Perfume review: Juicy Couture, in edp and parfum
Date released: 2006
Perfumer: Harry Fremont (also responsible for cKOne, Armani Sensi, Ralph Lauren Romance, and all the Vera Wang Princess fragrances, among others)
Sample provenance: manufacturer spray sample of edp given to Bookworm in 2010 (and swiped by me), parfum mini purchased in 2012
Subcategory – oh, heck, I’m going to change “subcategory” to “brief description.” There are a whole lot of ways you can do tuberose. Brief description: lightweight tuberose with fruity notes and subtle vanilla-woody base.
I don’t want to talk about the women who formed Juicy Couture and sold plushy yoga pants to Kim Kardashian and Paris Hilton, and I don’t even want to talk about the advisability of dressing fashionable women in plushy yoga pants and slapping a could-be-naughty adjective across their hind ends. So I just won’t.
I also don’t want to talk about Barbie, the quintessential pinkified little-girl toy that was the supposed muse for the fragrance. Juicy Couture designer Pamela Skaist-Levy commented, “It smells like something Barbie would wear.” (This is an inducement to buy it? Huh.)
Bookworm’s 15th birthday present from her Nana included a little spray sample of Juicy Couture edp in very-cute paper packaging that resembled a pink purse. I had already read the four-star review in Perfumes: The Guide, praising Juicy Couture as “a nicely crafted floral incorporating that rare thing, a delicate, transparent tuberose… one of the best in the [abstract floral] genre.” So with her permission, I pulled out the spray sample and spritzed her arm.
We both recoiled. “Ewww!” she exclaimed. I was a little more restrained in my response, but also more disappointed. “That’s not tuberose. That’s watermelon,” I said. “That is flat-out watermelon-flavored Bubblicious, circa 1980.” With identically-curled upper lips, my daughter and I looked at each other. “We put it away,” I said firmly. “We put it behind us, and we never ever speak of it again, are we agreed?” She nodded, with deep loathing, and the cute pink paper purse that smelled of watermelon disappeared into the disaster area that is her room (do not ask me what she does in there, I do not want to know).
And I reread Perfumes: The Guide and sneered all over again at the entry for Juicy Couture. Watermelon! I snorted to myself. They must be crazy in the head, giving that flippin’ bubble gum mess four stars.
Then at some point last year, when I was deep in the throes of swoony lurve for Mary Greenwell Plum, that posy of pink and ivory flowers tied with lemon and plum ribbons and surrounded by feathery wisps of mossy-green ferns, that Very Me fragrance that makes me all hearts-n-flowers and starry-eyed, someone mentioned in a comment on Now Smell This that Plum’s topnotes had reminded her strongly of Juicy Couture.
I scoffed. She insisted. So I stomped up to Bookworm’s room, requested entrance, and demanded that she hand over the pink paper purse smelling of watermelon. She complied, adding, “I don’t ever want to smell that again, so do whatever you want with it – but don’t tell Nana, I don’t want to hurt her feelings.” I spritzed.
I was surprised. Sure, the top of JC was uber-watermelon, watermelon bulked up to Arnold Schwartzenegger proportions, watermelon dwarfing even the other fruits… but within about ten minutes, I was smelling the white florals of Juicy Couture and getting the reference to Plum. (Mind you, I’m still in swoony lurve with Plum, which smells not of sweet plum to me, but of zippy tangy fruit followed by tuberose-jasmine-rose and then by a very thin slice of a chypre base, more modern than traditional but still retaining the bitter bite of oakmoss. Oh, and I think I can pick out a buzz of aldehydes at the top now, too. Still love the stuff.)
Juicy Couture trailed off on my skin after about two hours, from watermelon to white floral to nuthin’. I spritzed again, and got the same thing. Said so to my commenter, and promptly forgot about it.
And then someone else mentioned Plum recently in a comment, and Elisa of The French Exit commented that she smelled the resemblance to Juicy Couture as well. I scoffed again. She said, “Dab it, you don’t get nearly the watermelon overdose if you dab.” She said she’d felt pretty justified by that four-star review in P:TG, mentioning that she particularly enjoyed the lovely drydown.
“What drydown?” I demanded. Elisa described a soft, sueded woody-caramel-patchouli base that settled like cashmere. I thought about that, and then I remembered seeing a small bottle of parfum at my local Wal-Mart and wondered if it might be different. Perfumes: The Guide does point out that its authors tested the highest concentration available to them, and just possibly the parfum was different than the eau de parfum.
I picked up a 5ml mini parfum at Wal-Mart last week, after finding it on the end rack hanging with a number of other minis like Paris Hilton, Sunflowers, White Shoulders, Tabu (two bottles to a package!), Cool Water Woman, and other assorted fragrances that don’t seem to be first-run, high-end scents at the moment. Cheesy stuff, really. Cheesy packaging, anyway, a little black plastic bottle with a pink top, inside a cardboard-and-plastic thingy; the whole thing set me back $9.50 plus tax.
Despite the cheesy packaging, Juicy Couture parfum is an entirely different animal than the watermelon-heavy eau de parfum, and now I certainly see why Plum reminded people of JC: the fruits are far more summery and sweeter in JC, and the base of JC is both more subtle and sweeter, but they share a lovely white-floral/rose heart focused on tuberose.
So: I was wrong. (Again.) Juicy Couture parfum is really lovely. I decanted the plastic mini into a small atomizer and sprayed, just to see if spraying boosts the watermelon, and in the parfum it doesn’t. The parfum seems smoother and more complex than the simple progression of the edp. It starts with just a hint of watermelon (freshly sliced, on the table six feet away from you, not Bubble Yum), with some citrus and apple and a vaguely green, refreshing note, before heading full-tilt for a lightweight tuberose-white floral note that does not seem to have the “blocky edges” of synthetic tuberose. In the heart, I smell a touch of rose and something that I would have said was jasmine. At this point I pick up on some patchouli as well. Then the drydown, what little I can smell of it, is indeed very pretty, a soft woodsy-patchouli-caramel base that clings very close to skin and seems familiar, though I can’t put my finger on what it’s reminding me of. Start to finish, it lasts about three to four hours on me when sprayed discreetly. (I didn’t try the “spray wet” technique that increases lasting power of certain light scents, I figured that would bring out the watermelon, and Lord knows I didn’t want more of that.)
I notice that the 30ml parfum bottle is unavailable at the Juicy Couture website and at Sephora’s website, and only available at redonkulous prices ($225 and $300, if you can believe it, on ebay), so it’s possible that Juicy Couture has stopped producing the parfum. Which is a shame. However, I went back to the Wal-Mart the other day and found that the perfume minis are now going for $12.00, and they have several. I may pick up a couple more and decant them into an atomizer. If you don’t care about the bottle – I don’t, myself – you could buy six 5ml minis and consolidate them into one atomizer for about a third of the price of the silly-looking original bottle.
I’ll say it again: I was wrong, y’all were right, and despite my disdain for the whole Juicy Barbie thing, Juicy Couture parfum is delightful stuff. Four stars was a perfectly correct assessment, and the scent is extremely pretty. Forget Malibu Barbie, go buy some JC parfum.
But please don’t buy the velour pants with writing across the seat.
Notes for Juicy Couture, from Fragrantica: watermelon, mandarin, pink passionfruit, marigold, green apple, water hyacinth, crushed leaves, tuberose absolute, wild rose, princess lily, caramel crème brulee, vanilla, precious woods, patchouli.