designer label.)
Le Parfum in White
Top Notes: red fruits, orange blossom
Heart Notes: jasmine
Base Notes: patchouli, white musk, white amber
Argh, red berries! They ruin everything! I love the original Elie Saab Le Parfum, but this new flanker does nothing for me. Berry notes are always tricky to me, and they often make a perfume come off a bit juvenile. I don’t think that’s what Elie Saab was going for. The drydown is very talcum powder-y. Overall this is simply too clean, too jejune.
Untold Eau Fraîche
Top Notes: sparkling white tea, mandarin, pear
Heart Notes: freesia, lily-of-the-valley, orange blossom
Base Notes: cashmere woods, musk, vetiver
There’s a funny typo on the Elizabeth Arden website that mentions “mush” as one of the base notes for this perfume. I’m quite certain it’s meant to be musk, but I wonder what kind of mush would make for a good base note?
Anyway, the Untold line is probably my favorite in the Elizabeth Arden line (not hard, as I think the only other EA line I like is 5th Avenue) and its scents smell more expensive than they can be purchased for—in Canada, anyway, they’re often showing up at Shoppers Drug Mart for $19.99.
I picked up Untold Absolu, which is really lovely, and I gave Eau Fraîche a sniff, too. While it smells so fresh, green, and perfect for summer, it also had all the longevity of a gnat’s fart, so I passed. If your skin doesn’t eat up perfume the way mine does, or if you don’t mind reapplying often, then Untold Eau Fraîche is a wonderful, inexpensive option for hot weather.
2017 | Carlos Benaim, Dominique Ropion
Top Notes: orange blossom, jasmine
Heart Notes: heliotrope, almond milk, iris
Base Notes: suede, incense, leather, patchouli
The notes sound marvelous, but this just didn’t do it for me. I’ve never, ever fallen for an Armani scent. At best, they’re pleasant but forgettable (like Armani Sí, which is a better-made fragrance than this one, and comes in a beautiful, expensive-feeling bottle). I can’t explain it, but there’s just no wow factor for me. The bottle is equally boring and a bit cheap feeling.
Dahlia Divin EDP
2014 | François Demachy
Top Notes: Mirabelle plum
Heart Notes: jasmine
Base Notes: sandalwood, vetiver, patchouli
Givenchy is always hit or miss for me. I don’t usually hate anything they put out, but many are boring, and a few are wonderful. All of the Dahlia line I have smelled are quite pretty but also supremely boring. I couldn’t really tell you exactly what Dahlia Divin smells like, but it’s nice. It’s well-made. It’s generic. If you wear this, it’s unlikely that anyone will tell you that your perfume stinks, but I’m not sure it’ll make anyone swoon, either.
Play for Her
2010 | Emilie Coppermann, Lucas Sieuzac
Top Notes: pink pepper, orange blossom
Heart Notes: amyris wood, tiare, orchid
Base Notes: sandalwood, patchouli, tonka bean, benzoin
Soft white florals dyed pink, powdered berry, with a lovely hit of peppery spice. It’s a little unusual and I’m tempted to add it to my collection! Not sold on the dated MP3 player bottle, but there’s something appealingly kitschy about it.
I’d love to try the Intense version, which comes in a sleek eggplant purple bottle, but I doubt I’ll be able to find a tester.
I vaguely remember liking the men’s version, as well. I tested it back in 2008!
Aqua Allegoria Pera Granita
2016 | Thierry Wasser
Top Notes: grapefruit, bergamot, lemon
Heart Notes: orange blossom, osmanthus, pear
Base Notes: moss, white musk, cedar
It should be illegal to make stunning fragrances that only last for five minutes. This is a delectable, refreshing iced pear with a fabulous grapefruit opening. And then—poof!
Seriously, WTF. I hate you, Guerlain.
I think I’m just going to avoid all the Aqua Allegorias from now on, just to save myself the heartache.
2003 | Maurice Roucel
Top Notes: mandarin, bergamot
Heart Notes: citrus honey, magnolia, ylang-ylang, jasmine
Base Notes: vanilla, benzoin, musk
I almost really like this luxurious, honeyed white floral. I usually find honey too cloying in fragrance; however, it’s strong yet beautifully done in L’Instant. There’s something in the undercurrent that I read as gluey and plasticky, though, so the EDP is not for me. I definitely want to give the EDT a try sometime, though I believe there isn’t any honey note in it.
Guerlain has recently rebottled many of their pillar fragrances in the “bee bottle” (Aqua Allegoria-style), though L’Instant in its original bottle is still available at some retailers.
