Occasionally I come across a product that makes me think, ‘why didn’t I come up with that?’

     This was definitely one of those cases.

     A few months ago I hosted a giveaway where I partnered with to give three lucky winners a Designer Fragrance Sampler each, valued at $24. When I went on TV this morning I had two additional sets to give to viewers, as well as a pair to play with on my own.

     I sat down with the women’s set (men’s set reviews coming in the New Year) and observed, thinking that this was in ingenious idea. The set contains six vials of women’s fragrances, totaling 7.9 mL, packed beautifully in a gift-giving-ready box. When my mom saw it, she said it reminds her of a box of chocolates! Designer Fragrance Sampler Designer Fragrance Sampler

     When you open up the packaging, you find the glass vials safely nestled in a velvety black insert. The quality is outstanding for the price, and I wouldn’t think twice about buying these as stocking stuffers for the holidays (also perfect for your Secret Santa needs!).

     The scents you get to try inside are Simply Belle and Exceptional… Because You Are from Exceptional Parfums, Light Blue from Dolce & Gabbana, Lovestruck from Vera Wang, Romance from Ralph Lauren, and Euphoria from Calvin Klein.

     This was an excellent way to try a few scents that were new to my nose, as well as freshen up on oldies but goodies, such as Light Blue. For your curious pleasure, here are my thoughts about a few of the samples you’ll find in this set. (Note on photo: I somehow missed the last vial in the set, Vera Wang Lovestruck). Designer Fragrance Sampler closeups Designer Fragrance Sampler closeups

     Vera Wang Lovestruck: This is a scent advertized to the ‘in love’ crowd; the commercial features Gossip Girl’s Leighton Meester and model Tommy Dunn. Dunn’s also appeared in one of Escada’s campaigns, so you know that as a fragrance-film veteran he won’t disappoint as modern-day Romeo in the clip – and indeed he doesn’t!

     The vial contains 1.2 mL of clear fluid, and I used two sprays for this review. Let me tell you, this stuff is potent! It opens with a creamy vanilla and some sweet fruits, and quickly morphs into a sort of delicate floral bouquet with a hint of praline. The praline note reminds me of La Vie Est Belle from Lancôme, but Lovestruck is about ten times better than that one is. It also has gentle notes of chocolate.

     This is definitely not Wang’s most romantic fragrance, and it’s actually more related to Princess than, say, the wedding-appropriate Forever Vera. Fitting for a teenage girl’s daytime scent year-round, although some might find it too sweet in the summertime.

     Verdict: Lovestruck gets a thumbs up from me, because while not groundbreaking, this composition is solid. The world might not need another Black Orchid, but it’ll always gobble up the masses-pleasing ones such as this.

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     Ralph Lauren Romance: Romance is a dinosaur in terms of fragrances, a geezer from 1998 – almost as old as me! Jokes aside, it comes from master perfumer Harry Fremont, the creator of other classics such as the original Juicy Couture and the spanking new Tom Ford Grey Vetiver Eau de Toilette.

     The series of fragrance films all centre around couples doing cute things in fields, which I forgive because it actually relates to the fragrance’s name (which can’t be said about most such films). If you watch them you’ll also notice that they all feature the song “My Romance,” sung by different artists. My personal favorite version of the song is from Ella Fitzgerald, which I recommend you check out.

     I used two pumps from the 1.5 mL sample for this review. My first impressions were that this is a soapy floral, but with hints of creaminess. Unfortunately the only thing this reminds me of is hand soap – nothing romantic about that. Given, it’s higher end hand soap, but still.

     A few minutes after application the flowers turn much greener, fresher. There’s even a hint of sweet citrus thrown in. In the dry down you find sweet woodsy notes, with a tiny hint of patchouli. The soapiness is throughout.

     Verdict: an eau de parfum, Romance is strong and in-your-face. Fitting for an older woman in spring, slightly reminiscent of Chloé Eau de Parfum.

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     Calvin Klein Euphoria: There’s a famous Greek myth about Demeter’s daughter Persephone and how she became queen of the Underworld, wife of Hades. Long story short, Persephone ate from the seeds of a pomegranate, and was forced to spend 3 months in hell for the rest of eternity.

     Still on the topic of the fruit, modern day Jews eat pomegranates in the holiday of Rosh Hashana to symbolize the 613 mitzvoth they are to complete.

     As you can see, the pomegranate has a long and rich history, so when I saw it listed as this perfume’s top note, I got excited.

     I used two sprays from the vial for this review, and have mixed feelings about what came out.

     Euphoria doesn’t in fact contain pomegranate (major disappointment), but a giant pile of odorous patchouli mixed with rosy soap flakes, with a hint of vanilla in the dry down. It’s an oddly pleasant combination, smells like some kind of inexpensive bath oil, not necessarily a scent you’d want to wear around.

     Verdict: Euphoria would be ideal in body care, a body lotion for example, but is too heavy and powerful to be worn daily as is.

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     Of the three scents I tried today I really liked one, and I already know that I love Light Blue. As you can tell, everyone will have favorites from this set, making it an excellent department-store-at-home experience. If you’re curious, pick one up – use the following coupon code for 15% off your purchase! (expires 11/30)



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