L’Occitane Rose 4 Reines and Neroli ~ fragrance review

L'Occitane Rose 4 ReinesL'Occitane Neroli Eau de Parfum

I suppose we all have our own forms of snobbery. For me, I either want something to be lushly, genuinely luxurious or to be blatantly cheap. Give me either the baguette-cut emerald in a one-of-a-kind setting, or the sparkling 1950s necklace in aqua plastic. It's the real thing or a showy fake. Nothing in between. Alas, L'Occitane falls in between.

As I'm rediscovering the world of the mall, I see that every store is its own focus-grouped world. The Betsey Johnson store is all pink mini skirts and nineteen-year olds. The Chicos store is loose, putty-colored cotton and menopausal women. The Godiva store displays in its window what they deem to be sumptuous: a tray of flavorless Driscoll strawberries dunked in chocolate. The Apple store, packed with customers, is a clean white laboratory of sales.

L'Occitane's gig is that it's a French country pharmacy full of European products replete with natural essences possibly gathered by Provençal peasants at dawn. Instead of Bath and Body Works' generic plastic containers, a L'Occitane product comes in a vaguely nineteenth-century glass bottle with a paper label. Some are classy glass cubes, others are rectangular with the shape of a plant molded into the bottle, and still others have tactile ridges running down them. They feel good to hold and imagine on your dresser. But they're pretending to be something that they aren't, and that bothers me.

This is the prejudice I faced as I sampled what the sales associate said were the store's biggest sellers: Verbena Eau de Toilette and Rose 4 Reines. She tossed a sample of Neroli Eau de Parfum in the mix.

Robin reviewed L'Occitane Verbena Eau de Toilette in another post, so I'll just add the notes (top notes: lemon and orange; heart of verbena and petit grain; base notes of rose and geranium) and say that I concur with her review that it's a fresh, lemony, fleeting scent. It didn't last two hours on my skin. I get more herbal lemon from yanking lemon balm from my flower beds. Still, it would be a good one to keep in the refrigerator to cut through muggy summer afternoons.

The sales associated said that Rose 4 Reines Eau de Toilette was their second most popular. The L'Occitane website only lists four roses as its notes — the Grasse rose, Bulgarian rose, Moroccan rose, and Turkish rose. I smell something fruity, too, maybe plum, and a splinter of cedar and touch of amber in its dry down. Rose 4 Reines is light, sheer, and, as it ages, sweet. On a whim, I dabbed on Lebanese rose water that I use for cooking. It was a fresher, brighter rose, and it only cost $1.79. But it lasted barely half an hour. I put some Guerlain Nahéma on my other arm to compare to the Rose 4 Reines, and the Nahéma came out much more lush, peachy, and complex. But I don't think that's what Rose 4 Reines is aiming for. Rose 4 Reines is a lovely rose, and if someone gave me a bottle I'd use it to scent my sheets. A diehard rose fan might see things differently (and if you are one, please comment).

The Neroli Eau de Parfum (in the Notre Flore collection) has top notes of lychee and plum; a heart of neroli and orange blossom; and base notes of sandalwood and benzoin. (As far as I know, neroli and orange blossom are the same.) Instead of the bright floral fragrance that you might expect from its name, Neroli is an amber and vanilla-laden oriental. It starts with a fruity, clean fragrance, then gradually descends into a vanilla-orange fragrance that radiates the dreaded Orange Julius accord. Eventually, Neroli becomes a plank of sandalwood piled with powdered sugar. Mercifully, it fades within a few hours. For an orange-scented oriental, give me Fendi Theorema any day.

To buy L'Occitane fragrance, see the listing for L'Occitane under Perfume Houses.

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189 Comments

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  1. pyramus says:

    Angela, it’s funny that I want EXACTLY the same thing from a scent! Either extravagant and nichey, or dirt-cheap and common. I love Old Spice and Serge Lutens with the same passion. I have a bunch of commercial, department-store scents but they just don’t interest me any more: I wear Demeter all the time, and I’m always on the lookout for something rare and (probably) crazily expensive.

    And yet I want to try that L’Occitane rose, because I really do love rose scents a lot. Speaking of which, have you tried Etat Libre d’Orange Rossy de Palma? Spectacular rose, all bright and cheery in the top, and then an elevator descent into gothy darkness.

    • Angela says:

      I love your description “elevator descent into gothness”. Now I must try that scent. The Rose 4 Reines is nice but not a world changer, I thought. But then again, what is?

  2. Haunani says:

    Fun review, Angela. I rather like the concept of L’Occitane, and I wish I could fall in love with something they make. So far no go. I think I might try the rose one day, just for fun. I hear some of the guys talk about L’Occitane Vetiver, that it’s a really nice one for the $$$. Has anyone tried that one?

    • Angela says:

      I smelled the vetiver, but it didn’t stand out as a remarkable vetiver–but then I’ve been hooked on Encre Noir lately (which is also pretty darn cheap online). The Cedar is nice, especially with the Rose 4 Reines.

      • Haunani says:

        I need to try Encre Noir, and the new “pour elle” version too!

        • Angela says:

          I need to try the new pour elle, too!

