Britney Spears Circus Fantasy

So I dragged my heels on this one a little bit. I’m fatigued with the whole Britney Spears Fantasy line, to be honest. Fantasy, itself, is an icon of celebrity fragrances and its flankers are nothing to be sniffed at either. Though they aren’t so unique  that if you passed on them, you’d miss out.

Circus Fantasy

In Bottle: Circus Fantasy does clean! That’s a nice mix up from the fruitiness of the other two Fantasy scents I’ve tried. It smells like a very sweet glass of lemonade.

Applied: Sweet citrus up front and the citrus is a quick fader so we get down to business rather quick. Heading into the rest of the opening, Circus Fantasy hits up a sweet berry note and falls into a pile of pretty little violets right away. The mid-stage is a more floral fragrance, doing a mixture of sweet and clean florals rather well as the scent hits up peony and orchid. It smells really similar to a bunch of other celebrity fragrances in the mid-stage with that sweet floral heart that’s so recognizable. At least it’s easy to accept and wear! The dry down is an uninspired array of vanilla and sugar with a jolt of clean dashed in there for good measure. Overall, Circus Fantasy does clean and refreshing rather well. The mid-stage bores me a bit along with the end stage but the opening was pretty good. I liked the lemonade smell and wished we had gotten more of that.

Extra: Now the only fragrance in the Fantasy line that I haven’t gotten my nose on yet is Hidden Fantasy. That’s the red one. I can’t seem to find it anywhere but online and I would like to avoid getting more than a decant or sampler spray of it so until I track it down, I’m sure Britney’s perfume line will come out with another Fantasy flanker.

Design: Still hate the bottle. Sorry guys. It will probably never look any better no matter what they do with it. Circus Fantasy is an appealing shade of blue at least, with red rhinestones set into the bottle’s glass.

Fragrance Family: Floral

Notes: Raspberry, apricot, lotus, orchid, peony, vanilla, sugar, musk.

Move over Midnight Fantasy, Circus Fantasy’s got you beat. I really do like that lemonade opening and wish they could have just bottled that for all three stages.

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

Beyonce Heat

Today we’ve got Beyonce’s Heat perfume. This fragrance, along with J-Lo Glow, are extremely popular and are often asked about. So I’m finally crawling out of the wood works and digging up my notes on it.


In Bottle: Ah peach up front. Big, synthetic, sweet peach. You know I used to like peach but now that I’m smelling it everywhere, I kind of wish these celebuscents would move onto a more obscure fruit. How about the beloved durian? Noble, spiky, tastes like custard and smells like sewage . . . What?

Applied: All right, so we got sweet peach up front blasting the opening wide open with a big fruity announcement. The background to the peach that digs itself into the mid-stage is a series of barely detectable florals. The fluffy opener leads rather well into a warm cleaned up amber and fruity flowers mid-stage with the sweetness still lingering about even now after the peach is all gone. Heat dries down in a rather expected fashion, keeping that warm amber scent and adding vanilla and soft woods. Heat’s nothing new, it’s nothing groundbreaking, but like all celebrity scents it is a good, decently constructed, wearable fragrance.

Extra: So Beyonce’s first perfume release was a big smash hit. Though most of Heat’s popularity probably has less to do with the juice and more to do with Beyonce’s  name on the bottle. This stuff sells, and it’s okay with me so long as the stuff they sell is at least decently composed–which Heat is. Smell away. Heat has already spawned a few flankers so if the original doesn’t float your boat, there’s Heat Rush and the elixir version of Heat.

Design: The bottle’s shape reminds me a bit of Hugo Boss Deep Red with a few interesting curves  and a few neat little colors added in. I’m okay with the design. It is what it is, though, which is a flashy celebrity bottle. One of the better ones out there.

Fragrance Family: Fruity Oriental

Notes: Red vanilla orchid, magnolia, neroli and peach, honeysuckle, almond, creamy musk, sequoia wood, tonka, amber.

