Prince 3121 ~ perfume review

Prince 3121 fragrance

We all know better by now than to expect celebrities who have done original or exciting work in their "areas of expertise" to carry that spirit of innovation over into fragrance. For most celebrities, perfume is a easy way to make money, plain and simple, and making a scent that appeals to as many consumers as possible is the logical outcome.

Still, many celebrity scents seem like reasonable olfactory representations of the stars in question, or at least, of their public personas. Despite their respective troubles, it seems fitting that Britney Spears Fantasy smells like cupcakes and musk, and that Paris Hilton gives us fruity bubble gum. Sometimes, of course, the concept is more of a stretch. Carlos Santana for women told me nothing about Carlos Santana except that he needed a few more dollars, and I'd say the same about Danielle by Danielle Steel (although she at least admitted she had nothing much to do with the fragrance itself).

So I wasn't sure what to expect from Prince's debut fragrance, 3121, but a white floral wouldn't have been my first guess if you'd asked me before I saw the notes (bergamot, jasmine, gardenia, orange blossom, muguet, tuberose, ylang ylang, patchouli, sandalwood, cedar and musk). I have no idea what kind of demographic they are reaching for, but maybe Prince just likes white florals; according to representatives from Revelations, the Pennsylvania-based company that produced 3121, Prince was "...involved at every step of the way of the evaluation of the fragrance...He loves fragrance; he burns candles at every meeting. He burns candles in his suite, his home, so he's a very fragrant person." (via myfoxphilly link no longer active, sorry!)

Prince 3121 opens on fruity-citrusy floral notes, heavy on the jasmine, and for a few minutes it is both sweet and sharp. The dry down is softer, and while the tropical florals (gardenia, tuberose, ylang ylang) are prominent, the lily of the valley and orange blossom stand out as well, especially in the early stages. It does not have the creamy tropical (or watery) feel of Marc Jacobs Perfume for women, nor is it nearly as creamy sweet as Michael Kors for women. The base is pale musky woods with just a hint of earthiness, and it gets warmer and muskier the longer it is on skin. The lasting power is excellent, but the white florals are eventually rather subtle and the musk takes center stage.

I don't like it as well as either the Marc Jacobs or the Micheal Kors (and white floral fans will want to try the new Estee Lauder Private Collection Tuberose Gardenia, which I'll review soon) and I wouldn't go so far as "Xquisite, Mysterious, Xotic", but it is a nice enough white floral. I rather doubt it is destined to inspire strong feelings either way among perfumistas, and I couldn't even begin to guess what Prince fans will think of it (although it is rare that I post a celebrity fragrance review and don't have at least one fan show up to ask why I am hating on their beloved). To my mind, it is oddly conventional, both for Prince and for its own packaging — that bottle does not look like it holds a conventionally pretty white floral, and there is nothing in the least purple-ish about the smell. I suppose it is unusual in that it is not a fruity floral laden with sugar-coated purple berries, so I'll give it that.

Prince 3121 is scheduled to launch officially on 7/7/07, but you can find it on counter now at Macys. The Eau de Parfum is available in 30, 50 and 100 ml. If you're going to buy it, you might consider purchasing the 30 ml online for $31.21 at the fragrance's website on 7/7, when 7% of the proceeds will go to charity.

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  1. Anonymous says:

    So, wearable but not Xceptional, eh? :-)

  2. Anonymous says:

    Hm. Well, it sounds pleasant enough… I guess I was just Xpecting something more unusual. You know, a mix of musk, opium, violets, smoke… something velvety and naughty. And definitely something more U-nis-eX.

  3. Anonymous says:


  4. Anonymous says:

    Me too — something darker & sexier. It is very musky, but doesn't strike me as sexy, really. Maybe others will disagree!

  5. Anonymous says:

    … and the bottle seems very Stella McCartney via Star Trek, which surprises me, too. :)

  6. Anonymous says:

    I tested it briefly yesterday, and it was truly vile. I cannot even find words. A 100% artificial composition, with no appeal whatsoever.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Prince is such a lovable nutter. But white florals? No no no, all wrong. It should smell winey, like Poison or a purply version of Botrytis.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Prince now has a perfume? Somehow I don't quite get this…


  9. Anonymous says:

    Hey — was trying to think of what that font reminded me of, and Star Trek is exactly right!

  10. Anonymous says:

    You hated it far more than I did then!

  11. Anonymous says:

    Yep, but it is not a “lovable nutter” kind of scent at all! A purply version of Botrytis might have been just right.

  12. Anonymous says:

    Eventually, everyone will have one :-)

  13. Anonymous says:

    To me: Stella meets Alien meets Star Trek :)

  14. Anonymous says:

    R–it seems to be the season of White Floral Resurgence, at least to me…am very interested in what you think of Private Collection Tuberose Gardenia–and what you think of it compared to Storer's Stephanie…

  15. Anonymous says:

    Ah, even closer!

  16. Anonymous says:

    Well, maybe it is and I just haven't noticed yet. Still looking like the decade of the fruity floral to me! Would rather have a slew of cheap white florals than a slew of cheap fruity florals, I guess.

    The EL is lovely, and will have to compare it to Stephanie.

  17. Anonymous says:

    That's got to be some sort of corollary to Warhol's statement that in the future, everyone will be famous for 15 minutes. 15 minutes of fame AND your own perfume. *sigh*

  18. Anonymous says:

    A conventional white floral? This isn't even remotely what I would have imagined. If he meant to confound expectations, he has succeeded.

