The Perfume Society Discovery Box

29 April 2016

The Perfume Society is an online-based mecca for fragrance lovers. There is everything, from perfume news and history, to specially curated sample boxes and FR.eD - the diagnostic tool that helps you select your next fragrance. There is tons to do on the site without paying a penny, however a £25 per year VIP (Very Important Perfumista) subscription gives you access to subscriber-only events, online issues of The Scented Letter (their magazine) and exclusive discounts on the Discovery Boxes.

As a keen fragrance fan, I had been looking at The Perfume Society for a while. One of the main things that sealed the deal when it came to subscribing was the Discovery Box, specially designed to introduce you to all of the major perfume genres. In the box there are 8 perfume samples (including 2 deluxe sample sizes), a Crabtree & Evelyn hand cream, informative postcards with all the info you'd need on each scent, a book of blotters and a Smelling Notes notepad to document your fragrance musings. There was a bit of a mishap with delivery and I ended up with two Discovery Boxes, so there will be one to give away to one lucky reader! Carry on reading for details on how to win.

I was particularly excited to try out the scents in the Discovery Box as I hadn't tried any of them with the exception of Chloé. In my previous fragrance box reviews, I have tested the scents on my skin, which I think gives a more subjective review. This time, I decided to make use of the blotters because I knew there were a lot of fragrances I wouldn't usually go for and I didn't want to have to keep scrubbing them off if I didn't like them. 


For women and men
Eau de Cologne
Price: from £65 for 50ml 
Launched: 2013


Top notes: juniper, cardamom
Heart notes: rose, black tea, Turkish rose absolute
Base notes: whisky, cade oil, cedar

The first scent I tried from the box was Atkinsons 24 Old Bond Street. I managed to misplace this one right before I took the photographs, so that's why there isn't a photo of this one! Atkinsons is a historic brand dating back to 1799, and has a flagship store at yes, you've guessed it, at 24 Old Bond Street. The brand has recently enjoyed a revival, bringing it slap bang into the 21st century. This unisex cologne is a nod to the first ever Atkinsons scent with a contemporary mix of black tea, juniper and rose with the warmth of smoky oak-cased whisky. 

The opening is fresh and spicy, with a prominent hit of gin-like juniper. Rose pays a fleeting visit and the juniper intensifies and turns slightly bitter, like grapefruit. Its bracing feel definitely echoes the English classic, gin and tonic. 24 Old Bond Street becomes warmer and more balanced as it dries down, and as it loses its juniper edge, the base becomes more feminine. I found this to be a very fresh scent, and one that could potentially be quite cooling in the balmy heat of the summer. I didn't overly enjoy this one, so probably won't end up using it myself. 


For women
Eau de Toilette
Price: from £12.99 for 30ml (via Fragrance Direct)
Launched: 1948
Creator: Francis Fabron


Top notes: peach, bergamot, neroli, aldehydes, Brazillian rosewood, rose, carnation
Heart notes: carnation, gardenia, rose, jasmine, ylang ylang, rosemary, violet, orchid, orris root, clove
Base notes: musk, sandalwood, iris, spices, amber, cedar, vetiver, benzoin, oakmoss

Nina Ricci L'air du Temps is one of those classic scents that I have heard so much about. The floral fragrance was created to signify Europe's newfound peace and harmony, something that is reflected in the design of the doves on the lid. Containing a mammoth 30 notes, this delicate, spicy scent has really stood the test of time. 

Despite containing a cacophony of notes, I struggled to pick out much individually. On first impressions, it smells very old fashioned. This could be down to the aldehydes, used in this case to create a champagne-like introduction to the scent. The freshness softens to reveal gentle florals, rose perhaps. The drydown is very feminine, however I don't think it'll be one to wear personally. I'll keep this one in my stash and revisit to see if my opinion changes later in time. 


For women
Eau de Parfum
Price: from £65 for 50ml
Launched: 2007
Creator: Lyn Harris


Top notes: red thyme oil, rosemary, clary sage, angelica
Heart notes: iris, narcissus, ambrette seed, rose
Base notes: vetiver, oakmoss, leather, patchouli, labdanum

Miller Harris Fleurs de Sel is a modern chypre fragrance inspired by the rugged landscapes of Batz sur Mer, a small village in Brittany where the creator spent some of his happiest times. The famous salt flats formed the idea for this fragrance, which blends earthy top notes and wild flowers at its heart. Traditional chypre elements of oakmoss, labdanum and patchouli act to create a lasting impression on the skin.

On first impressions, this smells very herbal, a musty green scent. There is an earthiness to the fragrance, something which gives it a "wet garden" feel. It is cool and spicy, with the salty tang of ambrette seed. It is a little confusing on the nose, masculine with a hint of the dentists. It doesn't remind me of France in any way, more of a mossy garden. Definitely not to my taste at all, but I am keen to smell some of the other Miller Harris scents as it is a modern British brand with a timeless philosophy. 


