Marc Jacobs Dot ~ fragrance review

Marc Jacobs Dot fragrance adverts

Marc Jacobs' original eponymous fragrance now seems an anomaly (and of course, Blush is nearly forgotten). Since the massive success of 2007's Daisy — followed, of course, by her 'older sister' Lola in 2009 — it's all vinyl flowers and sunshine and happy-happy pop music. Dot fits neatly into the family, from the whimsical (and flanker-ready) bottle to the waifish young model to the oh-so casual advertising.

Perfumer Annie Buzantian's juice is very nearly besides the point — all it need do is play nicely with the "buy me" bottle. Any requirement for surprising and/or edgy and/or challenging has presumably been met by the visual elements; the fragrance itself can settle for pleasant and wearable. Daisy managed this perfectly; even a cranky perfumista like me found it "darned likable". Lola was fine but I didn't like it quite so well, and frankly I don't like this new bottle quite so well,1 but whatevs — I'm old as the hills, and so Marc Jacobs isn't after my money (or my opinion) anyway.

Marc Jacobs has not said where, exactly, Dot fits into the family, but I'd call it Daisy's slightly younger sister. The start is vague tropical fruits, rather sweet and loud, with a bit of sparkle (the notes: red berries, dragon fruit, honeysuckle, jasmine, orange blossom, coconut water, vanilla, musk and driftwood). For the first few minutes, it smells like another 'tween-oriented fruit bomb, but it calms reasonably quickly, and then it's pretty tame stuff — much tamer than Lola, albeit fruitier (and less fresh) than Daisy. The heart is the usual vague "flowers", and the dry down is a pale woody musk. The coconut water, vanilla and "driftwood" are mild — you probably won't notice them unless you're looking for them — but they give Dot a subtle "summer vacation" air.

Dot is neither sophisticated nor sexy, and it isn't trying to be. Memorable, no; distinctive, no again. It's just what it needs to be: cheerful and easy to wear. It isn't quite as perfectly calibrated to "massively pleasant" as Daisy; I found it "likable enough" instead of "darned likable". That may seem like a minor distinction, but I don't think Dot is going to find as large an audience as Daisy, which appealed to a wide range of ages and tastes. Dot's appeal strikes me as more narrow, but it should find legs with its youthful target market, and that may be exactly what was intended.

Marc Jacobs Dot, fragrance bottles

Marc Jacobs Dot is available in 30, 50 and 100 ml Eau de Parfum and in matching body products.

1. Although there is something rather charming about that wee little 30 ml (image above, all the way on the left), isn't there?

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  1. RusticDove says:

    I agree with you Robin. The smallest bottle is actually cute – almost as cute as Daisy. The larger ones are so over the top tacky cutesy that they make me cranky.

    • mutzi says:

      I agree with both of you, but haven’t seen them in person yet. I am looking forward to that. The small bottle is so cute it may find its way under the Christmas tree for my 11 year old great-niece.

      • Marjorie Rose says:

        You make me wish I had a tween to give it to. What a great gift idea for a young girl! (I’m sure the scent is inoffensive, but that little bottle will win over many little girls, I expect!)

      • Robin says:

        Looks perfect for an 11 year old.

    • Robin says:

      Daisy was really a perfect bottle — none of the vinyl flower bottles that have followed (MJ or other brands) have bested it.

      They were smart w/ that 30 ml bottle — they could have presumably done a “plain” cap.

  2. Lys says:

    They should have made these bottles light up!

    • Robin says:

      Ha! Maybe that will be the flanker.

      • mutzi says:

        The flanker: Firefly for tween boys. It will be black and gold (not metallic) and it will light up in the dark. It will probably smell like one of the RL Big Pony scents or one of the Ed Hardy scents.

        • Robin says:


        • Stevan says:

          I hope that never comes into fruition. There’s a fine line between it being artsy and gimmicky. I’d rather see it be metallic gold with black. No lights, bells, whistles or diarama that pops out and predicts your future. Something along the lines of Bang would be much better, masculine & subtle, in the style of MJ. RL Big Pony and Ed Hardy are total flops, so I hope that he never makes something like that for men. Fragrances these days are all balls out these days when it comes to the main sell-out designers, there’s no reservation as to what you’re getting. It peaks your interest at the beginning and then you’re left thinking, wtf was that all about?

