Justin Bieber Someday and Taylor Swift Wonderstruck : Perfume Reviews

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Justin Bieber is a young and very pretty singer, songwriter, and actor who has had a double platinum album, three singles in the Billboard Hot 100, and who has gotten involved in the fragrance industry.  Taylor Swift is a young and very pretty singer, songwriter, and actor who has won a Grammy for Country Album of the Year, for Best Country Song, and for Best Country Solo Performance. Ms. Swift has also gotten involved in the fragrance industry.

What is striking about their fragrances, Justin Bieber Someday and Taylor Swift Wonderstruck, is the similarity of the ad copy and the resemblance to Britney Spears Fantasy, a fruity, frothy thing that, as much as it might seem impossible, broke ground in this category.

Sephora gushes over Someday:  “…more than just a perfume: it’s a fragrance full of the energy, passion, and confidence that pushes him (Bieber) to the top of the charts.” If only this were true. I’d buy it by the boatload and hope it would launch me on a similarly successful international career.

Then:  “…a scent that drives him wild.” He is all of 18, a pretty man-child with luxurious lashes and full lips.  You see him as a cardboard cutout, almost life-sized, hawking his perfumes.  How wild does he really get driven by mandarin, juicy pear, wild berry, jasmine,’creamy florals,’ and vanilla musk, the given notes of his perfume? He claims to approve the smell of Someday and this I find believable. I do not expect him to sign his name to Robert Piguet Bandit, Bill Blass Nuda, or anything with an animalic note.  The jasmine in Someday is, therefore, as white and as airbrushed as his own skin, with nary a mark upon it.

As I pick up the bottle in one of those Sephora-in-Penney’s (regular Sephora does not have this scent, at least in my mid-Florida mall), a teenage girl wriggles her nose dismissively.  “Justin Bieber’s perfume smells like candy,” she says to her friend, and they play with other scents instead while I spray on Someday and hope no one thinks I am a cougar type attracted to the young, pretty singer, songwriter, and actor.

Someday is terribly sweet on top, just like Fantasy and after that, Circus Fantasy. They all do the same thing to fruit; that is, they cook it into a synthetic abstract mash from which there is hardly any separation of the fruit notes.  Pear is what I smell primarily, high-voltage, banana-like pear, with lightly oily berry note.  It reminds me so much of the Britney scents that I am surprised when it has a tentatively enjoyable mid-section before descending into a laundry-type white musk and soft vanilla drydown.  The more I have it on, the more tenacious and coarse this musk becomes as the wear roughens it around the edges.

I cannot wash or swim it off.

Taylor Swift’s Wonderstruck is marginally more sophisticated, but only in that it contains a green tea note.  A green tea note is not in and of itself groundbreaking; we are years past that novelty.  But to sink it into the middle of a synthetic fruity/floral makes it smell, however minutely, promising, and to keep it around through the drydown is really very clever indeed.  It is the green tea that enlivens Wonderstruck and that makes me believe I could wear it for a day and that people might compliment me on it, juicy fruity fragrances being popular in the South.

The notes that orbit around the green tea are almost interchangeable with Bieber’s:  freesia (instead of jasmine), apple blossom, raspberry, dewberry, and more white musk and vanilla.  Sephora’s ad copy for Wonderstruck seems equally in awe of the fragrance’s alleged creator:  “Just like her approach to songwriting, every element is authentic, embracing what is special about Taylor.”  I was confused about “authentic” and want to switch it to “synthetic,” but what is not true about the fragrance is certainly more than true about the lovely Ms. Swift.

I also cannot wash or swim this one off, either.

Each bottle neck is hung with a charm, and the bottle design for the Bieber steals Marc Jacob Lola’s plastic-fantastic flower cap and sticks it on Someday’s neck.  It makes me worry that the plastic flowers are a new trend, too. They’re harmless, but I wish bottle designs were not as derivative as perfumes. Innovation is not a strong suit in this category.

