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Fragrances that have taken me by surprise

When celebrity fragrances first became a thing I didn't have anything against them at all, in fact as a perfume addict I had several of them that I really liked. I believe Britney Spears was one of the first celebrities to release a fragrance and I had several different versions of Fantasy. Over time more and more 'celebrities' released their own fragrances and by the time we got to somebody who came 5th in Big brother I'd lost interest. Bottles/packaging got cheaper and tackier looking and I decided that was probably the end of celebrity fragrances for me.

When I was contacted by Hayley from Thirty Plus asking if I'd like to try out Michael Bublé's debut fragrance my first thought was to turn down the opportunity. For one, it was a celebrity fragrance (although good old Bublé I would definitely class as a full on celebrity) and two he's a male doing a female fragrance. Female celebrities doing female fragrances, fair enough, but male celebrities doing female frangrances doesn't sit well with me. I was really disappointed when I saw that One Direction were releasing a (cheap and cheerful) make-up range. The only reason I could see for doing it was to cash-in on their young fans who would buy anything with 1D on. However, I saw that it was described as a fine fragrance and had a price-point to match and I decided to give it a try.

Michael Buble By Invitation & Monsoon Rose Gold
Michael Buble By Invitation & Monsoon Rose Gold

Another type of fragrance I've always been unsure of is the ones released by high street shops such as Next or Topshop. A couple of clothes shops, namely H&M and Topshop, have managed to pull of very good make-up lines, but fragrance is another thing and I don't think I've ever smelt one I particularly liked. A few months ago I was offered the opportunity to try a fragrance from Monsoon and it was actually my Monsoon eBay habit several years ago that made me give it a chance. I went through a stage of loving Monsoon's gorgeous skirts but not wanting to pay Monsoon's prices. So whenever I spotted a skirt I loved I headed to eBay and would usually find it on there for much cheaper. I kept hold of them for years, although I'm not sure I have any of them left now due to space reasons, so I wanted to see what their perfume was like. 

Michael Buble By Invitation & Monsoon Rose Gold

When I first pulled By Invitation* out of the envelope I was surprised by the size of the box and then the bottle, but this is the 100ml size. The bottle itself is probably one of the most unique bottles I've seen while still actually looking like a bottle. The packaging is gold and has a 'frame' that the bottle is suspended inside. It has a lid with what looks like a fairground shooting stall target on it (which I've just realised is supposed to look like a traditional atomiser) that pulls off to reveal the spray dispenser. It's quite a large, heavy bottle but the design does mean it might be quite easy to knock over if you bump into it. 

By Invitation is described as a crisp, floral, Oriental fragrance. It has top notes of red fruits and bergamot with heart notes of lilly of the valley, elegant rose, wild jasmine and spicy peony and base notes of sandlewood-musks and vanilla praline. This is quite a strong fragrance that I can still smell on myself a couple of hours after applying and that lasts really well. It's quite a floral scent to begin with and I thought it settles down to an almost spicy based scent but I think I'm misinterpreting what is actually an oriental scent as described. It's possibly not quite my kind of scent, I can't quite make up my mind about it, but I can appreciate that it is a high quality fragrance. 

As I said this is classed as a fine fragrance and definitely has a price point to reflect that with the largest bottle costing around the same as a small bottle from a traditional high-end brand. Prices range from £29 for 30ml up to £55 for the 100ml. 

Michael Buble By Invitation & Monsoon Rose Gold

Monsoon appear to have jumped on the rose gold bandwagon by not only going for a white box with rose gold writing and accents but have also called the fragrance itself Rose Gold*. To get the bottle out of the box you just pull the top of the box and the lid slides off. However, this does mean if you do forget that and go to pick up the box from the top rather than just open it you might end up dropping the bottle. The bottle is pretty enough but not the best I've seen and I tend to store it in the box because I find that slightly more attractive for display purposes.

When it comes to notes this one starts off with top notes of sparkling lemon, soft fruits and ozonic scents. I did have to look that last one up and it means 'aquatic' or 'watery'; meaning it has a sea-like or fresh citrus effect. These are layered over velvety rose, tuberose, neroli and cyclamen and base notes of Eastern woods, vanilla, mosses, musk and balsamic amber. I actually thought that perfumes only tend to have three scents to each layer, so this one is quite jam-packed. I don't think this is quite as strong as By Invitation but it does last well and this one is a sweeter scent with a musky base. Again I'm not entirely sure this one is quite me, but I do find myself reaching for it here and there.

I was surprised to find that the 30ml size I have here is £24 and the 100ml £35. For a fragrance from a high street retailer I'd expect to pay a little less than that and I'm not sure I'd pay that much for it myself.

You can find Rose Gold in Monsoon stores or online and By Invitation on the dedicated website.

Are you a fan of celebrity or high street store fragrances?

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*PR sample

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  1. There are some really beautiful fragrances from Next! I know my mum absolutely loves them! Xx

    1. Actually I think I have a sample of one from Next somewhere. I'll have to hunt it out and give it a try x


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