La Petite Robe Noire Eau Fraîche
2015 | Thierry Wasser
Top Notes: mandarin, lemon, bergamot, orange blossom, grass
Heart Notes: Bulgarian rose, Turkish rose, almond blossom, freesia, jasmine
Base Notes: pistachio, almond, tonka bean, patchouli, white musk
I don’t get much of the citrus top notes—almost immediately, a strange, plasticky note puffs up above the soft, airy pistachio confection. Not terribly fresh as the name suggests, but fluffy and even a bit cozy.
The drydown is pleasant, but the plastic note I get permeates all. It’s a shame because the green liquid in my favorite perfume bottle design is too delightful! I’d have loved to have spent Optimum Points on this, but it was not meant to be.
This flanker is discontinued, so if you are interested, check it out now! It’s still available at Shoppers Drug Mart, at least (but the stores are probably just clearing out the stock). It’s gone from Guerlain Canada’s website.
Top Notes: mangosteen, orange, cranberry blossom
Heart Notes: water lily, rose, vanilla orchid, aquatic notes
Base Notes: cedar, sandalwood, mahogany, moss, tonka bean
I vaguely remember Jennifer Lopez Glow smelling quite pretty, and I have liked some of her other scents. Blue Glow—and I wonder if the tester had gone off—is a mess of a scent. Hairspray galore. None of the promised mangosteen and water lily accords. Eek! I’m always a little leery of aquatic scents, since they have a tendency to smell extremely cheap and unnatural to me. Blue Glow is no exception.
2002 | Karine Dubreuil
Top Notes: lilac, lemon verbena
Heart Notes: wisteria, peach blossom, peony, tea leaves
Base Notes: cedar, musk, amber
I’ve been so intrigued by this fragrance for years: it always seems to be on bestseller lists, and yet I would never see any Lanvin fragrances in stores. I was tempted to blind-buy it for the longest while, since it’s relatively inexpensive at online discounters, but I was stopped in my tracks at a department store last month—there it was, in all its purple glory!
The bottle is adorable, so I was quite excited to finally give this perfume a shot. I do like the original and classic Lanvin Arpège, though the notes told me that Éclat d’Arpège would be nothing like its namesake.
Eek. While I can see why some people like Éclat d’Arpège—it’s light, fruity, and smells kind of like laundry detergent—I found it to smell kind of plasticky and even a little musty. The sweetness was strange, like that of an artificial fruity candy.
Well, that’s $30 saved on a blind-buy!
Daisy Eau So Fresh
Top Notes: grapefruit, green notes, raspberry, pear
Heart Notes: jasmine, rose, violet, lychee, apple blossom
Base Notes: musk, cedar, plum
More like Eau So Boring.
But seriously, it’s pretty and it’s pretty forgettable.
It has, like, fifty flankers (Daisy Kiss. Daisy Kiss Eau So Fresh. Daisy Dream Kiss. Daisy Dream. Daisy Dream Twinkle. W.T. Daisy F.) and they’re all so dull.
I hate the bendy little flowers on the cap. But I suppose this product is supposed to appeal to teens and young women…the Daisy line is simply not for me.
2015 | Annie Buzantian, Ann Gottlieb
Top Notes: plum, saffron, iris
Heart Notes: rose, jasmine, orris
Base Notes: amber, vetiver, papyrus
Sigh. This is the second or third time I’m trying Decadence, and as much as I’d like to love it (I love the handbag bottle, OK?), it’s too heady and cloying for me. It’s certainly more sophisticated than the Daisy lineup, but overdoes it entirely with syrup, spice, and plum. This is not a subtle perfume.
To add insult to injury, one freaking spray of this lasts a day and a half on my skin. Of course it does.
Angel Eau Sucrée
Top Notes: red berries sorbet, citrus
Heart Notes: caramelized meringue
Base Notes: patchouli, vanilla
It finally happeend. I love a Mugler perfume.
Muglers are notoriously controversial scents: Angel, Womanity, Aura, and even Alien, which I like but not enough to buy. But I finally found a Mugler for my own.
Over the last several years, Mugler has been releasing a limited edition flanker of Angel, called Angel Eau Sucrée—supposedly the scent is pretty much the same year to year, and only the packaging changes a little. 2018’s bottle doesn’t seem to look much different from 2017’s, but the box design is different.
Anyway, Eau Sucrée is everything I like about the original Angel, but with a citrus vibe and just a hint of spice, and without the skanky note that rears its ugly head on me. Ahhhh, it’s scrumptious!
And finally, the beautiful Angel bottle is mine, as well. I redeemed PC Optimum Points for a bottle.
Notes: rhubarb leaf, tiger liana, orange blossom, vanilla, wolfwood
And it’s back to controversial for Mugler! Aura is a very odd duck; two of its ingredients are exclusive to Firmenich, wolfwood and tiger liana, and frankly, I don’t know what the leaf of a rhubarb plant smells like.