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45 Comments

  • Lucas: I have no interest in any of them, really. August 17, 2012 at 7:42am Reply

    • Suzanna: Lucas, they dominate the mall so much that some comment must be made! August 17, 2012 at 9:04am Reply

      • Lucas: Oh I know, but you know what! Bieber’s perfume didn’t reach Poland! It’s not here! We’re Bieber free (at least for the moment) August 17, 2012 at 9:43am Reply

        • Victoria: Consider yourself lucky, Lucas! 🙂 August 17, 2012 at 10:35am Reply

  • AnneD: Thanks for this review. I am always wondering if there might be a gem out there somewhere.
    I’ll continue to pass these by. August 17, 2012 at 8:47am Reply

    • Suzanna: AnneD, I think you will have to keep looking. There might be a gem somewhere, but not here! August 17, 2012 at 9:05am Reply

  • Jackie: I think you were generous with your star rating!

    1 August 17, 2012 at 9:16am Reply

    • Suzanna: Jackie, I’m not saying these are total dreck. They’ve had money put behind them. They simply are nothing that would appeal to me, or to you. In fact, they are wearable…if you like that sort of thing. August 17, 2012 at 10:06am Reply

  • Elena: As requested, I picked up Wonderstruck for my niece this Christmas, and I didn’t even smell it. I tried to get her to take my old bottle of YSL Babydoll, and she pronounced it “ugh” and perhaps old lady-ish. Things are dire in the malls these days. August 17, 2012 at 9:17am Reply

    • Suzanna: Elena, I think all of these perfumes are extensions of the BBW aesthetic.

      Babydoll “ugh”? Remember when that was the frag for teens? Come a long way downhill since then. August 17, 2012 at 10:07am Reply

  • OperaFan: Too funny – Thanks for getting me on a good start to the weekend! August 17, 2012 at 9:40am Reply

    • Suzanna: OperaFan, glad to be of service! I laugh whenever I see those enormous cutouts in the mall–tempting whom I do not know! August 17, 2012 at 10:08am Reply

  • Andrea: I received a Sephora perfume gift from a dear friend. It had samples of perfumes including Wonderstruck, and also had a coupon to purchase a FB of one of the sample perfumes.

    My teenage daughters both said “oh, that stuff is awful, you will hate it”, but of course I had to sample it anyway… It smelled like horrible body odor, perhaps with a cumin-sweat accord.:-). Perhaps it fares better on someone else… As for my FB, the only one that was decent was Pucci Intense (I think that was the name) which they no longer sell. So I cashed it out and bought Caudalie’s Divine Oil! August 17, 2012 at 9:55am Reply

    • Suzanna: Andrea, that Caudalie oil is calling my name! It certainly sounds the wiser choice. August 17, 2012 at 10:09am Reply

    • Victoria: Ladies, I just picked up the August issue of French Marie Claire, and they have a whole article on dry oils, featuring Caudalie Divine Oil too. They placed under the rubric of “voluptuous.” I might have to swing by the local pharmacy and try it out. But Andrea’s enthusiastic review is swaying me far more than Marie Claire’s puff piece. 🙂 August 17, 2012 at 10:35am Reply

      • Suzanna: I am geared up to buy this–looking for any excuse! They won’t have it here, so that is some obstacle for the moment 🙂 August 17, 2012 at 12:29pm Reply

        • Victoria: I didn’t find it at the pharmacies around me either, which of course, did nothing to dampen my curiosity. There are so many of these pharmacies near my current place, but they are small and each carries a different assortment of things. After 5 stops, I gave up. Might have to go to a larger pharmacy. August 17, 2012 at 12:38pm Reply

          • Suzanna: I might resort to Amazon. Seems readily available there and that one-click-ordering is so terribly easy. August 17, 2012 at 1:37pm Reply

      • Andrea: Voluptuous! Wow, I’m more sophisticated than I thought.;-). Actually, it is a really good “base” for my rose perfumes, and would likely work well with any softer jasmine perfume as well. I wore Cartier de Lune with it the other day and got compliments; I’m buying a FB of de Lune just to wear with it, as it goes so nicely together. Suzanna and Victoria, sorry to bring temptation to your door, but I guess it’s only fair since I have spent untold amounts to acquire perfumes based on your reviews!:-) August 17, 2012 at 7:35pm Reply

        • Suzanna: Andrea, the oil is reasonable, compared to some (well, lots) of others. In any event, I welcome suggestions and the sorority of huile-seche sisters. August 17, 2012 at 10:58pm Reply

  • Daisy: Oh boy. I do love your refrain that you cannot wash or swim it off though! Why are the worst ones the most tenacious?

