Dana Classic Fragrances ~ Love’s Fresh Lemon, Love’s Rainforest, and Love’s Soft Jasmin

lemon!

Dana Classic Fragrances seems to be in the business of buying up near-dead classic fragrances and reviving them. Yes, they remake them on the cheap, but they also sell them on the cheap, which is more than you can say for Christian Dior. While we might lament the flattening English Leather and Chantilly have suffered on the Dana diet, no one can complain about Love’s Baby Soft and its sisters, Love’s Fresh Lemon, Love’s Rainforest, and Love’s Soft Jasmin body mists. These fragrances were always meant to be splash-and-dash perfumes for those who are barely fragrance literate. If you keep that in mind, you just might appreciate them as much as I do.

First, let’s consider the Love’s bottle. The geniuses at Dana Classic Fragrances (either that, or the cheapos who couldn’t bear shelling out for new packaging) luckily saw fit to keep the old Love’s bottles with their tall, dome-shaped lids and goofy 1970s lettering. Love’s Fresh Lemon and Soft Jasmin feature painted hearts floating up the frosted bottles like balloons at the junior high school prom. The Love’s Rainforest bottle is clear, but is festooned with green vines, which also etch its plastic cap. The packaging is the apogee of retro chic. All we need now is the rebirth of Tickle deodorant — anyone remember that? — and we’ll have come full circle.

Now, on to the fragrances. (Not much I write about the fragrances matters, because they don’t last long enough ever to become scrubbers.) The Love’s Fresh Lemon smells like lemon meringue pie. It’s a little tart, but mostly sweet and creamy, and it manages to avoid reminding me of Lemon Pledge. Revlon Jean Naté smells positively sophisticated next to it. That’s Love’s Fresh Lemon’s whole story. Lemon meringue pie — take it or leave it.

Love’s Rainforest is an ozonic green rose. No wet, crumbling logs and moss here like you might smell in an actual rainforest — just a mix of rose and Issey Miyake Eau d’Issey. It’s clean and fresh and resolutely Clinton administration. Once the alcohol burns off, Love’s Rainforest smells the same start to finish, which is about an hour later. The Dana website notes that the fragrance will appeal to the environmentally conscious consumer, since its bottles and caps are manufactured using recycled materials, and some of the proceeds go to a forest preservation fund. If you ask me, the funds should go to the Pasadena Rose Parade fund.

Love’s Soft Jasmin is my favorite. It’s a powdery, fruity, synthetic jasmine with the texture of whipped velvet. Unlike the other Love’s fragrances, it doesn’t smell “fresh,” just romantic and soft. Seeing that I only wrote two sentences about it, I struggle to come up with a fatter description, but I really can’t. Soft, powdery, light jasmine. That’s it.

The real fun in these Love’s fragrances is mixing them. Thinking of the delicious jasmine lemonade of Amouage Ubar, I layered a spritz of Love’s Soft Jasmin over Love’s Fresh Lemon. Surprise, surprise — it smells nothing like Ubar. But it’s really nice! As dreamy as a tart summer evening. And the best part? Half an hour later you can barely smell it. Thinking of the jasmine-rose headiness of Jean Patou Joy, I layered a spray of Soft Jasmin over Rainforest. This was intriguing, although less successful, and a million miles from Joy. It was a clean, rosy jasmine that, after a couple of minutes, smelled more like shampoo than perfume. To complete the circle, I tried Fresh Lemon over Rainforest. A little bit laundry detergent, but not bad. All in all, I recommend the Fresh Lemon-Soft Jasmin combo over the others.

None of these fragrances lasts longer than it takes to finish a couple cups of coffee or read an article in The New Yorker. I know there’s a school of thought that holds a perfume needs to be persistent to be good. But when I’ve paid less than the cost of a magazine and a double latte for a bottle, I don’t mind if it fades quickly. Some days that’s all I need. I can go for the big guns later.

Dana Love's Soft Jasmin fragrance

Dana Love's Fresh Lemon, Love's Rainforest and Loves's Soft Jasmin come in 45 ml Body Mist ($11.50) or 75 ml All Over Body Spray ($5.50).

Note: top image is Slice of Lemon for my Earl Grey (1 of 1) [cropped] by Thomas Tolkien at flickr; some rights reserved.

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86 Comments

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  1. Absolute Scentualist says:

    While these aren’t complex or long-lasting, they were–save for the Rain Forest which wasn’t around then–all part of my blossoming childhood perfumistahood back in the late 80′s/early 90′s. I got a set with Fresh Lemon, Heaven Scent, the afore mentioned Jasmine and Lemon and one that I believe was called Fresh Rain or something similar. They were friendly to my then budget, I could change from one to another over an afternoon, and they didn’t give my mother a headache, which is rare in the world of fragrance/perfume.

