Victoria’s Secret Smelling Expedition and Love to Dream Review

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Star rating: 5 stars–outstanding/potential classic, 4 stars–very good, 3 stars–adequate, 2 stars–disappointing, 1 star–poor.

I blame the American lingerie brand for the joke that I occasionally hear when I introduce myself. “Victoria, so what is your secret?” is not even funny the first time around, but it quickly gets old. Then, I have an issue with Victoria’s Secret perfume names. Pink All My Heart and Pink with a Splash Sweet & Flirty convey some pink tinted land that frightens me. It is a universe where Breathless and Sexy Little Things squeal Oh What Fun is Pink and demand Pink, More Pink Please. By contrast, I prefer the fantasy world of film noir. But then my fair Libran side kicks in and reminds me that as a perfume blogger I should be more open-minded.

So, readers, I headed to the nearest Victoria’s Secret store and smelled perfumes that I would not have tried under normal circumstances—Sexy Little Things, Love to Dream Freesia and Whipped Vanilla, Very Sexy Hot, etc. I came home feeling light-headed and dizzy from the pink sexiness of it all. I sprayed on some Bulgari Black. Then I realized that my mission was successful. I did not discover perfumes that made me want to give up my stash of dark and brooding favorites, but I found out that Victoria’s Secret fruity-florals can give the big brands a run for their money.

Overall, the VS selection tends to be fruity and sugary, but there are some nicely done perfumes in the range. Sexy Sparkle Hot Berry smells exactly as you would expect—a fruit cocktail on steroids, but Dream Angels Heavenly turns out to be a cozy almond and rose blend and Dream Angels Divine— a pretty lily of the valley on a dry woody base.

Love to Dream Freesia and Whipped Vanilla Perfume Mist scores top points for its bubbly orange and jasmine sketch. The moment I put it on the blotter, I realized that it smells like any recent big prestige launch and perhaps better. This sounds like an underhanded compliment, but considering the price, I think that it is an excellent fruity-floral option. Freesia and Whipped Vanilla is built around a creamy orange vanilla accord, with green apple and red berries heavily accenting its top. I am not sure why it is called Freesia, because it does not smell of anything remotely resembling the violet-orange candy scent of this flower. The whipped vanilla part of Freesia and Whipped Vanilla is right on the mark. It is a big part of the fragrance, a rich, sweet layer that clings to the skin for hours.

Reminiscent of Cacharel Amor Amor and Burberry for Her, Freesia and Whipped Vanilla dries down to a sweet woody vanilla. The orange sticks around for a while, which tones down the cloying feeling. If someone is looking for a sweet, lighthearted blend, Freesia and Whipped Vanilla is a nice choice. I would have liked it more if the vanilla was taken two notches down, but I still think that it deserves kudos as a sophisticated budget option fruity-floral.

Victoria’s Secret Freesia and Whipped Vanilla Perfume Mist is from a limited-edition Love to Dream Valentine’s Day Collection. 250 ml/8.4 fl oz retails for $12.

Sample: my own acquisition

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23 Comments

  • Musette: Hmmm..looks like my comment got eaten by the Victoria’s Secret Guardian Angel! LOL!

    Heck, can’t remember all my pithy comments but the gist was that I have been too put off by the sachet scent that permeates the store to ever consider the fragrances – glad they don’t echo that chemical nausea-inducing scent! A former customer wore one of the VS perfumes and it wasn’t half bad!

    xoA January 24, 2012 at 9:10am Reply

  • mals86: I loved LOVED the original Victoria scent, a soft floral with a chypre background… sigh. (You can still find it on ebay, but sadly, the formula seems to degenerate very quickly, and I have yet to find an unspoiled bottle.) Rapture wasn’t bad, either – a rose-amber scent that has gotten ever sweeter since its release in about 1990.

    And I spent several years BP (Before Perfumistahood) wearing Pink, which is a green floral with peony and muguet. It’s not bad, though I find it a little high-pitched for my taste now.

    The proliferation of releases at VS has caused me to avoid the store like the plague. They used to sell pretty undies that made me glad I was a girl and could wear lace and frills; now I’d classify the stock as, um, tarty. January 24, 2012 at 9:46am Reply

  • Victoria: That’s the problem at the BBW stores–the smell inside the store is so strong that I cannot easily smell anything else. Even their blotters seemed to be contaminated. My strategy was to bring my own blotters and then run outside to smell. The SAs were helpful though and made some little samples for me. It is impossible to smell anything properly inside the store, but the same goes for any perfume counter and Sephora. Unless the ventilation functions well. January 24, 2012 at 10:30am Reply

  • Victoria: The original Victoria would be completely out of the place within the current VS line up. It smells so rich and dark. The first time I’ve smelled it, I could not believe that it was a VS fragrance.

    Then again, as you say, Rapture and Pink were nicely done (and created by great perfumers, Harry Frémont and Annie Buzantian, respectively.) A friend wore Rapture since it was released in 1998, and she complained that over the past few years it has started smelling like a candy. I didn’t smell it this time, but my old sample from the original launch smells like a delicious amber with an orange blossom note. Now, this is what I find sexy, rather than some overexposed fruit cocktail. January 24, 2012 at 10:37am Reply

  • Suzanna: Love your sense of humor here, V.! What a fun post, and braving the wilds of Thongland to get the job done!

