The Fragrance Shop Discovery Club Spring 2016

26 March 2016

The Fragrance Shop Discovery Club Spring 2016

The Discovery Club from high-street favourite, The Fragrance Shop is a quarterly subscription box which offers the chance to try out seasonal perfume releases in the comfort of your own home. Gone is the need to pile 50 different fragrances onto your wrist in the department store perfume hall and make rash decisions. You can wear the scents for a couple of days, take your time and use the vouchers included against a full size bottle of your favourite if you wish.

The best thing about the box? It's only £5 per season. For the price of a Starbucks, you get to try a couple of scents that are also great for travelling or throwing into your handbag. Last month, I reviewed my first box, The Classics Collection, which you can read here. This month saw the release of the Spring 2016 box, which contains 7 different fragrances. There are 4 female and 3 male, which disappointingly is a bit of a step down from the last box, which included 6 women's perfumes. Nevertheless, the inclusions were some that I was eager to try, so I didn't mind too much.

The Fragrance Shop Discovery Club Spring 2016

Again I'll only really be covering the female scents here (although you might see a post on some masculine scents soon), but the male ones included in the box are Loewe AnĂ³nimo and Givenchy Gentlemen Only, as well as a bonus blister sachet of Gentlemen Only Parisian Break. In comparison to the last box, these are a bit less well known and is a great way for the men in your life to try something they wouldn't usually choose.The female scents included in the Spring 2016 box are Prada Candy Kiss, Dolce & Gabbana Dolce Rosa Excelsa, Loewe Aura Loewe Floral and Gucci Bamboo.

The Fragrance Shop Discovery Club Spring 2016

The first scent that I tried was Prada Candy Kiss, the latest in the popular range of gourmand fragrances. Whilst I haven't tried the original Prada Candy, I really enjoyed Candy Florale so I was intrigued to see whether I liked this just as much. The idea of this fragrance is based on creating a loop of sensations out of a single signature note wrapped around the body. In this case, that single note in musk, being featured in the top, heart and base notes. 

Prada Candy Kiss opens with a sharp perfumed note, similar to one of the old fashioned perfumes that I can't place. It softens slightly to reveal a clean cotton note. A hazy wisp of orange blossom emerges through the cotton, like a white dress drying on the line. Vanilla appears, partnered with musk. In this case, the vanilla musk combination is very clean and innocent. The orange blossom adds femininity. It's a kiss on a bare shoulder, peeking from a floaty white dress in the early summer breeze. 

This scent is gentle and comforting with a lazy Sunday vibe, best suited to the daytime. I'd wear this for afternoon tea or alfresco dining. Candy Kiss is sweet, but not overly sugary like the original Candy. I really enjoy a subtle floral vanilla scent for everyday wear, and this reminds me of a more sophisticated version of a Natural Collection vanilla body spray I used be obsessed with, as well as M&S Autograph Inspire. It isn't groundbreaking stuff, but it is pretty enough to become a signature. I'd be pretty chuffed if someone smelt this combination and thought of me.

Prada Candy Kiss

Eau de Parfum
Price: from £46 for 30ml
Launched: 2016
Creator: Daniela Andrier

Top notes: White cotton
Heart: Orange Blossom 
Base notes: Vanilla, musk

The Fragrance Shop Discovery Club Spring 2016

Dolce Rosa Excelsa by Dolce & Gabbana was next. It is a flanker of Dolce and Floral Drops, which I've never felt compelled to buy as I found them both a bit dull. The scent is based around rose, an ancient symbol of love, beauty and romance, and a motif used extensively throughout the designer's runway collections. 

The fragrance opens as a clean, perfumed white floral. Initially it comes across as quite a mature scent, being a heavy floral with slight citrus nuances and a creamy undertone. Given that rose is central to the perfume's design, it does not appear eager to reveal its identity. The fragrance soon mellows out, skipping the heart notes completely to become a generic musky floral.

This definitely was not my favourite scent as it was too strong at first and in all honesty I found it lacking in character. It is by no means a memorable scent, and not unique enough to become a signature. I won't be wearing this one again as the sandalwood, cashmere wood and musk base grew sickly on my skin. It might suit someone more mature, but personally I just wanted to scrub it off.

Dolce & Gabbana Dolce Rosa Excelsa

Eau de Parfum
Price: from £48.50 for 30ml
Launched: 2016
Creator: Daniela (Roche) Andrier.

