The sweet scent of a bargain

LADIES, ever wondered what €3.50 smells like? Now you can find out, thanks to a new supermarket fragrance that supposedly smells better than the designer stuff.

Lidl’s Suddenly Madame Glamour (€3.49) ranks above even Chanel’s Coco Mademoiselle (€89), according to a blind test by the UK Perfumer’s Guild.

And the sell-out spray is causing such a scent-sation that the store has just launched a men’s version called G.Bellini X-Bolt (€3.99) — which also claims to be more aromal than Dior Homme (€55).

“We were keen to create a fragrance that embodies elegance and femininity for every day wear,” says Lidl spokesperson Aoife Clarke. “It just shows it doesn’t have to cost you a bomb to feel instantly glamorous.”

One hundred women put Madame Glamour and Coco Mademoiselle to the test — with nine out of ten saying that they preferred the budget brand to the designer one.

But would Lidl’s first fragrance smell as sweet as any other price?

Wafting of bergamot and jasmine, we took to the streets of Dublin doused in Madame Glamour to find out.

“I don’t know much about women’s perfume,” admits student Daniel O’Connell from Dublin, stepping up to sniff my neck in the name of research. “But that smells nice.”

“Generally, if I was buying perfume for a girlfriend, I’d pick something like Paco Rabanne Lady Million – that’s what all my female friends wear.”

“I’d definitely wear it,” adds pal Mickaela Dobbins. “I’m not too bothered by brands. I usually buy perfume that’s on sale from the Avon catalogue.”

As every girl knows, though, perfume is as much a fashion statement as a sexy smell.

Whipping out a bottle of dirt cheap eau de toilette from your handbag on a night out doesn’t exactly have the same ‘wow’ factor as the latest designer affair.

And ahead of Valentine’s Day, woe betide any man who forks out less than a fiver on perfume for his other half.

“As someone who wears Chanel’s Coco Mademoiselle, I’d be very interested to see if it’s any good,” says Marissa Carter of Carter Beauty Blackrock. “I’m very fussy about perfume and love Mademoiselle, but I’ll certainly be popping into Lidl to check it out.”

“More and more Irish women are buying budget beauty products,” adds Marissa, who’s just launched her own self-tan, Cocoa Brown, for €7.99.

“Often, they’re just as good as designer ones.

“Sometimes, you are literally just paying for the name and marketing of that product.”

“However, I still think that young girls are very brand aware. Women in their thirties are more inclined to shop around to find something cheaper.”

Back on Henry Street, my eau de tightwad is going down a storm.

“€3.50?” repeats Jamie Smith from Dublin, after we reveal the identity of the mystery scent. “No way – it smells more like it costs €30.

“Do they do one for men?” asks Duane Watters.

“It’s lovely and fresh,” agrees Lee Christie. “But does it last?”

It’s a fair question.

After a fortnight, my bottle of the bargain-basement bouquet was half empty (or half full, depending on your outlook).

Then again, unlike the bottle of Coco Mademoiselle I keep hidden in my bottom drawer, I didn’t mind spraying myself liberally with it throughout the day.

“To make your fragrance last longer, layer it with a matching shower gel and body lotion,” advises beauty expert Marissa Carter.

“Alternatively, try spritzing a little in your hair and on your clothes.”

“If women have a good perfume, they tend to use it more sparingly,” she adds. “They’re not going to spritz it everywhere.

“The good thing about cheaper perfume is that you’re more inclined to actually use it.”

So does Lidl actually beat Chanel at their own game?

Smothered in Madame Glamour, tellingly no one actually noticed my essence like they do when I wear Keira Knightley’s signature scent.

However, no-one turned their nose up at it either – and it certainly doesn’t smell any worse than some more expensive brands I’ve worn in the past.

“What’s that?” asks my friend Aoife as I top up on the way to the pub after work. “It reminds me of something.”

“Coco Mademoiselle?” I offer.

“Oh yeah!” she says, grabbing the bottle out of my hand. “My sister wears it and it smells a bit like that – gimme some!”

It’s this kind of down-to-earth wearability that makes the scent a winner. Ultimately, though, while Madame Glamour is fine for wearing to the office or pub, I’ll still stretch to Mademoiselle on special occasions.

We contacted Chanel to get their take on the supermarket spritz, but it’s the company’s policy not to comment on other brands.

Needless to say, Suddenly Madame Glamour is unlikely to give Chanel bosses any sleepless nights.

At €3.50 though, it’s not to be sniffed at, either.

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