    Your post reminds me of how the core VS customer has become younger and younger. The store is no longer the domain of the twenty-something and her push-up bra but that of the teen (or worse, the tweener) and her own push-up bra.

    I am old. I thought that Love to Dream Freesia and Whipped Vanilla Perfume Mist was two separate scents. (Hangs head in perfume-illiterate shame.) January 24, 2012 at 11:09am Reply

  • Victoria: Suzanna, VS should be ashamed for coming up with these long names!! I also thought that it was two separate scents when I first saw the mention of its launch. Or how about Sexy Little Things Noir : Tease Temptation?

    You are definitely right, the audience is getting younger and younger. I know that I am not exactly their target consumer, but still… Sigh. January 24, 2012 at 11:23am Reply

  • Victoria: See, what sacrifices make I for you, guys? 🙂 January 24, 2012 at 11:24am Reply

  • behemot: The pink kingdom of VS scares me off with its esthetics and smell. The names, too. I sometimes shop there for a no nonsense bras ( yes, they have such thing, 2 for $32!) for myself and my daughter, but I try not to breathe while in store. Next time i will spray 1 or 2 fragrances on my arm and smell them outside. January 24, 2012 at 1:49pm Reply

  • Perfumista8: Thank you for the sacrifice. Now I can at least help steer my young nieces towards a decent perfume within their tastes & budget. Last month I gave one niece a bag full of some great samples – her favorites were Chloe Love and SL Un Bois Vanille.. Not too bad, I think for a 20 year old. January 24, 2012 at 2:26pm Reply

  • Victoria: They also have a nice range of body products. Some scents are too sweet for me, but the quality of lotions and shower gels is very nice. January 24, 2012 at 3:12pm Reply

  • Victoria: Your niece has a great taste! It is too bad that the teens are fed the identical “cotton candy and bubblegum” type of scents and not exposed to much choice. Still, I have no issues with VS or BBW–their scents are generally well-done and are affordable. A perfume brand selling a similar idea for $100 makes me far more irritated. January 24, 2012 at 3:16pm Reply

  • behemot: Will check them out, but I am afraid they might be too sweet for me. January 24, 2012 at 3:21pm Reply

  • Victoria: On the other hand, I am smelling Bath & Body Works Twilight Woods right now, and it is very nice–a compote of apricots and dates on a woody-ambery base. BBW is reaching for a slightly different audience than VS with this one! January 24, 2012 at 3:29pm Reply

  • Suzanna: HUGE sacrifice. I can’t even walk on the same side of the mall as that store. I appreciate your sense of adventure!

    Re Sexy Little Things Noir: Tease Temptation: You see, Sexy Little Things Noir is sexy, but does not,quite convey the aggressive approach that VS has recently ramped up.When it comes to flankers, you must outflank the original or it simply isn’t worth it. Therefore, one can imagine a creative brainstorming session where ideas were tossed out with abandon. Tease Temptation is pretty banal, horribly overt in that special VS way and it succeeds mostly in alliteration. Surely there were other variants. SLTN: STRIPPER SAUCE…and so on. January 24, 2012 at 6:31pm Reply

  • Victoria: Yes, they skirt the line between cute and overly suggestive. Somehow, this area is where I feel most uncomfortable. A stance like that of Agent Provocateur is easier for me to understand.

    I just noticed that VS discontinued Parfums Intimes. Lacy Orange Flower was quite nicely done, pretty and sophisticated. January 24, 2012 at 7:19pm Reply

  • bulldoggirl: I came home feeling light-headed and dizzy from the pink sexiness of it all. I sprayed on some Bulgari Black.

    Bwahahahahahaha!

    Best. Line. Ever.

    Victoria’s Secret = Hooker Lite January 24, 2012 at 7:59pm Reply

  • Victoria: Hey, and I like pink!!! 🙂

    It used to be different some mellow somehow. January 24, 2012 at 9:56pm Reply

  • mals86: I’m glad you remember the Victoria fragrance – it was so lovely, such a shame it isn’t made (fresh) now. I *didn’t* remember the orange blossom in Rapture, just the rose. January 24, 2012 at 10:43pm Reply

  • Victoria: And I forgot to add, you are right, VS somehow does not age that well. So, I stopped looking for an old bottle of it. January 24, 2012 at 11:23pm Reply

  • behemot: I absolutely agree .Twilight Woods by BBW is not bad at all. of course, it is not a sophisticated scent, but it is so much better than VS. I was actually nicely surprised with it. January 25, 2012 at 12:36am Reply

  • Victoria: And then there is BBW Cotton Blossom, which smells uncannily like Tocade, if Tocade went on a diet! January 25, 2012 at 8:07am Reply

  • behemot: That’ s so interesting! Thank you. January 25, 2012 at 8:52pm Reply

  • Deborah McDonald: I have looked and looked for the fragrance notes of the original Victoria by vs and did have success once but have since lost the paper I jotted them down on. If you have any luck finding these ingredients could you please let me (us) know. November 10, 2012 at 11:43pm Reply

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