Taylor Swift Wonderstruck Enchanted


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I didn’t happen upon Wonderstruck Enchanted by accident. It was actually somewhat pushed on me by a well-meaning sales associate who said it would suit me.

Wonderstruck Enchanted. In case you weren't tired of looking at Taylor Swift yet. I am.

Wonderstruck Enchanted. In case you weren’t tired of looking at Taylor Swift yet. I am.

In Bottle: I was underwhelmed when I smelled it prior to application. It had the hallmarks of faux vanilla and too sweet berries.

Applied: Well-meaning sales associate tells me Wonderstruck Enchanged was new, smelled fresh, clean, sweet and that it would suit me quite well. I was a little perturbed by that assessment, but figured I would try it anyway. Upon application, the sweetness and faux vanilla make themselves known right away. It’s not outright plastic-smelling but it isn’t natural. The sweetness is dialed way up in this to the point where my teeth felt like they needed to be drilled and filled in. And by the time I had walked away from the fragrance counter, gone home, went for a jog, showered then sat around for a few hours–I could still smell the sweetness on me. It clings like a powerhouse. Wonderstruck Enchanted isn’t special or unique. To me, it’s like a pile of berry candies coated with a vanilla air freshener. It’s just unappealing and kind of a mess. And unfortunately for it, it’s strength and longevity make it last an absurd amount of time. It wasn’t until I woke up the next morning did I finally rid myself of the cloying sweetness.

Extra: Wonderstruck Enchanted is obviously the flanker for the original Wonderstruck. It was released in 2012, and I really wish they had taken some time to think about it a little bit more because the fragrance manages to be both uninspired and messy.

Design: Similar shape to the original Wonderstruck. It’s red this time instead of just purple and features some slightly different charms around the neck of the bottle. I like the ornate cap, but that’s really about all I can say for it because every other design detail is clearly aimed at a younger audience.

Fragrance Family: Fruity

Notes: Passionfruit, berries, poppy, freesia, peony, champaca, sugar, musk, woods, vanilla.

Well, there you go. A few months go by and I get this urge to write about a celebuscent and Wonderstruck Enchanted just had to be it. It really wasn’t anything special and I found it mildly annoying that Taylor Swift was every where I looked. But hey, at least it wasn’t Lady Gaga again.

Reviewed in This Post: Wonderstruck Enchanted, 2012, Eau de Parfum.


Playboy VIP For Her


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Seems like I’ve been on something of a niche and vintage bender lately and have been immensely enjoying it. But it’s time to pull things back a little and take a sniff of this Playboy VIP for Her sample I got in the mail one day.

VIP for Her

VIP for Her

In Bottle: Fruity and floral with a slightly woody element to it. Smells a bit like jam, I get a big apple presence.

Applied: Fruity, clean and sweet on the opening. It’s not overpowering, and actually kind of pleasant. Not interesting, just pleasant. Like a non-offensive shampoo kind of smell. The apple isn’t bothering me too much though it smells quite synthetic as apple notes tend to do. It’s not a screaming, overbearing synthetic apple though. It’s just a hint of plastic and that’s a good thing because apple notes don’t often agree with me this well. VIP for Her’s midstage is a fairly bland affair of florals and sugary fruits followed by an equally bland sandalwood, vanilla and white musk end cycle that doesn’t do too much to excite, but does do a lot for the wearability of the fragrance. I’m not going to pick this one out if I had a choice, but I’m also not going to be too disappointed if I had to wear it.

Extra: I was actually rather amused by the Playboy VIP for Her commercials more than anything else. The absurd humor is getting to me, I suppose. And I have a weakness for adorable animals–but then, who doesn’t? Playboy VIP has a men’s counterpart called, Playboy VIP for Him that also features a set of amusing commercials.

Design: I’m not a big fan of Playboy, their publications, their fragrances, or their paraphernalia. Growing up, I always thought of the Playboy bunny logo as a sign of things I wouldn’t be interested looking at and the same remains true today. I don’t like the design of the bottle and don’t like the Playboy aesthetic in general. Different strokes for different folks.

