Budget Monday: Soft Surroundings Aya Blu (and the powerhouse scent it evokes)

Aya BluA month or two ago, our dear March introduced us to L, a scent from the Soft Surroundings catalog/Web site. I grinned in delight; great minds 🙂 must think alike because I was at the very same time toying with one of the brand’s other fragrances, Aya Blu, but wanted to wait until cooler, fall weather to test it.

In L, March found a lovely, wearable (for her) echo of Shalimar, and since we are of similar minds on that Guerlain great (it really doesn’t like me), her review had me champing at the bit to try the L.

With Aya Blu, I got what struck me as a kind of Tom Ford Black Orchid lite.

Aya Blu notes per their Web site: Persian lime, early purple orchid, Italian white truffle, wild ginger, Madagascar vanilla, Indian sandalwood, amber, musk.

Tom Ford Black Orchid notes per Fragrantica: Jasmine, black truffle, ylang-ylang, black currant, citrus. black orchid, patchouli , sandalwood, dark chocolate, incense, amber, vetiver, vanilla and balsam.

As you can see, some of the notes overlap the Tom Ford, particularly the orchid, truffle and vanilla.

Both have the distinct truffle/orchid impression going on and also a smackerel of chocolate, but where the Tom Ford is richer, denser, more complicated, the Aya Blu is softer, airier, containing a spark of something bright, almost mentholated (perhaps the lime and/or ginger) that keeps it skirting the edge of TF’s sultry boudoir. Also, the Aya Blu lasts considerably less time. Of course, that’s due, at least in part, to the Aya Blu that I tried being an EDT and via a rollerball. I wasn’t able to test the scent in the EDP spray so can’t speak to its intensity in that form.

Much as I love Black Orchid, once in a while, if the conditions are right (or wrong, as the case may be), the TF can have me teetering on the edge of a headache. I found no such tendency in the Aya Blu, even after several touch-ups.

So for those of you who like the idea of Black Orchid but it’s just too much, or want something in a similar vein but for daytime, Aya Blu might be the ticket. A swipe or two of the cute little rollerball and you’d be good to go.

BTW, just for comparison’s sake, higher up my arm I did try Black Orchid Voile de Fleur, wondering if it might be another link between the Aya and the TFBO, but nope. The floral-centric flanker was still clearly distinctive, despite its obvious relation to its big sister. One day I might just have to try layering the Voile with the Aya Blu, just to see what results.

Aya Blu is available at the Soft Surroundings Web site and at their freestanding stores around the country. The 0.16-ounce EDT rollerball goes for $18.95; the 1.7-ounce EDP spray for $74.95.

So what about you? Do you have a scent that echoes a big perfume gun but is easier to wear? Or what budget-friendly babies are you enjoying now?

  • thecindyb says:

    I recently blind bought (I know, I know *slaps wrist* – but it was so reasonable and the bottle so pretty…sigh) a bottle of anna sui la nuit de boheme black EDP and am pleasantly surprised. From Fragrantica:La Nuit de Bohème Eau de Parfum is an oriental-floral composition, announced a deep, mysterious and attractive. It begins with notes of Calabrian bergamot, mandarin, blackberry and forbidden apple. The heart flourishes with black rose, orange blossom, night blooming jasmine, magnolia and plum. The base includes patchouli, sandalwood, amber and musk.

    On me it is a really nice berry, ambery floral mix – which is terrible! terrible! news as it goes into the successful blind buy column in my brain.

    • Ann says:

      Hi, Cindy! So glad you came back to see us. And congrats on your blind buy — very glad you love it! I enjoy magnolia and jasmine and am intrigued by the “forbidden apple.” 🙂 I love to see a diverse range of notes in a scent. Enjoy!!

  • eldarwen22 says:

    As much as I love L’heure Bleue, I find it to be too much most of the of the time. L’heure de Nuit is great but too expensive so that leaves the original Lolita Lempicka. That’s probably the most similar and least expensive option. I don’t have a whole lot of inexpensive in my collection.

    • Hey there Eldarwen22 (and Ann),
      I was thinking about Lolita Lempicka too. Like an affordable cross between L’heure Bleue and Angel but without the challenge of either. I love it, and the only slightly different Au Masculin.
      Also Old Spice is a dead ringer for vintage Opium after about 10 minutes but without all the theatrics at open.
      Portia xx

  • Mals86 says:

    I don’t like Black Orchid much – that dirt/cocoa thing just killllls me – so I doubt I’m a customer for this one. But then I do love BO Voile de Fleur, which I agree is different enough from the original that it’s only tangentially related.

    • Ann says:

      Howdy, Mals — nice to see you! I hear you on the dirt/cocoa mix; sometimes I think an overload of that is what pulls me into the outskirts of headache city. I remember you liking the Voile so much, and I do, too, just tend to forget about it. Happily, it’s now out in the rotation where I can enjoy it more this fall. Thanks!

      • Mals86 says:

        You know, I don’t really like Shalimar all that much, either – but I wear Shalimar Light a LOT. Or vintage Emeraude, which is so similar to SL.

        • Ann says:

          Hi! I think i could wear a Shalimar flanker, not sure if it was the Light or not, and also the more recent Mexique one, I think. But I definitely remember loving vintage Emeraude. If I’m recalling correctly, it was much, much nicer on me than Shalimar