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quarta-feira, 24 de fevereiro de 2016

Milton Lloyd Fragrances: Beyond the Body Spray

by: Elena Vosnaki

For the longest time I had been hearing and reading people saying how a Milton Lloyd fragrance or other was a good "dupe" for this or that designer fragrance. Our Fragrantica Club boards are full of such mentions and there's a good cause for that; the ever increasing prices of designer fragrances sometimes make people take a shortcut into something they enjoy but resent the money spent on for everyday casual wear. There's a market for that too and that's capitalism for you; it doesn't just work upend but also lower end.
The "If you like X brand, you will love Y body spray" has been going long and steady for decades now. And in the length of my perfume journey I have been guilty or privileged (depends on how you see this market segment yourself) of having tried a few, casually and spontaneously, as befits the genre. 
Milton Lloyd has shared that part of the "do as I do" pie with playful names like Jojothat don't quite recall the name of the designer fragrance they evoke, but suggest similarities with visual signals. Yet their newest marketing seems to have been deviating from this tried and tested path, with their Colour Me line (yes, spelled like that, they're British, thank you very much!) and even more so with their Perfumer's Choice line. My ears always perk up when I see rebranding going on; it's a commendable effort. 
The challenge therefore to find whether Milton Lloyd fragrances can stand on their own two feet beyond the "dupe" moniker and also at the extremely favorable prices asked was like catnip to me! 
Their presentational video, which is proudly touting "they're made in England" and highlights the good value for money ratio, is a study in hypnotizing persuasion. They also mention how they have 30 years of experience. 
If there's one thing that I need to say from the very start, since one of the main arguments against cheaper brands is that the scent doesn't last, it would be that Milton Lloyd's claim that their fragrances last is a-b-s-o-l-u-t-e-l-y true. Perhaps even beyond your wildest desire! So much so in some cases that if you pick wrongly you will be chased by that cloud of "Rush" smell-alike down the stairway, down the street and possibly beyond your Zip code! They affectionately call their Colour Me range atomizers in feminine scents a Parfum de Toilette concentration (those of us with 1980s memories go all warm and fuzzy inside at the sound of that!) and I can assure you that all three of their fragrances in that range I tried, namely Colour Me Pink,Colour Me Red and Colour Me Purple are exceptionally long lasting. A couple of sprays on a dressing gown back at home of Colour Me Pink has retained the scent for over a week and withstood a wash cycle in between not culling much!
The masculine scents are "traditionally" an eau de toilette concentration but they're satisfyingly lasting, at least in the Colour Me Green and Colour Me Gold scents that I personally tried. 
Their sprayers, specifically the 50ml ones, are pressurized and easy to overspray, as the flow of the liquid vaporizes instantly, so handle that nozzle judiciously. The 83ml bottles for the Perfumer's Choice range both look and spray at a more civilized manner and I vastly prefer them. The packaging of both the Colour Me and Perfumer's Choice is a plastic box with a cardboard overlay that carries some info on the scent on the outside. Looks rather cheap but the bottles themselves, made in glass and with beatiful caps especially the 83ml ones, do not. In fact they can compete with the looks of most of the mid-range fragrances easily!
Regarding the scents themselves, the results vary according to what you pick.Colour Me Pink is possibly the most successful, versatile scent in the feminine triad I tried. It's a middle of the road scent in the best possible sense and at that price unbeatable. The clean aura that comes from a lily of the valley plus musk component is nicely supportive to the ever popular vanillin-heliotropin accord that makes so many current gourmand fragrances the commercial success they are. It has that fluffy factor that seems to suit multiple types of women. And yet Colour Me Pink projects as a floral, not a gourmand; a soft cloud-like floral that melts at the touch of a fingertip like suds in the bathtub. A true paradox, a soft flowery scent with almondy vanilla at the bottom, but with plutonium lasting power, Colour Me Pink impressed me with its duality. 
Colour Me Red is a rather shriller affair which vaguely recalls the lactonic peachiness of Gucci's Rush, a fruity chypre. It's even louder and with a more metallic timbre than Rush, which makes it a bit too loud for me personally, but I can see how it would be immediately appealling to a market share of young women shopping at the mall for something fun and exuberant. It's easy to see that the more synthetic something to imitate is to begin with, the more successful it is to adequately do so, and Rush is a major synthetic affair all right. (This is not a criticism, just stating a fact). This is also why sometimes something succeeds and sometimes it doesn't. It's important what you're trying to evoke and how that something is made in the first place. But when there is an aggressive stance in the message of a scent, the difference also lies in the texture; one needs a mollifying voice at least in order to not feel threatened.
The masculine ones I tried, Colour Me Green and Colour Me Gold, are decent quality.Colour Me Gold is reminiscent of 1 Million of Paco Rabanne, at a fraction of the cost, while Colour Me Green is more of an original composition, familiar in the fougere genre with a strong patchouli and amber backbone, and a refreshing, very tingling citrusy top note, but I couldn't put a finger on any fragrance it tries to "copy". 
As to Colour Me Purple, the scent of the "fruitchouli" is immediately recognizable, even the visual clue of the color is enough to suggest so. (If you notice the majority of fruitchoulis come in purple bottles). This a suggestion for all those women who want an everyday scent with the attributes of the patchouli plus juicy fruits. Milton Lloyd classifies it as a fruity chypre, but it's a distinctly different style than their Red. The allying patchouli-violet creates depth, with an accommodating cozy underlay of vanilla, and there's a seemingly disparate note of fruit, smelling between melon and rasberry (watermelon looks out of place on paper, but sort of freshens up the composition and makes Purple easy to wear if you don't overdo it; god forbid you overdo, though, you have been warned.) The berries become more prominent the longer the scent dries down. Colour Me Purple is familiar, certainly, but it's not a dupe. Which was one of the requisites of the whole exercise, if you recall. 
Colour Me Purple however naturally brings me to Milton Lloy's Perfumer's Choicepurple-toned No.3, because they share facets, least of which is the shade of box and bottle. 