All I know is that to me, Aura smells like sweet breath mints and Listerine. Very menthol-y. Some people mention Ben-Gay, but I get less medicinal flavor and more sweetness from it. Frankly, it’s not what I want to smell like! Annoyingly, it also lasts forever if you get it on your clothes—for days after I tested Aura, my coat sleeve smelled of it.
It’s not that it smells bad to me—it just smells weird. I can only imagine that there are people to whom Aura smells really lovely and unique, but all I get is cough drops.
As a side note, the promo photos of the Aura bottle make it look like some weird crystal alien wearing a white cowboy hat, but in real life, it looks pretty cool.
OSCAR DE LA RENTA
2018 | Harry Fremont
Top Notes: pear, dew, green notes
Heart Notes: jasmine, rose, orange blossom, tuberose
Base Notes: sandalwood, white orris, musk
Just so you know, the floral relief on the front of the bottle is only applied to the front; the back is smooth. Cheap, right?
This looks like a perfume being marketed as a bridal scent, and while it would work perfectly well on such an occasion, it’s also incredibly clean, generic and hardly the unforgettable scent one might prefer on her wedding day.
Top Notes: bergamot, lychee, red apple, black currant
Heart Notes: rose, jasmine, violet
Base Notes: musk, patchouli, benzoin
This is the newest Romance flanker; I love the original in all its cool, rosy glory, but the flankers have not generally been to my taste. Rosé doesn’t change much, but it is a proper Romance flanker. It feels airy, cool, and effortlessly easy to wear. The apple and lychee notes give it a little bite and sweetness, but overall this is a very safe fragrance. I doubt I’ll remember it in a week or two.
2016 | Honorine Blanc
Top Notes: bergamot, ginger, pear
Heart Notes: white ginger lily, magnolia, jasmine
Base Notes: cashmere wood, benzoin, musk
The opening is bright and sparkly: all juicy pear and ginger ale. I am often leery of pear in fragrance (I don’t love it as a fruit and find it cloying), but in Tender Romance, the pear is never sickly sweet. It’s fresh and, dare I say, perfect. The perfume dries down to a beautiful, gentle and sweet skin scent. It’s a very modern, wearable scent, and I can feel that coolness of the original Romance in it.
I probably wouldn’t buy this for myself (unless it was pretty darn cheap), but it feels like something easily giftable, and I certainly wouldn’t scoff if someone gave me a bottle.
2012 | Pierre Negrin
Top Notes: bergamot, peach, orange blossom
Heart Notes: ginger, jasmine, lily-of-the-valley, peony
Base Notes: amber, cedar, patchouli, musk
Reem Acra, a Lebanese designer based in New York, is best known for her line of wedding dresses. This eponymous eau de parfum from 2012 is her first and only fragrance release.
Oh, it’s a shame. Reem Acra opens nicely with clean, warm white florals—orange blossom and jasmine—with a touch of lightness from the peony, a little spice from the ginger, and a little sweetness from the peach. But on me, it lasts about an hour, and then there are only traces of an amber and musk drydown.
This can be found quite cheaply at online discounters, or TJ Maxx-type stores. For me, I love that this is a clean and very wearable jasmine, but it’s not worth even a low price if it doesn’t last.
2012 | Jacques Cavallier
Top Notes: truffle, pepper
Heart Notes: pink pepper, lily-of-the-valley
Base Notes: patchouli, oakmoss, musk
Lily-of-the-valley can be a tricky note; not so in L.I.L.Y, where it is so soft and tame that I doubt it could ever seem offensive. The fragrance does have a pleasantly earthy feel, but in general it is really quite bland. I remember smelling it when it was first released, and being so disappointed since the original Stella is one of my all-time favorites.
I think this particular scent has been discontinued, as it is no longer on the official Stella McCartney website. The Shoppers Drug Marts I go to seem to randomly rotate fragrance testers, though, so sometimes I get to retest ones I thought I’d never see again!
YVES SAINT LAURENT
Mon Paris EDP
2016 | Olivier Cresp, Harry Fremont, Dora Baghriche
Top Notes: bergamot, strawberry, raspberry, pear
Heart Notes: datura, peony, jasmine, orange blossom
Base Notes: white musk, Ambroxan, patchouli
To be perfectly honest, I tested Mon Paris when it was first released, and I recoiled in horror at the fruity, syrupy mess. I don’t know why I retested it recently, but I did, and once again, I thought it was ridiculously sweet and fruity. Yet, as the time went by, I kept getting these increasingly delicious-smelling wafts of hyperrealistic strawberry from my wrist. And so, I fell in love with a fragrance I initially despised.
I bought a full bottle and yup, I don’t know what changed but I love this girly, fruity, delectable scent now. (Of course, I bought it without realizing that it also comes in an EDT, which I tested recently and will review for April’s roundup.)