Monday 26 September 2022

Victoria's Secret Bare Eau de Parfum

I received a 100ml bottle of Victoria’s Secret Bare Eau de Parfum for my birthday recently. It was on my list to try because the advertising campaign lured me in with the whole 'smells like you but better' thing and the fact it features Australian Sandalwood as a note. It also has mandarin and violet in the mix, as well as a blend of musks.
I expected it to be similar to Glossier You or Juliette Has a Gun's Not a Perfume. To my nose, it's not.
This has been compared to Dior's J'adore but it (unsurprisingly) lacks the same elegance, finesse and freshness. After all, Victoria’s Secret is a lingerie brand, they’re not known as a purveyor of fine fragrance. The first spray makes me want to sneeze - the opening screeches! But give it a while and the dry down lets that beautiful sandalwood come through. And some kind of stone fruit - maybe peaches or apricots with a hint of vanilla. I don't get mandarin and, for complete transparency, I don't actually know what violets smell like, though I have read they are similar to Iris – soft and powdery.

Bare was hotly anticipated among fragrance lovers everywhere, which is unsurprising given the gorgeous imagery and clever wording used in the marketing campaign. There was a strong focus on the beautiful simplicity of skin, nakedness and natural beauty. There was also an emphasis on the fact that it’s the wearer’s own natural skin chemistry mingling with Bare’s notes that make it truly special. This has been done before with Glossier’s iconic You fragrance and as someone who has sniffed and worn both, Glossier’s Ambroxan-heavy scent taps into this notion much more convincingly. Also, if we wanted to get technical, literally every fragrance we spritz on our skin mixes with our own unique body chemistry, which is why fragrances can smell different on different people.

It’s not the greatest thing I’ve smelled but I’m not giving up on Bare just yet. In fact I am looking forward to wearing Bare in really chilly weather, the kind where you need a scarf that can’t help but take on whatever perfume you’re wearing that day. I want the blend of musks it promises to come through and make me feel cosy, to blend in with the woody comfort of sandalwood the way I want it to. A writer on Fragrantica described Bare as an Apricot Pastry and I can’t express enough how much I want to interpret this scent in the same way. One of my indulgences is those (always slightly underbaked) custard and apricot twists you can get from CafĂ© Nero so, for me, to smell like that would be pretty dreamy.

Bare Eau de Parfum by Victoria’s Secret is available in 50ml (£45) and 100ml (£59) sizes and as a 7ml rollerball (£15). You can also find matching body lotions and body mists.

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