Wouldn’t it be great if this review started with “Disney Hannah Montana is a hidden gem! Its artful blend of fruit and flowers rivals the sinuous interplay of hyacinth and cassis in Guerlain Chamade. At six bucks a bottle, stock up now!” Yeah, it would be great all right. And a pack of lies. Except the part about the price.
The writers for the Hannah Montana television show were on to something. Back in 2007, “Smells Like Teen Sell Out” featured Hannah’s dilemma in publicizing her new — at that point fictional — fragrance line. In the show, her perfume smelled like raspberries and made her sick. She decided to go on television and tout the perfume anyway, but in the end she couldn’t lie to her fans.
Raspberries might have nauseated Hannah Montana, but by 2009 when her eponymous fragrance was released, the sticky combination of dewberry, peach, orange, passion fruit and grenadine (and jasmine, honeysuckle, blonde woods, vetiver and tonka bean) were all right with her. Frankly, Hawaiian Punch shows more restraint in the fruit department.
Hannah Montana smells like tropical fruit candy. You know how strawberry flavoring approximates strawberries without smelling like an actual garden strawberry? That’s what the fruity mix in Hannah Montana smells like. It references tropical fruit, but not real fruit with its skin and pith and hint of the orchard. No, it calls up fruit mixed into foul, disco-colored cocktails or chemically pasted in scratch-n-sniff coloring books.
What are we doing to our tweens? I understand that most 12-year old girls won’t appreciate Chanel No. 5 or Jean Patou Joy. It takes a while and a fair amount of sniffing to value the beauty of a sophisticated fragrance. But a soliflore — say a soft rose or a tender lily of the valley — might be a good introduction to fragrance for a girl. Bath & Body Works has some easy-to-appreciate body sprays that might appeal, too. Or, if the Hannah Montana team really wanted to stick with fruit, why not try a more balanced rendition, something sheer, sweet-tart, with a hint of green?
I will say this for the Hannah Montana fragrance: It’s cheap and it lasts the whole freaking day.
Parents, how did you introduce fragrance to your children?
Stay tuned the rest of this week for more drugstore celebrity perfumes!