The Perfumer's Choice range is possibly where the rebranding is really happening. The company puts a perfumer's first name in the name on the box and suggests that it is their personal "seal of approval". For instance Emilie No.12 (which brings to mindEmilie Coppermman) or Natalie No.4 (which instantly evokes Nathalie Festhauer andNathalie Lorson for me). Their PR evades my questioning as to who exactly those people are and therein lies the cunning of the first names. To the connoisseur it leaves a hundred wondrous possibilities open for interpretation; to the novice it looks sophisticated and personalized. Good marketing people! 

Natalie No.4 is a floriental gourmand which allies red fruits with woods, patchouli (I think) and vanilla and manages to smell better than the roughly-in-the-same-ballparkColour Me Purple. Sillage and lasting power are again phenomenal and not just for the price asked; this thing makes its presence known! The timbre is however friendly and not shrill, if you apply cautiously it should project inviting vibes all around. In fact this is my prefered scent in the range.
Jean Marie No.3 is a spicy woody for men which manages to smell both bracing and deep. It takes on segments of the popular "Declaration-spawn" of masculine fragrances (the fresh citrus, the cardamom, the vetiver) and garlands it with woods and ambery notes for more depth. It's likable and could be worn without drawing attention to its retail price. Rafael No.6again for menis rather fresher and more minty, in a blue bottle that would predispose one for an aquatic or sports fragrance, in the Cool Water mode, but it's more of an aromatic woody than anything else with a more emmolient feel than No.3. The citruses hold down surprisingly well, the mint is detectable.
Emilie No.12although seemingly a more to my liking "genre" (an orange-blossom-centric floral chypre with lots of woods and musk), feels a little bit bottomless. They state peony-rose-lychee on their website and it does have that popular lightly fruity, sweetly rosy aroma in the core of the scented spray released upon a generous spritz, plus an impressive ambrette seed musk component (something tells me biomimetically rendered) which is otherwise one of my favorite notes, but there's something lacking in making it truly satisfying, I felt. I recognize how it's extremely difficult to work on a shoestring budget for something that is priced at such a competitive price. I'm just saying that sometimes one hits upon a true winner and sometimes not, that's all. 
The bottom line: If you had been browsing the drugstore/chemist's shelves for Milton Lloyd fragrances only in the haphazard manner of spotting "dupes" you might check their newer ranges, Colour Me and Perfumer's Choice, for something rather different but still within one's "friendzone". 

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