Britney Spears Radiance

I’m still perplexed about the popularity of Britney Spears fragrances. The only scent I could take from her line was Midnight Fantasy which has its on and off days and became too synthetic and sweet for my tastes near the end of its 30ml bottle lifespan. Still I went into Radiance hoping for a surprise. I always approach celebrity scents hoping for surprise and always end up a little disappointed. Radiance

In Bottle: Sweet tuberose scent with a slight tart berry top note that isn’t particularly interesting but does remind me a bit of other sweet tuberose based scents. Namely, Baby Phat Dare Me.

Applied: Berries up front with a slightly tart treatment that is mildly reminiscent of Tommy Girl with less zing. The berries fade into the mid-stage where the tuberose amps up and leads a mild jasmine note in with it. The two create a sweet, and creamy tuberose-heavy floral heart stage that smells like it can’t decide whether it wants to be sensual and sophisticated or sweet and fun. But Radiance pitches an interesting middle ground and ends up smelling okay. Not great. Just okay. The orange blossom flares up now and again in the mid-stage but aside from that Radiance is a quicker fader into the base with a clean, very sheer ending.

Extra: Britney’s perfume line is one of the most popular fragrances for young women and girls. She’s got the market pretty much cornered with her fragrances. And this goes particularly for Fantasy with its huge fruity sweet personality.

Design: Not a fan of the bottle. I think it looks a bit garish to be honest. It’s a heavy glass bottle with a colored jewel motif that reminds me of Bejeweled, the Flash-based game. As stated, the bottle is glass but the cap is a blue plastic jewel that fits over the sprayer. I just can’t get on board with these types of over the top designs and I have yet to really like a Britney Spears perfume line bottle design and Radiance is no exception.

Fragrance Family: Sweet Floral

Notes: Berries, tuberose, jasmine, orange blossom, iris, musk.

Keep doing whatever it is that you do, Britney because it’s obviously working out for you. As for Radiance, it’s not my idea of a good time.

Reviewed in This Post: Radiance, 2010, Eau de Parfum.

Sugababes Tempt

I saw this thing laying about the internet and thought to myself, “Are you serious? Is that another Fantasy perfume I haven’t heard of yet?” Thankfully no, this isn’t an unknown bottle of yet another Britney Spears Fantasy. Tempt is actually a member of the Sugababes collection of fragrances. Being Canadian, unsavvy when it comes to music, and a general hermit, I had no idea who the Sugababes were. But I smelled Tempt anyway–in a safe, closed environment from a small sampler vial.

In Bottle: Fruity floral. If there’s anything I wholly expected from Tempt, it was this. Nothing exciting about this, it’s just  “that fruity floral smell” you can get anywhere else.

Applied: Berries up top, layered with a sort of sticky sweet tea scent that’s helped along in its tea-journey by blackcurrant that tries its best to bring the sugar down to tolerable levels but doesn’t succeed. It reminds me of a sweeter, sillier version of Tommy Girl. The midstage isn’t anything to phone home about either. It’s more fruits, more sweetness, a touch of rose to give this thing some florals, and an orchid note that might as well not be there because you have to dig to find it. The dry down is a typical, rather boring way-too-sweet vanilla scent that’s still too sticky for me to handle seriously.

Extra: Apparently the Sugababes is a pop group from the UK. No wonder I haven’t heard of it. Well, if nothing else, Tempt’s smell matches what the band seems to be all about. It’s definitely sugar.

Design: Ugh. I thought the Fantasy bottles were ugly to begin with, why on earth would there be another fragrance line to borrow design elements from it? The shape is awful and it’s made worse by the lack of embellishments.

Fragrance Family: Fruity Floral

Notes: Berries, blackcurrant, ced tea, rose, orchid, vanilla, musk.

Too sweet, too boring, terrible bottle. I’ll say what I always say for fragrances like this. It is by no means a bad smell. But it is definitely synthetic and unoriginal. If you like sweet fruity things, this is up your alley. If you are looking for something a little more sophisticated, this shouldn’t even be considered.

Reviewed in This Post: Tempt, 2010, Eau de  Toilette.

Juicy Couture Viva la Juicy

Rounding out the Juicy Couture fragrance for women family is Viva la Juicy. By far, their most popular fragrance. So popular, in fact, that I smell this everywhere I go. On everybody. People love their Juicy, I guess. Viva la Juicy

In Bottle: Reminds me a lot of other fruity floral fragrances but I have to keep in mind that Viva la Juicy is the fruity floral that everyone wears. Funny enough the sugary sweet notes that are supposed to be at the bottom are also mingling at the top making Viva la Juicy smell like a fruit-flavored candy.

Applied: Okay, you can laugh me out of the ballpark, I like Viva la Juicy. I think it smells great. It’s a better treatment of a sweet fragrance than Couture Couture. Going on, it smells of creamy fruits and vanilla. Very reminiscent of sweet fruity florals everywhere, like I said. It’s got a strong resemblance to Love Etc. by The Body Shop, only done with more sugar and less tartness. As you let this age on you, the fruits go away and there’s a faint hint of flowers in the mid-stage that’s mixed with all the silly candy-like notes like caramel, vanilla and praline. The dessert factor only amps up as you keep wearing this as the florals in the middle give way to a lush full-on dessert course that smells mostly like soft vanilla tempered with a touch of sandalwood and gooey caramel. The caramel note in Viva la Juicy is actually used well as it isn’t cloying. This is a strong, sweet, fragrance and if you are afraid of cloying scents, be wary of Viva la Juicy as it is potently sweet and very young.

Extra: Juicy Couture has one well-known fragrance for men known as Dirty English. It is a scent that’s often been toted as being better than the series of women’s fragrances. I’ve had more than one opportunity to sniff it for myself but always manage to miss for some reason. There is also a fragrance for your dog called Juicy Crittoure which I have yet to see.