    • Joe says:

      H: Just my 2 cents. I tried the Vetyver awhile ago and put a tiny spritz on my hand the other night. No relation to Encre Noir or AG or Sycomore vetiver at all. A kind of masculine with vetiver overtones, but nothing I’d ever buy. Eaux de Baux might be a nicer masculine, but their men’s line is almost too hyper-masc for me.

      • Angela says:

        Thanks for the mini-review, Joe! Very helpful.

    • curtis.w says:

      The first time I went to L’Occitane, I tried Eau des Baux and Vetyver. I now own full bottles of both (though I wish I’d bought Vetyver first!). Encre Noire has its place (which, unfortunately, isn’t yet in my cabinet because my girlfriend doesn’t much care for it), but, in all seriousness, give me L’Occitane’s Vetyver any day. Most vetivers are cool, but L’Occitane counters theirs with cedar, which warms it up quite a bit and gives it that little something different that I look for in my scents. Plus it just lasts and lasts on my skin. EdB is great too, though not so long lasting. It’s an amazingly dry wood with a good amount of sweetness as well, and, to me, worth well more than it’s price. On the women’s side, I wish their Ambre hadn’t made my girlfriend feel a little nauseous because I loved it.

      • Angela says:

        It sounds like L’Occitane is perfect for you! Do you like their Cedar, too? I tried it and liked it layered with the Rose 4 Reines.

    • OperaFan says:

      I bought the Vetivir bubble bath several years ago. The scent lasts and lasts even after I dried off, so that’s a definite plus. It was a very earthy scent, and way too masculin for me, so I gave it to my husband and it smells great on him!

      • Angela says:

        Got to love a man who takes bubble baths!

        • boojum says:

          Not if he insists on one every single morning, for a half hour minimum, followed by a 15 minute shower, when his wife needs to get ready for work. Not that I know anyone like that, of course…

          • Angela says:

            Oh no, of course not!

  3. Tama says:

    For being such a scent whore I am really out of the loop with l’Occitaine. I think I have a bottle of Chevrefuille (sp?) from a while ago. I don’t know. I have just never really gotten into them like I did Caswell-Massey or even Crabtree and Evelyn (I sort of lump all those into the same category of not quite cheap and not quite splendid). I guess I’ll give them a try at some point – I have a shop in my local mall that I walk right by without fail.

    • Angela says:

      I think I’d been in a L’Occitane store in the U.S. only twice, and both times to buy hand lotion, until I did this review.

      • OperaFan says:

        Hi Angela,
        I find L’Occitane’s bath, body and skincare products to be of very good quality. The skincare, in fact, is great value for the price compared to the high-end department store brands.

        • Angela says:

          They have a deep conditioner that comes in a tin tub that I really like, too. My hair drinks it up. (In fact, it’s about time for another treatment!)

        • OperaFan says:

          Just as a post script so you have a point of reference on what I mean by “high-end”, for many years I alternated products between Guerlain, Clarins, Sisly, and Remede….

          • Angela says:

            VERY high end.

  4. alltheprettythings says:

    My understanding of the difference between Neroli and Orange Blossom is this: neroli is the bitter orange flower native to the mediterranean, which has a wheat-green-crispness to it, and orange blossom is creamy, floral, intoxicating…. (I love o.b. but not neroli so much).

    Anyway Angela, you totally nailed it with your description of Godiva! lol lol

    Great review as always, but I have to defend L’Occitane’s 100% shea butter tins, and a couple other items here and there.

    • Angela says:

      Thanks for the neroli/orange blossom distinction!

      I like the L’Occitane shea butter hand cream, and I also like their deep conditioner, the one in the tin. My hair soaks it up.

    • Ayala says:

      While both neroli and orange blossom come from the same plant part (bitter orange flower) the two are processed differently: neroli is the steam distilled essential oil (the by product of which is orange flower water); orange flower refers to the absolute, which is obtained by solvent extraction (with hexane if I’m not mistaken).

      • Angela says:

        Thank you, Ayala! That’s great information.

        • Ayala says:

          You’re very welcome, Angela!
          There is a lot of confusing “nameology” in perfumery ;-)

          • alltheprettythings says:

            Thanks Ayala, I knew my explanation wasn’t quite right… but I know the difference when I smell it!

          • Ayala says:

            allprettythings,
            You’re more than welcome!
            The way you described the two is good. I find neroli to be more crisp, clean, a little green and a little honeyed. It reminds me more of the floral waters; but the orange blossom absolute is fuller, richer, more accurate of the true flower in full bloom (though if you smell the absolute undiluted you may find it offensive and almost medicinal) and it has an opulent, creamy aspect – a little close to tuberose and jasmine.

  5. Andrea D says:

    Ah, malls.

    I actually really love the smell of one of the L’Occitane face creams – something like “Precious Floral Face Cream” – I don’t recall the fancy French name. I think it has lots of chamomile in it, because I really love the grassiness of it. If I could afford another jar, I would get another jar, but alas.

    I always find that Apple stores smell like hipsters. Greasy hair and hangovers. I think it’s the emo employees.

    • miss kitty v. says:

      LOL!

    • Angela says:

      I love my mac, don’t get me wrong, but I know what you mean about the emo thing!