  3. lucasai says:

    This bottle is RIDICULOUS!

    • Robin says:

      It’s clearly a love-it-or-hate-it. It does have fans.

      • lucasai says:

        Oh, I’m sure it does. But knowing me, I would be afraid to take it in my hand, I’d be afraid that something may fall apart…

      • bookwyrmsmith says:

        I actually find the bottle rather repellant -but then my room was invaded by somewhere around 2-300 ladybugs (half a vaccum canister people! ) so now ladybug=YUCK! Vermin! Kill!
        The only positive is that Annie B. is the perfumer.But the reviews I’ve been reading seem to indicate that she wasn’t given a lot of artistic liberty in formulation.

  4. CedriCeCCentriC says:

    Juice-wise it’s a famine of creativity IMHO.
    Not every scent needs to be a work of art, after all I do to sometimes just want to wear something that is easy going. But here they make people pay just for a brand name and a funny bottle (BTW the buglady wings are in hard plastic this time, not even the soft rubber of past Marc Jacobs). The juice could have been selected as a Bath and Body Works release and must not cost more to produce. I think I read that Ann Gotlieb was a consultant, this explains the BBW connection. Frankly, if I had to, I would even prefer to spend my money at BBW and buy an edt, with a matching body lotion and shower gel for the price of a bottle of DOT.
    Do you remember the 30min video that was posted on this website for the Dot launch featuring Marc Jacobs? Though I liked the video, there was not one moment in which they spoke about the scent, not one…
    This is already for me the most disappointing major release of the fall season.

    • Robin says:

      That video made it clear (more than the usual) that the bottle was the point. I’m ok with that — it’s not like they’re pretending the juice matters. Daisy was not inventive, but it fit the bottle.

      • Joe says:

        I hear that but… it seems kind of crazy when a fragrance product is about nothing more than the packaging. Strange times.

        It’s almost Dadaist, but that’s taking it too far intellectually.

        • Robin says:

          Well, hey, it isn’t *just* the packaging. We all know of great bottles that failed because the juice wasn’t good enough. But a fun bottle w/ fun juice -> that’s plenty for many people.

    • bookwyrmsmith says:

      I’m with you on the BBW s value.And when you go to thier sas it’s even MORE of a stealdeal.

  5. FragrantWitch says:

    I have to say that I think the bottle is positively ‘oogly’ which is worse than plain ugly. But, as I am not the target audience and since I sincerely hope that my daughters will choose much better stuff when they start wearinig fragrance, it matters not. I hope those that buy it and receive it will love it.

    • Robin says:

      It does not look fun to hold, either.

      (and hope your daughters will live up to your expectations. My son likes Old Spice Matterhorn, LOL)

    • bookwyrmsmith says:

      So do you mean Vugly (very ugly) or is oogly better or worse ?

      • KateReed says:

        Oogly is as bad as it can get. It’s actually a contraction of “ooo….that is so very, freakishly, horrendously ugly.”

        Not to be used with babies, no matter how squished-looking they happen to be at the time.

  6. YellowLantern says:

    I’m not too much older than his target audience (I think…I’m 25) and I even like his fashion/advertising sense, but even to me that bottle looks totally fug.

    Shame about the juice. My opinion is pretty similar to yours. Thought Daisy was cute and fun, but a bit of a airhead (I own a cheap ebay bottle). Lola was maybe one grade level more mature, but wasn’t much fun to hang out with.

    • Robin says:

      I don’t know…if I had to guess, I’d guess this is geared at 16 year olds. In perfume terms, you’re MUCH older than that, by which I mean that the kinds of scents they gear towards mid-to-late-20s are pretty different.

      • YellowLantern says:

        Yeah, I think in perfume years (like dog years) I’m middle aged. :)

  7. Erin says:

    I didn’t hate the bottle when I saw it in person, but did think it would have been so much cuter if it had actually been shaped like a ladybug and had fewer fuzzies and pom-poms on it. (Maybe antenna instead?) I do know that my 6-year-old loved the polka-dotted blotter and has kept it as her “ladybug paper”, even though her opinion of the juice was: “well, it doesn’t smell bad, I guess”. Not actively smelling bad — maybe that’s all you need now.

