Moschino Couture! : Fragrance Review

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Elisa on another perfume that’s lighthearted, easy to wear and interesting.

There are certain perfume brands that fly under the radar. They are neither so mainstream that you see testers on every department store counter (Estée Lauder, Gucci, and the like), nor do they qualify as “niche” or earn the cult status of pricey brands like Serge Lutens and Amouage. These perfumes – I’m thinking of brands like Paco Rabanne and Cacharel – are found at mall perfume kiosks and online discounters, usually for under $50 a bottle. If you know about one of these scents, you probably either bought it at a drugstore as a teenager, heard of it through word of mouth, or discovered it via pure happenstance.

Moschino_Couture

This last method of discovery was the case for me with Moschino Couture!, launched in 2004. (The exclamation mark is part of the name, but I’ll drop it from here on out.) Early on in my perfume-buying days, I had an insatiable hunger for new fragrances, but not a lot of money to spend, and I frequently blind-bought bottles when they could be had for just a few times the cost of a sample ($4 for 2 ml or $20 for 50 ml … this seemed like easy math to me). I bought Couture on a whim because I was ordering a bottle of Moschino Funny! and the site had great deals on both.

It was a serendipitous decision – years later, this fruity-floral-meets-floriental is still a favorite. The top note is a citrusy blackcurrant – tart, zingy, and addictive. The rest of the fragrance is basically a clean jasmine blend on a sheer woody base with plenty of tonka bean, which gives an effect similar to YSL Cinema or the discontinued Armani Sensi. What makes Couture different is that the blackcurrant note combines with the almond to create an illusion of cherry, which reminds me of mixing Amaretto and cranberry juice in my college dorm room, an experiment that resulted in the cocktail version of a red snowcone.

Not all my blind buys have been so successful, naturally, but Couture has become a staple in my collection – carefree and easy without smelling like candy or shampoo. It’s one of those simple fragrances that is so well-balanced it never feels boring. Every time I wear it I wonder, “Why does no one ever mention this wonderful fragrance?”

A note on availability

Although discontinued, Moschino Couture still occasionally shows up at low prices in some outlets. (As such it joins other tricky-to-find gems like Cartier So Pretty and Fendi Theorema.) I recently spotted bottles in the dedicated perfume store at my local mall, and Victoria has seen it at Overstock and on eBay, so keep an eye out.

Moschino Couture! includes notes of bergamot, tangerine, pepper, yellow poppy, pomegranate blossom, poppy seeds, benzoin, vanilla, and cedar.

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34 Comments

  • Sandra: Great review!
    In NYC they have some discounted perfume stores – there is one near grand central (just in case anyone needs to know)
    I will look thee next time I am there to see if they have this.
    I do love cacheral and other brands that you find at these locations- cacheral is affordable and makes fun perfumes as well.
    Your ameretto and cranberry juice sounds like a fun college drink. Mine was captain and coke during my college years – September 9, 2014 at 7:20am Reply

    • Elisa: Thanks Sandra! Those little discount stores are so fun to explore! And you can often find pre-reformulation stuff, like YSL Nu in the old bottle. September 9, 2014 at 10:13am Reply

    • Cybele: hi Sandra, I would love to know where these stores are in NYC. I used to go to one on 34th st. September 9, 2014 at 11:15am Reply

      • Sandra: There is one near grand central , it’s called 42nd street perfume and it’s a discount place. Near 5th on the same side as sephora

        10 east 42nd street September 9, 2014 at 3:29pm Reply

        • zari: I go to this one sometimes! I first smelled Mitsouko there. Sometimes they are friendly, sometimes not (it’s ok!), but usually leave you to smell the testers they have out. September 9, 2014 at 4:21pm Reply

          • Sandra: Yes- sometimes not friendly!
            Haha September 9, 2014 at 4:31pm Reply

            • kimmi: Thanks for the address- I go through Grand Central on my way to my hometown in CT. This sounds like an interesting buy- I will keep an eye out. September 9, 2014 at 5:17pm Reply

        • Cybele: thanks so much! I will check it out… September 9, 2014 at 7:26pm Reply

  • solanace: This sounds like fun, and so does your college cocktail. I remember I once drank almost an entire bottle of Amaretto. Oh, the hangover. I still like it, though, and was disappointed because the amaretto note was not stronger in Guerlain l´Homme Idéal. September 9, 2014 at 9:16am Reply

    • Elisa: Oh, I can imagine! Too much port can give you an awful hangover too. September 9, 2014 at 10:14am Reply

      • solanace: I believe! September 10, 2014 at 4:55am Reply

  • Adriana: I’d include Laura Biagiotti in the cathegory of relatively low prised lovely scents. Anyone aware of such perfume discounts anywhere in Vienna?
    The opening of Moschino Couture sounds fascinating, will definitely give it a try. September 9, 2014 at 10:39am Reply

    • Elisa: Adriana, I have a whole shelf of these kinds of scents. Another low-priced favorite is Belle en Rykiel.