      • Daisy says:

        Oh wonderful—someone who has a Mac…..laptop or desktop? J wants a mac laptop for school…and I was thinking a new Mac desktop but then some trouble maker the CEO works with says that Macs only last about 2-3 years then they die….which would make them the same as Dell…..do you ever have any trouble sending/receiving/opening documents? like, from a pc?

        • boojum says:

          R – that’s going to be the case w/any computer you buy. The hard drives and batteries will go, but can be replaced (just not the data, so back up regularly!). But even if it’s still running 5-6 years down the road, odds are it will be so outdated that you need to replace it anyway.

        • Angela says:

          Macs last forever, I always thought. I’ve had mine four years and it’s going strong (cross my fingers). No problems at all interfacing with PCs.

          • miss kitty v. says:

            Same here. Mine is four years old and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with it.

        • miss kitty v. says:

          Oh, and I was just informed that if you do decide to get a new Mac at some point, you can turn your old one in for credit towards a new one. So that’s nice. (And the person I know who did this just got a new one because she wanted it, not because she needed it. Which is not my world, but whatever.)

        • Daisy says:

          I think she’s got her heart set on a Mac, so that’s probably the way it’ll be. I’d sort of like an all-in-one set up….either mac or pc…but I’m not sure how that would work with a router…looks like I need another visit to the Best Buy–ours has a couple real smarties. I must have been born without that ‘computer adaptive center’ in my brain….this is all so intimidating to me!

          • Angela says:

            Oh, you and me both.

    • Tama says:

      I have a friend who wants to get a t-shirt he can wear in there when he gets his computer looked at that says idiot.

      • Angela says:

        I think the best tee shirt saying I saw read “Chicks Hate Me”. So true in this particular case.

  6. boojum says:

    What saves l’Occitane for me is the fact that they often have their scents in highly affordable minis. I’ve never shelled out for a FB, because their scents tend to be light summery things, but $19 for a 20 ml mini that adds a little more variety to my rotation? Done deal! I love the Citrus Verbena, and unlike many here, really liked the Bergamot Tea as well, and a few of the others would be in my collection if they were available in a mini.

    • Angela says:

      I’m with you–I’d love to see lots more scents in minis. I’d rather have 20 one-ounce bottles of different scents than 10 two-ouncers.

    • boojum says:

      Oh…but I have to agree w/your assessment of the Neroli. I expected to like it, and really didn’t. The Iris in that line is much nicer…though it was hit or miss on any given day for me. I think I have odd skin chemistry.

      • Angela says:

        The Neroli was lots more sweet than I expected. On one hand, that could be good, as long as that’s what you were looking for.

    • RusticDove says:

      Well, you can count me as another Bergamot Tea fan. I purchased some last week and I’ve been spritzing with abandon in this muggy weather cause, well, you HAVE to [it's so light with little longevity] and I love the fragrance! At their prices you can afford to use it liberally. I’m just getting familiar with L’Occitane and so far, me likey. ;-)

      • Joe says:

        I liked the Berg Tea a little more on this recent outing, but yeah, I would drain 10ml in one day because it evaporates in ten minutes on me. When they come out with Bergamot Tea Extreme, we can talk.

        • Angela says:

          You might not be talking soon.

        • boojum says:

          I still need to try layering a bit. I let the guy talk me into forking over an extra $5, for which I got a shower gel and a “body milky mist” thrown in. Wish it had been a lotion, but supposedly the mist is moisturizing as well.

          • Angela says:

            I know. They have lots of “value” packs. I looked at one with hair conditioner, but the conditioner was loaded with dimethicone, which doesn’t work well in my hair.

      • Angela says:

        I should have tried that one! Nothing cuts heat like bergamot.

  7. Bunny says:

    “The Godiva store displays in its window what they deem to be sumptuous: a tray of flavorless Driscoll strawberries dunked in chocolate.”

    LOL if I wanted that I could go buy some Driscolls and melt down some Chipits for a lot less money to boot! High class in borrowed shoes…

    Never tried anything by L’Occitane myself… I don’t think there are any nearby.

    • Angela says:

      Their shea butter stuff is nice, and I like their packaging, but L’Occitane falls into my blind spot, unfortunately.

      • alltheprettythings says:

        Oh, I forgot – the soaps are nice, too – so heavy and takes ages to run through a bar.

        • Angela says:

          I didn’t check, but I’d guess they have a nice olive oil soap. Those are so great, especially in the kitchen.

  8. austenfan says:

    I kind of agree with you on the fragrances. I tend not to buy them. In my head they have always been put under the not-really-perfume-but-still-quite-expensive label.
    I spent a year in the South of France, a little over 20 years ago. L’Occitane had then first started. It was quite a different shop with loads of great soaps and nice bath gel and body lotions, the prices were a lot lower as well. I still really like their body products. I tend to use their body lotions to layer with “proper perfume” The Eau des 4 Reines is wonderful layered with any good rose perfume. Their Mimosa bodylotion ( discontinued) layers beautifully with Bvlgari Pour Femme and Divine L’Infante.
    I just don’t see them as a fragrance house really, but love the shops, partly for sentimental reasons I suppose.

    • Angela says:

      Did you ever try their incense? I remember buying their incense at one time and really liking it.