  19. Anonymous says:

    I guess it's not fair for me to say that it's White Floral season–perhaps more accurate to say that I'm noticing them these days because the weather's made it possible for me to wear them…

    But still…Carnal Flower, Stephanie, the Prince perfume, the EL, etc etc…OK, i suppose it's nothing when compared to the onslaught of fruity florals…I take previous comment back! eep.

    btw, wearing the EL right now, wore Stephanie the other day, trying to write my review, but am having a hard time…

  20. Anonymous says:

    LOL — and that is about how long most of these perfumes are hits, isn't it? I mean, the pie just isn't big enough for all of these perfumes to make a killing.

  21. Anonymous says:

    I suppose it is that many of the white florals released lately (other than Prince 3121) are targeted to a pretty narrow market. Even the EL, if I remember correctly, is not going to be in wide distribution.

  22. Anonymous says:

    It is a pretty basic scent — nothing even vaguely unusual about it.

    There is so much talk lately about how the celebrity category is not pulling in the money it used to, but I really think this is why: lack of imagination & creativity, not because customers don't want to buy celebrity scents.

  23. Anonymous says:

    Great review – I love your comment about that it is not 'sugar coated purple berries'. That sounds like a kids cereal. :)

    Honestly, though, I probably won't like it: I am happy with so many other white floral scents I already own – don't need a new one.

    I'm confused though, is this being marketed as a women's scent or a unisex scent? Here's why I ask: If this is a scent being marketed to Prince fans who are men, then even a 'simple' white floral scent for men is pretty revolutionary these days. Most men I know stay arms length away from white florals…even though Fahrenheit 32 and Fleur de Male came out you don't see the male population rushing to buy these scents in droves, like they're buying Unforgiveable by Sean John, etc…

  24. Anonymous says:

    It is being marketed to women, not to men, and it isn't even vaguely unisex. Prince has said that men will like it on women, but haven't seen anything that would imply that they think men will buy it for themselves.

    Am going to be very surprised if anyone who is already a serious perfume fan falls in love with it. It is nice, but there are too many stunningly gorgeous white florals on the market to go with “nice”.

  25. Anonymous says:

    I can't find an online video clip of it, but whenever I think of Prince I forever think of the story Kevin Smith told on his speaking tour. (I did find a transcript from the documentary, though… .) Consequently, if there's no conceptual “3 A.M. camel” note… then I have to admit I'm vaguely disappointed, heh.

  26. Anonymous says:

    Drat, can't get that to load anything but a blank page, but will try again later — maybe the site is having difficulties. Dying to know what the 3 AM camel is :-)

  27. Anonymous says:

    A message from Katie, which I've reposted to replace the url with a tinyurl:

    Aw, drat. It's a story he's been telling for a while now, along with his Jon Peters/Superman story (which has to be one of the funniest “Hollywood” stories ever.) Let's try this link, which copies-and-pastes the original transcription:

    Honestly, Smith's story is better heard than read, but it'll have to do ;)

  28. Anonymous says:

    K, sorry to repost your comment, but I don't have automatic wrapping on the comments so it stretched the page.

    And thanks — what a great story! And no, it doesn't translate into the perfume at all — clearly, he did not ask for heaven & earth to be moved to create the coolest scent ever :-)

  29. Anonymous says:

    No problem, I knew it was a long link, but I forgot whether or not your commenting system allowed html links! “That is not physically or psychologically possible…” Hee!

  30. Anonymous says:

    It would be a kick to work for Prince, no? For a couple of days, anyway :-)

  31. Anonymous says:

    Oops, I stand corrected — there is something in today's USA Today calling it unisex. Well, not to my nose!

  32. Anonymous says:

    Prince has had out perfumes before, this isn't his first. Do a search and you will find the truth

  33. Anonymous says:

    I'll take your word for it, thanks.

  34. DaLLas says:

    Well, this was a spontaneous purchase, the date of my review should explain why.
    I’ll miss PRINCE, his kindness and respect of women and his music, dearly.
    As far as scent sense, I like it and my man LOVES it. Enough said.
    Which is rare as he has a sensitive nose.
    It is a white floral but after a half hour I smell a bit of cinnamon as well. It reminds me of a ‘lighter’ Opium (perfume). This scent lasts a couple hours as just a perfume spray. However, I mixed a couple of sprays into a no scent body wash and into a no scent body lotion and also sprayed my body dust powder puff. Layering it up makes it more intense with a good 4 hour placement.
    I believe this perfume is no longer being manufactured (rumor??).
    R.I.P ♡ PRINCE.

  35. DaLLas says:

    In my post, I stated that it reminded me of a lighter ‘Opium’ …… I meant to type ‘Poison’.

    With, further reading I can see how this would be a unisex scent. My man won’t wear cologne much less a unisex perfume, so I’m going to have to get crafty …. maybe by body to body contact/transfer. 😉 Wish me luck!

    • seestarrs says:

      I’m late the discussion too. I found his perfume, and had to have it after haven crawled under a rock since his sudden death. He was so elemental to me.

      Unfortunately his perfume venture went sour with the manufacturer and they had to sue him for 4mill for not promoting it enough. But that was our shy Prince & he did at least have full control of selecting the scents.

      One editor who met him in person described him as smelling fresh like gardenia, so this scent is very legit.

      This will be my purple scent when I’m in a nestalgiac mood… Thankfully I just love gardenia and jasmine as long as they’re mixed with “cotton candy” sweetness, so the musk will be a much appreciated after-tone.

      Enjoy yours! Prince forever

      • seestarrs says:

        ….I meant as long as they’re NOT mixed with cotton candy sweetness :)

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