Did you know that J. Lo perfume is the most frequently searched perfume term on the internet? Yup, shocked me too. So given that popularity and our normal propensity for reviewing high end, niche, obscure scents, we’d like from time to time to look at more accessible perfumes and ones that are clearly making a killing in the perfume market. Someone is buying them, so let’s find out why.
We have some generalizations about the JLo oeuvre, having sniffed seven in a short period of time. First, there´s a unified feel to these that indicates JLo´s involvement in these on some level. Not that she designed them, but they seem united even beyond what you´d expect as a branding effort. Lopez allegedly runs all aspects of her life like a pretty tight ship – congrats to her on the twins – and these reflect that. Whether you like them or not, they tell a coherent story.
JLo loooooves her some fresh accord. How you build a fresh accord in terms of the aromachemistry is beyond our knoweldge, and it´s hard to describe, but you know it when you smell it – it´s sort of that “clean laundry” or “fresh from the shower” smell, only more gaseous and a little plastic. If Lopez´ fragrances are a tad less sweet overall than you might guess if you´d never smelled them, I´d really, really like to take the vat of Clean away from
her perfumers — all perfumers. (March: There are things I hate more in perfumery, but “fresh” smells weirdly stale to me, sort of the antithesis of what it´s meant to evoke. “Fresh” is like too much room spray, when what you really want is to open a window.) (Patty: I think of this “fresh” thing as TampaxFreshAccord. Artificially bright, trying to cover up with too much freshness things that do exist in nature, except, well, this smell.)
Beyond the “fresh” accord, there´s a curious, synthetic sameness to her scents. Using the word “synthetic” doesn’t really work because most of what we´re smelling in perfume is synthetic anyway, chemically. But a JLo fragrance´s relationship to fruit and florals is like the smell of Hawaiian Tropic tanning lotion – or Hawaiian Punch. You can see, if you squint, the original starting point in nature, but what you are smelling doesn´t bear any relation to a real fruit or flower.
March: If I had a complaint about the JLos as a group, it´s their lasting power. In general, I am not one to complain about how long fragrances stick around, because mostly they stick to me like glue. Deseo had the best lasting power, but really, what I was left with was an ambery musk for most of the afternoon. Live goes on quite strong and spicy, but after two hours I could barely smell it. Glow and Still were entirely undetectable after two hours (I asked my kids.) Some of you might consider this a blessing, but I was disappointed. If there´s one thing I admire about Jennifer, it´s her tenacity.
Patty: My main criticism about the J.Los is their sameness. After a few sniffs, cohesive as it might be, they aren’t very memorable or differentiated in the marketplace, except for the celebrity whose name they bear.
Still – “In the eye of the storm I am still.” Sake note, white pepper, mandarin, Earl Grey, freesia, honeysuckle, orange blossom, rose, wild jasmine, sandalwood, musks, amber, orris.
Patty: This one worked for me, at least I’m voting it as most likely for me to wear. I did get more tea out of it and less fresh or floral. Not sure why, but the TFA (tampax fresh accord) disappeared, and the tea stuck around, though the whole concoction didn’t seem to want to stick as long as I would have liked.
March: This was supposed to be her original “mature” scent, by which I assume she means women over the age of 21. The notes don´t sound bad, and the opening is sweeter than I expected (that´s a lot of floral for a Jlo), although the drydown is satisfyingly tart. If I got more Earl Gray I´d be happy, sort of. But the fresh note in this just kills me. (Diva says: it smells like powder. It doesn´t smell like anything important.)
Glow – “fresh and clean, like you just came out of the shower.” Orange blossom, pink grapefruit, rose, sandalwood, soft amber, jasmine, vanilla, musk, orris.
March: The bottle´s sexy, but I´d describe this as the Office JLo – the one least likely to offend anyone in the Cube Farm. A very clean musk with muted florals. Oddly, for the “fresh” one, I get less of that Glade Ozone smell. I´d wear this. (Diva says: I like this one, I´d wear it.)
Patty: I despised this one. I got more of the TFA in this, like a boatload, and it really grated on my last nerve after about 20 minutes, though I can see how it would work on a younger person who has more nerves to grate on and less frayage caused by age. And that super-fresh feeling lasted for hours.
Glow After Dark – her nightclub scent, “out with your friends, celebrating and enjoying the nightlife”. Passionfruit, lychee ice, pink peony, orange flower, blond woods, pink musk.