      Your idea of layering the lotion is a good one.

      • austenfan says:

        I can’t remember the incense, so I have probably never tried it. When did they introduce that one? It’s funny when I used to enter their shops I just tended to plain ignore the fragrances. Since I started reading about them on this and other blogs I give them the occasional sniff. Have not been moved to buy though.
        I think their products are cheaper in France than in the USA or the UK. I know for a fact that they tend to be slightly more expensive in Holland ( where I live).

        • Angela says:

          Oh, I mean their actual incense sticks.

          • austenfan says:

            Sorry for misundestanding! I have never tried those either. So can’t help you there.

    • jepster says:

      My first visit to Paris nearly 20 years ago like you I discovered Occitaine in a tiny shop on the rue Moufftard. My friend and I nearly bought them out–olive oil lavender soap, and the most wonderful jasmine scent I ever wore….never have been able to replace it–nothing smells the same. Now it is a very different enterprise…

      • Angela says:

        Rue Mouffetard–sounds so romantic! I suppose it’s really changed.

        • bergere says:

          I also visited a l’Occitane shop when I was in France, in Paris (probably the same one, but I didn’t remember the address). The vibe was definitely more aromatherapy / skin care / bathroom luxuries than fragrance. I bought soaps, some lovely bath mitts, and a bottle of Eau de Cedrat, very similar to the current citrus verbena.

          • Angela says:

            That sounds nice!

      • austenfan says:

        Those shops were even more wonderful back then. I still like going there, especially whenever I am in France. They used to have a perfectly wonderful orange blossom soap; it no longer exists. Still I think their face care has improved. I use their creams a lot.
        I can’t remember the jasmine fragrance you mention, the jasmine and tea they currently have is quite nice. Wish they would make that one into a lotion.

        • Angela says:

          I went to a L’O store in Amboise once and bought some incense that I really liked.

        • jepster says:

          The jasmine was a line called Julie’s Garden, or something like that (I remember because it’s my name!)…it was a very pure solifloral, sweet but not too sweet and relatively long lasting. It is what turned me on to jasmine and I have been searching ever since for that same high!! I have lots of wonderful jasmine scents in all different combinations, but as they say, you never forget your first !!

          • Angela says:

            A good jasmine truly is wonderful, I agree.

  9. Joe says:

    You know, I don’t really buy that much from them, but I love browsing and sniffing at my local LO and was just there a couple evenings ago. For the first time I smelled both 4 Reines and Rose Nuit de Mai on paper strips and both seemed nonexistent after ten minutes.

    Neroli didn’t work for me at all, but I thought I liked the Notre Flor Iris until the spritz I put on the other night turned on me. I think that line is too pricey for what it is.

    I do still really like their Green Tea: it’s a great refresher and practically lasts all day. I also own Eau d’Iparie (incense & myrrh) and it’s a really nice cheap thrill for me in cool weather on days I can’t handle a more hefty incense like Air du Desert or a CdG. I would probably buy Honey & Lemon also. I do love (LOVE!) that some of these come in 20ml bottles for $19.

    Overall, I kind of like the shop and I know a lot of people rave about the shea hand creams and other stuff. The friend I was with the other night bought the Peach shower gel and I think I’d definitely pick up shower gels and hand soaps and whatnot.

    • boojum says:

      Hmm, so maybe it’s not my skin after all. I liked the Iris the first few times, then that last time….yeuch. So strange.

      • Angela says:

        I wonder how many people have bought it and then been sorry after the dry down? I guess it’s always good to test when you can.

    • Angela says:

      Eau d’Iparie sounds intriguing. And it’s good to know that the shower gels are good, too.

      • angelainthesky says:

        I visited L’Occitane twice and spent a long time trying their products on each visit. The only think I came out with was a travel size Eau D’Iparie Eau de Toilette bottle. It was very cheap and I thought it was pleasant enough. By the third time I tried it, I felt in love. It’s such a warm and simple scent. It is very comforting and relaxing for me, nothing very complicated and I usually put it on before going to bed. I didn’t like anything else in the shop though.

        • Angela says:

          Well, if both of you like it, then I definitely, definitely need to try it.

  10. Absolute Scentualist says:

    Thanks for soldiering through all these mall product reviews, Angela, and too bad about the Neroli. I keep a bottle of neroli essential oil around and dab a little on when I’m craving some. It probably outlasts the L’O version. I’ve got a few rose frags around that I’m quite happy with, so don’t see myself trying this one either in the immediate future.

    There isn’t an L’O in my area and while some of their products look intriguing, I haven’t really been moved to purchase any when push comes to shove. My heart’s been eternally broken by L’Artisan’s Fleur d’Oranger ’05 (?), and I wish I could find something that comes close. The newer F d’O was too heavy on the beeswax and not as etherial and almost fae as the original. :( I’ll just keep dreaming L’Artisan will happen upon a hidden, enchanted grove full to bursting with a crop as sublime as ’04s and be moved to provide us a replica of the first F d’O. I treasure my little decant but can’t see myself investing in another since the prices keep climbing.

    • Angela says:

      Oh, the L’O Neroli is NOWHERE as near sublime as the L’Artisan Fleur d’Oranger. That one was magical. And darned expensive.