    It isn’t always the case that you get what you pay for in the world of perfume, and sometimes you get much less. But these little gems are basic, throw-in-your-bag-after-working-out, I just want to smell nice and clean frags and though they aren’t Guerlain or Chanel, they’re pretty good considering the drugstore crowd these days. I’d wear them and let my kids wear them as well, and think they’re nice accents to any fragrance wardrobe. :)

    • Angela says:

      You summarize them perfectly! They are exactly what they say they are, and they perform as expected. That makes them pretty remarkable, actually.

      • Absolute Scentualist says:

        Yeah, in today’s abstract marketing driven fragrance world, that is pretty remarkable, isn’t it? ;) Just smelling the Soft Jasmine takes me back to ballet classes and Fresh Lemon is linked in my mind with the scent of pencil erasers since I used to use it as a homework pick me up.

        I don’t recall Tickle deodorant, either, but did wear Teen Spirit and remember when it launched and thinking how ‘mature’ I was that I got a deodorant for teens. lol ;)

        • Angela says:

          There was a deodorant called Teen Spirit? I wonder if Nirvana knew about that.

          • AmyT says:

            The story goes that Kathleen Hanna (of riot grrl band Bikini Kill) wrote the words “Kurt smells like Teen Spirit” on Cobain’s wall, referring to the deodorant. Cobain, not knowing about said deodorant, thought it was a great revolutionary slogan and was inspired to write the song.

          • Angela says:

            That’s hilarious!

          • behemot says:

            The story, according to Charles Cross and his book, “Heavier than Heaven”, is that Kathleen Hanna really wrote such sentence on the wall, but it was because Tobi Veil ( a drummer for Bikini Kil)l, then Cobain’s on and off girlfriend, was using the deodorant and she just left the room, so Kurt was smelling like Teen Spirit. ha ha
            Who knows what was true…
            Anyways, speaking of Kurt’s girls, I heard that Courtney Love’s signature frag was Fracas. Maybe these days she wears Love’s Rainforest.. Who knows?

          • Angela says:

            Great info! I was never a huge Bikini Kills fan, but I do love my Le Tigre.

            I can totally imagine Courtney wearing Fracas.

  2. Jessica says:

    All I can say is… Tickle deodorant! Yes, please! Bring it back! :)

    • Angela says:

      I loved those bottles! I thought they were so happenin’ back in the day.

      • robini71 says:

        Oh my I do remember Tickle deodorant too (laughs). It had one of the widest roll on applicators I’d ever seen. And lookie it’s ad lives on youtube. I get too much pleasure out of seeing/hearing these old ads (smiles).
        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fRkAzwMYFc0

        • Angela says:

          I swear, often for me the internet is a nostalgia machine!

          • Julia says:

            I was having a nostalgic conversation with somebody on MUA about 70′s grooming products and wistfully mentioned “Gee Your Hair Smells Terrific” shampoo which is available online at Vermont Country Store. Alas, Tickle is not. I loved that hourglass shaped bottle inside the clear plastic outer sleeve.
            And I just love your reviews of vintage/drugstore fragrances, Angela.

          • Angela says:

            I’m so surprised Gee YHST is still in production! I wonder if it really *does* smell terrific.

        • Marjorie Rose says:

          WOW!. . .”antiperspirant is better with a big wide ball,” ???? Those really were more innocent times!

          • Angela says:

            Somebody has a naughty turn of mind….

          • Marjorie Rose says:

            Hey! I spend 8 hours a day with 13 year-olds! I can’t help it if they influence me a bit! :)

  3. odonata9 says:

    While I never used any of the Love’s products (I think a friend had some Love’s Baby Soft but I guess I have always disliked powdery scents, especially baby powder ones), I just had to chime in about Tickle! I remember seeing it in stores when I was young and always wanted to buy some since it was so cool looking, but didn’t need deodorant yet. By the time I did, it was gone. Thanks for the reminder!

    • Angela says:

      I remember the ads clearly, but I never had a bottle, which means I probably wasn’t using deodorant yet, either, or I would have pleaded mightily until I got a bottle.

      • mals86 says:

        Same thing for me – I remember Tickle, but never owned it.

        • Angela says:

          Gosh, it really does seem like it’s time for Tickle come back!

          • Jessica says:

            We must all be of a similar “vintage.” I remember seeing it at a friend’s house and thinking it was so chic and so grown-up. I didn’t use deodorant yet, but I suddenly wished I did! hee.

