Spring Roses Reviews 1 : Valentino, Kenzo, Juicy Couture Perfumes

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This spring is promising to be rose scented. Every other flanker, a sequel to the original big launch, seems to be reinvented in rose tinted prettiness.  From Kenzo to Cartier, every house has been thinking pink. Flankers are not known for being daring, and when I dutifully smelled through the whole lot, I felt that I was smelling the same perfume over and over again. Fruity, sparkling, instantly forgettable. In the end, I picked six fragrances that stood out, although you will see that in some cases this is an underhanded compliment.

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Why bother then? Most of these fragrances will not appeal to perfume lovers used to the opulence of florals or the tinge of animalic notes hidden among the fleshy petals. By contrast, all six rose perfumes I’ve selected are clean and dewy. Some of them are better than others, but overall, this selection contains nice options for anyone who prefers their florals fresh and sparkling, without the cloying sweetness that’s a common theme in most feminine new launches. Simple and pretty are not negative qualities, and occasionally, this is exactly what hits the spot.

Today, I’m reviewing three fragrances that pair rose with white florals: Valentino Valentina Acqua Floreale; Kenzo Amour I Love You; and Juicy Couture La La. The white florals, be it tuberose or gardenia, have a creamy sweetness that contrast well with a sheer, citrusy rose accord.

Valentino Valentina Acqua Floreale

Valentina Acqua Floreale follows in the footsteps of its older sister, Valentina. The bubble gum tuberose of the original is sheered out, made less cloying and thick. It reminded me of a milder Juicy Couture. The vibrant start of citrus and orange blossom fades to a soft, musky drydown that goes by the “sexy clean” moniker in fragrance houses. On the other hand, Valentina Acqua Floreale is so perfectly well-behaved and inoffensive that I doubt one can have a strong opinion about it. It’s radiant, sheer and coy. It would make a sophisticated fragrance for a teenage girl. While it’s not a drama queen, it’s a good quality perfume, with smooth development and decent longevity. 

kenzo-amour-i-love-you

Kenzo Amour I Love You

Kenzo Amour was a milky rice fragrance with a touch of frangipani, but it didn’t sell as well as Kenzo hoped. The fruity and tart flanker Kenzo Amour Indian Holi was an unexpected success, which landed the rest of the Amour flankers in the same fizzy and lighthearted register.

Out of the 6 fragrances I am reviewing this week, I Love You is the one I would wear myself.  It banks its success on the commercial combination of red berries, fresh roses and tuberose, but it’s well-crafted at all stages. The sparkling top notes of grapefruit and red currants are tart and mouthwatering, serving as a pleasant contrast to the sweet floral heart. The bright spicy accent is a nice embellishment. While the drydown of soft musks and sheer vanilla is nothing new,  I Love You smells polished and pretty.

juicy couture

Juicy Couture La La

Juicy Couture wanted a fragrance that was “a little punk rock, a lot of free spirit,” and the result is a by-the-book white floral with a touch of rose. I’m missing the punk rock bit entirely, and my impressions are mixed. On the one hand, Juicy Couture La La has a terrific start of dewy rose and tuberose. Jazzed up with sweet citrus, it feels effervescent and reminds me of Clinique Happy. But then everything fades to a sour, high-pitched floral, which lasts far longer than you want it to.  The money clearly went into the packaging, because the heavy glass bottle with is eye-catching.

Valentino and Juicy Couture perfumes are available at department stores, while Kenzo is a limited edition duty-free (travel retail) launch.

Sample: Valentino and Kenzo are my own acquisitions; Juicy Couture–PR.

Spring Roses 2: Cartier Eau de Cartier Goutte de RoseBalenciaga L’Eau Rose, and Van Cleef et Arpels Féerie Spring Blossom

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57 Comments

  • Kristina K: Kenzo Amour I love You <3 Simply wonderful :) January 21, 2013 at 9:08am Reply

    • Victoria: The bottle is also pretty. January 21, 2013 at 11:07am Reply

  • rosarita: Yuck, not for me, although thank you for the reviews. I’m going to try out White Linen and maybe a flanker at the Estee Lauder counter this spring; it’s been years since I’ve smelled it and while I’m ready try a floral again, I think I’m better off with something that’s not too sheer and a bit greener. I have a few florals but my collection on the whole can best be described as “brooding”. January 21, 2013 at 9:23am Reply

