From tattoo choker necklaces to denim overalls to mini backpacks, we can easily see that there is a wave of 90’s nostalgia in effect right now. Even Bath & Body Works is having a moment of 90’s nostalgia and has relaunched six “Flashback Fragrances”.
What’s funny is that I was never into Bath & Body Works fragrances back in the day because they were so “mall” and I was so anti-mall in my youth. I was more about wearing perfume oils or trying to get my hands on anything that you could not buy in Middle Tennessee (and granted, that was a lot and not as “niche” as it sounds). I did end up with a few scents as gifts from aunts or my friends that ended up working at the store during our high school and college days.
I just happened to be walking by a Bath & Body Works and noticed their “Flashback” display. And then I noticed that the store was completely packed and that the line was crazy long. And all of this, all together, made me decide that I not only needed to sniff these but I should BUY these too. It was the heat of the moment, OK. So many of the B&BW scents are imprinted into my brain even if I don’t know it. Well, with these six, I knew it. These were like the “number one hits” of the 90’s when it comes to fragrance. Is there a North American teen of the 90’s that hasn’t smelled these? How many of us have had bottles of these?
I made my way to the display which was being mobbed by women of my age range. To my surprise, a lot of these Flashbacks were already sold out, especially in the lotions. When I looked around, the mob of women were all carrying giant black mesh bags filled to the brim with these Flashback Fragrances. Note to any company reading this post, create demand for anything by discontinuing it – and then surprise bring it back.
Even I’m not immune to such tactics. I ended up buying:
Juniper Breeze Body Spray with notes of juniper leaves, pineapple nectar, mountain air accord, green apple, blue jasmine, ylang, fresh woods and dewy musk.
- Flashback – I remember liking this one. Someone had bought me the set (shower gel, lotion and body spray) and I liked it. I remember using and wearing it.
- Now – Well, I have a little saying, “Never trust blue juice”. And I should have taken my own advice. Juniper Breeze is a little cleaning product-ish, like a Fabuloso fragrance. It’s possible that it has been reformulated or GASP, my tastes are much more mature now! It’s like a really sharp fresh scent with a sharp, bitter green pineapple. As it wears, it becomes a sharp floral with a tart Granny Smith apple. It’s not terrible but I think I should have bought it as a shower gel. I’ll end up using it as a room spray.
White Tea & Ginger Body Spray with notes of white tea leaves, sparkling yuzu, lemon, fresh bergamot, nutmeg, tea rose, Earl Grey tea, geranium petals, ginger, white musk and woods.
- Flashback – Now this one was my jam back in the day and I’m surprised that I only bought a body spray. And I noticed it was the one that had the most bottles left.
- Now – Wow. I actually still really like this one. It’s a crisp citrus tea. And yes, the yuzu really does sparkle. It’s slightly spicy in that fresh ginger way and also a little floral, like “ginger lily”. It’s really pretty and I’m actually using this on my body, not as a room spray 🙂
Cucumber Melon Body Spray with notes of crisp cucumber, water honeydew, summer cantaloupe, sparkling grapefruit, muguet, sheer woods and soft musk.
- Flashback – I used to hate this stuff back in “tha day”. Before the term “basic bitch” existed, the concept was in existence. And that’s who I thought wore it. Yes, I was an asshole back then too. Cut me some slack, I was like 14.
- Now – I wanted to revisit this one since there has been “distance” between its popularity and now. So, I bought the body spray. And I hate it even more than I remember. It’s like Watermelon Wave Bubblicious gum. These days I don’t even notice the cucumber. All I really notice is the melon bubblegum sweetness. I do think this could benefit being layered with something really floral. It really needs something.
Plumeria Shower Gel with notes of pink plumeria, peach nectar, red apple, fresh cut rose, muguet, night-blooming jasmine and balsam fir.
- Flashback – This is one that I remember smelling like really glamorous hairspray.
- Now – Well, it appears that all the shoppers in NYC wanted this one because ALL of the body sprays and lotions were gone. I was able to snag one of the few bottles of shower gel. And it sucks because I did go there for a bottle of the body spray. It’s a sharp floral, like a fruity rose with heady non-descript “pink” florals. David said it smells like rotting fruit but really, I think that is why I like it. It’s just such a “ripe” fruity-floral. Is it amazing? No, but there’s something I like about it.
And I know what you’re saying. “Girl you are too old for body spray!”; I know, I know. You’re absolutely right. I’m not going to argue with you.
I didn’t buy:
Country Apple with notes McIntosh apple, clementine, apple leaf, apple blossom, fresh muguet, sheer sunlight (*eyeroll*), orchard woods, fruit musk and sandalwood.
A lot of these were on the display even though a lot of people were carrying them around. I was never a fan of this one because it reminded me of baby products but that isn’t a bad thing either. It’s just like a crisp apple and I guess it would layer nicely under certain more complex perfumes. A lady in front of me in the 35 minute line I waited in had 15 bottles of the body spray in this scent. So, somebody really likes it.
Pearberry with notes of Anjou pear, wild berries, apple blossom, golden freesia, muguet, blonde woods and sheer musk.
I really, really hated this one back in the day too and since I was already buying something that I knew I didn’t like, I left this one for others to enjoy. It’s still as a I remember it. It’s just like the name – pear and berries. Looking back this is “Bath & Body Works” to me. This sort of style is what they did best. This is like their Chanel No. 5 or something. From name to scent to marketing, it’s one that really epitomizes the brand. Tons were left on the display. I was slightly surprised by this.
Out of all the scents, the most “dated” to me where Cucumber Melon and Pearberry. However, these ones are the ones that are so “B&BW” as well. Sniffing these were uncomfortably nostalgic for me – too much of a reminder of the girl’s freshman locker room. Ugh. As an adult, I honestly do like White Tea & Ginger and Plumeria. But, really, all of these smell rather “dated”. The define an era for a lot of people and it’s up to you to decide if that is an era you’d like to revisit or not.
What’s so weird about all of this is that I ended up being convinced that I needed to buy a lot of cheap, $3.50 scents¹ that I really didn’t even like when they were out the first time around. Oh, nostalgia. It’s so complicated. Who knows, maybe next I’ll be sporting butterfly hair clips and body glitter…
These Flashback Fragrances are available for a limited time at Bath and Body Works. The body lotions, body creams and shower gels retail for $12.50 and body sprays retail for $14.
So, which ones of these have you picked up or want to pick up? Are they as good as you remember?
¹They were on sale. How could I resist?
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*Products purchased by me. Crappy pic is also mine. The other one is from GoodHousekeeping.com.