          • Angela says:

            I bet no deodorant today inspires that kind of desire in preteens.

          • Marjorie Rose says:

            Maybe Axe for boys?

  4. behemot says:

    Please, tell me what was Tickle deodorant. I have never encountered it anywhere. Just FYI, I came to the US in mid-nineties.

    • Angela says:

      Tickle deodorant was a (I think) roll-on deodorant that came in a classic late 1970s bottle in pastel colors. The bottle (again, if I remember right) was a cylinder with a big, dome-shaped lid. It simply screamed, “Hello, I’m from 1977, and I don’t care who knows it.”

    • odonata9 says:
      • Angela says:

        Wow, does that bring it all back! I’d forgotten about the speckled overlay, and I remembered the cap as bigger than it really was.

      • behemot says:

        Thanks a lot! It had a really nice packaging!

    • AnnS says:

      Yes, I am totally old enough to remember Tickle, and also old enough that my Mom yelled at me that it was “not deoderant and a waste of money”. It all seemed very glamorous to me when I was a girl.

      • Angela says:

        Isn’t it funny that a deodorant had such glamour?

  5. AnnieA says:

    Did Dana do something called Rain as well? The bottle description above seemed to ring a bell…

    • Angela says:

      Maybe they did–I wouldn’t be surprised. Maybe the Rain Forest blend is the environmental spin on it.

    • Absolute Scentualist says:

      Yes, there was a something Rain… Maybe Soft Rain in a pastel aqua bottle. It was really pretty and more flowery (I think it had a good dose of orange blossom) and not as clean, crisp and watery as today’s aquatics are. It was really lovely. :)

      • Angela says:

        Thank you!

      • 50_Roses says:

        It was called Rain Scent. I usually only saw it in the set with several other Love scents. I once found a small bottle of it by itself, and it was a nice scent that really was reminiscent of its name. A while ago I got some of the new Dana version of it and it is terrible. It smells like a cleaning product–sharp and harsh, and perversely long-lasting (and almost nothing lasts on my skin!).

        • Angela says:

          I wonder if you tried Rainforest? I didn’t find Rainforest terribly harsh or long lasting, but it was definitely loaded with that 1990s “fresh” aspect that I don’t like much.

          • 50_Roses says:

            I have the bottle right here. It says “Love’s Rain Scent Body Mist”, in a 1.5 oz (45 ml) bottle, and is made by “Love’s Fragrances/Dana Perfumes Corp.”. The old Rain Scent was, as I recall, a soft blue-green color. This is a vivid blue. Of course, it is possible that the old formula was not as good as I remember, or else my tastes have simply changed, but I thought the old one was a simple but pleasant, undemanding scent. This one smells like either glass cleaner or one of those tablets you drop into the toilet tank to keep it “fresh” smelling.

          • Angela says:

            Oh my. The one you have does not sound very good. The Rain Forest bottle is green, so maybe Love’s is doing a bunch of different rain scents. Toilet cleanser? No thanks!

        • Absolute Scentualist says:

          Rain Scent! That was it. It came with the Lemon, Jasmine, Heaven Scent and maybe even a Musk because I’m remembering a peach colored bottle, too. They’ve probably all evaporated over the years but it would be great to find Rain Scent and the Musk again.

          • Angela says:

            It sounds like at its peak Love’s must have had 7 or 8 fragrances! Amazing.

  6. AmyT says:

    I’ve seen ads from the 70s for something called Love’s Musky Jasmin. I wonder if Soft Jasmin is the same thing?

    • Angela says:

      Soft Jasmin isn’t particularly musky, unless you count a whisper of clean musk. Maybe they were the same, though, and Dana reissued it under a different name, since “musky” can often equate to “funky” in some people’s minds.

    • lemonprint says:

      Yes! I remember Musky Jasmine! Its original name, perhaps? I don’t remember anything called Soft Jasmine…

  7. AnnS says:

    I had a small bottle of Love’s Lemon Fresh when I was a girl. I loved the way it smelled. I still keep a bottle of Love’s Baby Soft to spray in the bathroom sometimes. My fav of those types – the Bonnie Bell Skin Musk, which I also still have.

    • Angela says:

      I tell you, as much as I love my fancy niche fragrances, there’s a place for the good drugstore fragrance, too.

  8. resatlanta says:

    Does anyone know the website where people buy and sell partially used scents? I got a new laptop and lost the bookmark.
    Its a great site like ebay for high end and no longer available scents.

    • Angela says:

      An auction site for used fragrance? That doesn’t sound like one I know. Enjoy that new laptop!

