Marni by Marni: Fragrance Review

OMG!    (gasps of joy!!!) She’s BAAAAAACK!!!!   YAY!!! So I am  backing out of the blog for today, bowing and scraping, so you all can enjoy the Fabulous What Is March!  I’ll be back next week, talking about a bunch of random fun.  In the meantime, let’s all siddown and have a chat with….



Hey there – I’m not dead!  I told my fellow Posse bloggers I’d write about perfume again when I ran across something I wanted to write about.   Today’s the day.  I’ve been wearing familiar-to-me staples like Bottega Veneta, which I blogged about eons ago, and I finally coughed up for a gift set because the body cream is gorgeous, and I’m not usually a body cream fan.  Believe it or not, BV’s whisper of leather is wonderful in the heat without overwhelming, and it stays close to my skin.

MarniNot that I haven’t been sampling – I have, when I spy an unfamiliar bottle.  And I continue to be underwhelmed by much/most of the commonly available new department store fragrances and flankers – here’s looking at you, Chanel Coco Noir, which could be an upscale version of the gazillion hairspray frags lurking out there.  The nicest thing about it is the bottle, and without that reference I couldn’t pick it out of a lineup.


I was on the way out the door of Nordstrom recently (their summer sale’s on) and spotted Marni, which I think came out this past spring.  I hadn’t read anything about it, and I don’t know the designer’s clothes, but the polka-dot bottle was fun while still being sophisticated, which isn’t an easy mark to hit.


The first cautious sniff of the cap wasn’t great.  There’s something sharp and green and off about it, although …. huh.  Something intriguing as well.  It didn’t smell like twenty other things, or anything else I could think of, really.  So I took the plunge and applied some.


God, I want a bottle.  Can I digress?  (Sure, just try to stop me.)  This summer I’m wearing tons of jewel tones that look great with my silver hair and pale skin — everything from fuchsia to lipstick red to royal blue, purple and teal — which I’ve eschewed in the recent past as not serious enough.  They make me happy.


Marni is the perfect fragrance complement to those colors.  It’s zany and fun and yet a bit sly.  It’s a clever fragrance and, again, how many times do you find that in a mainstream release?  I did google Marni clothes when I got home, and I’d say they got the fragrance spot on for their line.


So.  Bit of acrid green/bug spray at the top, which lasts, oh, three seconds.  Ignore it, because it begins an immediate shift into a fabbo combination of woody incense (incense!) with a soft underpinning of rose (dark and sultry, not tea rose), spices and the barest hint of powder.  It dries down to a surprisingly summery oriental, with prominent incense and spices; it manages to retain a unique character, like eating Necco wafers while wearing Coco.  If it were any odder it’d be an indie frag instead of charming and quirky. 

Have I mentioned I want a bottle, and not just for the contents?  The bottle itself is a stylish half-sphere that hints at the fun just around the corner.  I can honestly say I don’t have a single fragrance that smells like this, and I wish I did.


Notes for Marni according to Now Smell This are: bergamot, cinnamon, clove, nutmeg, ginger, cardamom, pink pepper, rose, incense, vetiver, cedar and patchouli.  Both NST and Suzanna at Bois de Jasmin gave it thumbs up, and I’m laughing (I swear I wrote this without reading first) that we all like it for kinda the same reasons.


Special note: other reviews mention lightness/lasting power as problematic – i.e., more of a skin scent.  I found that applying it generously from the tester bottle in the store produced a much bigger result than my small atomizer sample for review (which was made from that same bottle).  I do think this one needs generous application; I’m enjoying it hours later.  As Suzanna at BdJ notes, “I want other people to smell a haze of Marni around me and follow me down the street asking, demanding to know, what this marvelous fragrance is.”

  • baxterbd says:

    No sadly, they did not have the doll…I would love to have that too!
    But… I have a drugstore near me that sells Neccos, and I went and bought some and had a great time eating my Neccos while wearing Marni!

  • MaureenC says:

    If the woman whose reviews have introduced me to many of my favourite perfumes likes something I have to track it down! And if you have Irish colouring (even if you’re not Irish) teal most definitely looks both elegant and serious. Well it does this side of the Atlantic!

    • March says:

      I surely have that Irish coloring, although I wish I weren’t quite so pink-toned. So, yeah, teal is fabbo. I have a particular cardi that is silk (so, soft sheen) and kind of a dark teal/peacock. When it wears out I will be devastated, I have never seen that precise shade again. I know Marni is available across the pond — maybe Selfridges?

  • maggiecat says:

    March is back! Yay! And you’ve almost convinced me to give Marni another try. I sampled it briefly in Nordstroms (also there for the sale) and thought…um…no. But maybe I just didn’t get beyond the first bit.