Top notes: Papaya Blossom, Neroli
Heart: Rose, Amaryllis, Narcissus, Water Lily
Base notes: Musk, Cashmere Wood, Sandalwood

The Fragrance Shop Discovery Club Spring 2016

Loewe was the one brand out of the box that I had not heard of before. It is Spanish luxury house of excellence, with its scents inspired by the magnetism of their muses. Loewe Aura Loewe Floral is a flanker of the 2013 release Aura, a peppered rose scent. The shared note? Leather, due to the fact that the brand also produces a line of handbags. I personally adore a sensual leather note, there is something about it that works extremely well on my skin. 

The opening is very similar to that of Chanel Coco Mademoiselle and Lancome's La Vie Est Belle, the latter of which I disliked. It is a very sweet and bold fragrance, one that is well blended to create an overall accord rather than having its individual notes easily distinguishable. The vanilla is powerful, and dominates the florals, which saunter in the background. Violet complements the leather well, which begins to creep to the surface as the scent warms on the skin. The leather adds a comforting note to the fragrance, a safety net for my nose amongst the sweetness.

Aura Loewe Floral is nice if you don't own any of the similar fragrances, but it isn't unique enough for it to be a necessity in your stash. It comes as no surprise that the highlight of the scent for me was the leather, which is fast becoming a favourite note. I'll be passing this on to my mum who likes her perfumes sweet, and does not own Coco Mademoiselle or La Vie Est Belle. 

Loewe Aura Loewe Floral 

Eau de Parfum
Price: from £53.50 for 40ml
Launched: 2016

Top notes: Carrot seed, Bergamot, Lemon, Green notes
Heart: Orange Blossom, Jasmine, Rose, Violet
Base notes: Leather, Musk, Patchouli, Vanilla

The Fragrance Shop Discovery Club Spring 2016

Finally we have Gucci Bamboo, which was actually launched back in Spring 2015. Named after their existing accessory collection, the fragrance represents the diversity of the modern woman's personality. She is confident and feminine, intense, graceful and gentle. Interestingly, this is one of the only scents available in the UK as a purse spray, a trend I am very much behind.

Gucci Bamboo opens with the sharp combination of citrus, ylang-ylang and lily. The florals are raw and true-to-life, with the fragrance appearing cool and fresh. A departure from the other scents in the Spring 2016 box, Bamboo is by no means sweet. The orange blossoms offers salvation, its nectar trying to peek through and and balance the fragrance before it transcends into the base. The bitterness is mellowed out with the addition of sandalwood, and it is at this point where it really becomes the fragrance I imagined Gucci Bamboo to be. Calming, balanced, soft and grounding - a pretty white floral with a fresh outlook.

Best suited to summer, this fresh scent holds a similar concept to Elizabeth Arden/The Body Shop's Green Tea ranges. Neither a love nor a hate, it is one that I will need some more time to figure out. Whilst I loved the drydown, it did turn slightly metallic on my skin, and I didn't overly enjoy the opening.

Gucci Gucci Bamboo

Eau de Parfum
Price: from £48.50 for 30ml
Launched: 2016

Top notes: Bergamot
Heart: Orange Blossom, Ylang-ylang, Casablanca Lily
Base notes: Tahitian Vanilla, Sandalwood, Amber

Overall, I think my favourite in the box was Prada Candy Kiss. I'll also be throwing Gucci Bamboo into my daily rotation of scents to see how I feel about it. Whilst I didn't dislike Loewe Aura Floral, it is too similar to Coco Mademoiselle in my opinion so doesn't really have a place in my collection. The biggest disappointment by far was Dolce Rosa Excelsa. It felt too mature and heavy for a scent geared towards spring.

I didn't enjoy the Spring 2016 box as much as I did the Classics Collection as I only really liked two of the fragrances, and I found the scents on the whole to be very unremarkable. I was surprised to see the inclusion of Loewe, as it isn't so much of a mainstream brand, and although I didn't love the scent, it was great to be able to try a new brand. I was disappointed by only having four female fragrances. It was also disappointing that one of the male scents was a blister pack, meaning you could only try it once. 

Of course scent is very much about personal preference, and I do still think at £5 you are getting a lot for your money. There are vouchers included for £5 off a full size, so if you do decide you like the scents, you essentially make your money back. I'm really looking forward to seeing what the summer box will have to offer. Sign up to The Discovery Club here

What do you think of a perfume subscription box?


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