I don’t know if I’m going to be up to smelling those two Heat flankers. I expected a bit more out of this fragrance than what I got. In the end, it’s a celebrity perfume that’s fairly predictable in how it was built and how it plays itself out.

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

Alan Cumming Cologne

Alan Cumming clearly has a sense of humor as the fragrance’s name in this case is “Cumming”, quite simply. The name has wrinkled noses the world over who don’t see exactly how high-brow the humor behind this scent actually gets. Whether you share the humor or not, you can at least give Cumming a try. I’m rather surprised that the nose, Christopher Brosius of Demeter and CB I Hate Perfume fame, didn’t take this fragrance more literally. Okay, okay, I’m done with the jokes. I promise.

Alan Cumming Cologne

In Bottle: Earthy and leathery up top. Very surprising for a celebrity fragrance composed in 2004. But we are talking Brosius here and say what you want about the man, but he is not one to conform to expected norms.

Applied: Loud opening with an earthy leather and whisky combination folding you in, making you think things will only get stronger from there. But the fragrance heads into its mid-stage in a surprising twist. The pepper takes up a bit of fight from opening to mid-stage lending the fragrance a hint of spice. The scent then goes from heavy to light, something that I didn’t expect this fragrance to do as the mid-stage smells of warm and smooth nuttiness, woods and earth. Nicely done, I don’t smell any of the heavy leather from the opening but there’s a minor trace of it giving this scent a bit of complexity during the mid-stage. This is an oxymoron of a scent, and surprisingly lovely as a result. Over the years of smelling celebrity perfumes, I’ve come to expect predictability but Cumming is a pleasant left fielder.  The interesting bit at the end of this fragrance is a smooth earthy scent. Quite personal, and–dare I say it?–rather sophisticated. This fragrance isn’t for everybody mainly because the opening does turn a lot of people away. If you like the opening, or can stick it out for about an hour, the fragrance does take a turn for the very interesting and very wearable.

Extra: I had to stop myself halfway into that introduction paragraph and wonder why I can find humor in Cumming and it’s ad campaign when I found Marc Jacobs Bang and its ad campaign an eye roller. There are several reasons why, but the one that comes readily to mind for me is the fact that Cumming knows its name, knows it’s funny, and runs with it. Bang seemed to be named thus to sell itself as sexy or shocking. This, this is just in good fun and I can more readily appreciate that far more. If you’re interested in the Cumming fragrance, there’s 2nd Alan Cumming also by Brosius. You can read up about it on Brosius’s site here.

Design: Simple rectangular bottle with a tall cylindrical cap. The name on the glass written in a slight bit haphazardly and–let’s not kid ourselves–it was obviously designed with the name in mind. I can get on board with funny things like this. Perfume is all together too serious sometimes.

Fragrance Family: Earthy

Notes: Bergamot, black pepper, scotch pine, whiskey, cigar, heather, douglas fir, leather, highland mud, peat fire, white truffle.

Probably one of the best celebrity fragrances that I can commend out there. And it’s been described as an anti-celebrity fragrance. Heck, I’m on board with that. It’s interesting, it doesn’t take itself too seriously, and it’s one of the few that can stand on its own as a fragrance.

Reviewed in This Post: Cumming, 2006, Eau de Parfum.

Paris Hilton Fairy Dust

So that little episode with Boadicea the Victorious’ Complex left me in a bit of a weird mood and what better way to usher out the smell of smoked roadkill than a Paris Hilton perfume? I kid. Paris’ perfumes are not bad. They are great hallmarks of what modern (as of this writing) feminine celebrity perfume is all about, fun, fruits, and not a care in the world.

Fairy Dust

In Bottle: Aquatic, sweet fruity scent with a bit of florals. Nothing groundbreaking, but it smells nice and is easily wearable.