  11. lilydale aka Natalie says:

    I am utterly with you on loving cheap crap and fabulous luxury but avoiding the insipidly aspirational abyss in between. Highbrow? Yes, please. Lowbrow? Yeah, baby! Middlebrow? Blergghhh….

    That said, I wouldn’t mind smelling Bergamot Tea, but I’ve never seen a L’Occitane store around here.

    • Angela says:

      I know! And yet my highbrow is undoubtedly someone else’s barely middlebrow. It’s so much easier for me to look down at the mall scents than have an open mind, I find. Sadly. But I’m trying.

      • lilydale aka Natalie says:

        Yikes, you’re right! I’m picturing JAR wearers scoffing at our precious Lutens and Amouages…

    • miss kitty v. says:

      Yeah, I was pondering the cheap or lux but no middle ground thing myself. All I can come up with is: sometimes it’s fun to wear something cheerfully cheap, it’s always a good time to have something luxurious, but smelling mediocre is never appealing.

      • miss kitty v. says:

        And yeah, everyone’s idea of mediocre is different. :)

        • Joe says:

          But the worst is when something COSTS luxurious but SMELLS mediocre (or worse). :)

          • Angela says:

            That is DEFINITELY the worst.

      • Angela says:

        So often, mediocre just means cheap in fancier packaging. And that’s just not honest somehow.

        • miss kitty v. says:

          Agreed!

        • lilydale aka Natalie says:

          Yes, it definitely has to do with trying to be something you’re not, although I suppose perfume is all about selling some kind of dream… It’s just that my dreams do NOT involve being a Victoria’s Secret angel, thank you very much!

          • Angela says:

            My dreams involve eating all the mac and cheese I want without getting fat, drinking bottomless martinis without getting drunk–all with my dog and a young Sean Connery at my side. Now, what does that smell like?

          • miss kitty v. says:

            A mac n cheese, gin and vermouth, Sean Connery smell? Demeter might be up to the challenge.

          • Angela says:

            I’d buy it in a sec!

        • RossM says:

          You know, i’ve always felt the exact opposite about that idea! My thoughts are, just because something is cheap, why do they have to make it LOOK cheap too? Surely they could use a nicer font or better colors on their packaging, for example.
          To me it’s kind of like never being able to find a cool pair of shoes/or a t-shirt that you like under $50 because manufacturers thinks “oh well, they’re cheap so why should they be fashionable?”
          I like how l’occitane have thought about their marketing angle and packaging and crafted a theme for their stores – it shows they care about what they’re customers think about their product.

          • RusticDove says:

            That’s a good point – I agree with you. I really enjoy the ambience of L’Occitane stores. I am a sucker for attractive packaging, I guess. Their scents don’t smell cheap to me either – they’re simple and just don’t last very long.

          • Angela says:

            You know, I think that’s the tact that Target has taken–although it’s cheap, make it cool–and it seems to have paid off in spades. So you have a real point there!

          • Angela says:

            I like their skin care a lot.

          • RusticDove says:

            Another good point re: Target. And even though I could swear my Bergamot Tea wears off so quickly, the other day, hours after I couldn’t smell it anymore, I was out and about and someone commented how good I smelled. I was so surprised that it still had sillage going on!

  12. sunsetsong says:

    I’d like to give some love to the Neroli EDP. Like a previous poster remarked, I didn’t expect an oriental. However it is lovely honeyed woody orange on me and I wear it a lot. I second ( or should that be third?) L’Eau D’Iparie and the Green Tea and give a loud cheer for the small bottles. The verbena is just washing up liquid though.

    L’O does what it does very well. As a Brit I’m not a huge fan of the Body Shop and we don’t have BBW or VS over here. Have just come across Korres splashes and EDP – to me these are much better than L’O.

    • Angela says:

      Hurray! I’m glad you like it. It is so much warmer than I had expected with the name, but if you are looking for an ambery scent, it could be perfect.

  13. pinkfizzy says:

    Is it just me, or does “Rose 4 Reine” sound like a weird text message? As in “Rose 4 a Queen”? Though that wouldn’t really make sense with the image L’Occitane is trying to present. But if they meant four kinds of roses, shouldn’t they have called it “4 Rose Reine”? Or “Reine de 4 Roses”?

    Maybe I’m overanalyzing this. :)

    • miss kitty v. says:

      You may very well be overanalyzing it, but it is a pretty stupid name. :)

    • Rappleyea says:

      My thought exactly when I first saw the name! LOL!

    • Angela says:

      Supposedly it’s based on some story about four queens (reines) who like four different roses. Plus, they were sisters. Still, a little rough for the anglophone market.

      • Daisy says:

        did they dance all night and wear out their slippers?

        • lilydale aka Natalie says:

          No, they hung out at the mall all day and wore out their noses.

          • Angela says:

            You’re hilarious!

          • Daisy says:

            LOL ;-) mmmm let’s hope they stopped and a cinnabun or a moo-latte in between sniffing stops

        • Angela says:

          And marry princes turned into swans?

          • miss kitty v. says:

            Are we talking about perfume or a Mercedes Lackey novel? I’m lost! :)

      • bergere says:

        I think the deal is that these were four daughters of the Count of Provence in the thirteenth century, who brought the refined ways of the Provencal court (including, presumably, scent) to the royal houses into which they married. A bit of Provencal boosterism.