    • Victoria: I have to say that I’ve had enough fresh roses while writing reviews for today and tomorrow. I’m going to get home and put on something dark and brooding. :) January 21, 2013 at 11:08am Reply

  • Heather: I appreciate all the testing you’ve done and these reviews. Like rosarita said, not for me. I’m tired of flankers and their long names. January 21, 2013 at 9:38am Reply

    • Victoria: :) At one point I sprayed all six perfumes on my arms to compare them side by side. That goes into the category of “don’t try it at home”. January 21, 2013 at 11:10am Reply

      • Masha: Yes, that sounds like something that should be left to the “Mythbusters”! January 21, 2013 at 12:59pm Reply

        • Victoria: My husband’s response was to open all windows in the apartment. And that’s on a freezing, snowy day. :) January 21, 2013 at 1:21pm Reply

  • Merlin: It sounds as though I would prefer Sa Majeste to all of these – if I could afford it, that is! The Kenzo sounds very nice, but as a limited edition travel release I will probably not get to smell it anyway. January 21, 2013 at 9:58am Reply

    • Marika: I just smelled Sa Majeste for the first time and I don’t even want to look for another rose. It’s perfect! January 21, 2013 at 10:09am Reply

      • Victoria: I also like Sa Majeste la Rose very much. It’s a perfect, lush rose that still manages to be sparkling. January 22, 2013 at 9:55am Reply

    • Victoria: Sometimes these Kenzo flankers end up in the wider distribution, so I decided to include it anyway. But yes, I can think of many much better roses (albeit much more expensive ones–a good, realistic rose does need a decent budget). January 21, 2013 at 11:12am Reply

  • Barbara: I appreciate you reviewing these because I wouldn’t go near them. But my teenaged cousins love everything pink and rosey, and I might get one of these perfumes for them when I go back to Poland. January 21, 2013 at 9:59am Reply

    • Victoria: My young cousins are the same, and I would rather smell any of these fragrances on teenage girls than the sugary sweet things that are normally sold to them. January 21, 2013 at 11:13am Reply

  • Cybele: Hi Victoria, have you also tried L’eau Kenzo Amour? I quite liked it when briefly testing it at a duty free shop. Would be curious to know how it compares to I Love You. January 21, 2013 at 10:56am Reply

    • Victoria: I don’t remember L’Eau off the top of my head, so I can’t compare. Kenzo did some nice flankers for Amour, all things considered. January 21, 2013 at 11:15am Reply

      • Cybele: it might only be available in airport duty frees, I’ve frequently seen it there since about 2 years. January 22, 2013 at 6:07am Reply

  • Jeff B: Best ‘brooders’ sounds like an excellent future topic. January 21, 2013 at 11:51am Reply

    • Victoria: That would be! Today I’m in mood for something a bit more brooding. Where is my bottle of Avignon? January 21, 2013 at 12:12pm Reply

  • Sarah: Hmm. Might give them a miss unless I win the draw for la la of course :). Thank you for smelling them for us!

    Victoria, do you think I should buy Estee Lauder’s Beautiful or will I smell ancient? I fancy a flowery/musky perfume and I’m so annoyed by all these new and boring scents – flankers and otherwise – that I want to buy the old ones on principal (even if they’re reformulated). I like a good sillage and something that lasts for ages. January 21, 2013 at 12:43pm Reply

    • Victoria: Beautiful doesn’t smell dated to me, especially when it’s worn with a light hand. It does have a gorgeous presence, and if you enjoy it and it makes you feel glamorous, go for it! January 21, 2013 at 1:22pm Reply

      • Sarah: Yay! Thanks for your thoughts – I will add it to my increasing collection of oldies but goodies (and use with a light hand) January 21, 2013 at 4:44pm Reply

    • annemariec: A Beautiful fan checking in here! Beautiful is a complex scent with lots of dark notes in the base anchoring the floral note higher up, and giving structure, it grace and poise. It ticks your boxes for sillage and longevity, and although the formula must have been tweaked over the years, I have not heard major grumbles about re-formulation on this one. It’s easily accessible at department stores and is relatively inexpensive. Go test! January 21, 2013 at 4:26pm Reply

      • Sarah: Excellent feedback! Thank you too. I’ll go test its latest incarnation tomorrow :) January 21, 2013 at 4:53pm Reply

      • Victoria: I agree with you. As far as the reformulations go, this is one of the more successful ones. It still smells like Beautiful! January 21, 2013 at 6:04pm Reply

