Cheap Fragrances Review – Amazon Edition

Now that I’ve graduated school and have a job, you would think I would be less broke but that assumption is incorrect. Being a hedonist in a city is quite the balancing act, though I think I’ve been balancing it well, and my business school education definitely comes in handy when it comes to budgeting and restraint.

Because of my limited spending money, I think it’s worth taking the time to troll grey market sites and second-hand stores for gems. This time around, I stumbled around on Amazon and ended up picking out three that I thought would be diamonds in the rough.


Outremer/L’Aromarine Oceane – $24.95/100mL

This is the loudest marine I’ve ever come across. You can smell it from several feet away with one spray. It smells like skin after the beach has washed the sunscreen off, and only the faintest layer of salt-slicked lotion remains. Calone and a little citrus, a hit of sharp gardenia, and a slightly claggy feel similar to dried salt on skin. The floral and the salt linger beautifully after the initial sniff. It’s been a while since I’ve gotten that effect from a fragrance. It reminds me of my cousins’ perfumes, all late 80s/early 90s teens, and really straddles the feminine side of unisex for me. Much more floral than I’ve seen anyone mention, and while I understand the salt, it’s not the dirty, straight-forward ocean I’m still waiting for. The reminders are strong though, and this is definitely the closest I’ve gotten to the water. Falling Into the Sea is too fruity, like sitting at the bar on the beach with a daiquiri, and Every Storm a Serenade is like boarding a ship on the sea, not like the sea itself. (And every time I’ve tried to order a sample of Sel Marin, something happens, so I still don’t have a comparison there. I’ll try again soon.)

This will probably be an excellent alternative to Falling Into the Sea as my summer beach scent though, and I think it’ll hold up better.

The Perfumer’s Workshop Tea Rose – $12.49/ ~120mL

I just visited the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens recently and I can say from that experience that this really nails a realistic rose. It’s not very green or sweet; the stalks and leaves have definitely been cut, the petals all plucked and laid out, and no one’s added tonka or sugar to this. It smells like dried rose buds steeped and re-hydrated in some excellent olive oil with a velvety texture. It’s a little heady close up, and has a bit of sillage, even if overall it’s soft. As a side note, there’s a Japanese perfume candy that pushes a similar fragrance out of your skin if you eat enough of it. I’ve tried it before. It’s tasty, and it does work, though I had to eat four (serving size is two) for a skin scent.

It’s very true to form, and I like that a lot. See, a real rose doesn’t really smell bright and pretty like the extracts and abstracts do; it smells almost fecal, a little sour, and quite soft. Cue that old OutKast song, because they’re right. Tea Rose rounds out almost like the smell of clay, and the texture of the petals comes through.

Wear it of course, but also consider spraying your books and cushion-y furniture with it. Dissolving a bit of it into the bath. I think it works better as an ambiance than on a human.

Lucky Brand Lucky No. 6 – $8.49/ ~30mL

This is such an interesting oriental, as it’s light and refreshing, and reminiscent of the old ideas of a romantic East Asia, while most of the current orientals take influences from the Middle East and are generally much heavier.

Cherry blossom and peony, chrysanthemum tea, with an interesting anise-like whisper. It smells like a warm spring breeze, and calls to mind raining petal reuniting scenes in animes and Asian dramas where everyone’s either wearing school uniforms or cardigans and it’s been years and flash backs of laughing and hugging are running through people’s minds, etc. Number 6 is a good number in China, meaning harmony and generally predicting smooth and happy situations, especially in relationships, so for the most part the name makes sense. ZOMGSmells has a fragrance in a similar vein, influenced by a Korean perfume recipe, called Hyang-Su.

This is also probably about the amount of soapiness I can tolerate in a fragrance. I’ve had issues with soapiness before (the first of Ineke’s Alphabet selections were particularly notorious for soapiness: A, B, C) and I can certainly detect the soapiness in this one, but it doesn’t feel like I haven’t rinsed my hands well enough. I probably won’t wear this, but it’s a pretty bottle, and I’ll enjoy having it in my collection to offer newbies.

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