        • Daisy says:

          Cool….but now I want a cinnabun….

          • bergere says:

            Ha! I was thinking more of an Orange Julius. Which really dates me!

        • Angela says:

          Yes, very important to boost Provence whilst in the mall.

  14. Rappleyea says:

    Angela – I’m still enjoying the mall crawl with you! Fun post, and good bottles.

    • Angela says:

      Thank you! And I’m missing so many: Abercrombie & Fitch, Banana Republic, Coach…

      • Daisy says:

        sounds like another week at the mall! ;-)

        • Angela says:

          No! Please!

          • Daisy says:

            Hahaha I feel that way all the time!

  15. CynthiaW says:

    I like the way that the Bergamot Tea smells, but I’m with Joe – I can barely smell it after 10 minutes and I’m afraid to respray because I’m sure that everyone else can still smell it and I’ll turn into one of those people who puts on too much perfume and makes other people detest fragrance. Whew … that was a heck of a run-on sentence.

    I tried the Verbena when I was in there last week (of course, I didn’t spray it on myself, I sprayed it on my niece) and thought that it smelled like Pledge.

    I tried something else that had a very herbal, incense-y smell about it, but I have no idea what it was. Which is too bad because I kind of liked that one and it seemed to last forever.

    • Angela says:

      Oh no, Pledge! Now that’s how I’ll always think of it!

    • miss kitty v. says:

      Funny, just today I was thinking how much I love verbena and that Pledge had to go and ruin it for everyone.

      • Daisy says:

        I like the smell of lemon Pledge….it’s about the only incentive for dusting that I can think of….

        • miss kitty v. says:

          That’s why I don’t get why people hate it so much. No one comes in your house and says, “Oh, dear God, your coffee table smells like Pledge! Eww!” But if you wear verbena and it smells like Pledge that’s a bad thing. I’m just saying, if there wasn’t that association, would people have such a negative reaction to it?

          • Angela says:

            I love Pledge (or citrus oil) on furniture, probably because I don’t clean enough to smell it much, and it says “job well done” to me. But you’re right–it’s ruined it for skin scent.

    • boojum says:

      Was that the straight Verbena, or the Citrus Verbena? I like the CV, but haven’t tried the other. But it could be worse than Pledge. I *finally* got a sample of Mediterraneo (after trying for a YEAR!)…put some on, had my 13 yo sniff it, and she said: “it smells like cleaner…you know, like Lysol”.

      • Angela says:

        Oh man, Lysol. There’s goes the fantasy!

      • miss kitty v. says:

        Ebba Miss Marisa smelled like Windex on me. I feel your pain.

  16. megank4 says:

    I don’t necessarily see why they are “pretending to be something they aren’t”?

    • Angela says:

      It’s my own special snottiness, M, that I put out there for everyone to see (and hopefully forgive!). I guess in my mind L’Occitane is more corporate than the tiny French pharmacy it pretends to be, so I’m getting high and mighty about it. I know I’m a hypocrite!

  17. bohoteacher says:

    Angela, my comment about your review is less about the perfume and more about the writing. Your writing is of such high quality it brought out the English teacher in me even though it’s midsummer. You have an excellent way with a turn-of-phrase. A joy to read.

    Alas, as far as L’Occitane I fear that I am a plebian and have fallen for their whole French fantasy. Oh well.

    • Angela says:

      Thank you so much! Your comment means a lot to me.

  18. Robin R. says:

    Oh, no, Angela. “loose, putty-colored cotton and menopausal women”?????

    Ouch. That really hurt.

    I’m nearly 52 and definitely menopausal. However, I still try to keep up appearances by wearing colourful, fitted clothes and consider myself reasonably attractive. Believe me, it’s not always easy to feel chipper about aging, especially in our youth-obsessed culture. In fact, it is a surprisingly challenging time of life for me and many of my friends as we go through the inevitable physical changes that can make us feel altogether less feminine and less attractive.

    Perpetuating that sexless, shapeless, colourless, dowdy menopausal stereotype is the last thing we need to hear, dearest Angela, although I know you are a sweetheart through and through and don’t mean to be unkind.

    You will know what I mean when you get to be our age, you sweet young thing! :-)

    • Daisy says:

      I know women who are 30 and have adopted that tired out, putty look….it gives the impression of age regardless. Give them an elastic waistband and they’re happy.
      I’ve seen your picture–you’re gorgeous and don’t look anywhere near your age. I think it’s all about attitude, don’t you?
      Unfortunately, my attitude this morning is putting me at about 110. Maybe some chocolate will help…

      • Angela says:

        You’re completely right, of course. I actually think I dressed more like a middle-aged woman when I was 12, and people would probably say that I’m too “mutton dressed as lamb” now!

        • Daisy says:

          “Mutton dressed as a lamb” !!! LOL the image that popped into my head was, of course, Lambchop!! Big eyelashes and all….Sherry can keep her hand the heck out of the back of my sock…..
          I look at myself and realize that I am definitely mutton dressed as a poor college age lamb….I’m not giving up my bluejeans with the raggedy hems for nuthin! :-)

          • Daisy says:

            ps….the chocolate did help! I’m moving back down into double digits as we speak! (it was facilitated by additional coffee!)