Fragrance Family: Fruity Floral

Notes: Nectarine, peony, orange blossom, apple, berries, heliotrope, vanilla, cashmere wood, sandalwood, white musk.

Fairly bland showing for VIP for Her, but it’s miles better than other Playboy fragrances I’ve sampled in the past. Not a bad thing to pick up if you like fruity florals, but there are definitely better ones out there. I think the best parts of VIP for Her is its inoffensiveness and it’s reasonable price.

Reviewed in This Post: VIP For Her, 2012, Eau de Toilette.


Jessica Simpson Vintage Bloom


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I will forever associate Jessica Simpson fragrances to that line of supposedly edible perfume that I have yet to taste for myself. People have reported they taste like varying degrees of fake vanilla flavor though. Anyway, this post isn’t about edible perfume. It’s just about Jessica Simpson’s newest fragrance, Vintage Bloom.

Vintage Bloom

Vintage Bloom

In Bottle: Smells fruity and floral. I know this is being pushed as a pure floral, but it smells like a standard fruity floral to me.

Applied: Yeah, big old fruit. I want to blame it on the combination of citrus and raspberry. There’s also more florals in this than peony. I want to say rose and jasmine with peony to make the trifecta of floral boredom. The end game is also largely typical with a clean sandalwood fade. The fragrance as a whole is dull but very wearable. It’s a nice neutral scent for a younger crowd that wants to smell nice and not controversial or complex in any way. It reminds me of–well, of a lot of other fragrances that smell exactly like this–all of which also fall into the celebuscent category. Chances are, if you own anything with another celebrity’s name on it that leans more towards “smells like flowers” than “smells like fruit” or “smells like candy” then you don’t need to buy a bottle of this. If you own any of Bath and Body Works’ latest floral releases then you don’t need a bottle of this. If you are missing a “smells like flowers” celebrity fragrance and feel like you need a little more Jessica Simpson in your life then you could do worse than Vintage Bloom.

Extra: I always feel like I have to write in a disclaimer for fans of these celebrities that no, Jessica Simpon/Paris Hilton/Britney Spears did not become perfumers overnight and mix their own fragrances in their bathtubs or whatever. Vintage Bloom was actually made by Parlux. The people (with an unfortunate Flash website) who brought you other fragrances such as Rhianna’s Reb’l Fleur, Paris Hilton’s Can Can, and Queen Latifah’s Queen.

Design: The bottle could look better. As it is, it’s one of those over-designed pieces that’s too ornate to be called simple, modern or elegant, and not ornate enough to qualify as extravagant. It kind of skirts that awkward middle where it doesn’t hit modern or “vintage”. It just looks kind of tacky and out of place and I can’t say I’m a big fan.

Fragrance Family: Fruity Floral

Notes: Lemon, lime, raspberry, peony, sandalwood, musk.

Remember when Jessica Simpson actually sang for a living instead of selling perfume with her name on it? Or embarrassing herself on a reality TV show? Is she even still singing? I’m about as up to date with music as I am with television and movies.

Reviewed in This Post: Vintage Bloom, 2012, Eau de Parfum.


Lancome Tresor Midnight Rose


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I had a glimpse at this adorable bottle at the store the other day. Lancôme’s Trésor Midnight Rose looks more modern than original Trésor with a cute little rose ribbon tied around the neck of the bottle. It’s things like that which wake up the little girl in me.

Tresor Midnight Rose

Tresor Midnight Rose

In Bottle: Cedar (plenty of it) in this with a mild sweet floral. A little touch of rose settling in the background.

