The Celebrity Perfume Roundtable

Fancy by Jessica Simpson
Our Moment by One Direction
Pure Honey by Kim Kardashian
The Key by Justin Bieber
Glow by J.Lo
Driven by Derek Jeter
Curious by Britney Spears
White Diamonds by Elizabeth Taylor
Lovely by Sarah Jessica Parker
Beyoncé Heat, The Mrs. Carter Show World Tour Limited Edition
Minajesty by Nicki Minaj

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.

Everyone: Oooh.

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 Manhattanthat’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. 

Let’s Talk About It! JOIN IN
  • mlle p

    If I were into high kitsch, which I'm not, the Minaj bottle would be on my list, but the others are really dismal packaging - Derek Jeter the worst!
    Just because it's inexpensive, must it be so poorly designed?

  • hollygoeslightly22

    I was thinking to myself "I would NEVER buy a celebrity perfume. Cheesy." Then I realized I owned Lovely by SJP. However, buying the perfume also included a meet and greet with Miss SJP so it was worth the price of admission. Lovely smells good - I like the pepper infused scent.

  • Rachel

    Jessica simpsons's "Fancy Nights" smells so much like Prada Amber, only FN is very powdery and doesn't have Prada's resiny stuff.
    Sarah Jessica Parker's "Lovely" truly is, and smells EXACTLY like Narcisco Rodriquez. Clean, relaxing musk.

    • Nina

      Yep, "Lovely" by SJP is almost identical to "For Her". Both of them lovely scents, but I'd NEVER EVER buy a celebrity scent no matter what. That's how big a snob I am, ha ha.

  • Tiffany Sollog

    What? None of the fragrances from Rihanna?

  • Lera

    "Lovely" smells a lot like Narciso Rodriguez "For Her", I think. Where's "Purr" or "Meow" by Katy Perry ;-)

  • CayC

    I would never, ever buy a celebrity fragrance (I went through high school smelling like Britney Spears' Fantasy. Never again).

    But it makes me a liiiittle bit sad that people dismiss them as being an inferior product. Packaging aside, a lot of times they aren't. I went to a talk about Taylor Swift Wonderstruck once, and they had the master perfumer from Givaudan (a fragrance house) who worked on it there. He was absolutely fascinating and obviously SO talented. Yes, it's a celebrity fragrance, but a lot of times there is still a really incredible perfumer and artist behind it. Yes, it is aimed at a particular demographic, but the technical process behind it is still similar to the one behind your Chanel fragrance too. The Bieber fragrance is obviously ridiculous, but someone with incredible unique talent still put a lot of effort into the juice.

  • Diana

    you guys need to get on the tilda swinton perfume bandwagon asap. it's by etat libre d'orange!!! that's like even more niche than byredo! it's amazing!

  • Jane T.

    Kate Walsh's Boyfriend actually smells really nice -- it's a cozy, warm vanilla, perfect for sweater weather. The only downside is I don't want to carry it around with me even though I own the rollerball.... Having BOYFRIEND emblazoned on something is pretty cheezy.

  • MsDenbi

    I never buy celebrity perfumes. I always find the bottles to be cheesy and overdone. Plus there's the impression that they don't actually care about the art of the fragrance as much as they care about bringing in profits...

  • adamalpha

    Stench. By Judy Dench.

  • Nina

    How about the forthcoming Elizabeth and James' edp? Celebrity scent or not? I cannot figure out my mind about that one. Must say that I absolutely love MK and Ashley's aesthetics and design, and the bottles are very classy looking.

  • amelia

    when i was in middle school , all the pretty, popular girls wore Fantasy by britney spears. it was super saccharine -sweet, in a pink bottle (although there was something called 'midnight fantasy' for the more rebellious of those girls). Now if- and when- i smell it (still happens, there will always be middle school girls around somewhere) it takes me back to feeling completely inferior to the girls wearing that scent. weird, huh

  • Angela

    Om from the gap was my fave

  • Patricia Snook

    SJP's lovely... a classic!


  • Yolondi

    Yes I agree, I wore it as my wedding fragrance last year, it's so different and unusual.

  • officetramp

    SJP's Lovely is divine. It kind of feels sexy, laid back, grown up, playful and business-like all at the same time. It's my go to fragrance when i'm feeling i'm feeling ambivalent about what i want to smell like. The only thing i don't like about it is how it taunts me and reminds me of my folly when i reach for it most mornings while my Serge Lutens and various expensive niche fragrances gather dust!

  • Bell

    I would have never guessed, but JLO's is really really nice and fresh!


Jessica Simpson
Jessica Simpson 'Fancy' Eau de Parfum
One Direction
Our Moment by One Direction Eau de Parfum
Justin Bieber
Justin Bieber 'The Key' Eau de Parfum
Derek Jeter 'Driven' Black Eau de Toilette Spray
Elizabeth Taylor
White Diamonds by Elizabeth Taylor Eau de Toilette Spray Naturel
Lovely by Sarah Jessica Parker
Lovely by Sarah Jessica Parker Eau de Parfum Spray
Beyonce Heat The Mrs Carter Show World Tour Limi
Nicki Minaj
Nicki Minaj Minajesty Eau de Parfum
Kim Kardashian
Pure Honey by Kim Kardashian
Britney Spears
Women’s Curious by Britney Spears Eau de Parfum Spray
J. Lo
J. Lo 'Glow' Eau De Toilette Spray