Applied: Sweet and fruity up top with a very mild hint of gardenia layered over a giant bowl of peaches and assorted fruitery (I am making up words, leave me alone). There’s so very little I can say about celebrity perfumes like this, they all hit the same note eventually and that same note is during the mid-stage where the fragrance tends to nosedive into this very repetitive fruity floral mix that I can describe over and over again but ultimately it ends up the same way each time. It’s clean, it’s sweet, it’s girly, it’s fun, fruity and flowery. Oh yes, and it smells pleasant, of course. Fairy Dust dries down with a blend of clean patchouli, clean musk, and creamy vanilla.

Extra: So I, like many people probably, wondered what in the heck “Prosecco” was. A quick Googling reveals that it’s a white wine. I don’t drink wine very much anymore but hey, the more you know! Now Smell This has a bit more about the Prosecco accord.

Design: Like the designs of most of Paris Hilton’s perfume line, I find this one way too young or too far out of my tastes. The bottle has a turquois nozzle, the glass has a fairy on it–Okay, I’m going to come out and be honest with everyone now–I hate fairies. I do. I hate the insipid little imaginary things. I imagine that if they were real, they’d constantly be buzzing around my head giggling and sprinkling their fairy dandruff all over me. So every time a new fragrance comes out with a winged little fairy on it, I go a little mad. So like I was saying, there’s a fairy on the glass, the entire design is very young and yet strangely minimal at the same time. Minimalism works best when you go all out on it, I think. Doing it half-here and half-there only serves to make the design look incomplete or cheap. Sorry, I just don’t like the look of this packaging–and it’s not just the fairy.

Fragrance Family: Fruity Floral

Notes: Prosecco accord, pink peony, orange blossom, spring gardenia, water lily, peach nectar, sueded patchouli, cashmere musk, vanilla cream.

People have likened this to smelling like Juicy Couture (original) and I can see where that comes from. There’s a more fruity personality to Fairy Dust though that makes it hit a younger vibe than original Juicy Couture. I also, and call me out if I’m just crazy here, noted the lack of tuberose in Fairy Dust. I prefer Juicy Couture though Fairy Dust is a decent fragrance too–I just love me some tuberose.

Reviewed in This Post: Fairy Dust, 2008, Eau de Parfum.

Hilary Duff With Love

As of January, I have officially aged out of the demographic for this fragrance–according to their ad anyway that said With Love by Hilary Duff has an age range of 15-24. So I’m a few days too late to be in with the Duff crowd. With Love still smells okay.

With Love

In Bottle: Fruity, tropical, sweet. The hallmark of most celebrity perfumes. Sometimes they’re tropical, almost always they’re fruity and sweet. With Love doesn’t bring anything new to the table here.

Applied: Blast of tropical fruit, that mangosteen note seems to be working overtime. It takes a little while for the fruitiness to settle down where we’re treated to a warmed up woody fragrance with a surprisingly interesting deep milky amber quality to it as well as a spicy note with a hint of clove. This is a shocker, given what I was experiencing in the opening. It’s still sweet, but it’s warm, smooth woodsy sweet now. This is a few steps above sweet fruitiness which is what everyone else seems to be doing. The fragrance further ages, leaving more sweetness behind as it dries down to a respectable but somewhat dull woodsy scent, losing some of its warmth and amber in the process but retaining the smoothness. Nonetheless, I was pleasantly surprised by the mid-stage, bored by the top and dry down though.

Extra: With Love was surprising to me. I fully expected fruity floral going in and there’s some of that but it’s a rather competent scent for a celebrity perfume. One of the better ones out there, I’ve got to say. With Love was launched in 2006, it is also a song by Duff and has a flanker called Wrapped With Love.

Design: Something about the bottle’s design reminds me of Parisienne by Dior. Anyway, the bottle is attractive enough. It’s got a neat texture on its glass with an interesting gold head ornament. It sort of looks like an earring or a pendant. Not ugly, not the nicest bottle. It’s just okay.

Fragrance Family: Sweet Woodsy

Notes: Mangosteen, spices, chai latte, mangosteen blossom, cocobolo wood, balsam, incense, amber milk, amber musk.

I might not like her music but her perfume is okay. Surprisingly okay, in fact.

Reviewed in This Post: With Love, 2008, Eau de Parfum.