Applied: It’s probably not a good sign when the first note I smell in the bottle and on my skin is cedar. Midnight Rose’s cedar doesn’t agree with me as it overtakes the scent and makes itself a dominant force to be reckoned with. Pushing the cedar aside, I can get vague glimpses of roses and berries. The underlying scent is a sweet floral and I imagine without the cedar present, Midnight Rose would smell pretty tame and mild. With the cedar, its tameness is being drowned by a near obnoxious “Look at me, I’m a big tree and I smell”, sharp woody note that I get in most cedar perfumes. Something about my nose or my skin or just me in general cannot get along with these cedar notes and Midnight Rose just so happens to use enough of it to bother me. I keep Midnight Rose on in the hopes that cedar will go away and let me into the rest of the fragrance, but it’s always there, taunting me. Thankfully the fragrance has a noticeable enough progression that near the end, I get a bit of creamy vanilla with a soft lingering floral.

Extra: Midnight Rose was released last year, in 2011. Trésor has a large selection of flankers, most notably, Trésor In Love and Trésor Sparkling.

Design: I didn’t even recognize this as a Trésor flanker because of how different the bottle looks from original Trésor. The redesign is definitely appreciated as Trésor’s design was showing its age a bit. Or maybe I just associate it naturally with the 90s because that’s how long I’ve been seeing the bottle sitting on a relative’s vanity table. Trésor Midnight Rose is encased in a tall glass bottle that reminds me a bit of Nina Ricci and Chanel mixed together. It has a cute fabric rose, tied to the neck of the bottle that, for once, accentuates the aesthetics and gives it a sort of sophistication as opposed to just tackiness.

Fragrance Family: Woodsy Floral

Notes: Berries, rose, jasmine, peony, cassis, pink pepper, cedar, vanilla, musk.

I keep seeing people generally liking this and I wish I could say the same. The cedar really was the sole reason why I didn’t have any luck with Midnight Rose. What I smelled underneath was a mild, nice, sweet floral which I probably would have enjoyed.

Reviewed in This Post: Trésor Midnight Rose, 2011, Eau de Parfum.


Coach Poppy Flower


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Coach Poppy Flower is a flanker to Poppy. It’s supposed to put a more floral spin on the original fragrance. Not sure what else they want out of the original Poppy because that one was fairly floral to me. Ah well, we’ll see.

Poppy Flower

Poppy Flower

In Bottle: Fresh, juicy flowers with a lot of water lily representation.

Applied: Sadly I’m smelling predominantly water lily from the starting point. I get a bit of citrus and the other sweet fruity things in this, but I suppose this is how you can go about making an already floral fragrance even more floral. The water lily gives me a bit of a headache as it seems particularly potent in this fragrance. The rest of the florals are giving up a good fight to help overwhelm or tame the water lily but I think that initial whiff blasted whatever chance the rest of the notes in this had for me. I really just get a lot of water lily with a little bit of jasmine and rose layered in there for good measure. As the fragrance ages, the peony comes up a bit more and given my previous association with peony, I don’t think that’s a good thing. Poppy Flower smells watery to me, kind of like a flower water mix and it isn’t very good, but it’s not horrendous. I wouldn’t venture to say this is okay, it’s just not too bad.

Extra: Coach Poppy Flower is marketed as fashionable, chic, and flirty. I have to admit, that despite being bombarded by marketing that claims something is flirty, I have yet to truly understand what that means in a marketing perspective and the word has been thrown about so much that it’s lost all meaning to me. What I do know about flirtiness is that I get nothing of the sort from Poppy Flower.

Design: Similar shape and style to that of Poppy, only it’s interpreted as purple and silver this time. I still don’t like the bottle, but the handwritten affect they used on the packaging is still fitting and aesthetically pleasing in its own way.

Fragrance Family: Floral

Notes: Citrus, black currant, raspberry, litchi, apricot, ivy, water lily, rose, jasmine, peony, sandalwood, musk, amber.

Coach Poppy Flower is available in EDP format and also comes in a body lotion if that kind of thing floats your boat. Me, I’m not personally a fan of this fragrance and actually prefer Poppy.

Reviewed in This Post: Poppy Flower,  2011, Eau de Parfum.


