Lifestyle

Saturday 2 August 2014

The scent for a woman – how to sniff out the best bargain perfume

With a variety of prices and celebrity brands, Aideen Sheehan puts the top fragrances to the test

Maura Durrane  Photo Ronan Lang
Maura Durrane Photo Ronan Lang
Britney Spears fantasy
Britney Spears fantasy
Smart consumer Aideen Sheehan Maura Durrane Perfume testing Taylor Swift wonderstruck  Pix Ronan Lang/Feature File
Smart consumer Aideen Sheehan Maura Durrane Perfume testing Taylor Swift wonderstruck Pix Ronan Lang/Feature File

With a variety of prices and celebrity brands, Aideen Sheehan puts the top fragrances to the test.

But with hundreds of scents on offer how do you choose a new fragrance that your beloved won't turn her nose up at or stash away unworn?

New perfumes are popping up by the week, with perfume companies spending vast amounts on marketing and star endorsements to try and persuade us theirs is the one.

Celebrity perfumes have been described as "capitalism in a bottle", and if so, capitalism is thriving as Boots notes that star scents now account for one in every 10 bottles it sells in Ireland – up from just 1pc a few years ago.

However, with perfume prices ranging from a few euro to €100-plus, is it a question of you get what you pay for, or is it more down to personal chemistry?

Smart Consumer put some bestselling brands to the test with a panel of perfume lovers – and one male nose, – who all performed a blind smell test to see what came out tops.

Our panel included RTE presenter and self- proclaimed "perfume obsessive" Maura Derrane.

Preference

The results were surprising, showing that while perfume preference is a very individual matter, there was one undisputed favourite that was a hit with all age groups.

Pop princess Britney Spears clearly has the winning formula, because her Britney Fantasy was the hands-down winner, outperforming all rivals including pricey Chanel No 5, which many found a turn-off however much Brad Pitt is paid to like it.

Lidl has the cheapest offering at just €3.99 – but it proved a surprise hit with many – coming in joint third with a Ralph Lauren scent that's 15 times dearer!

Ms Derrane noted that research had shown again and again that men are most attracted to "gourmand", or food-based scents in women's perfume and, interestingly, the two clear favourites of our male tester both had strong foodie undertones.

He correctly pronounced the Britney Spears scent to be chocolatey, and also liked the Taylor Swift perfume, which another tester declared to be "yummy like baking" with a distinct vanilla whiff.

What was most clear, however, was that preference was completely personal – so ignore the marketing and celebrity hype and go with your nose.

1 Britney Fantasy Twist Eau De Parfum (€36 for 50ml €0.72/ml) Rating 4/5

The undisputed favourite – sweet, fresh and good for both day and night was the verdict across all age groups.

2 Jimmy Choo Flash Eau De Parfum (€45 for 40ml €1.13/ml ) Rating 3/5

Praised as musky and good for nighttime.The favourite of Maura Derrane but "like air freshener" to another tester.

3 Suddenly Madam Glamour (€3.99 Lidl 50ml €0.08/ml, not currently available) Rating 2.7/5

The cheapest option was a hit with Maura Derrane, who thought it was "like a classic Chanel Coco"; another felt it was "too much like soap".

3 Ralph Lauren Ralph Eau De Toilette (€35 for 30ml, €1.17/ml)

Rating 2.7/5

Fruity and young, with a hint of apples and pears for some, but others thought it was "bubblegummy", or "like room spray".

5 Taylor Swift Wonderstruck Eau De Parfum (€34 for 30ml, €1.13/ml) Rating 2.5/5

Unusual and quirky, some rated it highly, but one tester gave it zero marks.

While another thought it was "yummy, like baking, but not to wear".

5 Chanel No 5 Eau de Parfum (€106 for 50ml, €2.12/ml) Rating 2.5/5

This was the love-it- or-hate-it option, as it was adored by one tester as intense and spicy but dismissed by another as "something my mum would wear".

Most perfumes supplied by Boots, who are offering up to 50pc off perfumes today

Irish Independent

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