American Idol Idol Moments

Happy Valentine’s Day! And yes, there is an American Idol perfume. Two, actually. This one’s for women. The one for men–which I can’t seem to find anywhere in a sample size or decant, is called Idol Spirit.

Idol Moments Perfume

In Bottle: Hey citrus, how you doing? This is a pretty normal self-explanatory citrus opener with nothing to feed it any inspiration. I don’t think American Idol perfumes are supposed to be special or unique in any way so I’m not disappointed in the citrus opening–just kind of disinterested.

Applied: After citrus, of which I detect mostly clean slightly sweet orange with a bit of bergamot spice. The mid stage is a light white floral consisting mostly of lily and jasmine with a hint of rose lingering here and there. The floral bouquet is done fairly well for what it is. I don’t actually have a whole lot to say except this is decent and wearable though I don’t find anything particularly noteworthy or beautiful about it. It’s light and flowery, not too sweet, and the dry down is inoffensive enough with a fading floral scent. Idol Moments is pretty banal but highly wearable. It’s fresh, it’s clean, the heavy use of florals leans it more towards feminine. It’s dull but it’s not terrible and I can at least commend it for not relying on vanilla to carry the scent.

Extra: I expected to hate this but I actually didn’t. I wouldn’t exactly call this competent but I would call it passable. Idol Moments was released in 2004. I don’t really  watch the show but their fragrance  for women is decent.

Design: The bottle is a no frills pink cylinder that kind of reminds me half of Lacoste’s Love of Pink and half of Pink Sugar. Why does everything have to remind me of Pink Sugar? Anyway, if you were looking for beautiful packaging this probably won’t be it as it’s pretty utilitarian and not in an elegant way like Chanel. More like utilitarian in a hairspray can kind of way. The box it comes in is a little silly too with a see through cover where one of the idol figures is standing around in front of the bottle encased within.

Fragrance Family: Floral

Notes: Bergamot, mandarin, orange, rose, jasmine, geranium, magnolia, lily, ylang-ylang.

Well, that wasn’t too bad. What is bad is tracking this stuff down. You know, some of these gimmick fragrances are a lot harder to track down than some niche and vintage perfumes. If you want a bottle of Idol Moments now your best bet is to hit up eBay.

Reviewed in This Post: Idol Moments, 2004, Eau de Toilette.

Bruce Willis Cologne

Hey, did you guys know Bruce Willis came out with a perfume? Yeah, me neither. The reason? The distribution company for this fragrance does not service North America. So, amusingly enough, tracking this stuff down is even harder than tracking down some niche perfumes.

Bruce Willis Cologne

In Bottle: The scent bills itself as elegant, green and woody. And green is what I’d definitely call this opening. Straight out of the bottle and it is a clean, sharp green grapefruit fragrance with a dash of pepper. There’s a touch of sweet orange in here. Some people have noted that it reminds them of Terre d’Hermes. I can see that. This also reminds me of John Varvatos Artisan without the pepper. But when I said sharp, I really mean sharp. I was actually surprised it didn’t go with the lowest common denominator (aqua and citrus) and the opening is pleasant with a bit of a kick. Not bad.

Applied: After the initial blast up your nose with the pepper and citrus, Bruce Willis (heh) mellows out a little but remains spicy as the rest of its notes come in–when I say notes, I really meant, note because from hereon in, I smell one thing predominantly. But let make a note about the grapefruit. The grapefruit is a bit of a lingerer, holding onto the top to clean up the black pepper a bit and I do like the opening it’s competently done. However, Bruce Willis goes into the mid-stage smelling more woodsy with the cedar note slowly amping up until it reaches maximum tolerance, then keeps going up. And here comes the cedar, loud and sharp and obnoxious and I’m sorry. I think I’ve already established that me and cedar don’t belong together when its overused and Bruce Willis overused the cedar. This fragrance is really strong, and the powerful cedar does not do it any favors for me. Mingled with the pepper and this stuff gets almost unbearably loud. Nothing special, just really loud. Bruce Willis Cologne has fantastic longevity, I’ll give it that and its projection is massive. I sprayed this twice from a tester vial and people could smell me from across the room. When this stuff does calm down hours later, the cedar mellows out a little and I can smell some earthiness peaking through before it disappears too and leaves me with the merciless cedar until I scrub it all off.