Gucci Envy Me


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What struck me the most about Gucci Envy Me was the fact that the ad actually said it was supposed to appeal to “the egocentric and bold young woman”. I wasn’t aware being called egocentric was a good thing, but it’s evidenced in how well Envy Me did as a fragrance that people either don’t care, didn’t know, or actually found it  appealing to be called egocentric. Color me confused.

Envy Me

Envy Me

In Bottle: Sweet and clean fruity florals. Just about as standard a fruity floral as you can get. Smells good though.

Applied: Pink pepper adds a bit of clean spice the fruity opening of this where I get a mixture of peach and mango that reminds me of an Herbal Essences shampoo. The fragrance evolves into this litchi note that dominates the beginning stages of the mid notes arena. Litchi tends to enjoy taking control of the show and I find the fruit note to be a bit unbearably sweet and pink and girly at times. Envy Me does a good job taming its litchi for the most part but it is still quite strong in the fragrance for a little while. As the scent continues to age, there’s a bit of perfumey woods going on as it blends in with the clean fruity opening while imparting this refreshing sense to it that I can only assume is the white tea at work. As Envy Me keeps going into its base, there’s a clear amping up of the soapy clean fragrance was present throughout the whole thing as the white musk takes hold of the pretty tame teak and sandalwood mix. At the base the fruits a little weak but I didn’t expect them to do anything else but fade as the fragrance ages on the skin. Overall, Envy Me was a pleasant ride. Starts off like a Herbal Essences shampoo and ends with a scented sandalwood fan fragrance.

Extra: Not sure where they got the idea that this fragrance is bold and egocentric. It just smells like shampoo and cleanliness to me. It’s one of the better done fresh out of the shower smells in that it doesn’t abuse the florals but it’s still pretty generic.

Design: Gucci Envy Me is bottled in a tall rectangular flacon with the signature Gucci pattern on the glass running all the way up the four sides of the flacon in pink. It’s a little ridiculous for my aesthetic but I can definitely see the type of image this fragrance is trying to project in its design choices. The bottle is a bit awkward to hold because it–like Givenchy’s Very Irresistible–is a tall and slender bottle that’s made of heavier material.

Fragrance Family: Fresh Fruity

Notes: Peony, pink pepper, cassia, peach, mango, litchi, pomegranate, pineapple, sandalwood, white tea, teak, white musk.

In a pinch, I’d reach for Envy Me to spritz on when I want to smell refreshed and clean. It’s a great out of the shower fragrance for if you want to hold onto that Herbal Essences smell for just a little longer. Otherwise, there’s nothing remotely bold about it. It sure is fun though.

Reviewed in This Post: Envy Me, 2006, Eau de Toilette.


Britney Spears Cosmic Radiance


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Cosmic Radiance is a flanker from Britney Spears’ Radiance fragrance. It is supposed to be inspired by stars and jewels and other things that made Radiance a fairly benign fragrance.

Cosmic Radiance

Cosmic Radiance

In Bottle: I had to double check that I was holding the right bottle because this smells exactly like Radiance.

Applied: Goes on with a sweet tuberose fragrance with a minor difference from the original Radiance in that I don’t get any tartness in the opening. I get a face full of litchi but otherwise, the tuberose and the sweet treatment of the fragrance is very reminiscent of Radiance. The scent heads into a midstage in the same type of construction too with a tuberose and jasmine treatment and eventually nosedives into the end stage as a clean white musk with a hint of vanilla. My impressions of this stuff don’t differ much between Cosmic Radiance and regular Radiance. It is quite disappointing of a flanker.

Extra: Unless you don’t already own Radiance, I would suggest skipping this iteration. There’s not much different to it unless the tartness in the opening of the original Radiance was particularly bothersome. Otherwise, the two fragrances are remarkably similar and if you own one, there really isn’t a point in having both unless you’re a collector or like the bottle design.

Design: Same basic design as the original Radiance and I’m still put off by it. It’s got those jewel things on the glass making the bottle look disproportionate and lumpy. The black and clear motif just makes the lumpy look more pronounced. The colors are garish to me too and I just can’t get on board with the look of this thing.

