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Good-smelling cheapies are hard to find

Good-smelling cheapies are hard to find 9 years ago
Aromi's latest review of Paul Sebastian's "Casual for Men" made me think about cheapies.

I think cheap perfumes are a difficult topic. Most of them do not smell that good. There are exceptions but they are hard to find. While it is easy to get loads of opinions and recommendations about the latest Amouage or XerJoff perfumes, not all perfume lovers find the cheap perfumes even worth testing. Besides that, if you like a cheap perfume you may be asked to explain the reasons why.

So, let us start just this. What are the real gems among the very cheap perfumes? This list may not get too long, so do not just list your favorite cheapies, please also state why they are outstandingly good!
9 years ago
"King Solomon" by Kings & Queens

King Solomon is an aromatic woody fragrance. With a certain sweetish appeal, it fits into the scheme of strong and nose-catching cheap gents' colognes as preferred by teenage boys. The special thing about it is the very attractive aromatic note in it. In the pyramids, this note is usually described as cedarwood and vetiver but I think it is not really that. It is something one has to smell at least once but then it is so characteristic that it is easy to discover when being used in a perfume.

There are not many perfumes where this note can be found, and they are all more expensive: "Le Vetiver – Itasca" by Lubin, Jasper Conran's "Mister" and to some extent maybe "Jewel for Him" by Micallef. The price for Jasper Conran's version of this theme (less sweet) has dropped, presumably due to discontinuation. I find cheap offers of Mister, but only on UK sites.

King Solomon is still listed on the brand's site, but it is hard to find. The aromatic main note is simply gorgeous. For the price of 10 to 20 €, I recommend a blind buy.

"J'S Exté Man"
This one was available two years ago for small money at Douglas. It is a classic woody-oriental with a dry, powdery character, some tonka and vanilla and a somewhat experimental use of kitchen herbs in the top. It is still available on the net. Maybe not quite a cheapie but it may fit in if you consider buying the smallest size of 25 ml for about 15 €.

What makes this fragrance worth mentioning here is that it comes quite close to some of the best and more acknowledged vanilla and tonka orientals. I would not say that I'd throw away Guerlain's Arsène Lupin Voyou or Cologne du 68 or Jicky for it, but the distance between those and J'S Exte Man is less than the price tags may indicate.

"Fougère", "Russisch Juchten" and "Sandelholz" by Harry Lehmann

Harry Lehmann is a phenomenon in today's perfume market. Located in a small shop in Berlin, this brand is maybe the only German perfume manufacturer from the 1920's still using the formulas of that time. Their Fougère is a classic one. I don't think it contains much more than lavender, moss and cumarin and with its somewhat acrid smell it is a good reference or to find out how fougères used to smell in that days. A bit difficult to wear but certainly worth putting a small bottle onto the shelf next to your "Fougère Royale", "Sartorial" or "MPH".

The same applies to their Russisch Juchten - just the old well-known Russian leather accord without any specific twist that might reflect a perfumer's artistic approach. It is good to have it so you can see the differences to the newer and more modern versions of this theme.

"Sandelholz" is just sandalwood: woody, powdery and a bit on the rosy side. I found it very uplifting.

Prices for Harry Lehmann perfumes are 5,50 € per 10 ml plus a few Euro for the bottle. (If you buy at the shop in Berlin, you can bring your own flacon.)
9 years ago
"Tabac Original"

I simply must add Tabac Original to this list but since my description has become a bit wordy, I have just posted it as a review.
9 years ago
I will add to your list...

Tommy Bahama, Set Sail St. Bart for men: I think this one is a hidden gem because it smells delish on the men I know that wear it! It transports me to the sea every time I smell it. A nice salty lime- very refreshing.

Tim McGraw Southern Blend: This one is surprisingly good. Like whiskey lite with a nice sweet tobacco added in. Not particularly long lasting, but for the price point you could definitely spray later in the day and not break the bank.

Antonio Banderas The Golden Secret: This is shockingly nice! A soft spicy leather scent. Perfect really for everyday since it's not cloyingly heavy like some spicy scents are. It gets compared to 1 million a lot, but personally I don't get the connection at all. 1 million is too heavy and in your face - this is not.
9 years ago
Calvin Klein Euphoria EDT - This is a pretty soft and sexy scent. Highly under-rated and is a compliment getter with the touch of champaca in it. Good for the office as it's not heavy handed in the flowers nor is it a sillage monster, but it does linger softly on the skin for hours.

Pamela Anderson's Malibu Nights - Champaca, cacao and a titch of salt. The pomegranate in it gives a bit of tartness. I love this perfume a lot. Another under-rated inexpensive scent that's worthy of a test for sure. I wear it year round - reminds me a lot of the beach.

24 Gold ScentStory - This is a oud I like because it's light enough not to over power the wonderful amber and vanilla in this little masterpiece. There's a bit of powder in the dry-down, but not so powdery that men would hate it. Definitely unisex. Definitely wonderful.
Great price.

