I adour the note of cherry in fragrance. I don’t mean cherry the blossom; I mean cherry the fruit. I think there are some people who are always going to find cherry in perfumery to be reminiscent of cough syrup. If you’re one of those people, not everything in this post is likely for you. For cherry smell lovers, though, read on. Let’s dive right in to all that jammy juiciness with a few fragrances with which I happen to currently have on hand.
Lost Cherry by Tom Ford
Let’s start with the overpriced and obvious cherry, at least since it was first released in 2018, and that would be Tom Ford’s Lost Cherry. Mr. Ford has a dirty mind and is not afraid to sell his perfume through highly provocative advertising (Google it!), and that extends to the naming of his more recent additions to his line, like Rose Prick, for example.
The note of cherry in this perfume is front and center, and it’s a good cherry. I don’t think it’s very natural, but in defense of all cherry perfumes, my feeling is that cherry is likely a very hard note to get right in both flavourings and fragrances. It’s often too sweet, too medicinal, and/or too fake. Lost cherry doesn’t quite escape any of these three excesses, but that doesn’t mean that it’s crap. On the contrary, this cherry is amazing. It’s not the dark, fresh, and fleshy variety, but rather the light red candied type that you find canned with syrup and use to place atop cupcakes and such. The cherries that smell better than they taste. And this perfume, too, smells better than those cherries. There are other notes in here, too, of course:
- sour cherry, bitter almond liquor
- plum, Turkish rose, jasmine sambac,
- tonka bean, vanilla, Peru balsam, benzoin, cinnamon, sandalwood, cedar, cloves, vetiver, patchouli
All that sounds complex, but I have to say, the cherry steps all over the other notes, pushing them to minor supporting roles at the back of the stage and even off stage. It truly is delicious, and if you are a huge fan of both cherry and perfume, I think you’ll want this, but I don’t think many of you will be happy about the price. The perfumer, by the way, is one Louise Turner, and because I only have a wee vile of the stuff, I cannot speak to its performance. But as a Tom Ford fragrance, I very much doubt it’s terrible.
Rouge Smoking by BDK Parfums
An amazing fragrance also recently released in the same year as Lost Cherry is from a newer fragrance house called BDK Parfums. Rouge Smoking, by Amelie Bourgeois, is also expensive, but after sampling it I had to sniff more, so I got a larger size. I love this perfume, and I must say that I am really impressed with this whole brand, and I hope to share some others from this house at a later time. The notes in this amber fragrance:
- cherry, pink pepper, bergamot
- black vanilla husk, heliotrope, orange blossom
- tonka bean, cashmere wood, white musk, ambroxan, labdanum, violet
No wonder I like it. Unlike some of the other fragrances on my list, although the cherry in this fragrance is indeed front and center, there is much more to it. It is so well blended that the whole fragrance is like a perfect accord. It’s challenging to pick out the components, but they are there. The cherry melts into a peppered rose quickly at the start and keeping it sweet is the undercurrent of mostly vanilla and some tonka bean. It’s not listed, but I do get a feel of tobacco in here, and maybe that is why it’s called Rouge Smoking. God, it’s so enchanting! This was love at first sniff for me, and I do want a full-size bottle. Of all the cherry fragrances I’ve tried, this is the most unique.
The cherry in this fragrance is not cherry lollies, not medicinal, not canned, and syrupy – it is much more sophisticated and sensual and sultry. I think the rose does this. Strangely, I get sarsaparilla in this, too – it’s a good job I love root beer. Or maybe it’s cream soda? There is some sort of effervescence here.
BDK’s narrative for this scent is a woman putting on her makeup to get ready for a performance she’ll be in. And of course, there is a well-dressed man in the picture. But to be honest, that story is too cliché for me. Yes, it’s sultry and sophisticated. But it’s also got a slight edge. Although I do think it’s versatile, to me this is night-time perfect, more in the spring or fall – depending on where you live. I imagine a speakeasy type of bar with fine liquor, jazz, hidden glances, longing, imagined lust, but no loose tongues, cheap clothing, or overt passes. On me this does not project massively and lasts for about six hours. It leans sweet, but we all love candy – men can pull this off, too. You’ll get complements.
Una Tira I Altra by Hilda Soliani
This is an amber fruity fragrance released in 2014 and it’s a solid contender in the cherry fruit category. But you have to be someone who also likes the smell of cherry lozenges to enjoy this. The cherry in here is dense and sweet and tart – the Maraschino variety? There’s a slight medicinal quality to it – cough syrupy. This means some people are not going to like it, even if they love cherries. But to me, there are also facets of it that are natural, and I don’t exactly dislike cherry cough syrup anyway. There’s a slightly fermented, boozy vibe to it, like wine.