    • March says:

      Definitely if you’re like me you need to get beyond the first bit. And I think it’s lovely on my sweater the next day.

  • egabbert says:

    Ooh, it’s March!!

    I have worn Marni exactly once, from a tester at Sak’s in Boston when I was there for work, and I liked it VERY much (beary much?), BUT it definitely reminds me of something, and until I figure out what that is, I’m not letting myself buy it, because I think it might have a lot of overlap with something I already own…..

    Hope to see you around these parts again soon!

  • Nemo says:

    Your review has made me really want to try Marni. From your description of the woody rose/incense-y loveliness of it, I was reminded of 10 Corso Como. Do you think they have any similarities? (I can also tell from your review that they certainly would have differences, as well). I mostly ask because I LOVE 10 Corso Como 🙂 Thanks for the great review!

    • March says:

      I lurve 10CC too… as I said upstairs to Maren, the problem I faced is any fragrance I could think of that sorta had the same notes is so much heavier, or different. This is a lot more airy/summery than 10CC, which to my nose smells both more “niche” and potpourri (in a good way). The drydown roses are faintly vintage YSL Paris (only different) and I didn’t put that in my review because I didn’t want to scare everyone away! I mean, I don’t even like roses, particularly, and I love this. Not sure if this helps at all.

  • Maren says:

    OMG!! I have been toying for the last week recently about heading over to Nordstrom’s to give this a whiff because I’ve been thinking I wanted a light rose with woods that I could wear in summer, and from what I’ve been reading this seemed like it might fit, and I luuuuurvvv the bottle. Heck I might just run right over there right now and buy the bottle, cause you totally snagged me with the “eating Neccos while wearing Coco” reference. Thanks for the fun review, you are such an enabler! ????????????

    • Maren says:

      Oops the ??? We’re meant to !!!!. Anyway, lemming alert.

      • March says:

        I tried not to compare it to anything in particular fragrance-wise, because it’s so much lighter in terms of feel than, say, Coco But I swear if you like the Coco/Necco idea, give it a sniff!

        • Maren says:

          Well, March, I just bought it. And you are spot on, it is kind of like a Coco “light” with a Necco twist, I swear I will now always think of that, but that definitely is not a bad thing! It is a quite warm breezy day, and I keep getting nice little drifts of light spiciness. I really smell the cinnamon when I first spray it, and then it all calms down into loveliness.

          • March says:

            Oh, so glad you like it! If/when I create a lemming and folks buy and hate it, I feel bad 🙂 Although I’ve gotten some backup bottles of scent that way! If you come back … did you see the wee doll on the display? It comes with one of the small bottles at Saks, I believe. Someone asked whether they were at Nordstrom.

  • Lynne Marie says:

    Welcome back! Now I’m scrambling for my sample of Marni ’cause I think I was put off by that initial green blast and now I know to wait around for better things to come. Thank you for that. How many fragrances do we disregard based on very initial impressions when the real “meat” of the fragrance is something much more appealing. Thanks for the reminder!

    • March says:

      Definitely try to get past that opening, which no other reviews complained about that I saw, but I don’t like it … Marni is wafting from my morning bathrobe (sprayed some on my neck yesterday) and it’s lovely to wake up to.

  • Lavanya says:

    So lovely to ‘see’ you here again, March! And you’ve created a lemming..I’m going to have to drag myself to the mall to sniff this.

    • March says:

      There must be something wrong with me, I think the mall’s fun! (Except at holiday shopping time, when I avoid the crowds.) And it’s lovely to be here, thanks.

  • Brooke says:

    I just had to jump in and tell you how delighted I am to read a post from you! Made my day.

  • leathermountain says:

    You make a strong case for this! I shall smell it at the next opportunity. And hold that darling bottle in my own two hands.

  • ElizabethC says:

    I love wearing bright cheerful colors (I call them my superhero colors – reds,oranges,yellows and blues). Sometimes you just want to have clothing that makes you smile. My last purchase was a bright blue Cambridge Satchel. Now I want a coat in the same color 🙂 Definitely will have to try the Marni to go along with it.

    • March says:

      I love the sound of your satchel! I don’t know why I dropped the fun colors… I did treat myself to an orange bag I’d been eyeballing at Nordstrom, waiting for it to go on sale, which is why I was there and tried Marni.

    • Musette says:

      You got the Cambridge? In bright blue? Oh……..yesssss!

  • Samantha L. says:

    It’s so good to read you again! I’m not a rose fan, but this one sounds interesting enough to try…because incense.