  9. gr8belief says:

    Just bought Rainforest on clearance at the local drug store. I saw it there, neglegted on the shelf and gave it a sniff. It was exactly “green rose” with some potted office fern and leg warmers mixed in. I keep it handy for the occasional spray-n-go fragrance that I really don’t have to think about. It does last more than an hour for me, but not more than 4. Fresh Lemon was one of my first favorites, and started a cirtus obsession. Which led to a carnation obsession. And so on. Such is the life of a scent-o-phile.

    • Angela says:

      Oh yes, the scented domino effect. I know it well.

  10. RavynG says:

    I came right after Skinny-Dip cologne (I believe it came in lemon, strawberry and denim?) and just in time for Tickle deoderant. I loved the lemon and the herbal one best. That was when “herbal” smelled like herbs not fruit, ala Clairol’s Herbal Essence (the original green one with the hippy girl on the label…) And by 1978 my fragrance wardrobe consided of Love’s Lemon and Rain (never liked the baby powder thing), Heaven Scent, Jontue, Cache, and Matsumi. That was also back when you could just buy detangler for your hair called “creme rinse” that was not necessarily a conditioner. Oh and remember Bonne Bell and Lip Smackers? Coty Wild Musk was my best friend.

    • Angela says:

      I remember creme rinse. Wasn’t there a brand called “Tame”? If you saw my hair, you’d know I worked as much Tame as I could manage. What ever happened to creme rinse? Now we have leave-in conditioners, which I tend to use almost as a creme rinse.

      • gr8belief says:

        Had to have “Gee, You Hair Smells Terrific!”

        • Angela says:

          Yes! And we could buy hair dryers to achieve the “dry look.”

      • ggperfume says:

        Creme rinse got completely replaced by conditioner – partly, I think, because the teen-aged crowd was afraid that “creme” would be the wrong thing for oily adolescent skin and hair.

        • Angela says:

          I need the “creme”! Those teenagers can go find themselves something else to douse their hair with. Bring on the creme rinse!

        • 50_Roses says:

          Ha! I’m in my late 40′s, and I still have that oily “adolescent” skin and hair. I only use conditioner in really dry weather, generally in midwinter, and then very sparingly. I figure one bottle of conditioner should last me approximately 50 years at my current rate of usage.

          What I remember from the 70′s was that shampoos came in (supposedly) different formulas for oily, normal and dry hair. Of course, I always got the oily hair formula. I wonder if there was really any difference, and why they abandoned that particular marketing strategy?

          • Angela says:

            They don’t do that anymore? I’m surprised. It makes sense to have shampoo for different hair types. I very rarely even use shampoo any more, but mostly clean my hair with conditioner, which I rinse out.

          • 50_Roses says:

            I don’t think they do that anymore. At least, I don’t see the oily/normal/dry designations anymore. They do sell shampoos supposedly targeted for different hair problems (thin, dull, frizzy, no body, etc.) and for different hair colors–blonde, brunette, red, or gray. I’ve always suspected that it is all a lot of hot air to sell their products, and that there is very little difference in the formulas. I do find, though, that some brands of shampoo work much less well than others for me. Some I have tried seem to barely clean my hair at all, and by the time it is dry, it is already limp and greasy feeling again.

          • Julia says:

            “Volumizing” and “Extra Body” are code words for the oily hair formula.

          • Angela says:

            It’s so funny how the market has changed and I haven’t even noticed, but you’re so right.

  11. poodle says:

    I remember Tickle deodorant too. I so wanted some of that stuff but my mom wouldn’t buy it for me. She liked Ban.

    I loved these scents and I still like them. I like powdery so the Baby Soft was right up my alley. The Lemon I could take or leave but I was a huge fan of the Jasmine. For some reason I always thought jasmine sounded so elegant and grown up. I kinda remember it being called Musky Jasmine back then too. Those were the days when musk was huge though. Jovan Musk, Coty Musk, it seemed everyone had a musk.

    • Angela says:

      Yeah, musk kind of ran its course at that point and is still trying to live it down. Do try Soft Jasmin, though, if you get the chance. It’s so pretty and easy to wear.

  12. teri says:

    Back in the day, there was a Love’s Rain Scent in an aqua-to-green bottle and for a brief time a Love’s Wind Scent in a blue bottle. There was indeed a Musky Jasmin, but I can’t remember if it preceeded the Soft Jasmin or followed it. I know both existed at one time back in the ’70s. They were ubiquitous in my high school in the early ’70s, along with the Lemon and Baby Soft. They were such nice scents for middle school and high school-aged girls. Sweet, pretty, light and age-appropriate.

    • Angela says:

      You could be a fragrance archivist! At least for the Love’s fragrances. Great memory. I wonder what the Wind scent smelled like?