Fragrance Family: Sweet Floral

Notes: Mandarin, pear, litchi, peony, jasmine, gardenia, tuberose, musk, sandalwood, vanilla, amber.

I have to give Cosmic Radiance a thumbs down for not being at all different from the original Radiance. It should be reiterated that Radiance was–while a bit pedestrian–a decent fragrance. I just didn’t think there needed to be two versions of it that smell almost exactly alike.

Reviewed in This Post: Cosmic Radiance, 2011, Eau de Parfum.


Givenchy Very Irresistible


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I remember when my mother first got this fragrance and promotional ads of Liv Tyler and her funky black hat where all over the department store. It seemed to me–back then–that this was thefragrance to have. These days, it seems everyone’s moved on to other things but my mother used up every last drop of her bottle so it surely had something going for it.

Very Irresistible

Very Irresistible

In Bottle: Bright florals with a little bit of sweetness. I get the rose (it’s modern) and magnolia which blend together fantastically.

Applied: I should have known better than to doubt my mother’s taste in perfumes. Very Irresistible has this optimistic, bright quality to it. Something that’s missing from my life and being replaced in little spritzes from a fragrance sampler. It’s all florals with a little sweetness, and so well blended too. The initial application is marked with a clean lemon berry-like scent that evolves quickly into a bed of roses and magnolias. The peony is well mixed into the bouquet so that it doesn’t stand out and doesn’t remind me of bathroom spray (an unfortunate associate I have with peony). The floral notes are nice and crisp, distinct enough that I can pick them apart but not so distinct that they smell discordant. This is a very nicely done floral though given the releases of today, there’s very little that sets this fragrance apart from other bright florals in its category. It is still probably one of the best contenders, however.

Extra: Very Irresistible has inspired a long line of flankers since its release. You have an eau de toilette version and an eau de parfum version along with a number of flankers such as Very Irresistible for Men, Very Irresistible Fresh Attitude (a men’s version), Absolutely Irresistible, and Very Irresistible Sensual.

Design: Very Irresistible–much like its flankers–is bottled in a tall colored glass tapered prism flacon that sports a slight twist to its design. The bottle is a bit awkward to hold when you want to spray it because it’s heavy glass, a strange shape, very tall and slender, and I’m worried I might drop it. The design itself–however, is a nice echo to Givenchy’s aesthetic and is a pleasant enough thing to look at.

Fragrance Family: Floral

Notes: Cassia, lemon verbena, anise, peony, magnolia, rose.

I suppose the fact that this fragrance has a large number of flankers and men’s versions of it is a testament to how popular it was–and probably still is. It is a great fragrance for someone who is into florals (roses in particular) and isn’t afraid of the fragrance being a bit on the strong side.

Reviewed in This Post: Very Irresistible, 2005, Eau de Parfum.


Victoria’s Secret Bombshell


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Bombshell is one of those runaway success stories of fragrance that has all the right components. Relatively affordable, accessible, and easy to love.

Bombshell

Bombshell

In Bottle: Fresh and clean with a little bit of fruity. Smells like fruity shampoo which is pretty much a goldmine when it comes to mass appeal.

Applied: I’m a little frustrated with the notes in this one because while Bombshell does smell generic, it hits that ‘just right’ sweet spot where something can smell generic but be great at the same time. This fragrance can easily go with me on whatever occasion because it just smells clean, fresh and a little bit fruity. It’s the just stepped out of the shower fragrance with it’s opening of fruity cleanness. I’m getting more than just passion fruit in this. There’s a bit of something citrus-like that I want to say is a sweet grapefruit note or a mandarin note and a bunch of other fruits that I can’t even begin to pick out. It’s nicely blended together, at least. If you let it get into the mid-stage the fruity opening turns into a soft, clean floral with a hint of vanilla. Let it dry down and you get less florals and more vanilla. It’s so straightforward and simple and uniform that it’s hard not to like this because it is what it is–your standard shampoo-smelling perfume, but the thing with Bombshell is that it does this shampoo smell so well.

