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.
- Davidoff Cool Water is similar to Antonio Puig Aqua Quorum
- Dior Pure Poison is similar to Jesus Del Pozo In White
- Bond No 9 Andy Warhol Success is a Job In New York is similar to Trussardi Python
- L’Artisan Parfumeur Havana Vanille is similar to Aquolina Chocolovers
- Profumum Roma Acqua e Zucchero is similar to Aquolina Pink Sugar
- Profumum Roma Soavissima is similar to Lorenzo Villoresi Teint de Neige
- L’Artisan Parfumeur L’Ete en Douce is similar to Bath and Body Works Sea Island Cotton
- Tom Ford Black Orchid is similar to Bath and Body Works Black Amethyst
- Narciso Rodriguez For Her is similar to Sarah Jessica Parker Lovely
- Keiko Mecheri Damascena is similar to YSL Parisienne
- Viktor and Rolf Flowerbomb is similar to Bijan B Exquisite for Women
- Burberry Women is similar to Jessica Simpson Fancy Love
- Serge Lutens Sa Majeste la Rose is similar to Perfumer’s Workshop Tea Rose
- Chloe Eau de Parfum is similar to Sarantis C-Thru Crystaline
- Serge Lutens Chergui is similar to Barbara Bui Le Parfum
- Oscar de la Renta Oscar is similar to Gloria Vanderbilt Vanderbilt
- Dior Addict is similar to XOXO Heartbeat
- Paco Rabanne Lady Million is similar to Dana Ambush Original
- Versace Bright Crystal is similar to Maria Sharapova Maria Sharapova
- Bond No. 9 Bleecker Street is similar to Ralph Lauren Purple Label for Men
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.