I love the boxes that look like books – the full set that you see is £119 which is incredibly reasonable for eight fragrances! Zara did the right thing in employing a nose with experience of building a fragrance brand (twice, in this case) from the ground up. It ensures a purity of product and an understanding of the business of selling fragrance. You know – it’s simple… make it good and make it affordable and people will want it. There are plenty of own brand fragrances that are shipped out to white label fragrancers with the ‘story’ coming later that barely belong in the rarified world of perfume. From this collection of eight, there will be one for you – no need to rush at it but a spritz at a time while you’re shopping and it will find you.
Each fragrance comes with a post card that depicts an element of the city it represents. So, the ones I’ve tried over and above a spritz are firstly Fashionably London which comes with note highlights of bergamot, rose, geranium, lily of the valley and oakmoss. I don’t have a ping of recognition that this is London in a bottle but it’s an impression at least of the things perhaps we don’t note London for such as greenery and gardens. I think maybe you could say it’s a whisper of London on a bright and sunshine filled day – it’s an optimistic scent. It will be whatever you need it to be and I think I’d say that across the collection. I haven’t been to half the cities so I can’t be too literal on their interpretation – they’re moods more than places. It’s not my favourite.
Stunning Venice is immediately uplifting and instantly exciting. There’s juiciness from blackcurrant, a herbal note (that hit first for me) of tarragon and mint, citrus from bergamot and a middle of raspberry and rose. It smells to me like walking into a fruit garden or because the mint comes through so much, the first sip of a summer Mojito. Gorgeous! Elegantly Tokyo should be another on the immediate list – it’s cherry blossom, honeysuckle, ylang ylang and jasmine – a proper burst of flowers with a woody finish. It’s a mood of exuberance and decadence.
Somehow, the notes of bergamot, mandarin, lemon, cardamom, violet leaves and ambergris amounts to an almost steely scent – I had a soft metallic impression with cedar at the finish. It’s metal, wood and water somehow rolled into a perfume. I still have Gracefully Mandarin, Creatively Shanghai, Magnificently Dubai and Boldly Seoul to take a deeper dive with, but since shopping is ramping up by the day, I didn’t want you not to look out for these if you’re venturing out. 100% worth the £19.99 tag and if you can find the collector set when it launches on line, it’s well worth considering. You will have to top up more often but they don’t disappear on contact. Neither do they overwhelm with vanilla or make you feel like you’re breathing cake. I think this is Zara’s best to date – they took an expert on board and its paid off tenfold.
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