Friday 30 October 2015


The argument of cost versus quality is one that shows no sign of letting up. It goes alongside natural versus synthetic and niche versus mainstream. So, let me say right at the beginning that I don't care whether a perfume is perceived as "cheap", only that it smells good. I wear a fragrance, not a price tag, and we don't walk around with the perfume bottle dangling from a chain. With this in mind I'd like to show you two "inexpensive" choices that are great stocking fillers and are guaranteed to be used to the final drop. They are from the famous House of Worth, and are probably not in your collection at the moment.

When the House of Worth created the separate company Les Parfums Worth in 1924 I'm sure they never thought their fragrances would still be on sale ninety-one years later. They were a couture fashion house and the novelty of perfume was just that, a novelty. Their first fragrance, Dans La Nuit, was created specifically to be given to the company's best customers, but demand was such that it was eventually commercially produced. It was this release that brought Les Parfums Worth into being.

The company's biggest success was the monumental Je Reviens which came along in 1932, and it is no secret that this is my number one fragrance of all time. However, we are going to jump forty five years to when the company was under the control of Société Maurice Blanchet Parfums De Luxe (snappy name!), and discover two fragrances that are now produced by Shaneel Enterprises.

In 1977 Odette Breil-Radius was asked to compose a fragrance that was "very French, very feminine". The result was Miss Worth, a Sweet Floral with a heavy helping of fruit! The original description lists every ingredient under the sun, so here are just the ones that stand out for me. Straight away you know that we're sweet, the resins and vanilla stand very proud, and peachy pineapple mixes well with the ylang. It sits like this for a while before letting a spicy floral start to peep through. Some heavy florals, such as tuberose, help to take you further before you settle on a gentle oakmoss, cedarwood and sandalwood.

Again by Odette, Worth Pour Homme was launched in 1981 as the "male counterpart" to Je Reviens. At the beginning of this fougere you get a huge hit of citrus and lavender, although straight away the oakmoss is pushing its way through. The juniper, which was very fashionable a few years ago, helps to temper the rose, but it's the masculine base which is the most interesting. A typical earthiness is given a more sexy edge with the addition of labdanum. This gives an exciting dirtiness to the freshness. When it launched it was described as "the quintessentially masculine fragrance" and could be "worn with confidence".

Okay, we're a few reformulations down the line but don't let that deter you from trying these Eau de Toilettes. Miss Worth is £4.99 for 50ml directly from Shaneel and Worth Pour Homme is £8.50 for 100ml from Fragrance Direct.

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