My first fake perfume was when we, as a family, were duped outside Harrods on the street outside about thirty years ago. A raucous cockney screamed out the details of the bargain ; w hile a deceptor sprayed a real perfume – right before our eyes. Smelling it in the air, I bought the false water, which, when opened back home, was clearly nothing more than a cleverly wrought out con trick.

My second fake perfume(s) were those you see pictured above, bought today from Book Off/Hard Off/ Hobby Off in Fujisawa, a three story junkfest of used goods that I can’t stay in for more than five minutes because of the infernally repetitive ‘theme tune’ it has on repeat that in all literalness I think is akin to mental torture.

That is a whole other debate though (speaking of which, and of absolute fakeness, tonight is the first ‘presidential’ debate – JESUS) : but it might account for why I didn’t check out these two perfumes more carefully before ‘committing to purchasing them’.

I had always wanted Penhaligon’s Gardenia in passing. And there it suddenly was, unexpectedly : for ¥800 : a steal at eight dollars. And ‘Elizabethan Rose’, which I had never smelled in its latest recreation, for ¥1000 : why the hell not ? ( I sadly and literally was, like Emma Bovary, down to my final coins, an embarrassingly precarious situation in which I wasn’t even sure I would have enough train fare to get back home nor be able to afford nourishment for the evening’s teaching ahead )

– but such is perfume addiction. Leaving my house this morning, putting my pretty Santa Maria Novella pot pourri by the open window to maximize its rose-spicy, slightly rotting herbaceous effect ( it has been a very extravagant month, what with Duncan’s birthday and all : tomorrow is pay day:::::TF) it struck me : do I actually have an actively, usable rose perfume in my collection at this particular moment in time ?

I had to admit, that I didn’t think that I actively do. So I physically spent my final pennies ( caught counting, frantically, my remaining change from my suit pocket and bag in the disabled toilet praying that there weren’t surveillance cameras on this quite possibly counterfeit bullshit ; the gardenia, on closer; on the way home inspection, just smelling like a cheap Marc Jacobs gardenia knockoff ( or is it just a bad reformulation? ( : Penhaligon’s experts : align!) ); the Rose, for all I know, as authentically intended, a bit woozy and sandalwoody, not entirely bad, and a possible contender as a toilet spray – but the labels are a little bit wonky, and it DOES smell a little bit fat and gregarious, for an Elizabethan Rose…..


Filed under Flowers

25 responses to “MY SECOND FAKE PERFUMES

  1. Gina T.

    I think I might have a fake Roja and don’t care because it makes me weak in the knees and smells amazing.

  2. Tara C

    Why would anyone bother to counterfeit a Penhaligon’s? The brand is so low profile I can’t see much demand. I’ve had two fake Kilians off ebay, which I never even sprayed as they were obviously fake. I no longer buy perfume on ebay unless I know the seller.

    • You are probably right.

      But these places are not dumb :prestige brands ( the Rose is ¥25000 here ) they would check online and then price appropriately : it was me that was obviously the dumb one for buying it

      But unlike my fake perfume story above ( an embarrassing non birthday present for my mother that just smelled of almost nothing, this goes through the motions…

      Rose, etc, and definitely rhubarb

    • Just dared to try the Elizabethan on skin. Smells alright ish.

      Any readers know : have this one ?

      • Yes, I have it, imo it’s a very Tudorish rosewater, magnified, fresh and lively. I love it. The little frill around the neck of the flacon is nice.

      • Yes, that detail ( fake?) ( FAKE NEWS !!!!) is intact.

        How much modern sandalwood is in the base ?

        Do people making fake perfumes really make much effort to make the juice inside similar, or just concentrate on the packaging? How real or otherwise do these two look to thee?

  3. I didn’t keep the packaging, got it in 2018, after a trip to UK. If you get any of that uplifting sparkly freshness in the rose I would bet you got the real thing. Lucky you, I paid $130 for it. Sprayed it on after reading this, already had a bit of Tom Ford Youth Dew Ambre Nude (Laudamiel) on, a wonderful combination in layering. Very Rennaissance. Warmth Nude skin Rosewater, cheering me up considerably on a grey not so great day.

  4. Robin

    I concur with Tara’s comment. Fake Chanel, yes. Fake Tom Ford, absolutely. Fake By Kilian, possibly. Fake Penhaligon’s, doubtfully. I can’t really see it. Just not worth it. Grey market stuff, certainly, which I’ve had almost consistent success with. Storage conditions could be an issue in this case. Not really any issues in terms of old stock, at least with the Rose, because it was re-released in 2018.

    No expert on Penhaligon’s, I’m afraid, so no help to you on that score, although I haven’t been particularly impressed with their current Gardenia. I might even give the edge to Marc Jacobs. For eight and ten bucks a bottle, though, I think you got your money’s worth at least, so.