  8. mals86 says:

    I’m not usually a bottlehound, but I think this one’s cute. Then again, I have some treasured pix of my then-3-year-old daughter in a ladybug costume at Halloween. Cute like THAT – not cute in an “ZOMG I MUST HAVE ONE” sort of way.

    I still like Daisy. Hated Lola (hated the Lola bottle, for that matter). Oh well. Now I’m off to hunt up another Daisy mini on ebay for my niece’s 12th birthday…

    • Robin says:

      MANY perfumistas bought Daisy, and many more bought it as gifts for younger relatives. It really was widely liked.

  9. ladymurasaki says:

    I think I might have tried it once while I was shopping at Liberty with my daughter, but can’t remember what it smells like! My daughter liked it, but said she perfered Daisy, and she just had her 20th birthday last week, so I should imagine that it’s aimed at late teens to 20s.

    • Robin says:

      Hard to say. It’s very rare that perfume companies admit to marketing to the under-17 crowd, but I think that’s what this one is aiming at.

  10. annemarie says:

    I can’t help comparing the sullen looks of the Dot model with the sunny smile Julie Roberts produced for La Vie est Belle. Says it all about the different markets that these perfumes are aiming for.

    • Robin says:

      Yes! And the last big Lancome launch was with a smiling Anne Hathaway, and Lola had another sullen teenager.

  11. Joe says:

    Thanks for the review. I didn’t even know this was coming — I’m so out of it on mainstream launches sometimes (that’s not mean to sound snobbish).

    I dunno, sounds boring… and as far as bottles go, if I wanted a cute one, I’d probably still stick to the original Daisy. Not that I foresee needing one (Daisy actually smelled quite nice, too).

    • Robin says:

      Not snobbish at all — it’s getting harder for anybody to keep track.

  12. cazaubon says:

    I have been anxiously awaiting this release since I first heard about it and I have a Macys gift card waiting for it to show up in my local store. I think the bottle is cute, and the real reason I want it so bad is that my sweet puppy girl’s name is Dot. I don’t care so much what it smells like, just want the bottle to enjoy for sentimental reasons.

    • mutzi says:

      I understand. I have bottles of Meow and Purr because the nicknames for my cats Coco and Star were Meow and Purr. (Yes, my cats had nicknames along with their given names. Cocc was also known as She Who Must Not Be Disciplined.) Since the two are no longer here, I like to have the bottles around.

    • Robin says:

      Hey, that’s the perfect excuse!

  13. Anne from Makeupwoot says:

    Am I the only one who hates that bottle?

    • ChocolatEyes613 says:

      No, you are not alone. I detest it, with a passion!

      • Anne from Makeupwoot says:

        Thank god. All I heard is raving about the bottle. When I first saw it, I thought, “Ladybug by Picasso on acid…”

        • fleurdelys says:

          …or anime ladybug.

    • Robin says:

      I know you’re far from alone!

  14. ChocolatEyes613 says:

    Wow, I am actually surprised that this review was quasi-positive. I cannot stand Marc Jacobs Dot. Loath both the bottle and the juice. Juice it is, like cheap fruit punch. I had the misfortune of smelling Dot at Bloomingdale’s, and it was just disgusting. All the perfume SA’s, who were not promoting it, hated it. It was giving everyone in the store a headache, and it scorched my sinuses.

    • Robin says:

      Ha…those SAs ought to go smell Selena Gomez EdP, then they’ll be happy they’re selling Marc Jacobs Dot instead!

      More seriously, if what you’re after is a young, sweet, fruity scent in a fun bottle, I think you could do much, much worse than Marc Jacobs Dot.. If you hate young, sweet, fruity scents, you’re certainly not going to like it, and if you hate the bottle, there’s no point in even trying it.

