My heart sinks whenever I get an email from Basenotes, as olfactory torture generally follows.
Last year I found myself doused in the poundshop's finest “fragrances” for a week, and this year's “If you want to douse yourself in celebrity fragrance for a week, I'll facilitate it” email didn't bode well either.
Fact is, I'm now semi-officially Basenotes' stunt fragrance wearer, and I'm not entirely sure how it happened.
Anyway, here's my story of a week wearing A-Z List “Celebrity” Fragrances.
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[chapter]Day One : Taylor Swift[/chapter]
Day One: I'm going to be … Taylor Swift: Taylor.
The packaging: A cheery blue box, with multi-coloured swirls. I open the box and am faced with what appears to be a Pucci jam jar, topped off with a crystal stopper wearing a tiny pearl necklace. “Cute” thinks I, till I realise that I have quite literally no idea how to open the damn thing. I push and pull at various points on what appears to be the lid, before I realise that the crystal orb which is with the pearls simply pulls off . It's rather stiff and I appear to be holding the orb at the wrong angle, so when the knob does eventually come away, finally revealing the spray mechanism, the pearls fly off into the ether, never to be seen again. I find them stuck in my hair a bit later, luckily before I'd left for work.
The Fragrance: Expecting a fluffy stew of candyfloss and pink fruit, I'm reassured by the lack of sugar in the opening, but there is some fruit in the beginning, peaches maybe, or nectarines. Either way, it's light, and rather pleasant. It stays that way for most of the day, and I surprise myself by really enjoying wearing this one, it's cute and cuddly and very pretty. Not a bad at all start to my week of pain.
The Celeb: I realise at some point during the day that I have literally no idea who Taylor Swift is, or whether they're male or female. I had an idea that they were that kid who played a werewolf in that series of films I'll never watch, but apparently she's a singer of some kind. Writes songs, that kind of thing. Makes a nice perfume, tho. Occasionally wears a hat. Nice.
[chapter]Day Two: Kim Kardashian[/chapter]
Day Two: I'm going to be … Kim Kardashian: Kim Kardashian.
The Packaging: A shiny dark purple box, which reveals a metallic lilac bottle decorated with tiny Ks all over, as if the Ku Klux Klan had designed some lovely fishnet stockings for their more genteel membership. I'd actually had this bottle in my possession for nearly two years before I noticed this particular design detail, so it's either very subtle, or I need to change my contact lens prescription.
The Celeb: So, yeah, Kim Kardashian. What does she do? I asked Twitter, and one of my followers thought I should make a sex tape in her honour. Luckily for the rest of my twitter followers, I manage to resist the temptation. Apparently she has a baby called North. As I once owned a cat called Colin, I wholeheartedly applaud this name choice.
[chapter]Day Three : Jade Goody[/chapter]
Day Three: I'm going to be … Jade Goody: Shh …
The packaging: An understated green box, containing a beribboned cube-shaped bottle that I recognise as having been recycled quite recently by Jimmy Choo for their “Flash” fragrance. The bottle appears to contain Irn Bru.
The fragrance: I'm horrified at the idea of spritzing myself with Irn Bru at 6am, and so I'm dreading actually spraying this. It's rather sweet, and it's difficult to discern any individual notes. That said, it's actually rather warm, slightly spicy, and surprisingly good. I ask my beloved what he thinks of the smell, and he mentions biscuits. After a good 20 minutes of biscuit-based back-and-forth it turns out he means Rich Tea, and I think he's onto something. It is rather malty, and this is a good skin-scent. I eventually realise it that what it actually reminds me of is Hermes Eau des Merveilles and faint clean away at my desk. Stunned doesn't even begin to cover it. I KNOW.
The Celeb: Big Brother. Racism. Cancer. You know the one. Died. Made a surprisingly good fragrance – not a lot of people know that.
[chapter]Day Four : Katie Price[/chapter]
Day Four: I'm going to be … Katie Price: Kissable.
