Friday, 9 September 2016

Persolaise Review: Scent Of A Dream from Charlotte Tilbury (Francois Robert; 2016)

The soundbites
If Scent Of A Dream were a song, it would be Le Freak by Chic.
If it were a colour, it would be pale yellow.
If it were a hairstyle, it would be Farrah Fawcett's Charlie's Angels look.

The review
I try not to attach too much importance to the somewhat flexible 'facts' presented in most press releases. But the marketing material for make-up artist Charlotte Tilbury's debut fragrance - Scent Of A Dream - was impossible to ignore. Apparently, her perfume "can ATTRACT others and also change the energy frequency of the people and environment around you." It has "the power to attract your magical future." It can help you "CREATE YOUR OWN DESTINY through its psycho-active, fleurotic frequency." You can use it to "create an EMOTIONAL PATHWAY with someone else's energy centres." And as if that weren't enough to make you rush out and buy every single bottle within a 20-mile radius, it also "acts as a portal that attracts LOVE, LIGHT, POWER, POSITIVITY AND SEX to the wearer." Phew! Does anyone else need a cigarette? Oh, and in case you're wondering, those capitals aren't mine; they're taken straight from the press pack.

Now, I confess I was sufficiently swayed by this nonsensical, new-agey claptrap to believe that what was about to waft beneath my nose would be the worst kind of unimaginative, cardboard-cut-out dreck. How wrong I turned out to be. It ain't no masterpiece, but Scent Of A Dream functions very well as a more translucent - and therefore more modern - rendition of the floral-patchouli theme popularised in the 70s by the likes of Aromatics Elixir. Rather than place emphasis on a bolshy rose, it opts for a lilac-like note that links well with the fresher elements of the patchouli and even veers towards mossy territories to hint at the sophistication of a chypre. Bet you didn't see that coming. No, neither did I.

Towards the end it does give in to the demands of the 21st century sweet tooth: a sugary coating spreads over the woods and dulls their attractiveness. But at no stage does the scent turn into a ditzy, caramel-coated airhead. Indeed, it's a testament to perfumer Francois Robert's skills - and, dare I say it, Tilbury's supervision - that the perfume somehow manages to meet the current demand for olfactory calories without becoming yet another gourmand clone. It's elegant, fairly distinctive and, as it's being pushed by an advertising campaign fronted by Kate Moss, it may well have the power to shift consumer tastes in an interesting new direction. In short: thumbs up. Now, I'm off to tune into those fleurotic frequencies.

[Review based on a sample of eau de parfum provided by Charlotte Tilbury in 2016. For Lizzie Ostrom's hilarious account of her encounter with the scent, please click here.]



  1. I did wonder whether you'd review this scent and what you'd make of it; the gushing copy put me in mind of "Absolutely Fabulous"!

    The perfume might fall between two stools, with the copy putting off those folk who might like the scent, and the scent putting off folk who expect all the nonsense promised in the giddy copy!

    cheerio, Anna in Edinburgh

    1. Anna, yes, that's certainly a danger. However, I do hope people give it the attention it deserves.

  2. Finally! A sensible review on this one :)


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