I have to add Bvlgari Black. Just love this stuff. Such an interesting scent for an amazing price. It smells better on my husband than me. The vanilla and tea really blossom on his warmer skin.
9 years ago
I agree with Valandia on Tommy Bahama, Set Sail St. Bart for men.

Black Pearls by Elizabeth Taylor is a cheapie and lasts for a good 10 to 12 hours on me. A real warm drydown with the amber present. I have the vintage frosted bottle, not the clear.

I will be watching this thread, I'm sure there are many cheapies we don't know about.
9 years ago
Great topic!

Throughout the years, I have used, forgotten, and returned to Charlotte Russe' s (a teen clothing store brand) Refuge Nights perfume. It's such a cozy, luxurious type of scent for me during th winter. The vanilla, orchid, and rose blend so well together to create this feeling of warmth of a sweater or soft scarf wrapped around me. I had not used it for years, and then I received a bottle in a swap. I was worried I would find the scent synthetic or cheap after all this time, but it still smells just as lovely as I remember it.
9 years ago
Cincy:
I agree with Valandia on Tommy Bahama, Set Sail St. Bart for men. I will be watching this thread, I'm sure there are many cheapies we don't know about.

I've said this many times before so if l'm being a broken record, forgive me. I've always been surprised and impressed by the quality of the Tommy Bahama line. While it's not the sort of fragrance I choose to wear there is no denying that the company produces a well formulated, finely crafted line. Even the the bottle design shows attention to detail. Not only does it reflect the company's nautical theme but the convex shape of the back of the bottle (reminiscent of a billowing sail) fits nicely in the hand for spraying.

Apicius, you're the king of the cheapies. I always look forward to reading your reviews of inexpensive discoveries.
9 years ago
I don't think that a good fragrance is linked to a high(er) price.
There are loads of lovely cheapies out there, some of my favs are of East-European origin.

Take "Krasnaya Moskva" by Novaya Zarya from Moscow - if it's pure perfume, you're on a par with "L'Heure Bleue". And it will cost around 10 Euros.
"Pani Walewska Classic" is another example of a gorgeous cheapie (from Poland). Not in the least expensive.

But there are also many mainstream-brands which come up with good fragrances, Angel Schlesser's "Oriental II" smells like an expensive Rose-Aoud-combo .

Just today I'm wearing "Une rose chyprée" by Andy Tauer, not a "cheapie" in the real sense, of course, but the bottle I bought was small and not in the least as expensive as other niche-perfumes, whereas the quality I'm enjoying is fantastic.

"King Solomon" is really good, I absolutely agree, but alas, it has been discontinued. I grabbed my bottle for 9.90 two years ago - and it's nearly empty. "Sex-Appeal for men" by Jordan is even cheaper - and will also do the trick. It's a fragrance my husbands enjoys wearing from time to time- and he always gets complimented on it.
9 years ago
Gold:
Take "Krasnaya Moskva" by Novaya Zarya from Moscow - if it's pure perfume, you're on a par with "L'Heure Bleue". And it will cost around 10 Euros.
"Pani Walewska Classic" is another example of a gorgeous cheapie (from Poland). Not in the least expensive.

I hope that the classics from the former socialist countries will eventually find their way into the perfume shops outside Russia and the other Eastern countries. So far, I have been waiting in vain that my Polish relatives bring me a bottle of "Brutal Fresh" when they travel to Poland. What a name - I am curious!
A blind buy - "cheap" leap of faith 9 years ago
Cheapies - I will listen up. So, I ordered "Krasnaya Moskva" just now on Amazon. Not expensive at all, plus - open a store card and get $10. off immediately. I am curious about the "Russian Chanel No. 5" - the notes are to my liking.

It is supposed to be heavy but dries down mild, we shall see.

Yep, there may be some gems in those less familiar perfume countries, too.
9 years ago
All of mine are cheap, but one that can separate as salient among the cheapest (as I remember - about 15 €/100ml) is
''L'Atelier de Capucci pour Lui''
A very dark scent - dark not in the sense of somber or grim but deep and temperamental; woody, leathery and resinous. Interestingly, he was able to work with any other fragrance that I've tried layering; and although is quite potent - without striving for dominance, just as applying a layer with dark filter in Photoshop (and just like there - often makes the other colors stand out better).
9 years ago
Apicius:
So far, I have been waiting in vain that my Polish relatives bring me a bottle of "Brutal Fresh" when they travel to Poland. What a name - I am curious!

Dear Apicius,
we've got some "BRUTAL" at home, not the fresh version, though... - the regular one - and it is a herbaceous, barber-shop kind of scent - not as brutal as one would expect... I'll watch out for the "BRUTAL FRESH" thing next time I'll travel to Poland. I'm just as curious as you.
Re: A blind buy - "cheap" leap of faith 9 years ago
Pipette:
Cheapies - I will listen up. So, I ordered "Krasnaya Moskva" just now on Amazon. Not expensive at all, plus - open a store card and get $10. off immediately. I am curious about the "Russian Chanel No. 5" - the notes are to my liking.

It is supposed to be heavy but dries down mild, we shall see.

Yep, there may be some gems in those less familiar perfume countries, too.