  • Masha: These sound very sniffable. I’m one of those who prefers Kenzo Amour Indian Holi to Amour itself, and the bottle is one of my all-time favorites. I will definitely seek out this new Amour flanker, though I have not been thrilled with new Kenzos for the last couple of years. They have been a little bland. Hopefully Amour I Love You will buck the trend! January 21, 2013 at 12:58pm Reply

    • Victoria: In all honesty, I Love You is not that original, but it’s nicely done. It isn’t overly sweet and it has some character. Not much, but enough to stand out among my selection. January 21, 2013 at 1:26pm Reply

  • Erin T: I’m sad to learn that Amour didn’t sell as well as expected. I love it. And I haven’t liked the flankers – although Kenzo normally does a very nice job of flankers, I’ve enjoyed the Flower ones. I found Kenzo Amour Indian Holi very generic and mall-like — the pink pepper, the tart fruit — so I find it a bit sad that they’re basing further renditions on this model. Did you like Amour I Love You *better* than Kenzo Amour Indian Holi? January 21, 2013 at 1:14pm Reply

    • Victoria: I Love You won’t tempt you either, I think. While I did like it better than Indian Holi (it’s softer on me), I don’t think that it’s distinctive enough. January 21, 2013 at 1:30pm Reply

  • Andy: Though none of these sound too interesting to me, I do find it very interesting that the Kenzo launch is going to be sold exclusively at duty-free shops. I had no idea that sales at those shops in the airports were that significant! January 21, 2013 at 2:59pm Reply

    • Victoria: Yes, the duty-free sales matter to the fragrance houses. And also to the wine and chocolate producers. It’s a big market. January 21, 2013 at 3:17pm Reply

  • Andrea: On a perfume review site, someone had chosen Valentino as similar to Kenzo ILY. I already own this, but it ended up having a somewhat sour note that was off-putting. Possibly the Pomelo.

    Do you know off-hand whether or not ILY is the same type of scent? I do like a lighter rose sometimes, particularly with some citrus… So far, Diptyque seems to be the best choice, but I also like Yuzu Rouge. Is this in a similar vein?

    Trying to decide whether or not to blind buy… Thanks, V! January 21, 2013 at 3:06pm Reply

    • Victoria: Valentino Acqua Floreale, you mean? Or something else?

      If you like a fizzy fresh rose, what about Parfums de Rosine Un Zest de Rose? If you like Yuzu Rouge, it might be a winner. January 21, 2013 at 3:16pm Reply

      • Andrea: I was trying to remember that one! Yes, I like them both. I have the Valentino perfume, not to be confused with Valentino from the 1980′s (which smells like Fleurissimo). I’m not sure why they named them the same… This Valentino is “pink juice” with a black lid, has frangipani and pomelo. Its picture is on the page with Kenzo ILY on Fragrantica (not sure if I can mention the site); apparently people thought it was similar but I wanted your opinion.

        When I was looking for my sample of Un Zest, I realized how many rose decants I own. Perhaps I need to decline this one, otherwise it will look like I am on a life mission to smell every rose perfume available! January 21, 2013 at 3:44pm Reply

        • Victoria: Hmmm, I don’t know that one, but I wouldn’t buy I Love You blindly. It’s a nice fragrance, but not something that is likely to send you to the perfume lover’s heaven, if you know what I mean.

          It might be fun for you to revisit the rose perfumes you already have. Sometimes it’s good to smell them in strips of paper side by side to see which ones jump out at you. There are so many rose fragrances out there, but many really do smell alike. January 21, 2013 at 5:04pm Reply

          • Andrea: Thanks, V! Great idea, I did just that today. Rose winners were: MDCI Rose de Siwa, Vand A Feerie Rose des Neiges and Rosine’s Zeste. Surprising when you just smell the strip blindly, without the name/marketing to influence perception. Guerlain’s Rose Barbare was surprisingly nice, and Rosine La Rose was the surprising “bomb”. January 22, 2013 at 7:30pm Reply

            • Victoria: Isn’t it such a great exercise? I always smell perfumes blindly, and sometimes if I really want to make it impartial, I ask someone else to spray the blotters and code them, so that I don’t know what perfume I’m smelling. The marketing concept is such a strong influence. January 23, 2013 at 6:27am Reply

  • Annikky: Victoria, thank you for doing this, so that we don’t have to :) I will probably give them a sniff when traveling or aimlessly wandering in a supermarket. But my thing with light, mainstream roses is that I’ll always have Stella. As will, most probably, all my future teenage relatives :). January 21, 2013 at 3:27pm Reply