          • miss kitty v. says:

            Daisy, you almost made me pee my pants! I was pretty sure my day was going to suck, but at least I have the image of Lambchop fending off Shari Lewis to bring a little joy into my day. (Or you fending off Sheri Lewis, but since I don’t know what you look like, the image is a little harder to conjure up.)

          • Daisy says:

            Since I always imagined Shari Lewis as being quite a tough little cookie…..I’d look scared!
            you can see what I look like at MUA–I put a picture up! (I’m feeling particularly bold …you know, except for that whole sock thing…)

          • miss kitty v. says:

            Ok, I’ll have to go look, so that I have more than just the Lambchop visual. :)

          • miss kitty v. says:

            Daisy, what name are you at on MUA? I guess that would help…

          • Daisy says:

            lol oh yeah, that would help…I’m daisylu. ;-)

          • miss kitty v. says:

            I figured you weren’t from Saudi Arabia, but that was about as far as I got in weeding my way through all the Daisy’s. :)

          • Daisy says:

            there are other Daisies??? sacrilege! Now I’m going to have to go look….this is an outrage! ;-)

          • Daisy says:

            OMG –there’s 20 pages of some form of daisy…. :-(

        • Robin R. says:

          Mutton dressed as lamb! I share that fear, Angela. I think my current concern is my knees. I do loves me some flirty skirts in the summer — anyone ever notice how keeping your knees naked to the breeze really helps a girl keep cool? — but those ol’ ball-and-socket joints ain’t what they used to be. Demi had hers done though, so there’s hope for me yet! Shirley MacLaine said that legs were the last to go and she has great gams, so for now I’m GOING for it!!!

          P.S. Thanks for the nice comments, you guys.

          • Angela says:

            Oh no, I hadn’t even thought about knees! One more thing to worry about!

      • alltheprettythings says:

        I thought elastic waistbands were outlawed. :)

        • miss kitty v. says:

          A couple years ago my mom told me she thought they were the most hideous thing ever….and then someone gave her a pair and she said she realized how comfortable they were and decided she’d been missing out all those years. I immediately gave her several pairs of Levi’s and some cute cords I’d gotten too fat for. Sorry, mom, I’m just not ready to be old enough to have an elastic-waist-pants-wearing-mother.

          • Angela says:

            Hey, Levis are ageless!

    • Angela says:

      Well, since I’ll always be 29, I’ll never know…or should I make that 39, like Jack Benny?

      In my mind’s eye you are movie star gorgeous, for real.

    • RusticDove says:

      I turn 53 this month, definitely menopausal, and wouldn’t be caught dead wearing Chicos – too dowdy for my taste. I don’t think I’ll ever dress ‘my age’. And ‘THEY’ can’t make me! So there. :-P

      • Daisy says:

        so I bought this little black leather jacket….kind of quasi-military style with lots of brass buttons and a stand up collar…..and my hubby says “aren’t you a little old for that?” He’s lucky to be alive.

        • bergere says:

          Yeah, it seems like Chico’s marketing angle is, “as long as you wear lots of metallic scarves and clanking jewelry, nobody will notice that you don’t wear pants with a waistband any more”. Kind of a weird juxtaposition of robe-y pieces in basic colors and huge, outrageous “ethnic” accessories.

          • miss kitty v. says:

            I actually like Chico’s, it just isn’t my style or anywhere near something that would work for my body type. They seem to cater to women who have no hips and no thighs. DEFINITELY not me.

          • boojum says:

            A, *everyone* caters to women w/no hips or thighs. Just sayin’. ;) I have a hard time not looking frumpy bc I’m forced to shop “petites” primarily. Somehow, the fashion world got it into their heads if you’re under 5’5, you must be over the age of 55.

          • miss kitty v. says:

            Oh, don’t even get me started! Yeah, I’m also a frustrated petite section shopper. Let me tell ya, it gets worse as you get fatter. I even had some stupid sales girl ask me, “Petites? Do you mean the plus-sized section?” Actually, I meant both, but thanks! Thanks for making me feel not just like an idiot, but a fat idiot!

          • bergere says:

            It’s funny, but several lines (JJill, Chico’s, Eileen Fisher) seem to have this floaty aesthetic that looks good on very, very thin women, and on fairly large women. I’m kind of in between, and have found that these styles often make me look really, really frumpy–like a peasant -woman extra on the set of a really cheesy medieval-fantasy movie.

        • RusticDove says:

          LOL @ Daisy’s husband ‘lucky to be alive’. After that comment, you’re darn tootin! haha

          • Daisy says:

            well let me tell ya….I got plenty of shoulder rubs, foot rubs and little whatnots brought to me slave-style for quite a while!!! The next time something like that rolls off his tongue it’s gonna cost him a bottle of Amouage! And I’m not kidding!

          • RusticDove says:

            Well, in that case – *fingers crossed*. LOL

          • Daisy says:

            Yeah, I’m like “go ahead, say something, make my day”….I’m almost inspired to whip out the henna and start painting myself up! or maybe a low cut top…..Amouage, come to momma!

