Not a single Gloffice staffer owns a celebrity fragrance. While we may tout Byredo, non-perfume perfume, or Brooklyn-blended oils that few-to-no-one has ever heard of (not saying we're not annoying sometimes), we’ve never really given, say, Mary J. Blige’s My Life or Tim McGraw’s Southern Blend a fighting chance. And we definitely might be missing something. After all, celebrity fragrances are big business, accounting for as much as 20% of company-wide sales in the industry. And with everyone from Donald Trump to Tilda Swinton extending their brand with an eau de parfum, it's become clear that we here at ITG need to embrace celebuscents. So, being investigative journalists (...), we decided to hold a very official blind smell test—sniff, discuss, the big reveal, react—in the office late one night to get educated and, perhaps, find some new favorites. Our findings, below (edited and condensed for your benefit):
[Mathea, our new Editorial/Photo Assistant, sprays the first fragrance]
Emily: This smells like a pop-star perfume, but there’s a certain sophistication—it’s cleaner, like clean laundry.
Nick: Yeah, it’s less saccharin—still candy, but not as sugary-sweet.
Elizabeth: This smells like walking into a Bath & Body Works.
Lacey: It smells like the South! It’s either Britney or Jessica, but I don’t think it’s nearly fruity enough to be Britney.
Michael: Lacey knows; she's from Mississippi!
Mathea: She’s right! It’s Fancy by Jessica Simpson.
Lacey: I knew it!
Fun Fact: Fancy by Jessica Simpson was a best-seller in 2011, taking home $18 million in sales.
[Mathea sprays the second fragrance]
Nick: Oooo! This one is fruity and warm.
Emily: It smells slightly more like men’s deodorant—like Axe Body Spray.
Nick: Yeah, it’s like a guy who wants his girlfriend to smell like she’s wearing his clothes. I kind of like it. It smells like my guilty pleasure.
Lacey: No, I think this smells like Mountain Dew or Sprite.
Michael: Yes, effervescent, if you will.
Elizabeth: It’s subtler than a lot of celebrity fragrances, not as suffocating. It’s still not perfect but…
Mathea: It’s Our Moment by One Direction.
Nick: They did it again! The One Direction boys did it again!
Michael: This is their second perfume?
Nick: I don't know; I just mean, they did it again. Hit makers, those guys.
Mackenzie: I want to be in that moment.
Emily: Is it pour homme or pour femme?
Mathea: It’s pour femme.
Elizabeth: I bet Harry smells like that. It’s what you’d smell like after you embraced him.
Emily: I say 8 out of 10.
Elizabeth: Way to go, boys.
[Mathea sprays the third fragrance]
Nick: This is the first perfume that doesn’t smell like candy.
Mackenzie: I think it smells just like that creamy Dove bodywash.
Elizabeth: It’s vanilla.
Emily: With powdery notes. It’s subdued; very sophisticated. I’d buy it for my older sister who's in law school.
Nick: It’s a little older than anything else we’ve tried, so I feel like the celebrity is someone like Jennifer Aniston or Halle Berry—you know, in her late thirties, she’s very successful, she reads Marie Claire.
Emily: She wears Tod’s.
Michael: Is it Dench by Judy Dench?
Mathea: Close. It’s Pure Honey by Kim Kardashian.
Nick: Does that mean Kim Kardashian is appealing to an older demographic?
[Mathea sprays the fourth fragrance]
Nick: I kind of like this. It smells like getting into an elevator with a woman.
Emily: I like it too, but I think it’s a male fragrance—a masculine fragrance by an athlete, or it’s for a lady by a man.
Mathea: On the nose. It’s Justin Bieber, The Key.
[The bottle is decorated with an old-fashioned gold key...]
Michael: That’s the key to his heart.
Mathea: Or his hotel room.
Nick: It’s kind of a chic bottle.
Mackenzie: Very Balmain or Tom Ford, maybe?
Emily: I give it a 7 out of 10 on the celebrity-fragrance meter.
[Mathea sprays the fifth fragrance]
Emily: What are those floral notes I’m smelling?
Lacey: Peony? Maybe a little honeysuckle.
Michael: It kind of smells like good laundry. Hotel laundry.
Mackenzie: Yes! It’s just like dryer sheets—ladylike dryer sheets.
Mathea: It’s actually Glow by J.Lo.
Michael: She was in Maid in Manhattan—that’s what it’s a reference to.
Mathea: The bottle is sexy.
Mackenzie: It makes me uncomfortable. I feel like it’s unzipping itself.
[Mathea sprays the sixth fragrance]
Emily: That's the strongest one so far. It smells like a gym—it’s definitely for men.
Mackenzie: Yes, this is Axe Body Spray.
Michael: Or Old Spice Fiji.
Mathea: It’s Derek Jeter Driven.
Mackenzie: Why is there a mirror on the top? So your lady friend can reapply her lipstick after you’ve taken it off?
Elizabeth: Derek Jeter is just really considerate of all people. I applaud Derek Jeter on his fragrance efforts.
Fun Fact: Derek Jeter Driven was the second best-selling celebrity fragrance of 2011, earning $27 million.
[Mathea sprays the seventh fragrance]
Emily: This smells exactly like laundry detergent.
Michael: It’s Downy!
Lacey: Maybe if you pour it all over yourself, it will soften your skin just like fabric softener.
Elizabeth: It’s not offensive, but it’s not for me.
Mathea: Curious by Britney Spears.
Michael: I did like the ad for this one.
[Mathea sprays the eighth fragrance]
Emily: This smells like a hippie incense store.
Nick: Plus pee?
Lacey: That’s the animalics.
Michael: Is it Taylor Momsen?
Mathea: No. It’s White Diamonds by Elizabeth Taylor.
Lacey: It smells like the ‘80s.
Emily: I like it for a throwback.
Elizabeth: If you were a really sophisticated woman at a cigar lounge, this would be ideal.
Fun Fact: White Diamonds by Elizabeth Taylor is the best-selling celebrity fragrance of all time, making $61.3 million in 2010 alone.
[Mathea sprays the ninth fragrance]
Nick: This one smells expensive.
Michael: But a little like mosquito repellant and citronella.
Mackenzie: It smells tart, like when you put a Blow Pop under water and taste it again.
Emily: I would wear this. It’s along the lines of Bottega Veneta or something—I can’t quite put my finger on it, but it’s good. I give it a 9.
Mathea: Lovely by Sarah Jessica Parker.
Elizabeth: I think she did a lovely job with that.
[Mathea sprays the last fragrance]
Nick: It smells young. If I were a dad, this is what I’d let my young daughter wear.
Emily: It’s 18-24.
Elizabeth: As a representative of that age group, I’d like to say that I find it inoffensive, but still lacking a certain sophistication.
Lacey: Mmm, you smell like 1991, perfume!
Nick: It’s fresh, like one of those old Gap scents, like AIR, FIRE, SOUL, or whatever.
Mathea: Not exactly. It’s Beyoncé Heat, The Mrs. Carter Show World Tour Limited Edition.
Michael: That name is a mouthful.
Elizabeth: Way to go, Bey.
Our take away from the great Celebrity Perfume Smell Test? Kim Kardashian (or her team), really knows what she’s (they’re) doing, the 1-D boys are as much of a hit in our noses as they are in our hearts, and while data may suggest otherwise, Elizabeth Taylor's White Diamonds is not our fragrance of choice. It’s also worth giving an honorable mention to Minajesty by Nicki Minaj, which we did not include in this roundup but whose packaging is effing amazing. The bottle could be a Koons. Smell you later.
Photos by Mathea Millman.