There’s also some delicious marzipan in here that wafts out, too A lot of the time I get more almond than cherry. But I’m not complaining. I couldn’t readily find the note breakdown for this one, but I’m guessing it’s not likely complex. It is basically syrupy synthetic cherries with almond paste, probably with something like a tonka beans or woods to ground it. But really, at the end of the day, it’s a soliflore, or solifruit, I should say.
Of course, I cannot say anything about performance with this one either because I only have a sample size, but others have written that the cherry note lasts longer than that of Mr. Ford, so that is good to hear. Hilda Soliani’s packaging is something I find generally underwhelming considering her pricing. She is a small company and harder to find, so if you’re looking for an easy-to-find mainstream cherry fragrance, you might want to try Guerlain’s Petit Robe Noire, my next cherry frag.
La Petite Robe Noire by Guerlain
When I first sniffed La Petite Robe Noire when it was first released in 2012, I admit cherry was not the first note that came to mind for me. Once I read the list of notes, though, I did quickly identify it. The fragrance was created by Thierry Wasser and includes the following notes:
- sour cherry, almond, red berries, bergamot
- licorice, rose, tea, Taif rose
- vanilla, tonka bean, anise, patchouli, iris
That is an impressive list. The idea behind the fragrance is that if you don’t know what to wear, you can put on your “little black dress” and you’ll be fine. Well, that’s practical, I guess. But that means that the fragrance will be nothing more than that if it matches the idea. And to me, it does.
And I have to be honest: I own several skirts, but I do not own nor have I ever owned a dress of any sort. They just don’t work for me, and neither does this perfume. I don’t hate or even dislike it. It’s simply uninspiring to me. I find that surprising because the notes, especially the cherry, almond, and the licorice, are indeed appealing. I think quite simply it’s a little too sweet, too powdery, too juvenile. I am not impressed with its performance, and the cherry and licorice I so wanted to love don’t sing in it. It’s not quite a gourmand and not quite a floral, either. It’s confused. It is tasty though – juicy and crisp as well as sweet, and I’m sure it’s popular with a younger, cute, carefree, and flirty crowd, especially considering the marketing.
The animated advertising campaign with a skinny black silhouette of a fun-loving young lady prancing about town wearing a petite robe noire is not exactly feminist but impressive. So it’s not surprising that the fragrance was a hit and that now there are multiple flankers. Sadly, rather than a chic, lady-like young woman out on the town in a little black dress and a Chanel purse, I get a teenager wearing cropped denim shorts on a skateboard carrying a canvas backpack filled with cherry lolly pops and twizzlers. Not that this is a bad thing; it’s just not for me. Mind, neither is the LBD. People have compared this to Lolita Lampicka. The only commonality to me is the licorice, which Lolita has more of. Lolita is better.
La Petite Robe Noire Black Perfecto by Guerlain
Lord knows I am not a fan of flankerization, especially when it results in a completely different fragrance, which is what I think this is – La Petite Robe Noire Black Perfecto, which came out in 2017. I do love the black bottle on this one. It’s a drier cherry with leather and bitter almond. Now, interestingly, others have said this fragrance performs well, but on me once again I must admit it’s rather sub-par. It only lasts a few hours on me. I do enjoy the smell of juice inside, though. It’s more mature, not as sweet, and less mainstream than the original. It does leave a sticky residue on the skin, though.
This fragrance lives up to its theme of being a darker, edgier version of the original. It’s the LBD worn with an old leather biker jacker. All black. I like it. The perfumer is the same and there are similarities in the notes, only simpler. It contains:
- sour cherry, almond, black tea
- licorice, rose
- leather, tonka bean, patchouli, black musk
The cherry is less prominent here, and the addition of leather is something I welcome, as is the perceptible bitter almond. The beauty of this fragrance is in its lovely dry down. It’s leather soaked with musky black tea, liquored cherries, and sweetened licorice root. Too bad it lives so close to the skin.
Sweet by Lolita Lempicka
And now I do actually turn to Lolita Lempicka, but not to the original. Instead, I have here not a licorice but a cherry fragrance from the brand, created by Anne Flipo in 2014. Interestingly, although this is insanely sweet (I’m talking pure sugar here) I enjoy this more that La Petite Robe Noire, and I think that is probably because there are no flowers in it. However, this is a scent I would never wear out in public; I just wear it at home for my own sniffing pleasure. It’s far too sweet, like that cotton candy scent – Pink Candy by Acquolina.
