Avril Lavigne Black Star ~ fragrance review

Avril Lavigne Black Star advert

Black Star is the first fragrance release from pop star Avril Lavigne, in cooperation with Procter & Gamble Prestige, and it's being promoted as “a deliciously distinctive fragrance that embodies Avril’s individuality.” Lavigne herself comments, “It’s all about being edgy and feminine in a fun way,” and she reportedly requested the Eau de Parfum's dark chocolate accord, which is combined with notes of pear, hibiscus flower, and black plum.

Black Star's pink-and-black, star-shaped bottle (see below) isn't exactly a model of "individuality," since it looks like the love child of Thierry Mugler Angel and Viktor & Rolf Flowerbomb. It’s weightier in person than it appears in photographs, and it includes a removable, studded metallic band that can be worn as a ring or a necklace charm. The Black Star box is also printed with a “studded” pattern and texture, as a reference to the belts and bracelets that Lavigne typically wears. I did a little extra research for this review, since I thought I didn't know much about Avril Lavigne, other than that she’s a Canadian singer who sports a mall-punk style and that she infamously mispronounced David Bowie’s name at a Grammy Awards event. When I checked out a few videos, however, I realized that I’ve been absorbing her songs for a while, just by hearing them in stores and other public places. (And then I ended up humming Lavigne’s hit single “Complicated” for a few days.)

Avril Lavigne Black Star perfume bottle

As promised, Black Star opens with a burst of pear and other synthetic fruit notes. The heart of the fragrance is a juicy, sweet floral, closely meshed with the plum note and perhaps some red currant. The base notes are gourmand, but not intensely so. Although the chocolate accord that went into the mix was originally very dark and velvety, in the final product it's tempered by the ongoing floral-fruity notes. Black Star is nowhere near as candy-like as Vera Wang Princess or Britney Spears Fantasy, for example. In comparison to other chocolate-based fragrances, it doesn’t have the androgynous, dry quality of Bond no. 9’s So New York or the sophistication of Rose Praliné by Parfums de Rosine, but since it’s intended for a younger, more “girlish” audience, that makes sense. And, notwithstanding the star bottle, it doesn't remind me much of Angel. Instead, its opening recalls the pear-and-sugar twist of designer Betsey Johnson’s eponymous fragrance, and its dry down could be a very distant, pre-teen relative of S-Perfumes 100% Love (a mix of chocolate, rose, and pulpy red fruits).

Black Star is nowhere near as “edgy” as it purports to be, but it succeeds in capturing Avril Lavigne’s image despite (or because of) that fact. We often complain that celebrity scents don’t live up to the personality or creative vision of their namesakes; well, in this case, Black Star embodies its subject pretty well. It’s like a well-crafted pop song: catchy and somehow familiar, packaged with a veneer of rebellion over a core of cute, and very well suited to girls in their early teens. Of course, if you’re older than that target audience (as I definitely am) and you’re looking for an accessible fruity-gourmand, you can still try it out as a guilty pleasure. Just don’t end up humming “Girfriend” in public.

Avril Lavigne Black Star is available for $29 for 30 ml and $39 for 50 ml Eau de Parfum, and can be found at Kohl’s stores nationwide as well as the Kohl’s website. For more information and a list of international vendors, see the Black Star website.

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63 Comments

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  1. CynthiaW says:

    It doesn’t sound dreadful, but it doesn’t sound like something that I’d run right out to try. The dark chocolate note does sound intriguing though, so I’ll probably check it out if I happen to be in Kohls.

    • Jessica says:

      Cynthia, It’s not ground-breaking, but it’s pleasant enough. It will probably be around for a while, and may hit the discounters at some point, so you’re right, no rush!

  2. sarah24 says:

    I’ll have to smell my Betsey Johnson again and see if I notice the similarity!
    I got this the other day as I had to exchange a present and didn’t have the patience to wait for Vintage to come out!
    It does remind me of other perfumes but no names spring to mind. I also love the box – can’t bear to part with it yet as I usually throw them out!

    • Jessica says:

      The packaging is fun. And as for the Betsey Johnson comparison, it seems to make sense in more than one way… much of Avril Lavigne’s style looks Betsey-influenced, too.

    • animnafets says:

      it never hurts to keep fragrance in their boxes, to minimalize light exposure.

      Or you could cut off the top flaps and make it a pencil holder/makeup brush holder/box of some sorts? Just a thought…

  3. Ojeda says:

    “a veneer of rebellion over a core of cute”

    Ha! Well-said.

  4. Absolute Scentualist says:

    I was hoping for more “edge”, but then again consider the inspiration behind the frag. The chocolate note’s got me curious enough given I really enjoy Parfums de Rosine’s Rose Praliné, Angel, and think I’d really go for 100% Love, too. And it’s so cheap!