    • March says:

      If you like incense, you should definitely give this a go. Do you like Lubin Idole? I’m not a huge fan of teh rose either but I survived …. actually, it’s interesting enough that there’s incense in here, but putting rose in an offbeat fragrance is a cool idea.

  • Tiara says:

    Just yesterday (really!) I commented I missed your posts and today here you are! Nice to have you back if even for just a day.

    I’ll have to try the spray until wet tactic with Marni. I’ve been wearing it for a few months from some manufacturer’s samples and while the longevity hasn’t been great, I do love it. Full bottle coming up for the birthday!

    • Tiara says:

      And now I’m wondering if Musette is happy you are back or that she doesn’t have to write a post for today?!

      • March says:

        LOL, she is THRILLED. She called me to say so. Now she can tie up her chickens and feed her tomato plants and not have to worry about posting.

        Spray until wet sounds about right. Two – three sprays from the standard bottle at Nordstrom covers a lot more real estate than my little sample atomizer.

  • eldarwen22 says:

    Looks like I am going to have to find a reason to brave the mall. It’s rare that a good smelling perfume is packaged in a good looking bottle to match.

  • karin says:

    HI MARCH!!!!!!!!!! So great to hear from you. 🙂

  • Portia says:

    Hey March,
    I have been reading about Marni and have a sample somewhere that never got spritzed. I will look it up this week. Thanks for the reminder.
    Portia xx

    • March says:

      Hey there! Hope you are well. I’m thinking somehow it’s not zaftig enough for you, but I could be wrong!

  • Beth says:

    March, so happy to see you back! And with a lovely review. I am very interested in Marni, and I think I read another review on Bois de Jasmin that loved it as well, so you’re in great company. The Necco wafers comparison cracked me up.

    I had been looking at picking up a sample of Bottega Veneta after reading some reviews on it so I am glad to hear you love that as well.

    • March says:

      Bottega Veneta was a pleasant surprise, like Marni. I told myself I didn’t need it, which I don’t 🙂 but then I tried the body cream and that was that. The cream is cheaper and every bit as nice.

  • Dina C. says:

    March!! It’s so good to hear from you, Lady! 🙂 I’ve sniffed Marni over at Saks on a blotter card, but haven’t test-driven it yet on my skin. Since you mentioned the magic word: “green,” I’ll have to give it a go. I agree that the bottle is much nicer than what we usually see. Those Fifi award folks should give them the award for best design this year. I love cardamom, vetiver, and incense, and enjoy rose when it’s not the star of the show, so I’m hopeful that this might be a winner.

    I’m delighted to hear that you’re rocking the jewel tones. I wear those same colors: magenta, fire-engine red, cobalt blue, violet and teal all the time, year-round, along with my neutrals. Have you tried Bobbi Brown’s Creamy Lip Color lipstick shade Blue Raspberry? It’s a great MLBB tone that might work on you, since it works on me. You’ve given me great lipstick tips in the past, and I thought I could return the favor.

    I remember Necco wafers, too. But while they aren’t a big nostalgia trip for me, they really are for my mom. I’ve bought them for her more than once when I wanted to get her a little treat.

    I was fascinated to hear that you are wearing Bottega Veneta in this heat. Just this morning as I surveyed my bottles, my glance fell on my bottle of BV and I thought, “Well, that one is out. It’s way too heavy for this heat.” Mr. C got me the bottle for Valentine’s Day, and it was perfect for that cold February weather. I think I’m going to take your unspoken challenge and wear it tomorrow. 😀

    • March says:

      Sorry for the delay, and thanks for the welcome back. I agree about the bottle award unless something better comes along, which seems doubtful. I will have to try that lipstick. The name concerns me a bit — I have blue-ish lips and tend to wear warmer colors than you’d think in order to balance that out. Cool toned lippies can look all wrong. Have you tried BB Pink? Literally what it’s called. It’s a bright pink but not TOO bright.

      The BV totally works, I swear. It’s mid 90s today and it’s a faint leather and powder. If you are in looove with it investigate the body lotion (cream?) It’s very rich and layering them is terrific.

  • Ann says:

    Whoo-hoo and hooray, it’s our wonderful March! So happy to see you here, dear. Have thought of you often and missed you. I really like Marni as well. When I first put it on, the fragrance that came to mind, but very, very distantly, was Si Lolita Lempicka. But I like the Marni better, I think. Anyway, glad to hear some more Marni love and welcome back!

    • March says:

      Hey, and I was just thinking of you! Didn’t you post on Kai? I’ve been wearing Child, I got a small tub of the body butter at the LA event, along with a dab of the oil. Yeah, everyone rolls their eyes, but those scents are so pretty, particularly in the summer.