    I really really like the idea of you scraping together all your coins to buy these. I would have done the same.

    • The sheer SCRAMBLE of the thing.

      I am beginning to think now though that they aren’t fakes….just not that good. Because : they smell like real perfumes.

    • Plus the red wax rose on the box looks too good to be a fake. (In Japan, by the way, Penhaligon’s does have a very high profile and higher price range – more akin to the other designers you mention, and thus my theory was not impossible). In any case, I am enjoying the new impostor additions to my family.

      • Robin

        I can see that. Different markets, different buying patterns and brand popularity. I see bibimaizoon lists some others, which would also do well here in Canada. That’s cool that a respectable English brand is so highly regarded in Japan. I like that idea. Penhaligon’s has a comparatively low profile here (thus my ignorant extrapolation) and I’m not sure why. It might just be a matter of where they’ve decided to concentrated their marketing and distribution efforts. We are a relatively tiny market for anyone, that’s for sure.

      • They have capitalised on the whole ‘English Lady & Gentleman’ thing here, which always goes down a treat. Plus most of the original perfumes – before all the hideous oud chemical recent ones with animal heads that are WAY too expensive, crazily so – have usually been quite muted and delicate. I wish they still had all those on sale – Violetta, English Fern etc, rather than these brasher flimsies.

  5. We get a lot of fakes here in Nepal. Usually mid priced best-sellers in duty-free are most copied – anything Calvin Klein, Hugo Boss, Bulgari, Elie Saab, etc – and a few high end like Chanel & YSL. I’d say 99% of Calvin Klein stuff is fake.
    My experience has been that the actual juice in the fakes reeks of ethanol (like cheap vodka and water) or methanol with a little linalool mixed in. I did buy a fake at a grey market kiosk in a mall in Miami once, it was supposed to be Creed’s Spring Flower. The price was ridiculously low so I had my doubts. The box & bottle looked convincing but the scent was just a weak nondescript floral with no resemblance to the original at all. Luckily the sleazy kiosk owner allowed me to exchange it for a couple of cheapie faves that were real.

    • Brilliant. What cheapie faves were you allowed to exchange it for? I was in Miami and I remember seeing those kinds of places and examining them. That Givenchy definitely wasn’t the real deal!

  6. Penhaligons has absolutely no presence in the North East of the US, with the exception of some older vintage ones at my favorite boutique, Colonial Drug. I guess anything is possible, but it seems a strange brand to counterfeit; well, maybe not if it is so popular in Japan. The boxes look authentic though, but I am not an expert, only had a couple of the scents years ago, when they were reasonably priced.

  7. The box of the Elisabethan Rose 2018 looks right to me; I have it. My own write-up is here if you want to compare: Fair warning: I love florals and rose notes, so wouldn’t necessarily expect everyone to share my enthusiasm. But for $10, why not enjoy it, one way or another?

  8. JulienFromDijon

    I got fake Amouage testers on ebay. (I successfully made the refund request.)
    I recently got fake Mugler, in their plastic shin wrap. (got refund too, but what a waist of time)

    Fake “By Kilian” are a plague. Also, the same sellers have many Diptyque, Tom Ford (obviously), Malle, and some other niche.

    To spot fake, the best advices are :
    . the surface of the glass is a bit more greasy, less shiny and transparent
    (it lacks the “flammage” step, when chambers are use to stabilize the glass further) In general, you need a good photo of the real stuff, to check the edge-coating. That means, it’s safer to buy perfume that are unwrapped.

    . the inside of the bottle creates weird thickness at the bottom and the edge (the air bubble is less regular)
    . a few other oddities (like typo in the allergen list)
    . the other offers of the seller are composed of risky brands (listed above)
    . one has to read all the review of the seller (on ebay)
    . and of course it stinks, very often of cherry and bitter green almond, then of nothing

    I did not think they would fake classic Penhaligon.

    If you search a nice Rose, try “Rose absolue” by Goutal. Sure there is a lot of roses out there, but there isn’t a hint of cynism in this one. I found it by serendipity, because I got many goutal at discount prices.
    It has a bit of the heft of rose essential oil, and the long-lasting hum of rose absolute for a few hours (the crystalline neon infrared pink smell). And it has nice tiny nuances of mimosa, and peach fuzz.

    (I’ve just remembered that you hate the rose from L’occitane, because it’s a japanese “good wife” clichee. But I fancy it quite a lot. It’s got true rose in it, not a given nowadays, is affordable, and it works wonder on fabric.)

    But finding vintage “Joy” edt is much easier and cheaper. Once the top notes of stale water are gone (due to the civet), it’s truly aphrodisiac, inside a T-shirt.

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