Superfan of thebeautyagenteurs, Deborah Parrott goes undercover as a ‘blind tester’ for Escentual.com to reveal a fun fragrance experience that made lockdown smell a whole load sweeter. Here’s what she had to say…
As a former purveyor of pong (I was made redundant from my longtime job in beauty sometime ago), I had almost forgotten the buzz of smelling a new scent for the first time at launch meetings and events. And of course I can’t even go to my local store now to mooch around and have a spritz or two to see what takes my fancy. There’s something thrilling about sniffing out all the fragrances notes and waiting to discover what it smelt like after 20 minutes and was it still as gorgeous an hour later.
So imagine my excitement when the intriguing white box from Escentuals.com dropped through my letterbox inviting me to be part of a new interactive fragrance experience. I was still none the wiser as to what was to unfold – all I knew was that the box contained fragrance vials of 8 unmarked “green scent” fragrances ready for a “blind” sniff test.
In the box was an invitation to join in on January’s “Perfume Blind Trial” and an exclusive Facebook group. The group is only open to participants of the boxes. An email was sent to me explaining a bit more and a few days later not having got round to opening the box I joined the Facebook group.
This was when the fun started. Here already were a group of highly engaged people all posting what they thought a particular scent smelt like, reminded them of, what notes were in it and the biggest prize was to accurately guess what the scent was. Now, with my 25+ years experience of a thousand or more of perfume launches I thought this is going to be a breeze with my sophisticated nose and insider knowledge I’m going to boss this! How wrong could I – be because without the trappings of the familiar bottle, the branding and the marketing speak, it was actually very difficult to correctly guess the scent or on some occasions what the ingredients were. It’s not surprising really, there are thousands of fragrances out there and even I had not smelt them all. The “green” fragrance family consists of fragrances made up of some key ingredients, citrus, woods, green leaves of flowers like violet and Iris, mosses and gum resin that adds freshness. A lot of green fragrances belong to the green fragrance family but there are some beautiful female fragrances too if which I was about to discover more. How good was it getting my thoughts posted and seeing what everyone else thought. Voting for our favourite before the “Reveal” Some of the impressions and descriptions from my fellow participants were alarming .. Engine Oil anyone?
The first scent in the box Scent “A” I guessed at as a Thierry Mugler Fragrance probably their newest launch “Aura” full of “green notes” pear and amber woods. I got told in no uncertain by a fellow sniffer that it was DEFINITELY NOT Aura as that was her favourite fragrance. I said I’d bow to her greater knowledge of that particular scent and wait for the “Reveal” sure enough at the reveal it was indeed Thierry Mugler Aura…1-0 to your learned friend! The rival sniffer and Aura lover couldn’t believe it and laughed that she had been so adamant. It was all a bit of a mixed bag from there on in I was quite good at guessing ingredients with one notable exception which I swore was a lavender-based men’s fragrances which turned out to be DSquared Woods which didn’t have a trace of lavender in the ingredient list.
The “Reveal” – each of the 8 fragrances were to be revealed in a Live Interactive Facebook video by Escentual’s resident fragrance expert Thomas Dunckly aka @thecandyperfumeboy. Two sessions lasting an hour 8pm on Thursday night 2 weeks apart. Each “Reveal” gave us gasping fragrance aficionados the much-anticipated name and perfume notes and insights all described entertainingly by Thomas of four of the scents. I couldn’t keep up fast enough with the comments that were coming in and putting in my own ooh aahs and REALLY’S all such good fun and a bit competitive. It was the best hour I’ve spent in some time and got my pulse racing – a perfect antidote to the monotony of Netflix lockdown.
And the icing on the cake was the rediscovery of Prada Infusion D’Iris that I’d worn to death back when it was launched in 2007 and had somehow forgotten it along the way – Why I asked myself as soon as the rush of Iris hit my nostrils. I purchased it with my ”Pretty Points” while I was on the Live reveal. Hello Old Friend.
Escentuals February “Perfume Blind Trial February Discovery Set” is available to pre-order until Monday 1st February (they have to be purchased in time to get it to you for the first reveal). The Fragrances in the February box will be from the “Chypre” fragrance family. Priced at £19.95 which can be put into a “Pretty Points” account and redeemed against any future purchase on Escentuals.com