If you like…, you’ll tolerate…because it’s cheaper.

  Not everyone can afford the price tag of a niche perfume, and even some of the comments I’ve received from readers of my site […]

designer imposters 590 300x199 If you like..., youll tolerate...because its cheaper.

Not everyone can afford the price tag of a niche perfume, and even some of the comments I’ve received from readers of my site have suggested “I love the reviews, but I wish I could afford…” or “a little too rich for my budget”, or even “I’d like to find cheaper fragrance alternatives”. It’s an argument that makes sense, especially since fragrance consumers and fragrance products come in a variety of qualities and price-ranges.

So I was prompted by a few such exchanges to ask the open question of others. Some readers may recognize the title of this article as a paraphrasing — sarcastically rephrased — of the tagline for “Designer Impostor” or “Designer Impression” fragrances: Fragrances that are marketed as an ‘impression’ of a name-brand scent. Often enough, the cheap impostors are simply cheap and a poor replica of the original. In asking the question, I was simply seeking decent alternatives to costlier selections.  A variety of people participated, and the variety of options provided some great insights worth sharing. With that in mind, I’ve shared some cheaper fragrance alternatives in this article.

In keeping with the title of the article, the options are presented in the same order: The costlier option first, and the cheaper fragrance alternative afterward. It compares the niche or designer fragrance, compared with the niche or mass-market fragrance.

Now please keep in mind that there will be differences in the overall quality, strength, ingredients, and that impressions are always somewhat subjective. In many cases, the comparison will be a perfume or EDP to an EDT or Cologne. A natural ingredient might be compared to a synthetic. Generally, you get what you pay for, although there are bargains to be found in all fragrance segments.

I’ve mentioned the comparison between Bleecker Street and Purple Label in previous postings. Dior Leather Oud is a less expensive (and largely different take) on Montale Aoud Cuir d’Arabie — similar ingredient profile, but a much different outcome in the scent (Dior Leather Oud is much softer and more unisex; the Montale is far more masculine and bolder).

And while none of these are comparisons of a drugstore scent to a designer knock-off, all provide a better quality alternative to a much higher priced alternative, albeit with some trade-offs. None are considered as “cheap” although they are less expensive and worth trying or possibly a blind-buy depending on your appetite for adventure.

If you look at the links to the right of this article, you’ll see a variety of sites where all of the cheaper fragrance alternatives can be purchased, along with many of the originals and certain niche perfumes.  Feel free to click-and-buy at significant discounts and find a new fragrance today without breaking the budget!

Next installment: A designer-label blind-buy that’s well-worth the price and often overlooked.


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  • clockmilk

    Parfum d’Empire’s Wazamba is almost identical to Serge Lutens’ Fille en Aiguilles, for a good chunk of change less. Still not cheap, but very reasonably priced for the quality.