For women
Eau de Parfum
Price: from £37 for 30ml
Launched: 2013


Top notes: wild berries, mandarin, Mara strawberry
Heart notes: honeysuckle, gardenia petals, jasmine sambac
Base notes: amber, caramel, vanilla

Juicy Couture Viva La Juicy Noir is one of the most mainstream fragrances in the lineup. A bold floral fruity gourmand, this is the embodiment of the fun loving Viva muse who is always the life of the party. This scent takes the same caramel backbone of the original Viva La Juicy fragrance and gives it a mysterious edge, best suited for night time wear. This launched in 2013 during an influx in 'Noir' releases among the fragrance market.

Viva La Juicy Noir interlaces top notes of wild berry, mandarin and strawberry, with the berry being the dominant note. To me, the bomb-sized berry completely overpowers any florals, although Jasmine Sambac, gardenia and honeysuckle supposedly make an appearance. The base notes take the gourmand route, with caramel, vanilla.

To me, this is artificial berries and honey: bold, unapologetic and dare I say, obnoxious. There is nothing sophisticated or demure about the scent, but that is all part of its charm. Worn in small doses, this could be fun, but it is cloying, so not one for the office. The first time I tried this, I wore it out and actually enjoyed it, although it wasn't very "me". When I tried it on the blotter, one spray became unbelievably strong and overpowering, so much so that I had to move the blotter to another room!


For women
Eau de Parfum
Price: from £40 for 30ml
Launched: 2010
Creator: Anne Flipo, Béatrice Piquet and Dominque Ropion


Top notes: bitter orange, raspberry, neroli
Heart notes: Arabian jasmine, gardenia
Base notes: patchouli, amber, honey

I wasn't overly excited to try Paco Rabanne Lady Million as I tried Lady Million Oh My Gosh! in The Fragrance Shop Classic Box (read the post) and didn't really enjoy it, however I tried to go in with an open mind. Lady Million is the female version of the best selling male fragrance, 1 Million. It is a floriental, created with the notion: "design is not about seduction, it's about shock". It is described as being the nectar of oriental flowers, with sparkling fruity top notes, rich florals and a drizzle of honey over patchouli and amber. 

The note that jumps out to me immediately is the honey, a warm envelope over seductive jasmine notes. The harsh top notes mellow out slightly to reveal a softer hint of raspberry, and a feminine heart of gardenia. It is very seductive, exotic and bold - not for the faint hearted. It has similarities with Viva La Juicy Noir, in the way that it is very in your face and slightly cloying. It is an incredibly popular fragrance. I have a couple of friends that used to wear Lady Million on nights out, and I always remember not being the biggest fan. I think this scent could be nice in small doses, although I think a lot of people like to drown themselves in it. Trust me, one or two sprays is enough... 


Eau de Parfum
Price: from £47 for 30ml
Launched: 2008
Creator: Amandine Marie & Michel Almairac


Top notes: pink peony, freesia, lychee
Heart notes: magnolia flower, lily of the valley, rose
Base notes: cedarwood, amber, honey

Chloé Eau de Parfum is the one scent I am familiar with, after having had many samples over the last few years. Throughout that time, I have had a bit of a love-hate relationship with it (the 'hate' part being from when I got a bit spritz happy and couldn't get the smell out of my coat or scarf for weeks), but it still brings about so much nostalgia. I'm not 100% sure why, but it always reminds me of Christmas shopping as a child. It is familiar and cosy, and a modern classic in my opinion. 

Chloé is a floral fragrance, all based around a rose note. It gives off a warm, velvety feel with accents of amber and honey. The 'pink' vibe of Chloé is accentuated with a soft and pretty opening of peony and sweet lychee. The true selling point for me is its modernity. Rose has the unfortunate reputation for smelling a bit old, however this smells very contemporary, being sensual and feminine. With a campaign fronted by my girl crush Clémence Poésy, it is designed for every Chloé woman, yet feels very personal at the same time. 

Personally, I find the Chloé EDP best suited to the winter time as I find it a little heavy for summer time wear, however that is no problem at all, as Chloé have a whole seasonal wardrobe of scents, all based on this one. There is L'eau de Chloé - the green springtime reimaginaion, Roses de Chloé - a summery feminine floral that plays on the innocence of the rose notes, and Chloé EDT - a lighter take on the original. All of these have been conveniently brought out in 20ml bottles for the annual My Little Chloé release, priced from £30. These are tempting me in to a purchase for sure!