    • Victoria: Stella is fantastic, I agree. It’s bright and happy without being trite and it smells like a quality fragrance. Yves Saint Laurent In Love Again is another perfume in this bubbly style I like. January 21, 2013 at 5:01pm Reply

  • Rose D: Spring roses? Not my favourite category. I usually prefer rose-centered perfumes with a strong personality; either polished as Coco and Diva, or bold as the original Agent Provocateur.
    Lately, I have been thinking about adding another bottle to my collection. Both Lady Vengenace and Lady Vengeance Extreme have temped me; and so have L´Artisan Voleur de Roses and Sisley Soir de Lune. Which one do you, perfume lovers, think will be the best buy? January 21, 2013 at 3:49pm Reply

    • maja: Voleur de Roses :) January 21, 2013 at 4:13pm Reply

    • Victoria: Voleur de Roses is my choice as well. It’s so beautiful with its earthy rose notes. January 21, 2013 at 5:05pm Reply

      • Rose D: Thanks for your answers! Voleur de roses is a bit pricey; but I am sure it will be money well spent. January 22, 2013 at 3:17pm Reply

        • Victoria: As long as you experience a rush of pleasure when you smell it, it will be money well spent! January 22, 2013 at 4:22pm Reply

  • Austenfan: My favourite light rose is still the lovely Ecume de Rose. I think I like it a little better than Un Zeste. Lovely reviews as always, they haven’t prompted me to try any of these though.
    I did try Lys Soleia the other day, and I think I quite like it.
    Another light rose I like is Goutal’s Une Rose Splendide. It matches their fragranced body products. I once got a bottle of their shampoo. Washing my hair with that was a wonderfully fragrant experience. January 21, 2013 at 6:33pm Reply

    • Monika: Ecume is my favourite rose as well :). Sweet and wistful and, for me, very Anne of Green Gables (when she’s grown up). January 22, 2013 at 6:33am Reply

      • Austenfan: Who is Anne of Green Gables? January 22, 2013 at 7:52am Reply

        • Monika: My favourite literary character in childhood. A heroine of L. M. Montgomery series, Canadian YA classic. I still like it. January 22, 2013 at 8:10am Reply

          • Austenfan: Thanks, I was familiar with the name but didn’t know who she was. January 22, 2013 at 9:02am Reply

          • Andrea: She was mine, too, Monika. Ann of Avonlea, as well… My mother just visited Prince Edward Island this summer and brought me “Ann of GG” raspberry tea from the gift shop.:-). I like your idea of assigning this scent to her as an adult, very descriptive! January 22, 2013 at 7:18pm Reply

    • Victoria: I had a sample of Rose Splendide shampoo and face cream, and they were fantastic. You really get a “rose petal shower” effect. But I also enjoy L’Occitane Rose 4 Reines shower products for their bright, crisp rose scent. January 22, 2013 at 9:54am Reply

      • Austenfan: I own the body cream of Rose 4 Reines which layers really well with YSL Paris. January 22, 2013 at 10:00am Reply

        • Victoria: I can see why! The perfume version of Rose 4 Reines is a copy of Paris (not saying that it was intentional, but it really does smell very much like it). January 22, 2013 at 10:03am Reply

  • Divya: Victoria, I see what you mean by juicy couture la la missing the punk rock edge. It reminds me of ‘Loud’ by Tommy Hilfiger where the concept was derived from rock music, the target audience were young teens… with just two ingredients rose and patchouli. I think they missed the point. Have you tried Loud? If you have how would you have blended a scent for the rock loving young generation? January 22, 2013 at 1:24am Reply

    • Victoria: I haven’t tried it, but it doesn’t surprise me that it’s not all that close to the concept. Too bad… January 22, 2013 at 9:52am Reply

  • Jake: Victoria,
    Kenzo Amour I Love You has just debuted in department stores as limited St. Valentine’s edition:
    http://www.sephora.fr/Parfum/Parfum-Femme/KenzoAmour-I-heartsU/P1270004

    And duty-free just got their 2013 travel-value exclusive: Kenzo Amour My Love, I have tested it already- lot of rose, green notes and grapefruit. Suppose it will be launched in classic stores in 2014 :) January 22, 2013 at 8:28am Reply

    • Victoria: Thank you! The names aren’t terribly imaginative, I have to say. January 22, 2013 at 9:51am Reply

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