Pipette, I can't wait for your opinion. Very Happy
9 years ago
I applaud this thread. Normally cheapies get too little love on parfumo because most people here are niche fans.

Thanks for all the great suggestions in this thread!
Perfume Oils 9 years ago
Well, when talking about inexpensive perfumes, let's not forget the perfume oils.

I have not tried out POSSETS, but tested a few of ALKEMIA.

There is a long topic over at Fragrantica where the members discuss at length the various ALKEMIA perfume oils. You may be able to use Google search and find that thread.

"Ambre III: Naiad" is very nice and spicy. I just ordered "L'Encens a la Vanille" to give the vanilla oil a sniff, after the very expensive "Tihota" was beautiful but over my budget.

Those oils come in 6 ml brown bottles and last forever because you use so little.
9 years ago
Today I received a fragrance for free!
Yves Rocher had an offer for Halloween, costumers could pick one product of their choice and add it to their basket as a gift, no matter the price and since I was just about to order some shampoo from their website, I grabbed the opportunity and chose "Comme und Evidence EdP Intense". The price normally is "only" 18 Euros. I hadn't tested it before, but in that case (without having to pay for it) - as a "blind order" and coming from Annick Ménardo, I thought "Why not, give it a try".
It arrived today and I think it's a fine low-key chypre with less sourness than the original (which I don't like at all) and a warmer note ("praliné") which gives it an approachable, friendly feel. Annick Ménardo, of course, is a master perfumer, she designed this "cheapie" and did a good job. So what's not to like?
Yves Rocher 9 years ago
There you go, Yves Rocher has several good perfumes.

I remember "Rose Absolue" when it was introduced and blind-bought the small version. Later, full bottle. One really good Rose scent.
9 years ago
I would add to this list:
1. "Ellen Tracy"-by Ellen Tracy (massive -well made bottle, gorgeous 3-season scent- very inexpensive).
2. "Bal de Clochettes"- by Berdoues (I've hear their whole line is really good for the price) and if you're a violet fan their "Violettes Divine" is apparently awesome.
3. "Les Senteurs Gourmandes Vanille Bourbon" Perfume- as well as 4. "Vanille Monoi", 5. "Tendre Madeleine" and 6. "Vanille Noir" by Laurence Dumont
9 years ago
Flavorite, you are right about Ellen Tracy. All of hers I own are wonderful scents. They are:
Ellen, Tracy, Pretty Petals, Bronze, and Ellen Tracy and can all be had for under 10 USD. The longevity is good, I find them all full-bodied and the bottles are rather nice, too. I've written reviews on them.

I think if you would like the notes on any of Elizabeth Taylor's perfumes, then any of hers are worth trying. I happen to love her perfumes for their diversity. All of them are so different from each other, but they are very strong and you get a lot for your money. Diamonds and Rubies(a nice hint of cinnamon) and Passion(I love the civet but there are so many notes to list) would be my two favorites of hers, running at around 10 USD apiece.

Avon's Timeless is also incredibly cheap but I'll always have a bottle of it. It's known as the poor woman's Chanel and it's an incredible perfume. The notes of vanilla, tonka bean, opoponax, musk,and patchouli in the base are absolutely delicious. You can get this for 7.50 USD on sale in the catalog.
9 years ago
Oh yes, I adore the 1992 Ellen Tracy. I was bidding on a perfume and won, Ellen Tracy was in the lot. I was very surprised by Ellen, I said to self..... self... you have a sleeper here. Smile
A nice little shop 9 years ago
I am not affiliated with SMALLFLOWERS but have shopped there. Especially about the VANILLE Eau de Toilette I have heard good comments.

There are quite a few (German) goodies in that shop. (Like "Badedas" gel and soap "FA".)
9 years ago
Not for me. I am so disappointed about "Krasnaya Moskva". I will not write a negative review at the perfume page because I don't have the polite words. (The last time when I ripped the "Black Afgano" at the German site, I ruffled too many feathers.) Maybe it is my nose, maybe it is the fact that it is not the extract.

It smells terribly old-fashioned. There is something heavy and grassy in it. Oakmoss is not listed, but seems to raise its head. I was never good at notes.

All I know is that it was a mistake. If I cannot jump up and down in happiness about a perfume, it has to go. Go it will and find a patron at the Public Library.

I got a pile of perfume oils at Alkemia and those are skin friendly, cuddly and cozy.

This here is some strange alien hovering grassy scent.
9 years ago
My favourite cheapies are :

"Vanille Noir" by Yves Rocher
"Strictly private" by Baldessarini
"Joop" by Joop!

I have smelled expensive juices that were just horrible (example : Clive Christian´s X Woman or the XerJoff Oud stars) and this made me realize that expensive scents are not automatically well-made or bearable for my nose.
9 years ago
I just picked up Realm Women and I find it quite enjoyable. The longevity of it is amazing. I wore it home, spritzed it on again when I came home, and when I awakened, I could still get the scent. Now that's amazing to me. It's a scent that is supposed to have pheromones and I had been comparing this one to the ones by Marilyn Miglin and I much prefer this one. There's a warm honey quality to it that is so endearing.
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