  15. nozknoz says:

    I sort of like the bottle for the Dada effect that Joe identified. But the two top pictures are just dreadful! They remind me of some of listings from Etsy that Regretsy makes fun of with the tag “Sad Hipsters.” ;-)

    • Robin says:

      LOL — yes!!

    • KateReed says:

      I love Sad Hipsters! That and Goths In Trees are my go-tos to lighten up very crappy days!

      • nozknoz says:

        Ah, I need to look up Goths in Trees then!

      • nozknoz says:

        Back already! GREAT stuff! It’s not every day that one finds a blog post with with such cheering topics as, “Just this morning I was thinking about how that this site lacks photos of goth boys frocked up and sitting in trees with giant fans…” Thank you, Kate! :-)

    • Emily says:


  16. Omega says:

    Come on MJ, a tween-fruit bomb? That’s all you got? The smallest bottle is cute but the others are ladybugs that met their demise via windshield. And please give that model a burger! Please!

    I love Daisy and the bottle but this is like a total pass for me.:(. Bad bad MJ.

    • mals86 says:

      She needs some treatment for those under-eye bags too. And a puppy.

  17. dominika says:

    That bottle looks like a Brazilian trash can after carnival season.

  18. Emily says:

    I have no interest in the juice and am maybe the one person here who’s indifferent to the bottle … but I’m kind of tempted to get one for my husband. He engages in a deeply dorky variety of gaming that involves assembling and painting an army of tiny plastic soldiers, tanks, space ships, and lord knows what else, and I’m thinking the Dot bottle could be a convincing stand-in for a menacing space alien.

  19. bluegardenia says:

    I don’t get what the MJ fragrances have to do with his brand or his clothes. Shouldn’t they instead be tied to the Marc by Marc Jacobs line? The only one that made sense with his high-fashion collection was the first gardenia scent in the elegant bottle. All the rest seem like they’re for kids.

    • Robin says:

      Agree, but this is true of many modern designer fragrance lines. Even Vera Wang has abandoned the wedding perfumes to make fruity scents for young people.

  20. bluegardenia says:

    Good point!

  21. fleurdelys says:

    Wait a minute, Lola is Daisy’s OLDER sister? I thought she was the younger sis. Oh, I’m so confused….

    • Robin says:

      No…Lola was supposed to the “vampy” older sister.

  22. bridie says:

    I love the smell of Dot. Does anyone else think the smell only lasts for a very short while though?

    • Robin says:

      I did not find it that short-lived, but it certainly isn’t a powerhouse.

  23. jonr951 says:

    A complete bore. I guess I really shouldn’t have expected much but gosh I enjoy Daisy, Lola, and their flankers much more than I do Dot! And I don’t even really like Lola to begin with. But at least it’s personality is BEYOND Dot’s. Dot was just flat. Sorry MJ but it’s probably the cheapest smelling designer fragrance I’ve tried this yr. Can anyone say body mist or hand soap?! Bummer.

    Was I really mean?! Haha! Sorry! : )

    • Robin says:

      Had to think about “cheapest smelling designer fragrance I’ve tried this yr”…but nope, I know I’ve smelled worse!

      • jonr951 says:

        LOL!!! I don’t count Bieber or Selena Gomez as designer. Haha! Oh the Viva edt was pretty misty like too so that one can give Dot a run for its money. Haha! : )

  24. joybells says:

    A month ago I didn’t know there was such a person as Marc Jacobs, how uncool am I! A mention of Honey on Twitter caught my imagination, but it was Dot who opened the door for me to the world of “Vinyl, Sunshine and happy, happy pop music”. I wanted sweet, fruity, juicy, cheerful and she is all that. When I first put it on the gorgeous summer fruitiness almost makes my mouth water, I know lots of people who hate fruit punch or fruity florals but they could have been invented for me to wear while the couture classics smell like toilet cleaner on me. So, Dot has a lot to say when she first goes on, but as she dries down she kind of creeps into a corner and hides. Coconut? where? I can’t smell any and I love coconut. The florals are a bit wishy-washy and while, like all the Jacobs Fragrances, Dot lasts a long time on my skin, the dry down could be anything. Having got hold of some of the other Marc Jacobs fragrances I would definitely agree that Dot is pretty but a bit of a light weight.

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