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. ┬áIt 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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February 2016 Boxycharm Review #2: Real Tree for Her Travel Sprayer

Oh, Boxycharm. Your fragrance choices are…interesting.

Whenever Boxycharm or any other subscription sends me a fragrance I get suspicious. Out of all of the fragrance samples I’ve received over the past three years, only one has been a good fit for me.

That’s a lot of fragrance rejects. I think what happens is that these beauty subscription services don’t do a fragrance profile. If they did, like they do with their beauty profiles, I bet there would be more hits than misses.

Boxycharm doesn’t do a beauty or fragrance profile. Everyone gets the same thing (with few variances). So on the plus, you do get full sized items, but there can be some major misses. This, like all the fragrances I’ve gotten from them, was a definite miss.

I want to take a little time to talk about this brand. When I went to the “About Us” section, I was surprised to find that Realtree is not your typical indie beauty company. It’s “the world’s leading camouflage designer, marketer, and licensor. Yes, you read correctly: this is a camouflage brand–we’re talking what you wear when you go hunting. Huh. Apparently, now they’ve expanded into fragrances for him and her. This is definitely an interesting way for a camo company to branch out.

Knowing this perfume is coming from a camouflage producer, I’m somewhat impressed with what they delivered. (However, it still wasn’t a good fit for me.)

Realtree For Her (USD $24.00, full size) was not the worst perfume I’ve gotten in a box. It’s described on the website as opening up with “the sweet taste of pomegranate, a hint of persimmon and an exotic scent of orchids. It blends with lotus blossom and champaca flower and it’s followed by the rich scent of amber, the transient scent of violets and the depth of mahogany.”

I do love warmer fragrances and did enjoy the notes of amber and mahogany. However, this fragrance was far too sweet for me. I don’t mind a hint of sweet. I think this perfume is the perfect antithesis to what I like. While this is predominantly sweet with warmer background notes, I prefer fragrances that are mostly warm with hints of sweet in the background.

Now knowing that this perfume is from a brand that makes hunting gear, I’m surprised they went with such a “girly” sweet scent. I would expect them to make a woman’s perfume with some more masculine notes. Fragrances that get this balance right are some of my favorites. Just something interesting to note.

Again, it wasn’t unpleasant, but sweeter fragrances don’t mix very well with my body chemistry. Luckily, the perfume wasn’t a total waste. My mom ended up loving the fragrance, so I passed it along to her.

Rating: 2/5. Take my rating with a grain of salt. Fragrances are so unique to each person, and what works for someone may not work for another. Again, this isn’t an unpleasant scent. On the right person it does smell quite nice. But my skin takes better to warmer scents that aren’t too sweet. This just wasn’t a good match.

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