A New Kind of Bag Envy – Marc Jacobs Decadence Perfume Review


If you’ve ever thought that the plastic flowers that adorn the bottles of Marc Jacobs’ popular fragrances Daisy, Lola and Dot were more than slightly OTT, you may want to turn away for the rest of this review. With his latest feminine fragrance, entitled ‘Decadence‘, Jacobs has pulled out all of the bottle design stops and has fashioned a flacon that resembles one of the designer’s much sought after handbags, capturing the familiar shape of his bags. After all, what is the ultimate accessory next to fragrance? Here the designer bag and the designer scent combine to create something that will have the eyes of many fashion fans bulging and their mouths shouting “gimme”! As the press release says, it’s “the ultimate statement maker”, and a statement it certainly makes.

Decadence, the fragrance, was composed by Annie Buzantian (Puredistance I & Marc Jacobs Dot) and is billed as something “glamorous and indulgent” and “impulsively luxurious”. The whole thing seems aimed at a more serious audience and isn’t as youth-courting as Jacobs’ earlier fragrances. In an industry where only the young matter, it’s good to see something that isn’t aimed at tweens, but Decadence is far from mature and appears to simply offer an alternative to the wishy washy bottles of clean florals that saturate the market. But just how decadent is it?

A New Kind of Bag Envy
A New Kind of Bag Envy

The Notes

Top: Italian Plum, Iris and Saffron
Heart: Bulgarian Rose, Jasmine Sambac and Orris
Base: Liquid Amber, Vetiver and Papyrus Woods

How Does it Smell?

Decadence starts with a plum note that is tart, dewy and just a little bit gluey. The whole thing is big, fruity and purple – so very purple. In the initial moments Decadence feels at its most decadent. Quickly the iris comes through in a cloud of makeup powder, all rouge and soft like fluffy feather pillows. It stays like this, in fact, for quite a long time, holding strong as a plummy powder that is warm, velvety and fruity. Every now and then, a touch of rose water rears up, accenting the overt fruitiness and adding yet more warmth. It also plays nicely into the velvety texture of the scent, bringing to mind the image of burgundy roses made from felt. Where the opening holds promise, the rest of Decadence’s development doesn’t do much of anything at all. The fruit effect softens, as does the powder, making way for a cedar wood heavy dry down that flirts with laundry musks and ever-so-slight hint of salty amber.

Decadence is probably my favourite thing Jacobs has done for women (with Bang being my favourite for men, and just general all-round fave from Jacobs so far), but it is by no means a masterpiece. It could do with being a little bit more present and a little less one-note and it does feel like a good idea that hasn’t been fully fleshed out. I enjoy the clash of dewy fruits and makeup powder, but the scent isn’t thick enough to feel truly decadent, instead it comes across as simply pleasurable as opposed to excessive or indulgent. Still, it definitely has more body than Daisy et al and could mark a move towards compositions with a bit more character. In summary, Decadence doesn’t set my heart ablaze with passion, but the punch it packs is promising for future exploits from the house of Jacobs.


Decadence is available in 30ml (£49), 50ml (£69) and 100ml (£96) Eau de Parfum.

Sample, image one, notes and quotes via Marc Jacobs. Image two is my own.