Mainstream Monday: Sniffing Some Popular Perfumes
OK, OK, I don’t want you guys to think I’m some jaded perfume snob. Years ago I wrote some not-so-great reviews of Maison Martin Margiela Replica perfumes.¹ Let me explain. It’s not that I dislike this brand or think the perfumes are bad. They aren’t. They’re all extremely wearable. My beef with the line is that the ideas aren’t very original. I’ve been writing this blog since 2008 (yes, 10 years) and I’ve seen every one of Maison Martin Margiela’s themes done, not once, but many, many times. I can’t try this line without comparing it to all that other stuff. My complaint with the Replica collection is that I can always name a “dupe” for each one of them (with the “dupe” usually being cheaper). Saying this, I’m OK with redundancy in the Perfume World (as long as the “replica” doesn’t claim they invented the concept). As far as this brand, I appreciate them. They have taken these old-school niche concepts and made them more approachable. I can tell that for a lot of shoppers, this is their first introduction to perfumes that invoke a time/place. I also appreciate that the brand is carried by Sephora, increasing the availability and distribution of niche-style perfumes throughout the U.S.
Here’s my quick takes on three more in the Replica line:
Notes listed bergamot, pink pepper, mint, green tea, jasmine, osmanthus, rice, mate and milk. Launched in 2014. PERFUMER – Fabric Pellegrin
The opening of Tea Escape is the opening of about 75% of mainstream launches over the past 10 years. It’s a bright bergamot and pink pepper. As these catchy top notes fade, Tea Escape wears exactly as I expected. It wears as a citrus-y green tea with a heady jasmine. There’s a hint of mint. Many green tea perfumes like to play off of the luminous, bright quality of jasmine. As it wears, this fragrance gets more lactonic, milkier. It’s as if someone added that milk-y accord from the limited edition Jo Malone London Sweet Milk to this. Most of the wear on me is a milky jasmine with citrus. The dry-down loses all tea and only steamed milk remains.
Tea Escape is perfectly fine but I don’t like it better than most other tea-centric perfumes on the market. I’m actually surprised by all the reviews saying this is unique, etc. when it reminds me of many other perfumes. It’s something I may wear if I had a bottle since it’s fresh and easy for “day” wear. I don’t love the milkiness, but I also know that’s what makes it stand out from so many other tea-centric fragrances.
Give it a try if you like green tea scents. Or perfumes like Elizabeth Arden Green Tea, Anthropologie A Rather Novel Collection’s Hamarikyu Garden, L’Occitane Thé Vert, Berdoues Assam of India and/or Urban Outfitters Gourmand Collection Thé Matcha (a decent dupe for this).
Victoria’s Final EauPINION – Milky jasmine tea.
LAZY SUNDAY MORNING
Notes listed include aldehydes, pear, lily of the valley, iris, rose, orange blossom, white musk, patchouli and ambrette. Launched in 2013. PERFUMER – Louise Turner
Lazy Sunday Morning is an aldehydic floral. It opens with a ton of clean, laundry-like aldehydes. The rest of the fragrance is an abstract floral. It’s a haze of a citrus-y rose and orange blossoms. And there’s a lot of musk. The musk emphasizes the clean, laundry-ness of this. Later it’s surprisingly rose-y. It’s like a tea rose and white musk. The dry-down, as I expected, becomes all musk. But, not in an animalic or “sexy naked skin” way…it’s like warm towels. It’s what we call “laundry musk” in Perfume World.
This is another one that is perfectly decent but honestly, I’d much rather wear Narciso Rodriguez for Her or Sarah Jessica Parker Lovely. They’re the same sort of theme but much more interesting (and cheaper!). If I wanted that “lazy Sunday morning” vibe of spending all day under white sheets (by choice!), I’d splurge on the luxurious 100% Egyptian cotton of Maison Francis Kurkdjian Aqua Universalis Forte.
Give Lazy Sunday Morning a try if you like white musk/florals. Or perfumes like Estee Lauder Pure White Linen, Elizabeth Arden Sunflowers Dream Petals, Sarah Jessica Parker Lovely, Narciso Rodriguez for Her and/or Tocca Cleopatra.
Victoria’s Final EauPINION – Clean laundry-like floral, musk.
BY THE FIREPLACE
Notes listed include pepper, orange blossom, cloves, chestnut, guaiac wood, juniper, vanilla, peru balsam and cashmeran. Launched in 2015. PERFUMER – Marie Salamagne
I expect this to be smoky and it is. The opening is dry spices with warm embers. There’s a bit of citrus that “lifts” the smoky notes. It does smell nutty. When I tried this, I didn’t want another smoky woods. That has been overplayed as of the past 5+ years. Thankfully, By the Fireplace goes into a less charred direction. It wears like vanilla-scented steam and roasted chestnuts. There’s a sweetness that reminds me of immortelle (or toasted bread). The dry-down of By The Fireplace is a powdery, sweet vanilla and white musk with enough juniper in it to make it come across like “modern woods”. It reminds me of those “modern vanillas” like Diptyque Eau Duelle or Atelier Vanille Insensée.
Give it a try if you like smoky, sweet scents or are looking for a chestnut perfume. Or if you like perfumes like L’Artisan Noir Exquis, Annick Goutal Sables, Imaginary Authors Memoir of a Trespasser, Le Labo Patchouli 24, Diptyque Eau Duelle and/or Atelier Vanille Insensée. By the way, my favorite chestnut perfume is Cloon Keen Castaña.
Victoria’s Final EauPINION – Chestnuts roasting on an open fire. Sweet modern woods nipping at your nose. Out of the three I tried in this review, this one is my favorite.
I was going to say that all of these have below average projection and longevity. But, then I noticed these are EDTs. For an EDT, it’s probably above average!
Even if I’m not mesmerized by any of these, they’re perfectly adequate perfumes. I’d wear any of them but I wouldn’t buy any of them (too many overlaps with stuff I already own). As far as the Replica brand, I think the extensive catalog of perfumes fits. It fits with the Maison Margiela brand and is a smart move for them. These seem to be popular. Whenever I’m in a Sephora, there’s always people hovered around sniffing them.
PSA, folks: Please continue to wear what makes YOU happy!