As a die hard perfume nerd it is often too easy for one to focus on all that is good in the world of perfumery. That may sound like it goes without saying but what I mean specifically is that one can fall in to the trap of only celebrating that which is considered to be the finest examples of the art we adore so much. Of course this is no bad thing in itself, quality, artistry, and beauty must be celebrated, however when doing so it is far too easy for one to overlook those perfumes that are, shall we say ‘a little rough around the edges’. The ugly ducklings if you will.
Personally, I adore an ugly duckling. Yes I also adore my Amouages, exclusive Guerlains and Maison Francis Kurkdjian scents but my guilty pleasures cannot be ignored. To my nose there is nothing more pleasing than a brash, cheap and trashy fragrance. That said, there is a fine line between the fun & trashy and the downright vulgar, in the context of celebrity it’s the difference between Lady Gaga (good vulgar) and Paris Hilton (bad, just bad).
If you’re looking for that fun, fancy-free, brazen and downright ridiculous over-the-top cheap scent then look no further than this guide, because I adore cheap trash and nothing pleases me more than sharing my favourite examples of tacky fragrant vulgarity with you.
Juicy Couture Eau de Parfum isn’t a trashy as the brand and bottle would suggest. In fact it’s fairly amicable in comparison. I’d classify it as a ditzy tuberose due to the fact that it showcases an airy, almost fizzy and dewy tuberose note that isn’t as heavy and narcotic as it can be (it is coloured baby pink as opposed to crimson or purple).
The vivacious tuberose is laid over a base of creme brûlée and vanilla that frankly verges on tacky but the transparency of the floral and citrus notes allow for something that is both cheap and nicely done. Juicy Couture is the type of fragrance that one should wear on those days when one is feeling mischievous and fancy free. It’s not a scent for dressing up, it is one for dressing down. Pink velour Juicy Couture tracksuit bottoms bedazzled with the words; ‘Juicy’ or ‘Princess’ are optional.
Perhaps one of the most vulgar scent, and one of my biggest personal guilty pleasures, comes from none other than the Princess of Cheap Trash – Britney Spears. Fantasy is not a fragrance that is well-loved amongst perfume nerds, it is a fruity floral after all, and despite the fact that is is tooth-rottingly sweet, it is one of the best interpretations of a fruity cupcake scent there is.
Opening on sweet, aqeous lychee, Fantasy quickly develops into a whole heap of tween gourmand notes; white chocolate, cupcake and edible white flowers, to name just a few. It smells as tacky as the green swarovski bespeckled pink bottle looks and for me is reminscent of those cupcake scented dolls that my sister had in ’90s (of course I played with them too). Absolutely fabulous stuff that one only dare ware in the comfort and privacy of one’s home.
Cacharel’s LouLou could be considered more cheap than it is trashy but it most definitely fits the bill in terms of brashness. Hailing straight from the loud and proud ’80s, LouLou is a heady concoction of syrupy flowers, crushed berries and powder. It’s as large as a house and conjures up the image of a woman who knowingly wears just that little bit too much, she is a woman that demands attention and to be remembered.
Another large rendition of cheap trash is Chopard’s Casmir. A perfume of excess that at the best of times feels indigestible but manages to have an enveloping warmth that never quite leads to nausea. Fruit and amber seem to add to the tastelessness of the fragrance rather than toning it down at all.
Despite its name there is nothing particularly exotic or silky about Casmir. It is relatively soft but the fact that it has the tenacity of a foghorn pushes it straight into the category of tat, wonderful, obnoxious tat. Which reminds me, at £13 for 30ml The Candy Perfume Boy has no excuse not to own a bottle.
I’ve come out of the closet as a Salvador Dalí fan recently and as I’m sure most of you are aware the fragrances bearing his name are anything but pricey. Most however, are relatively respectable in their behaviour, but there is one that ticks both the ‘Cheap’ and ‘Tacky’ boxes – Dalíssime.
Dalíssime takes the trashiest of all fruit – the peach, and blends it with the second trashiest – the apricot. The result is a syrup of calorie-filled fruit juice that would make your dentist blush. What saves it from being hideous is the addition of powder, which feels rather jagged and dusty as opposed to the finally milled quality most powdery perfumes have. This one should only be worn with fake nails and bad hair extensions.
My final foray into the world of tackiness is one of my all time favourites. It’s also a fragrance that in terms of cost, isn’t quite as cheap as the others. Gucci’s Rush is everything a cheap and tacky fragrance should be – a cacophonous din of PVC, poppers, hairspray, plastic flowers, patchouli and musk.
The only thing that matches its extraordinary scent is its silage. As far as this Perfume Nerd is aware it is the only perfume that can be smelled from space – there are literally Astronauts residing within the International Space Station terrified of cracking open a window, not just because the lack of pressure would make their heads explode, but also because the smell of Rush would be stronger.
Rush is the perfect clubbing fragrance. It shouts louder than any of the other smells you will encounter and us guaranteed to get you noticed. Personally I feel it is best worn on the most inappropriate of occasions; weddings, bar mitvahs and job interviews…
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Image 1 perth-style.com. Image 2 catalog.sears.ca. Image 3 the hut.pantherssl.com. Image 4 static.mercadoshops.com. Image 5 media.douglas.de. Image 6 shop.salvador-dali.org. Image 7 evoria.com.