The notes are cherry lip gloss, sugar, angelica, cocoa, iris, musk, and cashmere. In a nutshell, it’s the hard candy version of cherries dipped in cocoa powder with extra sugar. Your cheeks will clinch from all the surreal candied gummy bear sweetness. It’s synthetic, girly, sickly sweet – but all in a good way, with a makeup vibe from the iris (hence the lip gloss note). Great if you’re on a diet and the smell alone can satisfy you. But in my case, this just makes my mouth water. It’s sweet. It IS Sweet. There are two flankers of this one, if you can believe it – So Sweet and Sweet Kiss. And I very much enjoy the rich, gem-like bottle which sparkles on my bookcase.
Cherry Punk by Room 1015
Room 1015 is a newer music-inspired house that I’m excited about, and I do have samples of all their fragrances to date which I hope to share with you in a later video. I love cherry, so it’s not surprising that Cherry Punk is my favourite in the line so far. I’m also a lady of the 80s, so the pictures used in the marketing do resonate, for better or worse. To me, the cherry in this fragrance is darker and drier, and the whole fragrance is a more leathery, more provocative version of Lost Cherry. Perhaps pour a little Tuscan Leather into your Lost Cherry and see what happens.
Although I cannot speak to its performance, what I get out of it from my wee sample is excellent – raw, rough, sexy, and smoldering AF, unisex, and rather unique. The perfumer is Jérôme Epinette and the notes are:
- cherry, saffron, Sichuan pepper
- violet, jasmine absolute, mimosa
- patchouli, tonka bean, black leather
I love the earthy light patchouli at the base of this, as well as the tinge of saffron. You need to put on a studded leather jacket and some attitude when you put on this fragrance if you want the full effect. Sadly, I don’t own a leather jacket, but I fully support leather in fragrance. If you’re not a fan of leather, however, especially a damp leather like this – I would stay stick to your Tom Ford apple pie.
Cherry in the Air by Escada
Up next is an affordable, light floral, cherry-fruit scent by Escada. I’ve owned a couple of Escada scents in the past which I’ve enjoyed but was not blown away by. Likewise, Cherry in the Air is not earth-shattering, but it’s pleasant enough, and I do wear it. Since 1993, Escada has launched a summer fragrance every year, and this was one of them. And yes, it is warm-weather appropriate. It’s light and slightly sweet and fresh; not sticky and dense – a safe summer choice. Of course, due to its light nature, it doesn’t exactly have stellar performance. This fragrance was launched in 2013 and contains these notes:
- sour cherry, raspberry, Mandarin orange and daim
- marshmallow, vanilla, orchid, gardenia
- sandalwood, musk, white suede, oak
I got it on the cheap because it didn’t come with a cap – not a big deal to me because I’m more about what’s inside. Sadly, this might be discontinued…
Delices by Cartier
And speaking of discontinued, I am ending my list with a no-longer-available scent from Cartier. This is Delices, a fruity floral launched in 2008, with notes of cherry, pink pepper, bergamot, violet, jasmine, freesia,tonka bean, amber, sandalwood, and musk. Now I got this as a blind buy, second-hand, and to be honest, well no – I know for sure: it’s gone off. And if it hasn’t in fact, then it sucks, because I get mostly a musty smell. But you know, even if I get past that, I smell synthetic, medicinal amber and cherry meshed with violet scented cleaning product. I guess it’s a good job you cannot get it anymore. Too bad, as the notes sounded promising and not dissimilar to others on my list!
- cherry, pink pepper, bergamot
- violet, jasmine, freesia
- tonka bean, amber, sandalwood, musk
After reading this, I think you might be able to guess my top picks. In order, these are Rouge Smoking, Cherry Punk, and Lost Cherry. Cherry Punk would be the first full bottle I’d buy due to its price point.
Of course, there are many other cherry fruit fragrances I’d love to sniff out. Some that sound scrumptious include Montale’s Intense Cherry (if it’s Montale, the performance is probably amazing), Dark Cherry & Amber by Banana Republic (a very decent price point), and Come il Sole by Bois 1920 (like Goutal’s old Myrrhe Ardente but with Cherry I have read). What about you? Do you agree with my top picks? What are your favourite cherry scents?