  • March says:

    According to the Necco website (how did we manage without google?) “The original eight flavors: orange, lemon, lime, clove, chocolate, cinnamon, licorice and wintergreen. The ingredients are simply sugar, corn syrup, gelatin, gum, colorings and flavoring.” How did I forget cinnamon, clove and licorice? But you can see that US kids used to modern candies would find the flavor assortment odd.

    • Musette says:

      we used to play “Holy Communion” with Necco wafers. And those…those other ones that actually melted like communion wafers……..what were those?


      • March says:

        Wait… there’s a candy that melted down like communion wafers? Also the earlier draft of this post contained a reference to taking communion with Neccos, which I didn’t even DO as a kid. Grew up in one of those sparse Lutheran churches (although the pancake suppers and potlucks were pheee-nomenal.) As long as you avoided the lutefisk. Which if I recall correctly is fish soaked in lye. ::shudder::

    • Mals86 says:

      I loved those clove ones!

  • Lynley says:

    Damn wrong button! Yes. Necco wafers. I’m not American, so never seen em, never tried em. But I want to!! 🙂 lol

    • March says:

      Heh, I just scrolled down and saw this. Necco is one of the candies of my youth, when they were everywhere… they come in odd flavors in the roll, like chocolate malt, wintergreen, spelt, fairy dust, kale… okay, not really (except for the first two) but they’re not overly sweet and the candies, which are maybe the size of a nickel, have this weird love-it-or-hate-it powdery texture and surface. I love them, but I’d guess most kids these days would find them baffling, if not outright gross. Okay, I’m off to google the actual Necco flavors.

    • March says:

      Oops, I added the Necco flavors in a comment but failed to reply here.

  • Lynley says:

    March! I’d just been wondering where you’d gone to recently and hoping you’d reappear- and ta-daa! 🙂
    I bought the shower gel and lotion online cheaply, and am wearing them today actually. Itll probably be a year before Marni hits our shores, if ever, so it’s on my buy a decant list. I love their clothes (and the body products) so I’m looking forward to seeing how the Real Thing smells 🙂
    And necco

    • March says:

      It’s great to be here! Sorry, I can’t see your teeny flag… it’s available in the UK, I do know that. And based on my BV experience, lotion can be a great alternative. They’re selling tons of the minis on US eBay, if that helps your lemming, somebody must ship internationally. NECCO. I fed them to my two older daughters years ago and they were all, UGH WHAT IS THAT. But I love them — the smell, the texture, the taste…

      • Martha says:

        I have to jump in on the NECCO discussion. This was the treat I would receive IF I’d behaved myself at the grocery store when my mother went shopping. My favorite flavors were the chocolate and the licorice. Such a weird little candy now that I think about it. Not much glitz, just sugar, color, and flavoring.

        • March says:

          And what’s not to love about their simplicity, right? I used to get them as treats if I behaved too! It is a bit odd to see them and Pixi Stix etc in the “old timey” section of World Market 🙂

    • Maggie says:

      Lynley, SkincareDirect ( has Marni in their women’s fragrance section if you’re looking for a bottle locally.

  • Martha says:

    Was the doll available? Or on display? Glad to hear it’s at Nordstrom’s because I could make a trip there one of these days soon. Looking forward to sampling this.

    • March says:

      I didn’t see the doll on display (didn’t know there was one until I got home and googled it), but I was in a hurry and the display was huge! Also a shout-out to Nordstrom — I got a sample because they literally had a tub of empty mini atomizers right there on the display! The SA did look a bit startled when I dug one out and started making my own sample, LOL.

  • I purchased the big bottle from Saks when it was their exclusive and got the tiny .25 mL as a bonus. The tiny bottle is adorable. I love the scent. Although it does require a healthy dose to have good sillage and longevity, it is so worth it when someone tells me how great I smell. It also holds up very well in the heat and humidity.

    • March says:

      They’re selling those bonus bottles on eBay, which works for me. The sillage isn’t phenomenal, but skin scents are nice too!

  • ojaddicte says:

    Dear Ms. March,

    I am so happy that you are enjoying this scent as much as I do. I picked up the purse spray with the creepy doll when it first came out, and am going to have to get a big girl bottle soon to replace it. I particularly like catching a whiff of it on a sweater or scarf that I’ve worn. G’night!

    • March says:

      I’m smelling it on my birthday bathrobe/kimono as I type this, and yeah! More rose, but not too much for this rose-phobe. I’ve already stalked it online… I think maybe I’ll pick up one of those adorable minis that look like the big bottle? On the other hand, the doll’s a riot, I don’t *need* it, but what difference does that make?!