    • Jessica says:

      Scentualist, The chocolate note in this fragrance is nowhere near as pronounced as the chocolate in Angel or 100% Love, which surprised me, since the press release emphasizes it so much. Still, that does make the scent easier to wear, in a way. No one is going to say, “Hey, I smell chocolate.”

      • Absolute Scentualist says:

        Too bad. I barely noticed the chocolate note in VW’s Princess, either. Just a sweetness about the scent in general. I imagine it’s the same with Black Star. Ah well. Worth a sniff at least. :)

        • Jessica says:

          Scentualist, Well, it’s more chocolate-y than Princess, and I definitely prefer it to Princess, which seemed so cloying-sweet to me that I actually felt queasy. And I usually like some sweetness in my scents, but… whew.

  5. 2scents says:

    Hey hey, you you, I don’t want your perfume…

    • Bunny says:

      LOL!

    • Jessica says:

      No way, no way, I think you need a new one…

    • yzahbelle says:

      you just made me laugh today!!

      • Argirl says:

        omg you guys that was hilarious!!

    • miss kitty v. says:

      Love it! I’m going to have that stuck in my head all night…. :)

    • Ojeda says:

      WIN ahahaha

  6. Jill says:

    I am way older than the target demographic for this, and it’s certainly not my thing, but I will try it next time I’m at Kohl’s … it sounds kind of fun!

    • Jessica says:

      It *is* fun, and it actually doesn’t have an overwhelming sillage, which also surprised me; I wore it to work one day without feeling overly Avril-like. ;)

      • CynthiaW says:

        I wonder how long it will take to hit TJMaxx? I might snag a bottle, but not at full price (after sniffing only, of course – I save my unsniffed purchases for things that cost an arm and a leg, thank you very much).

      • Jill says:

        Tried this at Kohl’s today — couldn’t find the tester and felt somewhat silly asking the 18-year-old sales associates to find it for me (I’m sure I looked like an old lady to them)! You are right about the sillage — it’s not much. And I found the opening similar to Betsey Johnson as well, but the drydown not as sweet. Still too fruity for me overall, but not bad!

        • Jessica says:

          Hi, Jill! I was surprised how wearable it was; I didn’t feel like I was wafting cupcake-y fumes in every direction! I wonder, was the tester stolen? I hate when that happens…

          • Jill says:

            Yep, you know, I liked it better the longer I wore it, partly because of the lack of cupcakey sillage! They did locate the tester, but it was in another department … hmm.

    • Lil says:

      Anyone over the age of 14 probably is outside of Avril’s core demographic, but hey, we can still hope for a Miley Cyrus frag.

      • Jessica says:

        Judging by Avril’s fan site, her audience does seem young, indeed! Still, I’d choose her over Miley. ;)

  7. plume says:

    Good review. Sometimes, even the celebrities we can’t stand end up with decent enough/fitting fragrances.

  8. pigoletto says:

    I wonder is she said Boowie instead of Bowie. Not sure if that’s a mispronouncaition as much as the old Canadian ‘O’ (read: ooh) rearing its head. Interesting – no mention of Angel (for the smell, I mean), and I thought for sure this was going to be a straight Angel ripoff!

    • pigoletto says:

      and lest any Canadians think I was making fun – I’m not. I know that ‘ooh’ thing doesn’t apply to all, but I did have a Canadian boyfriend who had a slight ooh tinge, but whose best friend did it so exaggeratedly (and in earnest, not jokingly) that it sounded like that old skit The Great White North.

      • pigoletto says:

        nope, you did mention Angel. That’s me being blind. But you did say ‘…not much’ :-D

        • Jessica says:

          Based on the “news” reports about that blooper, she pronounced it to rhyme with “Howie,” which is kind of funny. Her Canadian accent does slip through in her songs (on words like “pose”), but I think that’s actually kind of nice, since most celebs all end up sounding more or less the same after time.

        • Absolute Scentualist says:

          I’m reading a lot of reviews comparing Queen Latifah’s Queen to Angel, which is a crying shame given all the boozy and vanilla notes in Queen. I’m not nearly as anxious to run out and try it now considering I have a 3.4 ounce bottle of Angel already. :( L’Artisan seems like they’ve covered the boozy vanilla territory quite well with HV, so I can be content until that one comes out.

          • Jessica says:

            Scentualist, I tried a spritz of Queen last week in Macy’s, and it didn’t seem strongly Angel-like to me… but then again, I was somewhat distracted by the numerous SAs who were following me around the fragrance area, wielding their various testers, so my memory might not be totally reliable on that one!

      • TwoPeasInAPod says:

        I have a Canadian accent, and can still pronounce David Bowie’s name properly. Avril said it like “Howie”. I’m sure the time will come when some young’un announces her as “April Lavig-knee”..