    • nancyg says:

      I had Love’s Rain scent in gel form in a tube, 1975 or 6. There was Wind, too and I want to say there were Fire and Earth scents as well. I also had Jovan Grass Oil. Bought these freshman year in A2 at Richardson’s Pharmacy.

      • Angela says:

        Tubes of perfumed gel! I guess that fad didn’t last. I vaguely remember Grass Oil. I’d love to smell it again.

  13. Aparatchick says:

    Ah, memories. High school, 1975. Love’s Baby Soft, Love’s Fresh Lemon, Heaven Scent, the Coty Sweet Earth solids. Creme rinse, Earth shoes, bonnet hair dryers and 8 track tapes. Good times.

    • Angela says:

      You paint a keen picture! Now I’m getting all nostalgic for Jimmy Carter (still my fave president of all time).

  14. GateGirl says:

    The original Love’s used to be my fave scent back in high school until I dropped and shattered an entire bottle on the locker room floor after gym class. After that, not so much. :(

    • GateGirl says:

      Darn, my Gravatar’s still not working. Sigh……..

      • Angela says:

        I hope it gets fixed soon! I love seeing people’s gravatars.

    • Angela says:

      Oh yeah, that would turn anyone off the fragrance! Did you own up to it, or pretend a stranger had the Love’s accident?

      • GateGirl says:

        I wish I was able to pass it off as someone else’s doing; unfortunately, a classmate was standing 3 feet away from me at the time. She just kinda looked at me, shook her head, and shrugged.
        And yeah, I keep emailing those gravatar folks for help, but they haven’t responded. Grr…

        • Angela says:

          We could probably sit around and swap high school horror stories for days, but that’s a pretty good one.

  15. annemarie says:

    It’s so funny from my perspective reading all these comments. At my school, in Australia, perfume, cosmetics and jewellery were all banned. Rules were strict. Hair had to be tied back. Hats, blazers and gloves in all weathers. Tunic length had to be a certain height above the knee, and yes, there were inspections. None of this was unusual at girls’ private schools at that time.

    The result was that perfume seemed a grown up thing. In my late teens my father gave me some Lentheric talcum powder scented with Panache. That felt quite glamourous. After I left school I bought a few Avon fragrances, Soft Musk, and maybe something else. They did not satisfy me, and eventually I somehow made the giant leap to Chanel No 19. I still don’t know how that happened.

    Avon, Lentheric and Yardley were the inexpensive brands that I most remember from those days in the late 70s. I suppose Coty must have been in there but I don’t remember it.

    • Julia says:

      Speaking of Avon scents, I bought a friend of mine a super-duper Christmas extravaganza pack of “Sweet Honesty” perfume a few years ago. It was the smell of HS for her. I wore Anna Pavlova in HS because I was a rebel and refused to wear Poison or Giorgio Beverly Hills (the one with the yellow stripes). However, my time warp in a bottle fragrance is Polo Green. I can still see him in his Levi’s 501 jeans, standing by my locker and walking me to class. My soon to be 20 year old son bought some without me knowing when he was about 14 and the first time he walked through the house wearing it I had to sit down for a few minutes.

      • Angela says:

        It’s alarming to think someday Axe will have that effect on women.

    • Angela says:

      Your school sounds worlds away from mine in a rural area. Some of my outfits actually came from bags left at the dump. I think I would have found your school glamorous!

      • annemarie says:

        Hmm … one of the reasons for all those rules is to make all the girls look and feel the same. That can have both positive effects (everyone gets an equal chance to be accepted for their talents and abilites, not their looks, wealth and possessions); and negative effects (individuality is suppressed). On the whole I think for me, a shy girl from a struggling family, it was a good thing. Certainly no-one had a chance to show off because of their expensive perfume!

        • Angela says:

          I suppose there is virtue in uniforms and rules. (I wonder if the Girl Scouts still require uniforms?) And it would certainly be easier for the parents. Well, now you can wear all the terrific perfume you want!

  16. RuthW says:

    Commenting late but what a great review and wonderful memories! Love’s Fresh Lemon was my spring/summer fragrance in middle school along with Elizabeth Arden Sunflowers. I adored it and used to overspray (according to my dad) – which seems impossible now.
    I will look for this:)

    • Angela says:

      Overspray? Maybe for a few minutes it could sting, but it settles down pretty quickly. I wonder what kind of memories it would bring back for you.

  17. tlinrose says:

    i got a set of these in the 90′s and LOVED the lemon one! i’ll have to go look for them!

    • Angela says:

      They’re out there! Make sure you try the jasmine one, too, if you get the chance.

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