For women
Eau de toilette
Price: from £28 for 30ml
Launched: 2013
Creator: Raphael Haury


Top notes: yuzu, green notes, tuberose, gardenia
Heart notes: jasmine, magnolia
Base notes: mahogany, zebrano, oukumé woods

Dali Wild is one of two deluxe sample sized perfumes in the Discovery Box. The little 6.5ml leopard print bottle is adorable! Salvador Dali is a perfume house that I had never heard of. I mean, we've all heard of Salvador Dali as the 20th Century surrealist painter, but I had no idea he had turned to perfumery towards the end of his life. The famous Dali quote, "Of the five senses, the sense of smell is incontestably the one that best conveys a sense of immortality" proves that fragrance was a natural step for a being of such eccentricity.

Despite Dali's death in 1989, the brand have successfully produced more than 50 fragrances, all in packaging inspired by Dali's artwork. Dali Wild is a tribute to the man himself. He was deeply inspired by cats and regularly wore a leopard print coat, as well as owning a wild cat. The fragrance has been created for "a woman who has her head together and feels comfortable in her own skin, passionate and sexy. the fragrance of a woman who lives her life with confidence, energy and flair". 

The scent opens with the freshness of yuzu, an exotic citrus fruit. From there, a sophisticated heart of white florals unflolds, creamy gardenia, tuberose, jasmine sambac and magnolia. The tuberose is the dominant note, alongside the citrussy freshness which resides to make way for a "purring" sensual woody base that tempers the heady tuberose. 

From the packaging, I expected this to smell really cheap and offensive like the Goldigga perfume (the work of the devil FYI). On first impressions, this shares so many similarities with the first Kim Kardashian due to the strong tuberose note. Where KK is a pretty one dimensional perfume, Dali Wild is more transient, moving from the fresh yuzu, to the creamy florals, and settling into a feminine woody purr. While the rest of the world is so strongly insistent on selecting florientals, gourmands and fruit-choulis as their 'going out' perfume of choice, I love a sophisticated white floral. I wouldn't say you'd need both in your collection, and would select Dali Wild over Kim Kardashian as it is slightly more refined. I am intrigued to see how this one smells on my skin. 


Price: from £6 for 25g


Top notes: bergamot, mandarin, green tea
Heart notes: lily of the valley, hyacinth, rose, cyclamen
Base notes: musk, sandalwood, ylang ylang, moss

I'd never really thought of things like hand creams having a scent pyramid, so this is a bit of a weird inclusion, but it makes sense! I confessed my love for Crabtree & Evelyn in my Top Hand Creams post, so I was pleased to see one included as a little extra in the box. Lily is also available as an Eau de Toilette, and is a fresh floral scent. It smells very green, with a dominant green tea note, reminiscent of Elizabeth Arden Green Tea or Gucci Bamboo. It is airy and fresh, rather than being old fashioned or realistic bitter lily. 


Eau de Toilette
Price: from £35 for 30ml


Top notes: blackcurrant, black fig, violet
Heart notes: frangipani, tuberose, jasmine
Base notes: cashmeran, vanilla pod, heliotropine, sandalwood

Versace Crystal Noir (another deluxe sample) is a scent that I had previously tried a couple of times in store, and from what I remember, I used to really like it. It is an oriental fragrance, inspired by the red carpet, glamorous, opulent and exotic. It opens with sweet and fruity top notes, with a creamy heart of exotic white florals and has a warm, comforting base.

This is bold at first with blackcurrant and fig, paired with creamy florals (my favourite kind as it gives them a coconut vibe) and softens with the base notes. On first impressions, this is heavier than I remember and considering I was debating buying this a few years back, I'm really indifferent to it now. I might come back to this one in the winter. 

Overall, this was an interesting box in terms of the variety of scents. The only scent I personally liked from the box was Chloe and that was one I'd tried before. I think I'll also be trying Dali Wild to see how it plays on my skin. I found most of them either too old fashioned (L'Air Du Temps, Fleurs de Sel) or too loud and obnoxious (Lady Million, Viva La Juicy) to wear personally. However, I'm aware that that the aim of the Perfume Society Discovery Box isn't to find new loves, it's to discover the various genres of perfumery. 


As I mentioned before, there was a bit of a mishap with the delivery of my Discovery Box, so I ended up with two. When I got in touch with the guys at The Perfume Society, they were happy for me to do a giveaway with the second box. One winner will receive one Discovery Box from The Perfume Society, the same as featured in this review. There are a variety of entry methods, some mandatory and some extra, as outlined in the Rafflecopter widget below.


This giveaway will be UK only, and it will remain open from 29th April 2016 for three weeks until 21th May 2016 at 0:00 GMT.

I already have the prize ready to be sent out so it is as stated and cannot be transferred, sold or exchanged.

The winner will be drawn at random using the Rafflecopter widget providing the entries have been completed correctly, and notified via email on the 21st May. 

The winner will be given 28 days to respond, to keep it fair and in line with current guidelines. In the event that the winner does not respond within this timeframe, a new winner will be chosen. 

I will send the box to the winner via recorded delivery. 

As always, I never discriminate against compers and you are more than welcome to enter any giveaway on this blog.

a Rafflecopter giveaway 

Good luck!

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