Halle Berry’s debut fragrance, Halle by Halle Berry, was something of a love-it-or-hate-it among perfumistas, but it did well enough on the mass market shelves.1 Not surprisingly, Coty has the first flanker out in short order: Halle Pure Orchid. From the looks of things, they just took all the original publicity shots and tinted everything, including the sand and the sky, a nice pale-ish purple.
The scent follows about the same trajectory. Remember how the somewhat-difficult gourmand Covet (Sarah Jessica Parker) turned into the crowd-pleasing purple floralated flanker Covet Pure Bloom? That’s about what has happened here. Pure Orchid reportedly has notes of jungle cactus flower, lemon, blackberry creme, star anise, masdevallia orchid, giant sequoia and patchouli, but you really needn’t bother with any of that: this is a standard-issue, sweetish floral with fruity undertones and a somewhat tropical feel, and it doesn’t smell like anything much in particular other than “purple floral perfume, reasonably priced”. It doesn’t smell bad, mind you, and it’s quieter than than it might have been (it’s much softer and drier than Covet Pure Bloom, which I found rather too loud and rather too sweet), but it isn’t particularly interesting or distinctive.
I will come clean and admit that I only wore it twice — it did not seem to me that it held any hidden secrets that would reveal themselves with time. It also didn’t seem worth the effort to figure out which other mainstream purple florals it might smell like, but I’m sure it smells like something or another.
1. According to Women’s Wear Daily, the original Halle “spent six months as one of the top three women’s mass fragrances and continues to sell well”. 1/15/2010.