The people from Milton-Lloyd and World Class Fragrances have created an interesting new sub-brand called Perfumer’s Choice, and I’ve had the chance to try all four of the new fragrances out (No3, No4, No6 and No12, some for men, some for women). Here’s a review for you and what I think they smell like – seeing as the parent company is known for creating ‘renditions’ and smell-a-likes.
Perfumer’s Choice is meant to be the premium version of their fragrances, including more expensive ingredients and nicer-looking glass bottles. While they don’t ever state it explicitly anywhere they also smell similar to certain expensive designer perfumes to my nose, albeit the sort you’d find in a classy department store rather than an artisan perfumery.
No4 ‘Natalie’ – for women (purple packaging)
- Type – oriental-floral
- Top notes – red fruits, iris
- Middle notes – floral, cedarwood
- Base notes – amber, woody, vanilla
“fruity accord / powdery iris / velvety floral heart / warm addictive dry down / gourmand / woody ambery / sophistication / feminine”
When I see fruity, floral and gourmand in the same place, it always makes me wonder if it’s going to be a sickeningly sweet, immature mess that brings on a migraine. In the interests of research, I pressed on.
The opening notes are sugary-sweet, and I got a blast of what smelled to me like a mixture of pears and mixed berry jam. Then, a few minutes later they started to fade and the iris and other flowers started to show themselves. The floral element continued into the dry down of the base notes.
The final effect was quite unexpected – in less than an hour it settled into what would best be described as a really good ‘Guerlinade accord’ on my skin, without any screechy fruits or over the top fruitchouli. Guerlinade accord is the signature dry down of all the best Guerlain fragrances, and it contains warm, powdery iris, delicious vanilla, and fragrant, gourmand tonka bean as major notes, all working in harmony.
I ended up with sweet iris, soft woody notes, powdery vanilla ice cream, white chocolate, almond notes, plus a little caramel and praline, and it lasted for well over ten hours (they promise six on the packaging but all their fragrances deliver far longer than that). In fact, I could still smell it faintly the next morning. Cosy, delicate and delicious, and it really suited my skin chemistry. Love it, and yes, it does smell really expensive.
Although it essentially turned into Guerlinade, the designer fragrance this most smells like is without a doubt La Vie Est Belle by Lancome, especially the eau de parfum version. It also has a very, very similar dry down to La Petite Robe Noire (2012 relaunch version) by Guerlain. Other similar fragrances in this family include La Nuit Tresor by Lancome, Lolita Lempicka L’Eau en Blanc, and Armani Si.
No12 ‘Emilie’ – for women (rose-gold packaging)
- Type – chypre-floral
- Top notes – orange blossom
- Middle notes – rose bouquet / fruity rose
- Base notes – woody, musky
“orange blossom / apple / ambrette / Bulgarian rose / peony / lychee / seductive pink heart / mysterious woods / patchouli / musks / sandalwood / creamy”
This didn’t change much after spraying it on, and it quickly settled into a beautiful fresh rose-based fragrance with some light woods, soft amber and musk in it. It lasted for hours and hours, and was a mixture of clean and sexy at the same time so could double for daytime and evening use. There were other mixed flowers in there, probably a fair amount of orange blossom, and I couldn’t smell any obvious patchouli note at all. The fruit is almost non-existent and might be a tiny amount of lychee or maybe peach.
Not sure if this could be described as a full-on floral chypre because there’s no obvious mossy note, but some of the fragrances it resembles are what you might call light floral woody musks or perhaps ‘sheer chypres’, or ‘pink’ or ‘modern’ chypres. In theory this perfume smells most like Emporio Armani Diamonds for Women Summer Edition (2010) and Dolce&Gabbana Rose the One (now discontinued). It’s also a bit like Chloe Eau de Parfum, Coco Mademoiselle and DKNY Be Delicious Fresh Blossom Intense (also discontinued, although the original Fresh Blossom is still around), and has strong similarities with some of the flankers to Burberry Body, Stella McCartney Stella and Paul Smith Rose.
In practice, though, on my skin No12 Emilie smells very much like Narciso Rodriguez For Her eau de parfum (the one with the dominant rose notes in the pink bottle, not to be confused with the eau de toilette). Although not advertised as such, this designer perfume contains a lot of orange blossom as well as a lovely fresh rose. Perfumer’s Choice No12 lasts far longer than any of the designer perfumes I’ve just mentioned though, so I really rate the composition.
No3 ‘Jean-Marie’ – for men (gunmetal / black packaging)
- Type – woody spicy
- Top notes – citrus, aromatic
- Middle notes – spicy pepper
- Base notes – vetiver, patchouli, amber
“citrus / grapefruit / coriander / incense / cedarwood / ‘exotic spices ‘ / black pepper / nutmeg / cardamom”
This seems to open with a great big blast of Iso E Super, plus a little black pepper, nutmeg, and cardamom, and some incense. I might also be getting bergamot, which seems to be the main citrus note here. It’s probably the Iso E Super that’s providing the synthetic notes of dry cedarwood, mixed spice, vetiver and amber. Not getting much in the way of grapefruit or patchouli to be honest.
It’s mostly very manly, but with a tiny bit of sweetness on the drydown, although it is definitely not a unisex fragrance. Probably more suited to evening use.
Technically speaking, this is very similar to Nuit D’Issey by Issey Miyake, but seems to be a little less complex and without the light leather and tonka bean finish. Most people wouldn’t be able to tell the difference though. It’s also smells a fair bit like Gentlemen Only by Givenchy, and a little like Voyage and Terre d’Hermes.
No 6 ‘Rafael’ – for men (blue packaging)
- Type – woody aromatic
- Top notes – citrus, aromatic
- Middle notes – spicy, fresh, floral
- Base notes – woody, vetiver, musk
“pepper / peppermint / mandarin / lemon / vetiver / grapefruit / geranium / cedar / nutmeg / labdanum / cardamom /incense / woods / musks”
There’s definitely lemon in here, and maybe some grapefruit. I can also smell a note of soft mint, a little cedar and musk, some labdanum, vetiver, and maybe some other herbs and a little ginger, and perhaps a clean floral note.
The dry down unmistakably smells like it’s from Chanel. Fresh, clean and expensive. It most obviously smells like Bleu de Chanel, and it’s a bit similar to Chanel Egoiste Platinum as well although I can’t make out any obvious lavender (they were designed by the same parfumeur and share a sort of ‘backbone’ of notes). Again, this fragrance lasted for several hours, at least nine if not longer, and even partly made it through a shower without completely fading.
To sum up
Overall, this new Perfumer’s Choice collection does seem to be truly good quality and value for money, especially as the fragrances last so well and stay true for such a long time. The bottles are the nicest that the company has made so far and would look okay on a bathroom shelf, and they seem to be going after a non-teenage and more sophisticated market. The average person would be hard pushed to tell the difference between the Perfumer’s Choice and their similar designer counterparts.
All the Perfumers Choice fragrances come in 50ml and 83ml bottles, and cost £8.00 and £16.00 each respectively. This makes the smaller 50ml bottles the best value as the cost per ml is cheaper! A little goes a long way with all of them. Find out more and buy here.
What do you think? Will you be trying one or more of these scents?