Design: Viva la Juicy is bottled in the same way as Juicy Couture. The accents and details are different with Viva la Juicy rocking a bright pink bow and a different seal. The bow can be taken off and used as a hair tie, whereas Juicy Couture’s wrap-around rope thing could be worn as a necklace. I don’t use either of these things but it’s pretty cute nonetheless.

Fragrance Family: Fruity Floral

Notes: Wild berries, mandarin, honeysuckle, gardenia, jasmine, amber, caramel, vanilla, sandalwood, praline.

Out of all the Juicy Couture fragrances I’m going to have to give it to Viva la Juicy. It’s a very good fruity floral. Good enough to smell it on everyone anyway.

Reviewed in This Post: Viva la Juicy, 2009, Eau de Parfum.

Britney Spears Midnight Fantasy

Everyone has that one fragrance in their collection that looks out of place. For me, it’s Britney Spears Midnight Fantasy. Having tried the original Fantasy and not really finding it all that special, Midnight Fantasy struck a nice balance between sweet, fruity, and creamy without being over-the-top about anything. “It’s a nice enough perfume.” Is probably the first thing I utter when someone finds the studded purple bottle. Midnight Fantasy

In Bottle: Sweet, candy-like berry, and green notes with a tart citrus that prevents the whole thing from falling apart.

Applied: Like a big bowl of ripe blueberries, layered with vanilla frosting and presented on a cool spring day in a flowering garden. Midnight Fantasy (despite the  PR) is not trying to be anything else but what it is; a simple, young, fun fragrance that isn’t meant to be taken seriously. It’s hilariously fruity, very sweet, and absolutely offers no explanation or apologies for it. I like its zing. Starts off with a clean, fresh spray of tartness followed by a sweet blueberry and blackberry middle that hangs out with a creamy vanilla note until it dries down into a sheer vanilla fragrance. There isn’t a whole lot of complexity here and Midnight Fantasy doesn’t even try to pretend it’s anything but a synthetic.In fact, I find I have to take breaks in between smelling this because two days in a row and the synthetic quality of it just gets to me. But hey, I can enjoy a good synthetic now and then, you don’t go out wearing Midnight Fantasy for the complexity.

Extra: Midnight Fantasy is a flanker to the original Fantasy. While these two smell very different, they do have thematic similarities in the treatment of the sweet notes. And, don’t worry, Britney didn’t concoct this on her own. It was created by Caroline Sabas. A real life nose who composed Midnight Fantasy for the Elizabeth Arden company.

Design: Packaged similarly to the original Fantasy, Midnight Fantasy is a deep bluish-purple with purple crystals set into the bottle’s glass. It remains as unappealing in terms of aesthetics as ever to me.

Fragrance Family: Fruity

Notes: Black cherry, framboise, plum, night blooming orchid, iris, freesia, amber, musk, vanilla.

Notice a lot of musks in fragrances? Modern musks aren’t what you would normally think of when you think about musk. Modern musks are mostly synthetics that are used in fragrances to stabilize the scent. There are thousands upon thousands of different types of musks and they are in almost everything scented.

Reviewed in This Post: Midnight Fantasy, 2009, Eau de Parfum.

Yves Saint Laurent Elle

Light, sweet, and fruity. Elle is Yves Saint Laurent (YSL)’s attempt at attracting a younger female audience. While there has been some discussion about Elle smelling like tea, I have to differ. It’s a bright fruity, clean, woodsy scent and that is pretty much where the buck stops. Elle

In Bottle: Immediate smell of citrus and fruits. Elle comes on strong and sweet with a burst of lychee and berries after the citrus carries it up to the nose. The fruits don’t quit when this stuff is in the bottle and they make it difficult to detect anything beneath them. Yet, I get this clean feeling from the scent with a touch of steady base that I attribute to the woods.

Applied: Again, citrus and sweet fruits up front and center as the fragrance pulls no punches in making itself well known. Elle has a veneer of simplicity though because as the fragrances ages on the skin the fruits are slowly complimented by the wood notes giving this fragrance a sharper quality. There are elements of florals in this fragrance but the fruits are difficult to get past. I can barely detect the jasmine hanging out. As for the two earth notes (vetiver and patchouli) that are supposed to be in this? They’re there but they compliment the fruits so well that I didn’t really notice them. Overall, Elle is a well incorporated fragrance though the fruits in here are very prominent but they are kept well in line by the woods. The rest of the notes seem to be content with just hanging out.

Extra: With perfumers Olivier Cresp and Jacques Cavallier behind the creation of Elle, it’s really no surprise how we came to arrive at this woodsy fruity mix. Cresp and Cavallier are known (to me) as the men behind Nina Ricci’s Nina (2006), a sweet citrus fruity fragrance. My first “grown up” perfume.

Design: I can’t say I’m wild about the bottle for Elle. On paper it looks bold and interesting. In person, the bottle fails to impress me. With its hard sharp edges, Elle is built like a skyscraper with a plastic hot pink detachable cube to protect the sprayer. The design looks girly and metropolitan at the same time but the shape and the feel of it just seems lacking to me like there’s something missing in the design that would make it stand out a bit more.

Fragrance Family: Fruity Chypre

Notes: Citrus, lychee, berries, jasmine, woods, vetiver, and patchouli.

Pleasant, pleasing and inoffensive. Elle’s got it all if you’re looking for an easy to wear, fruity chypre. I wouldn’t say it’d be my first pick for a fruity perfume but the woods definitely give it a bit of uniqueness when compared to the other fruity fragrances it has to compete with. As for that tea thing? I don’t smell no tea.

Reviewed in This Post: Elle, 2010, Eau de Parfum Tester.