I’d almost forgotten I had this.
Here in Canada we have a retail chain called Urban Planet – they sell clothes for pretty cheap, and usually the quality is the same. Once upon a time my friend gave me a bottle of perfume she got from them, and I was confused – how could a company sell 100mL bottles of EDT for $5?
What I failed to realize was that this store sells ‘impressions’ – essentially knockoffs of real perfumes. They call them ‘our version,’ which is shady and funny at the same time. I know I should frown upon them, but hey – who doesn’t wish their expensive-smelling perfume wasn’t actually expensive?
At $5 you really can’t go wrong with most of their scents, so when I saw their impression of Ralph Lauren’s Polo Red last year I bought it – and it’s sat in my closet ever since. In my experience these rip-offs smell somewhat like the originals, but with the lasting power of a body spray.
Recently I finally unwrapped the cellophane from the box and took out the bottle of Sport Club Red from Diamond Collection, and then patted myself on the back for my mature decision to buy a fake. After testing it for several days, I have made up my mind on it.
Let me tell you about this wannabe, in case you happen to have this brand of imitations at your mall (I’m under the impression they also sell at Dollarama and Sirens, as well as online).
First, there’s the box. It’s a darker red colour than the real one, with a black border on the front panel that the original doesn’t have. Instead of Lauren’s signature horse rider logo, this one has the silhouettes of two galloping horses (some pictures online show white horses – the ones on my bottle are black). The back panel lists the ingredients (most of which seem to be colouring) and safety instructions. You’ll find a barcode on the bottom.
What’s funny is that on the inside the box is padded with cardboard flaps. Why? Because the bottle is actually smaller than the box, and without them it’d rattle around. Sounds cheap? I think so.
Speaking of the bottle, the first thing you’ll notice about it are its ‘seams’ – lines wrapping around the shape of the bottle where the parts of the mold met. Usually I’m a stickler for small details such as this, but given the otherwise mundane appearance I think they actually add interest. The black plastic cap fits snugly onto the nozzle, which sprays pretty well. Overall, other than the chipped paintjob this isn’t a bad-looking bottle. I wouldn’t think twice if I saw it on a drugstore shelf.
The real question, I suppose, is whether or not this ‘impression’ smells anything like the original. In my review for Polo Red I wrote:
“The air is instantly filled with sweet lemon and coffee, reminiscent of Thierry Mugler’s A*Men. There’s a certain fruity sweetness to it that isn’t attributed to anything in particular. The top is really a decongestant in how fresh and sweet it is, almost like a lemon sherbet. Very light and summery, lovely all together. Underneath all of this there’s a herbal hum that brings the fun down a notch to make it wearable. Entirely approachable as a starter fragrance.”
The short answer: yes, this is strikingly accurate to the original. Same velvety coffee/lemon opening with maybe a hint of cherry and chocolate, dies down to a patchouli base. Not particularly long lasting, but no less than a Bath & Body Works body spray you would pay $15 for. It doesn’t project very much, but doesn’t fade too quickly either.
Verdict: Diamond Collection really outdid themselves with Sport Club Red. Although it is not an identical clone for Polo Red, it is not only similar, but perhaps just as good if not better. It is hard for me to hate on them for ripping on another company’s ideas, but as a consumer it stuns me that not more people are buying these. I am left optimistic about ‘impressions’ – you could say I’m impressed.
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