Extra: I saw what it was made of and noted the cedar and decided that I did not need more than 2mls of this and I’m glad I only got that much. Bruce Willis Cologne is probably not bad. I just have an unfortunate intolerance for loud cedar. Otherwise, this fragrance is decent. It’s not special, it’s got a pleasant opening but by mid-stage it falls apart on me. If you want something with longevity and projection, this is a good contender.

Design: The bottle’s shape is quite nice, simple, elegantly designed, the cap adds a bit of masculinity to the design. The overall shape and aesthetics of the bottle is rather nice. The metal plate bearing the fragrance’s name and concentration is a tad ludicrous but it could have been a lot worse. Overall the design is pretty decent.

Fragrance Family: Woodsy

Notes: Grapefruit, orange, black pepper, cedar, gum benzoin, vetiver.

And there you have it, a Bruce Willis perfume. A really difficult to find and procure Bruce Willis perfume for people living in North America and given how it smells, I don’t think it’s worth importing it at a hefty price tag. You could get a more well-behaved fragrance that smells close to this with Terre d’Hermes. So unless you’re a Bruce Willis paraphernalia collector, I think the fragrance is a pass due to how hard it is to get and how unspectacular it is by comparison.

Reviewed in This Post: Bruce Willis, 2010, Eau de Parfum.

Star Trek Tiberius

James Tiberius Kirk, the most decorated Starfleet captain–now in a scent. When I saw this perfume on Amazon last year I said to myself, “No way!” But yes way, it exists, and I have a sampler of it. And you know what? It ain’t half bad!

Star Trek Tiberius

In Bottle: You know how for women’s celebrity scents you usually get these candied fruity floral perfumes? And for men’s celebrity scents you usually get some sort of variation of Cool Water? Well, Tiberius is a surprisingly competent fragrance that smells like a dash of black pepper, over sheer cedar (not crazy cedar), with a spritz of citrus.

Applied: That citrus spray is the first thing to go–not unusual, that’s what’s supposed to happen in perfumes. Then Tiberius (I can’t believe I just said that) gets serious and digs into the black pepper and rocks up on the cedar. The cedar used in this is surprisingly not the insane kind, it’s tempered, and wearable to me, almost subtle as it settles on this clean note instead of relying much on the cedar to carry it. The black pepper is ever-present, lending the entire fragrance a very spicy personality. Back to the cedar a bit, as I am always happy to find cedar done well. Tiberius’ cedar compliments the black pepper quite nicely as the two of them head closer to the dry down stage we get a slight flare of sheer sandalwood and a pleasant warmed slightly sweet, but very clean vanilla scent aided by that clean note that’s probably the white musk at work.

Extra: I know a lot of Trekkies might like this as a gift for Valentine’s Day. And if you were wondering if it’s just a novelty item or if it actually has merit as a fragrance then rest assured. Tiberius can hold its own. It’s not groundbreaking. It’ll probably never become a fragrance classic. It’s a little one-dimensional. Despite all this, it is not at all bad. In fact, I’d rank this fairly high in the celebrity and spin-off fragrance corner.

Design: So the bottle’s ugly. I mean, it really is. You see that thing up there. It’s a glass bottle with what looks like a plastic cap. The shape and details lend nothing to class up the appearance of the bottle and ultimately I’m left thinking Tiberius is packaged in some sort of industrial cleaner container. But then, you don’t buy Tiberius for the bottle, or the scent. Though the scent is decent, I am giving a thumbs down to the bottle.

Fragrance Family: Spicy Woodsy

Notes: Citron, black pepper, cedar, vanilla, white musk, sandalwood.