      • Angela says:

        Well, if your avatar is you, you are GORGEOUS. Wear whatever the heck you want.

        • RusticDove says:

          Thanks so much, but my avatar pic is from last year – I totally fell apart this year. lol

          • miss kitty v. says:

            Yeah, I’m stunned that you’re 53! What’s your secret? You need to share!

      • Angela says:

        To all of you:

        First, let me say Miss Kitty that I’ve seen you, and you have glamour coming out of your pores. And the rest of you, your attitude is so fabulous that I’d be scared to be seen with you because no one would even look at me!

        • Daisy says:

          I think that we’re all so fabulous that as a group; we’d be a force of cosmic proportions, a force to be reckoned with! Crowds would part in awe before us….and men would drop to their knees in our wake!!!! (of course that might be the result of our collective sillage) But still—to their KNEES!!!! rrarrrrrrrr!

          • Angela says:

            They’d have to report on our movements on the weather channel!

          • Daisy says:

            tornado force sillage reported in the Portland area….

          • RusticDove says:

            We are pretty fab, I have to agree. ;-)

        • miss kitty v. says:

          You’re too kind. That made my day…

    • pinkfizzy says:

      Wow Robin, I thought you were way younger! Lookin’ good honey! ;)

      • pinkfizzy says:

        Although, it’s not like being young is really all that great- does anyone really want to be a teenager again? Teenagers can’t wait to grow up… it’s weird that models are usually teenage girls. I think it’s because they’re blank slates.

        Anyway, teenagers usually have lousy taste in perfume.

        • aimiliona says:

          I don’t want to be a teenager, but I want my teenage metabolism back.

          • Daisy says:

            I want my teenage……hmmm what was that again….oh yeah, my teenage MEMORY back…. ;-)

        • Angela says:

          Oh my gosh, I wouldn’t take my teenage years for anything. But, yes, the metabolism might be nice….

  19. Trish says:

    With your mention of Orange Julius, I’m wondering if you went all the way to Wash Sq.

    Trying to imagine you there…..does not compute :-)

    • Angela says:

      If I had gone all the way out there I wouldn’t have made it home to write up a post. Heck, I’d probably still be driving around, lost, eating fast food for sustenance.

      • miss kitty v. says:

        Pioneer Place?

        • AnnS says:

          Well all you Portlanders are so lucky!!! When I was living in dreaded Tigard my first year out there, my sister and I would entertain ourselves to no end in the totally awesome accessories and fragrance section of Nordstrom Wash Sq, back when they actually carried lots of hats with big feathers and the COMPLETE line of Guerlain fragrances! (Actually my fav Nordies SA works there now)… and then downtown we went to NW 18th! So now I live in the middle of nowhere with no decent mall outside of 75 miles to NYC. I miss Portland shopping like you have no idea.

          • miss kitty v. says:

            Not to rub it in, but now Washington Square has Sephora, too.

          • miss kitty v. says:

            BTW, love the “dreaded Tigard” remark! :) I used to work out in Beaverton and am amazed at how much money I have saved when I started working in Portland–and it’s not just in gas. There’s a lot of shopping in Beaverton! And Hillsboro. And Tigard. Ulta, Washington Square, Ross, Marshall’s (and not a ghetto one like the Lloyd Center one that’s ten minutes from my house), Powell’s on Cedar Hills, Kohl’s…and all with accessible (and FREE!) parking. Shopping Hell or Shopping Mecca, I can’t decide…

          • Trish says:

            It’s easy to do some serious damage in this town. There’s wonderful locally owned boutiques as well. Just popped into one today in the Pearl that carried CB I Hate Perfume and the entire Andy Tauer line. Who knew?

            Great vintage/thrifting as well.

          • miss kitty v. says:

            Trish, I NEED THE NAME OF THAT SHOP!!!

          • Angela says:

            You must be talking about Fez’s shop. Tremendous place!

        • Angela says:

          Yep, Pioneer Place.

          • Trish says:

            Yep, the Fez Studio. They also have MPG.

  20. bohoteacher says:

    I need some suggestions please…I want to get some of the L’Occitane tea products (bath products mostly). Yes, I made the mistake of going on their website. Out of their Bergamot Tea, Green Tea, White Tea which one smells the most tea-like? I love Bulgari’s Au The Vert and CB I Hate Perfume’s Russian Tea–I realize they won’t smell like that, but…

    Any ideas on this? Thanks in advance for any tips.

    • austenfan says:

      I’d go for the Thé Vert. It smells a lot better in my opinion than the other two. Their Thé blanc is nog great.

      • Angela says:

        I can’t help much, so I’d go with whatever other’s say.

  21. zara says:

    for what they offer in terms of longevity, the scents are overpriced. plus they discontinued some major gems like ambre…thought not exactly a ‘scent’, I love their almond blossom mist (it’s more like a scented fluid or lotion), a yummie affair!

    • alltheprettythings says:

      Zara, some kind soul on mua sent me some german almond blossom scented lotions and shower creams, and (probably because I’m pregnant) I can’t stomach the scent.

      • Angela says:

        Congratulations on the new baby! Have you noticed your sense of smell change much with the pregnancy?

    • Angela says:

      Nice!

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