So I am absolutely obsessed with perfumes. I could hang around the fragrance counters in a department store all day sniffing away at everything. I am fascinated by how they work, and the evocative power of scent. But of course, fragrance is best experienced on the skin, so I decided I would start buying fragrance discovery sets to try out as many new scents as I possibly can, without buying full sizes (my bank account is grateful!). And then, I thought I’d share my thoughts on each of the fragrances I try, because why not? I have a pretty sensitive nose so hopefully my insights will be helpful! The first discovery set I decided to try was the Replica by Maison Margiela Memory Box* – a collection of Eau de Toilettes inspired by beautiful memories. This set* contains 10 scents in 2ml bottles, and costs £33. So without any further chit chat, let me get into the reviews!
Oh my. This scent. Not to sound dramatic but when I first sprayed this on I was stood there smelling it for at least five full minutes. It is utterly enchanting. I thought it would be a sort of standard fresh smelling fragrance, but it is nothing of the sort. A sparkling, bright warmth evokes the beauty of sand in the sunshine, light glittering and heat radiating from the grains, cut through by the fresh sea breeze. It is so delicate and elegant, with fresh notes of lemon and bergamot combined with dynamic pink pepper and rich, warm coconut. This is sunshine distilled into a perfume, and the beautiful balance between warm and fresh means it really does conjure the sense of a walk along a pristine beach.
This fragrance is one of the softest, creamiest and most comforting scents I have ever smelled. I was expecting it to have the somewhat unpleasantly acrid ‘fake coffee’ smell that coffee scented cosmetics and candles can sometimes have, but it’s absolutely nothing like that at all. It’s smooth, rich and warm, and has a spiciness that reminds me of the perfumes my granny used to wear – she was a woman of truly impeccable taste and style, so believe me when I say that’s honestly the highest compliment I can give to a perfume. The notes in this are so unusual compared to what I’m used to in fragrances – milk mousse, red apple, spearmint and lemon are combined with coffee, lavender, sandalwood and orange blossom to create a scent that is almost marshmallowy in it’s softness, yet somehow light and almost a little bit fresh.
This lovely fragrance conveys the joy of spring in such a beautifully balanced way. Spring flowers are powdery, sweet and sometimes musky, and this can be overpowering in my opinion, if the fragrance is formulated without subtlety. There’s no trace of that here though, this perfume is handled magnificently. Powdery sweet blooms of lily of the valley and Damask rose are tempered with crisp, slightly aromatic notes of sweet pear, bergamot and tart blackcurrant, creating an incredibly vivid sense of leaning over to inhale the fragrance of a spring flower, while the brisk spring air breezes all around. Musk and vanilla base notes ensure this fragrance stays with you long after the first spritz, like the memory of those delicate spring blossoms resting on your mind.
Eeek I really don’t want to say what I have to say here. I hated it. To me it just smelled of toilet cleaner. I am SO curious to know what it smells like on other people, because there is simply no way that it smells like that on the people who tested it! I need to find someone else to spray it on. It is supposed to smell soapy and powdery, which it definitely does, but clearly something wasn’t working with my skin chemistry!
A beautiful, evocative scent, with crisply woody and subtly spicy notes. I adore autumn, and this perfume is the perfect encapsulation of a romantic autumn afternoon outdoors. Notes like aromatic carrot seed, nutmeg, cardamon and moss conjure the feeling of walking through an auburn toned woodland, red leaves rustling as they tumble down from the moss-covered trees on a fresh, crisp breeze. I wish I could say more about this one, but its rather straightforward in its autumnal loveliness.
This is a stunningly fresh, aromatic scent, beautifully capturing the sensorial delight of walking in a citrus grove. Kalamansi lime provides the intensely layered citrus scent, while cardamom, cedarwood, coriander and cistus emulate the heady fragrance of sun-warmed tree bark, and green tea evokes breeze-ruffled leaves. Unfortunately, this fragrance faded almost immediately on my skin, which was a real shame because I adored it! (Update; I recently bought Fresh Beauty’s absolutely gorgeous Sugar Lemon Body Wash and the combination of that with the fragrance seemed to help the fragrance to last longer! Results may vary, but if you end up loving the scent as much as I did but suffer with the same problem, it might help!)
This is another fragrance that really surprised me. I’m not sure what I was expecting but this wasn’t it! You know when you’ve been sitting next to an open wood fire all evening, and when you leave, your clothes and hair are coated in that unmistakable smell of burning wood? This fragrance has taken that scent, removed the acrid, cloying, burnt part of it, and distilled it into this incredibly elegant, woody fragrance that instantly conjures images of a roaring wood fire. Gaiic wood oil is the hero here, its smouldering, tobaccoesque notes are responsible for that incredible fireside dimension, while spices like pink pepper, vanilla and clove round it out it by giving it a warm, rich heart. Orange flower petals provide an ethereally elegant top note, elevating and opening up the perfume, while chestnut provides a nutty sweetness. Honestly I think this is a masterpiece.
This fragrance has a strong sense of traditional aftershave to me, which is something I don’t like for myself, but I think I would really enjoy it on someone who suits aftershave. Aquatic notes, juniper and seaweed conjure the scent of the sea, while coriander, iris and ambergris provide balance with a warm richness. Even though I don’t think I’ll wear it, I think it’s brilliant, and the story of this one is really well formulated – sitting back a boat surrounded by the sparkling ocean, the warmth of the sun beating down on the deck, it’s a really pleasing, well executed concept.
Smooth, sweet and completely enchanting, I absolutely loved the rich spicy depth of this fragrance. It really does evoke the intimate atmosphere of a darkly lit jazz club, where time has no meaning and the air is electric yet relaxed at the same time. Capturing the senses with an opening of neroli and pink pepper, the fragrance warms into rum, sage, tobacco and vanilla. It is deeply aromatic and irresistibly alluring, definitely something to wear when you want to imbue yourself with a quiet sensuality, powerful, confident yet understated.
It’s quite an esoteric concept to distil into a perfume, but Replica have succeeded amazingly in creating a scent that really does conjure the sense of a slow, relaxing start to a day. Gentle, delicate, airy notes like pear, ambrette and lily of the valley create a tranquil, calm feeling, while fresh sweet florals provide a warm, bright aspect – like soft sunlight and a gentle breeze wafting through an open window. It is such a perfectly peaceful scent, I absolutely adore this one and cannot get enough, it leaves me feeling optimistic, inspired and so wonderfully uplifted.
I hope I’ve piqued your curiosity about Replica’s fragrances, I am certainly beyond impressed with them, even the ones I didn’t like I can really appreciate the artistry behind them. I just need to decide which one I’m finally going to purchase! Each fragrance is linked above, but here* is a link to the Discovery Set, so you can experience them for yourself.