Once again, you can color me surprised. I didn’t expect to like this fragrance at all. I was wholly prepared for another Danielle Steel experience but Tiberius kind of surprised me in a good way.

Reviewed in This Post: Tiberius, ~2009, Eau de Cologne.

Lollipop Bling Ribbon

Ribbon’s last in this line of Lollipop-related perfumery. It’s supposedly the one that smells the most like candy. And I gotta say, judging by the notes and the wear on me, it pretty much delivers. Ribbon

In Bottle: Sweet, sugary, clean, a touch of sweet raspberry note to give this some sort of smell. It’s pretty much like smelling a lollipop, I’ll attest to that.

Applied: Sweet raspberry lollipop smells hangs out for about five minutes before it ebbs and goes into an equally sweet berry dominated white floral fragrance. Smells very generic but not unpleasant, more pleasant than Mine Again as I can imagine Ribbon being an easier wearing scent. It’s got its notes in the right place but there is absolutely nothing grabbing me in the mid-stage for this stuff. The dry down is equally uninteresting as I’d like to note all three Lollipop Bling scents had disappointing dry downs . The end stage for Ribbon, for example, is barely even there with a sugary fruity floral fade that smells pretty much the same as it did in the mid-stage.

Extra: So there you go, all three Lollipop Bling offers and they were all kind of disappointing. Ribbon’s the second place winner here, Honey is first, Mine Again I wish I could forget.

Design: Ribbon is bottled in a pink glass that gradients upward into blue. The shape and style is similar to its sisters, Honey and Mine Again in that they all base their shape off of M by Mariah Carey.

Fragrance Family: Gourmand

Notes: Sugar, raspberries, white florals.

Ribbon, like its sisters just sin’t worth it. You are better off getting more complex scents t hat did these genres of fragrance better. For Honey, I recommend G by Harajuku Lovers. For Mine Again try Fantasy by Britney Spears or even Vera Wang Princess if you liked the chocolate. For Ribbon? Well, you might as well go for any celebrity fruity floral as this one is hardly remarkable.

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

Lollipop Bling Mine Again

Every time I see the name of this perfume, my mind does a mental rearrangement of its comprehension closet so that I read it as, “Lollipop Bling Me Again”. Hey, who blinged me the first time? Mine Again

In Bottle: Wow, this is one of the sharpest sweet fragrances I’ve ever smelled. It reminds me a bit of Fantasy by Britney Spears except the sugar had its volume turned down to medium.

Applied: Mine Again is immediately sweet, roams into cloying almost right away and gathers in this tart berry note in an attempt to lower its levels of sugar. But the berries don’t do much but sharpen the scent. I almost feel bad for the chocolate note in this, it’s hovering at the bottom of the sweet pyramid, trying to get some stage time and it does. Just very little of it because the sugar and the berries are too busy vying for control. There’s something quite synthetic about this giving it that, “Something’s not right” scent. I know what this reminds me of aside from Fantasy–you know those boxes of chocolates? And inside are assorted flavors like nougat, coconut, truffle, caramel, and so on? You know how everybody leaves the fruit filled ones for last? That’s Mine Again. It’s those fruit filled chocolates that most people leave in the box after everything else is done.

Extra: Now I don’t necessarily like Mine Again and in terms of whether or not its worth a buy is dubious. There’s this stuff and then there’s Fantasy, and if you were going to go with a chocolate, berry, sugar concoction, Fantasy does it better and with less of a synthetic overtone. So really, between choosing two heavily synthetic scents, I give the win to Fantasy on this.

Design: Mine Again is bottled in red and much the same way was Honey with its bottle style modeled after M by Mariah Carey. I still don’t like it, even in red.

Fragrance Family: Gourmand

Notes: Chocolate, Carribbean magnolia, raspberry.

The magnolia is a lie. Or at least, to my nose, I couldn’t pick up any hint of floral in this. Lollipop Bling’s got one more entry to impress me with Ribbon because so far, I am underwhelmed.

Reviewed in This Post: Mine Again, 2010, Eau de  Parfum.