The Fragrance: Confession time – I was actually invited to the launch of this fragrance, and I was super-excited about it. I called in a few fragrance professionals who owe me a favour, and we came up with a massive list of questions for Katie, amongst other things we were wondering how the current IFRA regulations were affecting her career as a perfumer. Sadly, it turned out I was only invited to the after-launch party, and by the time Katie arrived she didn't want to talk about the perfume at all, so we had a nice little chat about central heating (she likes it, who would have thought?), and that was that. Still, there were some nice crisps in the goody bag, and I get to say I've partied with Katie Price. Here's a picture:
All of this is my roundabout way of saying that I can't remember what this fragrance smells like. I started forgetting smelling it even whilst I was actually smelling it, and that sensation hasn't gone away. Too paraphrase a couple of my beauty blogger friends: it's a bit musky, nice for the evening. It's not terrible, just forgettable. Katie gets nice crisps for parties though, bless her.
The Celeb: Katie Price. Boyfriends, babies and boobs. Very fond of central heating, and that's a Basenotes exclusive, people!
[chapter]Day Five : Elizabeth Taylor[/chapter]
Day Five: I'm Going to Be … Elizabeth Taylor: White Diamonds.
The Packaging: Uninspiring box containing a columnar bottle complete with “diamond” collar around the lid. Luckily, it's fairly easy to figure out how to open this one, and I don't end up spraying “diamonds” all over the bedroom.
The Fragrance: I'm cheating again with something I already own. I don't think any perfume collection is complete without a bottle of White Diamonds, and certainly no celebrity fragrance piece is complete without a mention of what is widely considered to be the original (blockbuster) celebrity scent. The main impression you get from White Diamonds is powder. Baby powder, talcum powder, and any other powder you care to mention (with the possible exception of Columbian Marching, as I don't actually know what that smells like). Did I mention that it's a bit powdery? It's a rather lovely reassuring thing though, like a hug from a distant aunty who's wearing a big fur coat that is tickling your nose. Smelling White Diamonds these days is a bit like holding in a sneeze, but enjoyable all the same.
The Celeb: Are you kidding? LIZ TAYLOR, dudes.
[chapter]Day Six : JLS[/chapter]
Day Six: I'm going to be … JLS: Love.
The Packaging: A box adorned with the faces of the boys (my box is signed, whee!), containing what appears to be a pink metal robot deodorant. It has a pleasingly magnetic lid, and I waste several precious seconds putting the lid on incorrectly just to watch it spin around into the correct position. I'm easily pleased, what can I say?
The “fragrance”: Oh dear. It smells exactly like I thought it would, pink. All stewed fruit, candy floss and cynical marketing meetings. I am unimpressed. Completely. And to think I picked JLS over One Direction so I couldn't get death threats from their totally insane fans.
The Celeb: JLS are apparently not the same thing as One Direction. They are, however a now-defunct popular beat combo, m'lud. Turns out, even though I'm a devout (devout!) X Factor viewer, I couldn't pick any of these boys out of a police line up.
[chapter]Day Seven : Rhianna[/chapter]
Day Seven: I'm going to be … Rhianna: Reb'l Fleur
The Packaging: An inverted stiletto heel, wrapped in leather and gold twine. Rather pretty, really, even as its quite fiddly to keep a hold of. The missing e in Rebel makes me rather angry. Rebelling against grammar and spelling, Rhianna? Oh, how … r'b'llious.
The fragrance: It's not horrible. It's meant to contain hibiscus, and coconut, and a slightly confused PR once tried to convince me that it also contained “melange” as a note, but as I think that just means mixture, I suspect this is meant to smell vagely tropical. It just smells a bit … pleasant. You know, inoffensive, a bit flowery. Waste of a perfectly good apostrophe, if you ask me.
The Celeb: Another singer. Likes a nice brolly. Occasionally turns up as a guest on the X Factor wearing only her underwear. Red hair. I'm running out of celebrity fun facts, I'm sorry.
Well, it turns out that not all celebrity fragrances are trying to be poundshop versions of Angel, what a nice surprise! However, those that are trying to be Angel aren't actually good enough for the poundshop.
As an indicator, if the fragrance has the face of the celebrity on the box, the worse the scent it contains, at least in my experience.
The biggest surprise for me was Jade Goody's Shh … it's either very good, or I'm finally acclimatising to dreck ...