  9. mals86 says:

    I hereby admit that I kinda sorta like Avril… and when her songs come on the radio, my kids say, “oh, yeah, that’s Heather” (the teenage opossum she voiced in Over the Hedge)… but chocolate is a big no-no in my book, so I think I’ll leave this one alone and go looking for some Jolie Madame.

    • Jessica says:

      Mals, Some of her songs are incredibly catchy! I didn’t know she had done voice-over work; that’s fun.

  10. alltheprettythings says:

    Jessica, great review as always! Yes, it looks like Angel and FlowerBomb made a baby. :)

    I won’t try it because 1) it’s in Kohl’s and I don’t shop there and 2) it has chocolate and that’s a no-no for my nose. But this would be a great gift for my 11 yr old niece who is a big Avril fan.

    • Jess36 says:

      REALLY?? I love chocolate, praps that’s why I like it so much. ;)

  11. alltheprettythings says:

    Oh on second thought, my niece is a Lolita Lempicka lover… I wonder if Avril might be a bad idea…

    • Jessica says:

      Hi, Pretty Things! I do have a Kohl’s near me, so it’s easy for me to track down certain scents that are exclusive to them. And I think this would be a perfect scent for a pre-teen girl, especially since it doesn’t wear as ‘heavy’ as it sounds.

      • alltheprettythings says:

        Thanks Jessica! I could always order it online for her if she’s interested. :)

  12. Trish says:

    Great review Jessica! I’m not interested in this fragrance at all, but I throroughly enjoyed reading your review. :-)

    Went back to Enfleurage and got that frankencense, BTW.

    Hugs,
    ~T

    • Jessica says:

      Trish, You could probably guess that this isn’t my “usual,” but I enjoyed it for what it is. Not as much as I enjoy the Frankincense (or the Gardenia, or the Sugar Rose blend…) at Enfleurage, of course! x

  13. scentsappeal says:

    Bottle is a rocked out version of angel…rip off nonetheless. One more celebrity frag to gather dust on the counter.

    • Jessica says:

      I don’t think we’ll be seeing the end of celebrity scents for a while!

  14. Trish says:

    J,

    It’s a testament to your wonderful skills that you write so well about something you would probably never have sniffed if it weren’t for NST.

    BTW…. I still do want to try MJB’s new one “My LIfe”. I wonder if it’s out yet. Let me know if you get the scoop on that one!

    ~T

    • Jessica says:

      T,
      Ah yes, Ms. Mary J. Blige! I haven’t seen that one anywhere yet, but I’ll be impressed it if captures *her* personality. Here’s hoping!

  15. scentsappeal says:

    Oh I know, they’re just endless now! And seemingly, the majority of them rarely turn out to be anything unique or worth buying. But there’s obviously a wide market for them, or they wouldn’t be in production.

  16. zara says:

    I love reviews of celebrity fragrances, it’s fun to read :) The celebrity perfumes seem almost endless, each year there are more and more. But I guess I’m never really convinced to try anything

  17. Jessica says:

    Zara,
    Celebrity scents are sort of like celebrities themselves, aren’t they… I enjoy reading about them sometimes, or spotting them in public, but I wouldn’t really want to spend time with most of them!

  18. Flora says:

    It SOUNDS good – but I suspect it must be viewed through the prism of what most commercial perfumes smell like after half an hour and “translated” into those expectations. I have to wonder how long it will be before Black Star falls into the Black Hole of the discount shelves….

    • Jessica says:

      Not sure exactly what that means; all I can say is, it’s a very appropriate scent for its subject and its audience.

    • Jess36 says:

      I can only hope you’re right Flora, I love it and if I found it in a discount store I’d be over the moon!!!!

      • Jessica says:

        I hope you do! It’s been out for a year now, so you should be able it in more than once place…

  19. Phoebopips says:

    hahahahaha You’re so right 2scents!
    This pefume is a joke, it smells so generic and probably has the staying power of a girl scout in a tug of war. I would never buy a fragrance by Avril Lavigne in million years lol

    • Jessica says:

      Phoebopips, I personally thought it was fine, for its audience and its price point; I’ve certainly smelled far more generic scents. Then again, I don’t have strong feelings about Avril Lavigne either way, so I’m not really influenced by her “image” in smelling it.

  20. erwin says:

    well i heard that they are giving free samples
    but not in Pakistan
    that is not fair ;(

  21. miley2a_31 says:

    Does anyone know how much is Black Star in UK?

  22. Jess36 says:

    I got a sample of this today… and I love it!! I would definitely buy it, it’s one of those warm kind of scents which will linger for a while, just the kind I like!

    • Jessica says:

      Jess, So glad to hear you’re enjoying it! I think it’s very nicely done. I actually prefer it to Avril’s second scent, Forbidden Rose.

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