Saturday 23 May 2015

SCOUNDREL - A Bumpy Ride

The 1980s were a difficult decade for Revlon, especially as they were approaching the ten year anniversary of Charlie with no new masterpiece in sight. Enter Scoundrel with the slogan "Seize the moment"Launched in 1980, the first three years of its life went largely unnoticed, but then the reigning "bitch" of prime time television swept in and changed its future forever, well at least until 1986.

In 1983 Joan Collins was hired as the face of Scoundrel, previously it had been Lois Chiles, and to all intents it was to be treated as a "new launch". The TV advertisement, shown below, mirrored her glamorous Alexis Colby image and the hint of sex definitely added to the 1980s mood of naughtiness. She stayed with the brand until 1986, by which point sales were starting to fall, and Revlon replaced her with actress Susan Lucci. It never mirrored the success of Charlie and it limped on for another three years before production finally stopped in 1989. So, hold onto your hats because this is where the ride gets bumpy!

You are hit instantly by the aroma that you get when you walk into a beauty spa, that sweet fruity aromatic quality with a hint of pine disinfectant. There is a marigold that keeps pushing through which unfortunately gives a slightly uric note, and it actually makes my eyes water. Can you tell that I'm not enjoying this? You have to really concentrate to get past the excessive aldehyde in order to even begin to pick up the floral heart. Once you do there is a screeching rose that sits uncomfortably with the jasmine, and then even more synthetic notes in the form of muguet. What were they thinking? Onwards we go, I've started so I'll finish. The pine smell is present from the beginning, so we can gloss over this, but it is joined by a rough oakmoss and yet more fruity tones.

I have always found something to compliment in every perfume I have ever smelt, but this one has broken me. Describing it as a Floral Oriental was, I think, the marketing department attempting to turn a seventies chypre into an eighties power-dresser, because this sits firmly in the Floral Chpyre family. The ingredients that Fragrantica list look unbalanced and random, but when you smell it that is exactly what you get. Some of the notes listed are simply indistinguishable because you cannot get past the cypress.

Joan Collins was merely hired to re-launch an existing fragrance, so we can't blame her for this one, and indeed during one interview Joan said that a perfume she had promoted reminded her of a room spray. I think it is pretty clear that it was Scoundrel. I have no idea how this ever came to market and, except for novelty value, I really wouldn't recommend buying it as either a Perfume or Cologne. Sorry Revlon.

The American Television Advert for
SCOUNDREL featuring Joan Collins


  1. This fragrance was amazing… it was my signature scent in high school and every boy in school and I mean every boy in school wanted to know what perfume I wore because they wanted it for their girlfriend, but it never smell the same on them like it did on me. Maybe it is in my body chemistry that made it smell so amazing but I wish they would make this again.!

    1. Hello, thanks for your comment. It's a very polarising fragrance, but I'm glad it has good memories for you. Best, Stephan