March: You know this is her nightclub scent because along with the blended fruit it has the singular, tangy smell of fresh vomit – like someone threw up a Mai Tai. Ugh. (Diva says: too fruity.)
Patty: Oh, Lord, just kill me now. I would have thought that I would like this one, but reminds me of too many long nights drinking cheap fruity cocktails and waking up to regret all the things you don’t remember doing.
Live, about “living for the moment, celebrating life through my very first love, which is dancing.” Sicilian lemon, orange, pineapple, redcurrant, spicy violet, peony, musk, vanilla, sandalwood.
Patty: Not that bad at all. It’s a little too much sweet on the open, but that blessedly blows off a little and gives a nice musky minimally sweet fruity smell. It’s still much too sweet for me even in the drydown, so I”m sticking with Still as my fave, but this comes in right behind it.
March: This goes on nicely musky, with a minimum of Glade, and a spicy accord (must be that spicy violet.) The only JLo that registered as spicy, and the musky, woody drydown is sexy. This is my favorite of the bunch. I won´t buy it, but if I owned it I´d probably wear it. (Diva says: that´s fun, I´d wear it.)
Live Luxe celebrates “Jennifer´s excitement for dance and her love of luxury.” Pear, peach, melon, citrus, apple, satiny muguet, amethyst freesia, honeysuckle, precious diamong musk, vanilla, sandalwood.
March: In this case, Luxe means “I can afford enough sugar to bury your entire family.” Too sweet. (Diva says: ewww, that´s really gross, like you threw up something sweet.) The vomit reference – a weird coincidence that in hindsight maybe isn´t a ringing endorsement of the line … I mean, how often do you compare a fragrance to vomit?
Patty: Fruity sweet TFA. Not sure how they screwed up a Live flanker this badly, but they threw out everything that was good about Live and threw in a gallon of Sucrose-fortified cotton candy. If you like Pink Sugar and that ilk, you’ll love this.
Deseo means “desire … wish .. dream. I want to inspire people to dream and want more.” Tropical plants accord, bergamot, orange blossom, geranium, mineral accord, amber.
Patty: Did not smell this one.
March: Deseo is the newest JLo and seems like a bit of a departure for her. The bottle´s more sophisticated and interesting – sort of a lumpy, assymetircal uncut gemstone. It opens on a huge fresh accord, what I am thinking is her idea of tropical plants. Once that goes away, I kind of like it. It´s got decent lasting power, and that musky, sexy, warm-skin drydown that´s like the part of Live I like best. (Diva says: that´s nasty, that´s worse than the throw-up one. It smells like our locker room.)
Miami Glow has apparently been discontinued, although it´s still all over the net. Notes are passion fruit, coconut, orange flower, sunbathed sand, amber, musk and vanilla.
March: I´m sorry it´s been discontinued, because I really liked it – it´s Jenny at the Beach, complete with tanning oil and big white sunglasses (must have been that sunbathed sand note.) It was a great virtual-reality beach fragrance.
Patty: I didn’t get to test this one this time around, but I know I smelled it when we were doing some blind things a year or so ago. I’d agree with March – from my memory, it’s pretty great. Why they would discontinue one of the best of the bunch is a mystery.
Love at First Glow — bergamot, Georgia peach, osmanthus, pink jasmine, wild rose, freesia, blond woods, musk, and vanilla absolute.
Patty: I really didn’t mind this. It’s not something I’d wear, but if someone sprayed it on me while I wasn’t looking, I wouldn’t be horrified or annoyed. A soft little scent, less of the TFA than most of these, only on the open and then disappears. Something a young girl could wear without smelling like a tarted-up child-floozy. It also faded on me pretty fast, so maybe that explains my lack of annoyance?
March: This is probably the most candy-fied of the bunch, and smells the most tweener. Having said that, I still find it less offensive than, say, Pink Sugar. It strikes me as something my 11-year-old would like. (Diva says: too sweet, too girly.) Okay, so 13-year-olds are too mature for this one?
In summary, only a couple of these are pretty atrocious, but even then, they likely appeal to people with different tastes than ours — we lean more towards the odd, ridiculous and skanky. A couple of them are pretty good and stand on their own merit as a lower-cost perfume that smells decent. But best selling? Sorry, I don’t understand that at all. There is nothing remarkable enough in any of these to be a standout. The one that might have been close, Miami Glow, is discontinued