      Hoping someone can help you out with recs for shopping in Vienna! September 9, 2014 at 10:55am Reply

    • annemarie: I agree on Laura Biagiotti. Well, I’ve only tried two, Roma and Venezia. I disliked Venezia, but Roma, to me, is adorable. Its combination of citrus and mint up top and amber in the base never ceases to fascinate and delight. Easy to wear, easy to buy. I have a 25 ml bottle (unusual size, I know) for which I paid about $40 including shipping. I could have got an even cheaper deal probably but I chose to use a reputable discounter from whom I buy a lot. September 9, 2014 at 6:19pm Reply

      • Elisa: I like that you described a fragrance as “adorable”! September 9, 2014 at 6:22pm Reply

        • annemarie: Do try Roma if you get the chance! Occasionally it’s compared to Dune, but Roma is sweeter and more feminine. It’s been around for ages so must have been reformulated, but I have only tried the modern. Warm, casual, elegant, it does not very too hard, and does not demand that you get down on bended knee to worship it, as do some of the classic Guerlains and Chanels etc. September 10, 2014 at 6:50am Reply

          • Courant: How does it compare to Penhaligons LP No 9 for women? I have seen Roma in a shop where there is no tester and have been curious. Dune, LP and Roma are supposedly alike. Is Roma the sweetest of the three? Thanks Annemarie. September 10, 2014 at 4:07pm Reply

            • annemarie: Sorry, I’ve not tried the Penhaligon’s . From the reviews I just glanced at I’d say that Roma may be the sweetest, but it’s certainly not in gourmand territory. Oakmoss is listed as note in Roma but I dont pick it up except perhaps as a slightly cool note in the base. September 10, 2014 at 4:52pm Reply

    • Karima: Müller (on Mariahilferstraße or at the Westbahnhof, for example) has nice prices and a big selection. Good luck! September 10, 2014 at 6:16am Reply

  • Cybele: Nice review and tip Elisa, thank you! I will definitely try it in case I come across it somewhere. I used to love the original Moschino when I was 15-17… September 9, 2014 at 11:19am Reply

    • Elisa: Thanks Cybele! The Moschino line is well done — as mentioned in the review, I also love Funny, a bright, pretty floral grapefruit with blackcurrant. September 9, 2014 at 11:26am Reply

    • Aurora: Cybele: so pleased you list the original Moschino. To me it smells like a better Obsession. I always keep a bottle and wear it in winter.

      Elisa thank you so much for your review. I will definitely try and track down Moschino Couture after reading the tempting description you made. I believe Cheap and Chic L’Eau which I used to like very much too has been discontinued as well. September 16, 2014 at 5:50am Reply

  • zari: I used to wear this in college when it came out, and up until two years ago still had a bottle which ended up getting lost in a transatlantic move. I’ve considered repurchasing, but maybe its better off in memory. September 9, 2014 at 4:29pm Reply

    • Elisa: Oh no! Must be scary trying to move a perfume collection across the ocean. I do sometimes think old scents are better left to memory. Although, when I found my old bottle of Egoiste from junior high, it smelled even better than I remembered. September 9, 2014 at 4:36pm Reply

  • Bookwyrmsmith: Oddly enough I wore this one yesterday . I may give it a second day in a row ( woah ! Is it love or laziness?) it is an easygoing scent to wear and I’m dealing with a headache and a work shift tonight. September 9, 2014 at 5:47pm Reply

    • Elisa: I think in this community it must be love! I find it nice in transitional weather (spring/fall) since it has warmth but isn’t too heavy. September 9, 2014 at 6:15pm Reply

  • Kandice: Elisa, do you know how this differs from the original Moschino for Women? That was one of my favorite perfumes back in the day. Thanks for reminding me 🙂 September 9, 2014 at 9:40pm Reply

    • Elisa: I’ve actually never tried it! But I’ve seen it compared to Obsession, which would make it very different, a spicy oriental. I think they are both products of their era (original, 1987, Couture, 2004) September 9, 2014 at 9:43pm Reply

      • Bookwyrmsmith: This is to Obsession what a pinch of lemon pepper is to a couple of jalapeños. Spice bomb it ain’t. September 10, 2014 at 12:15am Reply

        • Kandice: Thanks to both of you. I’ll have to try the Couture sometime in the near future 🙂 September 10, 2014 at 9:35pm Reply

  • Aisha: I love it when blind buys work out.

    I did a blind buy earlier this year of the Kate Spade fragrance “Twirl” because, 1) I love Kate Spade handbags, 2) I loved the bright pink and orange-red packaging, and 3) the 30 ml bottle was only $10! I really didn’t expect much from it, but was willing to give it a try.

    It is a delicious fruity floral (I smell hints of orange blossom in it) that on me has a soft woody quality to it as well. It’s a light fragrance, but it lasts on me all day. It was perfect during the summer. Now, would I buy it at full price if I found it? Probably not. But for $10? Totally worth it. 😉 September 13, 2014 at 5:34pm Reply

    • Elisa: I love a good $10 blind buy, even better than a $30 blind buy 🙂 September 13, 2014 at 10:13pm Reply

  • Ola: Oh! de Moschino is my favorite one, and also my first one… 🙂 It’s like with men, we will never forget our first one!:)) Unfortunately, it is discontinued, et it is extremely difficult to find any of Moschino in France… Used to love cheap&chic as well, which was also one of my first perfumes, a present from my father for 8th of March, that is International Women Day:) September 16, 2014 at 8:51pm Reply

    • Elisa: How sweet! September 16, 2014 at 9:29pm Reply

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