So far, I’ve never finished a bottle of perfume in my life. Yet, I’ve owned so many bottles of perfumes to count. Also, I’ve never finished a vial of perfume sample either. Yet, I’ve collected a handful of them mostly via Sephora free samples program. This year, I got a gift card from Victoria's Secret to get a gift of $10 or less at their store. I get at least a bottle of perfume a year but so far this year, I haven’t bought any. So I took advantage of the gift certificate and sampled a whole bunch of perfumes from Victoria's Secret Garden collection. Turned out my timing was perfect: VS just released a new fragrance for the Garden collection called Secret Charm.
The one noticeable thing about that day was I had a big bad headache, which was not a good thing for perfume testing. However, it was a blessing in disguise: any perfume that smelled too noxious could be quickly eliminated. My head would have spun out of control after one whiff! The Garden collection, besides being unbelievably affordable, have uncomplicated perfumes. When a bottle of 1 oz. EDT is sold at $9.50, you don’t expect much from it. Give or take, this collection has some really wonderful gems that I’ve cherished for years such as Amber Romance (an amber-vanilla scent), My Desire (a rose scent), and Endless Love (an apple blossom-honey dew-ylang ylang scent).
Although perfumes are personal choices, I believe if VS launched this scent in Japan, it could have gone really big. With their beauty philosophy linked with water, this scent is very suitable for the Japanese market. To me, although described as amalgamate of honey suckle, Gala apple, and Stephanotis, Secret Charm smells like water! At first, I sprayed Secret Charm body mist to my arm and it did not smell like anything. The body mist, being a weakest juice in the perfume hierarchy, failed to provide enough scents. I asked the sales associate if she thought the EDT would be stronger and she said yes. And I was happy to get my birthday gift, as well!
When I came home, I immediately gave this new scent a try and the sales lady was right: the EDT does smell stronger. However, it is still a very light scent. The correct description should be “whispery soft”. I can’t help but connect Secret Charm to L’Eau D’Issey by Issey Miyake, the Japanese perfume. Out of curiosity, I sprayed Secret Charm on one arm and L’Eau D’Issey to another. Although I still can tell them apart, these scents are pretty close to each other, like sisters. While L’Eau D’Issey started out with jasmine note and calmed down to water notes, Secret Charm is the reverse. It started out smelling like water but as time progressed, the Gala apple and honey suckle notes opened up. However, the apple note is quite subtle. I only recognized it because I wore an apple note perfume when I was a child. That kind of note can’t get out of my head, by the way. It’s quite interesting and if done right, can smell amazing - not cheesy.
Overall, I like Secret Charm more than most fragrances from Victoria's Secret Garden collection. I get tired of perfumes pretty fast: after 3 days, a perfume becomes old to me. It either gives me a headache or I simply lose interest. I’ve been wearing Secret Charm a lot last week and so far I still want more of it. I guess the lightness and watery property of this perfume really get into me. This perfume is a surprise to me as I am not really into watery scents. I guess it really has its own charm: the only way somebody to smell it on you is to be really close to you. I find scents like this endearing and charming as they do not precede you but follow you.
Price: $9.50 USD for a 1.0 oz eau de toilette. You can mix and match 10 items from VS Garden for $40 at this time.
My rating: A+
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