    I do applaud you for taking one for the team and giving Taylor and Bieber a test drive. You are a much braver woman than myself! August 17, 2012 at 10:36am Reply

    • Suzanna: Daisy, I don’t mind “taking one for the team” because I get all kinds of mental images from these scents–candy corn, lollipops, laundry, those bottled teas that are too sweet with corn syrup, etc.

      It’s true–I was swimming and that scent just rose out of the water and into a cloud around me. I had to laugh! August 17, 2012 at 12:31pm Reply

      • Daisy: That is funny 🙂 August 17, 2012 at 12:50pm Reply

    • MB: Ditto on taking one for the team. Suzanna, I was at a local Rite Aid a few weeks ago when I bumped into a large garish display for the Tim McGraw/Faith Hill tag team fragrances, Soul2Soul. Since my wrist twitches w/in a hundred yard radius of a tester bottle, I spritzed each wrist. What a mistake! Easily the most appallingly bad concoctions I’ve had the misfortune to inhale in a long time. They were so hideous they made me angry at the celebrity couple nominally behind them. The only reason Tim McGraw’s “his” version isn’t the worst thing out there is because Faith Hill’s is out there. There’s bad and somewhat innocuous and then there’s bad and downright offensive and insulting to anyone w/ olfactory capabilities. Isn’t there any sense of obligation to create something worthwhile if your name is going on it (this is a rhetorical question)? August 17, 2012 at 1:47pm Reply

      • Suzanna: Ah, but that would imply an ability to discern that perhaps the namesake lacks! After all, what is the most ubiquitous fragrance smell? It is that of the Abercrombie store, which smells much like a mixture of both of the perfumes you mention. It is so prevalent it is in our DNA. We must rise up against it. August 17, 2012 at 3:12pm Reply

  • Portia: LOVE IT! I keep wanting to try the Beiber but am always already wearing or in the frag counter for a reason.
    I tried WonderStruck when it was first released and was not as revolted as I expected,
    Thanks for a fun look at them,
    Portia x August 17, 2012 at 11:22am Reply

    • Suzanna: Portia, glad you liked it! They are silly fun, and the thing is, there’s more than just these two. We must push back! August 17, 2012 at 12:32pm Reply

  • fleurdelys: Hee! I was just thinking that the blonde in the Justin Bieber ad looks like she’s robbing the cradle. He looks about 12 years old! August 17, 2012 at 11:31am Reply

    • Suzanna: He sure does, fleurdelys. I can’t imagine him, well, being in a passionate grip with a girl wearing one of his perfumes. He has been anointed in a creepy way, too. Did we need a pop icon like this? I guess so! Record sales do not lie! August 17, 2012 at 12:33pm Reply

      • Lisa: Too funny! Well, to be fair, when I was a tween and teen, I didn’t exactly get stuck with “manly-men” teen idols either. However, on the flipside, there *was* Andy Gibb … (sigh). August 17, 2012 at 2:55pm Reply

        • Suzanna: What, no Leif Garrett for you? :–) August 17, 2012 at 3:12pm Reply

          • Lisa: LOL! Nope, and no Shaun Cassidy either. I really did not fancy teen idols who had that certain nonthreatening femininity about them and couldn’t imagine kissing them, much less letting them traverse all of the bases! 🙂 August 17, 2012 at 3:18pm Reply

            • Suzanna: Lisa: Ugh, I’m with you! August 17, 2012 at 4:42pm Reply

  • Lisa: I was at Sephora this past weekend and out of sheer boredom started sniffing around at the young pop celeb ‘fumes. I was truly amazed at the similarities they all shared. Seriously, line these up and give me a blind sniff, and I wouldn’t be able to tell you which was Bieber, Swift, Gaga or whoever else is shilling their smelly stuff these days.

