Well, this wasn’t the way I intended to start the blog, but it’s a good topic, so I’ll go for it!
Right now I’m trying out fragrances for the first time. (I’m 25 years old and had literally never touched an eau de anything until a couple of months ago.) My job requires me to write a lot of copy about products, and one of my favorite things to do is pick a category every few months and become an expert. Well, I did that with fragrances. I knew more than anyone else on my team about the fragrance world, the top designers, what was trendy, what customers needed to know. I knew everything that you could know about fragrances… except I’d never tried them.
So for the last couple months, whenever I’m in a department store I check out the fragrance section and use the testers. I memorize what I’ve sprayed on each wrist and make sure to get a good whiff for the next 24 hours to see what I like. I haven’t found a winner, though, so I turned to Sephora.
If you’re in the same boat I am, trying out fragrances for the first time, this is my favorite discovery. Sephora does a pretty cool sampler deal. They have selections of tiny test bottles (I mean TINY) in groups by themes. Some are small samplers, e.g. five “summer” fragrances for around $25. Others are wider selections and run up to $75+. Each of these samplers comes with a voucher. You try out all the fragrances in the sampler and then turn in the voucher and get a larger version of your favorite of the bunch.
Of all the department-store testers I tried, Viva la Juicy had been my favorite (see my review below, though). So I bought a sampler with five fragrances (one of which was VLJ itself), and also a small separate spray-bottle vial of Viva la Juicy and its evening version, Viva la Juicy Noir. But I also got a free fragrance-sampler kit using a coupon code, AND used my three free Sephora samples to get three MORE fragrances. All in all, I got thirteen spray samples (super tiny) and two small spray vials (pen-sized), for a total of fifteen (but only fourteen fragrances, since I doubled up on VLJ).
Long story short, I’m going to try them all out and review them here. I’m on my second fragrance test day now, but even though the night is young, I’m ready to cast my ballot on Day Two. (I’ve done a brief on each fragrance, but if you want more details, you can look them up on fragrantica.com, my favorite source for fragrance info.)
Dot by Marc Jacobs
Cheerful with exotic coconut and soft vanilla
Notes of honeysuckle, red berries, dragonfruit, jasmine, orange blossom, coconut, vanilla, driftwood, and musk
When I wrote out all the notes for the fourteen fragrance samples I’d ordered, something about Dot stuck out to me, so it was the first one I tried. I was excited about the honeysuckle notes, and it sounded like it would have a kind of sophisticated sweetness. I definitely got some juiciness on the opening, and a light floral, but when it mellowed out I wasn’t too impressed with the heart. I told The Gentleman it had “a heart of boring.” It wasn’t bad, exactly. Just kind of generic white-floral. I definitely didn’t get any coconut out of it. The base warmed up a little, and the vanilla was strong and lovely. It also lasted a long time. I could still smell it on my wrist the next morning, and I’d showered the night before, so that was saying something.
Viva la Juicy by Juicy Couture
Category: Gourmet floral
Notes of caramel, wild berries, mandarin, honeysuckle, gardenia, jasmine, amber, vanilla, sandalwood, and pralines
When I first started trying out samplers in stores a few months ago, Viva la Juicy was the one I was sure was going to be my winner. I accidentally sprayed it on my Jawbone Up fitness band when I sampled it in Target, and the scent lasted there forEVER. When I looked up the scent notes, I was even more convinced that it would be my favorite—caramel and berries, ooh la la. But I’ve been wearing it today and despite nearly a dozen sprays, it’s very, very weak. The caramel was definitely deliciously sweet this morning, sort of a honeyed scent and almost sticky, but in a good way. And a few minutes after I’d applied it, The Gentleman walked past and said I smelled really good and that it was “definitely fruity.” But I’m only seven hours in and it’s almost completely gone. I even sprayed a little on my infinity scarf and I’m not catching it there either. SAD.
I’m thinking maybe Day Three will involve trying one of the evening or romantic scents, since tomorrow is Saturday and it’ll probably be a day in with The Gentleman. You’ll have to catch me later for a final decision, though.
Thanks for reading! Let me know if you have a favorite fragrance or a “signature” scent, and what you like about it.