March 2016 Boxycharm Review #4: Catherine Malandrino Style de Paris Perfume

Oh dear, another perfume sample.

Ahh, it seems like a lot of the subscription boxes are being approached by the Catherine Malandrino brand to promote their perfumes. I’ve sampled them in Birchbox before and now they’re popping up in Boxycharm. I reviewed their Romance de Provence scent in a past Birchbox and I wasn’t a huge fan. But I know scent can be an incredibly personal thing, so I’m always willing to try something else in a line.

Revisiting the Catherine Malandrino brand, these perfumes are extremely expensive. The prices are up there with luxury brands like Giorgio Armani, YSL, and Dior. It’s actually a high end clothing brand (think Nordstrom prices, starting at $150 for accessories) with some super cute pieces that I wish I could afford.  It makes sense that a high end clothing brand would eventually branch out and create fragrances. The mini sprayer (0.3 fl. oz.) we received in our boxes is worth USD $20 alone. 1.0 oz will run you $65; 1.7 oz is $80; and the largest 3.4 oz bottle is $110. This is definitely up there in price, so you absolutely want to sample the scent first before investing in it.

I have to comment on the packaging of this mini sprayer. I get that you have to cut corners sometimes to get a fair price, but even for $20, the packaging to me is too cheap to be acceptable. It’s a plastic bottle with a plastic sprayer and a sticker label. Not exactly what you associate with luxury brands. Now, they do have another purse sprayer that comes in fancy packaging and is $5 more, but you get less perfume. In all honesty, I think Catherine Malandrino would be better off making a slightly larger size of the fancy packaging and charge $30 for it instead of offering this cheaply packaged alternative. This isn’t a deal breaker, but it did annoy me.

Style de Paris was the first perfume that the brand launched. Per the website, it is crafted “with notes of Ruby Red Grapefruit and NashiPear blending with Orange Blossom and Gardenia” and has mid notes of Violet and Ocean Breeze with a Patchouli base. Now, from the description this does seem like a perfume I may like. I do like some Patchouli scents and Orange Blossom can absolutely be my jam. But, a description is one thing and smelling it in person is another.

My issue with Romance de Provence was that it was way too sweet for my personal taste and body chemistry. I felt like I was wearing a layer of sugar and, at the same time, a scent that was a little too…mature for me. Don’t get me wrong, a sweet scent can work if it’s the right combination of notes (my personal favorite sweeter scents: Giorgio Armani’s Si and Tokyo Dark Milk’s Everything and Nothing). But this one was way overpowering.

Style de Paris seems to have a similar issue with the intensity of the sweetness. It doesn’t have the old lady smell problem of Romance de Provence, which is a plus. I think what’s doing it in is the amount of pear in the fragrance. It takes it from pleasantly light and fruity into candy sweet. I know some people love and do smell great with the candy fragrances, but I don’t. It’s sad because this could absolutely be a great scent that I enjoy. But just having a little cotton pad near me as I write this review lightly misted with the fragrance is starting to give me a sugar headache. If it weren’t for the overpowering sweetness, I think this could be great because the blend of florals and fruit is actually quite delightful.

Rating: 2/5. Catherine Malandrino gets points for achieving a good fruity/floral blend. Unfortunately, having a level of sweetness that’s headache inducing just doesn’t sit well with me. If they do reformulate this perfume to tone down the sweet notes, I would love to give it another try. But as it is now, I think I’ll invest my money in other fragrances.

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