    On a related note, I also sampled Bieber’s latest: Girlfriend. As in, “Girlfriend, you do *not* want this stank on you!” It too is another pallid fruity floral with a sour citrusy note that smells oddly like eau de public urinal. I honestly don’t know what that’s all about. Zero sillage on this one, if that’s of any comfort — no washing or swimming shall be needed! 🙂 August 17, 2012 at 2:35pm Reply

    • Suzanna: Good! The other stuck like glue. That was a redeeming quality in the age of fast and fleeting.

      I must remark that public urinals smell a lot better than they used to. A lot. If they are then mixed up with a celebrity scent, then at least it’s for the better in that one instance. August 17, 2012 at 3:14pm Reply

  • mals86: I too was struck by how similar these two smelled. I had a slight preference for Someday, as a matter of fact (as in, if I were chained up to a dungeon wall and sentenced to wear one or the other of these, I’d pick the Bieber).

    I admit to a fondness for Ms. Swift. Girl writes her own music, and she has decent fashion sense. August 17, 2012 at 4:07pm Reply

    • Suzanna: mals86, I sort of liked that drydown of Someday, after having it on for hours. It’s the artificial topnotes that are so distressing!

      Agree about Ms. Swift. August 17, 2012 at 4:43pm Reply

  • Lynn Morgan: My teenage enthusiasms were David Bowie and Bogart movies, so I guess I was wildly precocious. I am always amazed at how hideous and ininpsired and cheap celebrity fragrances are, even when they are hyped by a celebrity with a modium of taste. Does anyone remember “Deneuve”? I was a kid but I recall it as nasty, sharp and astringint. There was also a men’s scent called “Baryshnikov” that was terrible, too. Sometimes, the best you can hope for is inoffensive pleasantness, like Sarah Jessica Parker’s “Lovely” and usuallu you get a heinous, too cheap for Wal Mart pong, like most of the rest of them. Ironically, the only one I have ever come close to liking was the original Kim Kardashian- a tuberose lite- but I have way too much self-respect to wear anything K-branded! August 17, 2012 at 5:00pm Reply

    • Suzanna: Lynn, thanks for pointing out the long and horrible history of celebrity scents. Some, though, are coveted, like Cher Uninhibited. I vaguely recall Deneuve, and hope someone else can say something about it.

      My teenage crush was Mick Jagger, but all my friends were wild about Neil Young. August 17, 2012 at 5:10pm Reply

  • Kerrie: I have thoroughly enjoyed reading this post – especially since for months now Beiber’s fragrance ad (a lifesize cardboard cutout of Beiber) has been placed in a local drugstore window and every time I walk by it freaks me out! Can’t imagine even sniffing this stuff. August 17, 2012 at 6:27pm Reply

    • Suzanna: I have noticed he has crossed into greeting cards, also, giant ones. Although not as large as the perfume cut-outs, the cards are still alarming. August 17, 2012 at 10:56pm Reply

  • Isabelle: Dear Suzanna,

    really, I can’t wait the next post anymore…

    First because I’m sure it will be about a beautiful scent or topic letting me forget about J.B. and Co, second because I won’t have to ask me anymore what this blond girl is whispering to his ear…

    This ad is so sirupy… Each time I come to visit here I have to go back to your beautiful thoughts about tomato leaf, for lightness and refreshment !

    Have a wonderful week-end!

    Isabelle August 18, 2012 at 5:11am Reply

    • Suzanna: Isabelle, I am glad you enjoyed the tomato leaf post. I promise you there will be more such reviews in the future–although I do know that somewhere out there in the fragrant stratosphere is someone who feels about Justin Bieber’s perfume the same way we do about the tomato leaf! August 18, 2012 at 8:38am Reply

  • Katrina: I’ve tried both of these and think they smell really nice. I find wonderstruck fairly lightweight so suprised it hangs around after a swim. August 18, 2012 at 8:28am Reply

    • Suzanna: Katrina, everything sticks on my skin. Most perfumes seem very strong on me. So far there have only been a couple of instances where it hasn’t, or perhaps my sense of smell is heightened. Who knows? Glad you’ve liked the perfumes, though. August 18, 2012 at 8:39am Reply

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