Extra: Bombshell was the 2011 winner in the Consumer’s Choice category at the FiFi awards. I can see why this fragrance is so popular as it’s simply easy to love.

Design: Dressed in pink with a ribbon even. Bombshell has a pleasing enough shape though the look of her isn’t ultra luxurious, her design gets the job done. The stripes on the bottle can be a bit much but she’s a lovely bottle, very easy to hold, and equally easy to use.

Fragrance Family: Fruity Floral

Notes: Passion fruit, peony, vanilla orchid.

While I do like Bombshell a great deal, I don’t know if it was award worthy. This kind of fragrance is incredibly pedestrian but you can’t argue with the fact that it’s widespread appeal is the direct result of it being so generic.

Reviewed in This Post: Bombshell, 2011, Eau de Parfum.


Marc Jacobs Oh Lola!


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Oh Lola! is a recent flanker of the original Marc Jacobs Lola, that shampoo-y smelling, not unpleasant but not exciting, clean floral with the massive flower cap. Oh Lola! s presented as a pinker, more stylish version of the original. When someone describes a fragrance as ‘stylish’, I immediately cringe.

Oh Lola!

Oh Lola!

In Bottle: Fresh and berry-like with a layer of sheer florals underneath, a bit on the sweeter side but doesn’t overdo the sweetness to the point of cloying. Not very interesting but smells decent.

Applied: Clean and berry-like in the opening, reminds me a bit of a berry trifle or fruit juice. I swear I can smell a mango note and pineapple note in there. But essentially, the opening is generic fruit punch. It’s clean though and a little sweet as the fragrance ages, the fruitiness meshs more into the florals and lets in some of these flowers we’ve been hearing about. The florals themselves are unexciting, they’re blended well enough that they form this clean, unassuming and easygoing blend of flowery goodness that goes well with the fruity opening. As Oh Lola! heads into the base the scent takes on an extremely dull sandalwood vanilla scent that I haven’t smelled in a while but still remember rather well because every generic-smelling perfume uses a sandalwood vanilla base. “Oh Lola!” is shaping up to be more of an “Oh, Lola, It’s You Again”.

Extra: The buzz is already out for the ad campaign surrounding Oh Lola! Dakota Fanning has been chosen as the face for this fragrance and the questionable nature of the ad photo has already sparked something of a sensation around this perfume. I found Bang! and its ad campaign to be a humorous if somewhat lowbrow presentation. I find Oh Lola! to be of the similar vein. Or could we all just be overreacting because we’re used to Marc Jacobs pulling stunts like this? Whatever it is, the ad campaign made me raise a brow, the pink bottle made me grimace, and the description that Oh Lola! was ‘stylish’ made me cringe. Nothing about its presentation made me want to rush out and smell it or buy it.

Design: Maybe it was because I was overpinked as a child and have since grown something of a disdain for the color’s reputation as a “feminine” hallmark, but I don’t see why everyone thinks pink is so cute. Pink, when used right, can be cute. Sometimes it can even be sophisticated. If used wrong, it’s a bit burlesque and can even come off as cheesy and childish. So when they took Lola’s bottle, (a perfectly dynamic piece of work) and made it pink, I had to wonder what exactly there was to accomplish here. But I suppose they had to have a flanker look somewhat like the original. And I suppose–if nothing else–pink truly does suit the fragrance. I just find it tired that perfumes would constantly use pink for their fruitier, lighter, less serious flankers of original perfumes. You see a flanker that’s pink and can safely assume that it’ll either be sugary, weak, one dimensional, or a combination of the three.

Fragrance Family: Fruity Floral

Notes: Strawberry, raspberry, pear, peony, sandalwood, vanilla.

All right, so I admit I was chomping at the bit to get at the design of the Oh Lola! bottle. It just bothered me on a fundamental level that I can’t even begin to explain. Nothing on the juice, but the design of the bottle itself just turned me off immensely. Thankfully we’re here for the juice–most of the time.

Reviewed in This Post: Oh Lola!, 2011, Eau de Parfum.