Are you tired of paying in excess of $250 for your Amouages and your Xerjoffs? Not me. I have never paid in excess of $250 for Amouage or Xerjoff; they are out of my league.
Any disappointment I might feel about this is tempered by the fact that splits, decants and samples now allow us to own these astronomically expensive fragrances in some form. But there is no denying the absolute pleasure of buying a full bottle of a fragrance you love, guilt free. Click! Add to cart. Click! Proceed to checkout. Click! Place order. Ah yes, it is mine. And I can still afford to feed the children.
What we all long for are the inexpensive masterpieces. Dee happened upon one just a short time ago: Anne Pliska. I’m always searching for them, not just for the relief of my bank balance, but because it is such fun to beat the system. ‘Take THAT Xerjoff, you with your ridiculous name and your $715 fragrances! And by the way, why do you spell Iris with a triple S’?
I want to share my list of these treasures. Most of these I own, not always as FBs, but knowing I could acquire them any time I wish. My criteria here are that a full bottle is anything over 15 mls, and ‘inexpensive’ means under $50 on eBay, or direct from the perfumer, or at fragrancex.com, which is my online discounter of choice (but I’m not affiliated). Here we go:
Azuree by Estée Lauder. Citrus, flowers, leather, oakmoss. Beautiful, but not easy. Azuree only just scrapes on to my list because with shipping it might push you over $50, and it seems to be getting harder to get. So if you have been tempted, buy it while you still can.
Aromatics Elixir by Clinique. Also beautiful but not easy. The best things in life often aren’t. Read this review by Chandler Burr.
Cinema by YSL. Sweet and pretty, but with brains. She might be serving ice creams at her local multiplex but she has her degree in psychology just about in the bag. Thanks to dee for my sample.
Eden by Cacharel. Green and fruity, with a deliberately artificial opening that taunts you with your ideas about what is ‘natural’ and what is ‘artificial’, and why does it matter anyway? While speaking of Cacharel, there is also Anais Anais, Loulou and Noa. Of these I have only tried AA – I wore it a lot in the late 90s until I got bored with its soapiness – but judging by reviews, all can be considered budget masterpieces.
A Midsummer Days Dream by Olympic Orchids. A recently discovered (thanks to dee!) love of mine which I have raved about in a previous post.
Niki de Saint Phalle by Niki de Saint Phalle. She was a Frenchwoman of many talents and interests. Her eponymous perfume was apparently intended to fund her expensive sculpture projects. The perfume manages to be sour, green and fruity. Wonderful. Try it, if you want to hear a fearless, individual voice in a perfume. Thanks to Barbara, or Yesterday’s Perfume, for introducing me to this one (and to Eden).
Silences by Jacomo. More an aura than a perfume, this is revered by lovers of green fragrances. Fragrancex will sell you 25 mls for a princely $15.95 US.
Tocade by Rochas. One word: adorable. Actually, here’s another: cheap. But avoid this one if you don’t care for gourmand vanilla. This and Cinema are a bit sweet for me generally, except on a cold night by myself in front of the TV, with a classic old movie and a box of chocolates. Lovely!
Youth Dew by Estée Lauder. Rich, spicy, fruity, and strong. Little else needs be said really. Everyone has a grandmother or great aunt who wore it. They were strong, confident women. Don’t let anyone, condescendingly, tell you different.
Yvresse by YSL (formerly Champagne). A fruity chypre, this is one that I don’t own and have only fleetingly tried. It has a high place in the esteem of many perfumistas. I see it often in various retail outlets where I live but they don’t seem to have testers. I will run one to earth as soon as possible. Another cheapie from YSL is Y. Again, I don’t know it well, for the same reason.
And finally, anything by Sonoma Scent Studio automatically makes it on to this list. Enough said.
So that’s my list.