The Body Shop Love Etc. (2009): Milky Fruity-Floral with a Mint or Fir Twist {Perfume Review}


What the US website of The Body Shop says,

"If you love being enveloped in a captivating fragrance which inspires you, you will love this fragrance with its sensuous union of iconic feminine jasmine, with indulgent notes of vanilla, sandalwood and musk cream. Especially created by The Body Shop with one of the world's finest "noses", Dominique Ropion, even the name chosen signifies love in all its forms. You don't have to change the world wearing this fragrance, but you will love that this is the first Eau de Parfum to feature an alcohol perfume base created from an ingredient which is fairly-traded and organic."

The initial impression offered by Love Etc. by The Body Shop, their latest perfume launch, is that it is powdery and fruity-succulent (pear, fruity jasmine) with more than a hint of mint. Mint is not listed in the notes, but lily of the valley is, which presents in its natural state an icy-cold facet. Perhaps mint was used to convey this impression as the scent of lilies of the valley has to be recreated by perfumery means rather than extracted from nature. Then the underlying vanilla bed expands its presence. And always, there is this Alpine freshness appearing like an evergreen tree atop a slope covered with white powdery snow.

This cold, minty streak provides lightness and airiness to the mix and makes the perfume feel more cloud-like, like an upper layer that would have mushroomed above the warm vanilla oriental base and would be attached to it by a slim thread rather than squarely resting on it.

It also helps disguise a bit some more pedestrian musky amber in the bottom of the composition....

I am reminded after a while of the more disincarnated treatment of the (apparently wildly popular) milky fruity-floral accord as found in Circus Fantasy by Britney Spears. Milk + fruits + florals scream young women nowadays, but recently there have been attempts to make the accord feel less childish.

In Love Etc. there seems to be also a wish to provide a twist to the lactic fruity-floral notes by making them be less literal as well but also in a sense quirky by adding an unexpected note of spearmint.

Perfumer Dominique Ropion who composed and signed this fragrance is not one to shy away from slightly off-beat notes. In Le Parfum by Lalique (2005) he ostensibly added more than a touch of bay leaf, an herb we are more used to seeing in Provençal bouquets to be left to simmer in homey stews. It smelled great. With Love Etc. the mint note from the same quirky kitchen-pantry repertoire prevents the perfume from being completely trite. It probably helped Ropion not fall asleep on the job and experiment a little.

In the end, it feels perhaps that Love Etc. is the result of an approach attempting more than anything else to limit damages than an inspired research on cute-and-cheap. It is part of reality to have to play with industrial constraints for perfumers so we can appreciate the fact that Dominique Ropion put an idea and a particle of his personality in this scent instead of xeroxyng a standard formula. Love Etc. also owes to his work on Wanted by Helena Rubinstein, which is a more sophisticated and more palpably sexy rendition of the milky fruity-floral bouquet in its rummy egg nogg version (cf. Princess by Vera Wang), in a rather good way.

Reading the consumers' reviews on the UK website to understand better what makes the perfume tick to a different person than I am, I see that it seems to be praised for 1) being a step-up on a simple white musk perfume, 2) being light, 3) being girly, 4) being flirty, 5) being inexpensive. I can't disagree, but my advice to you is to try also Helena Rubinstein Wanted, Britney Spears Circus Fantasy and Vera Wang Princess to see if they might not work out for you better as they are bit more qualitative. I agree though that the price can't be beaten. And then if you like mint, it's only here.

Notes: pear, neroli, bergamot/ jasmine, heliotrope, lily of the valley/ vanilla, sandalwood, creamy musk.


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2 Comments | Leave a comment

  1. I've never commented here, but here I go!:

    I am so glad to read your review. I randomly stopped in The Body Shop yesterday to purchase my favorite red lippie and paused to smell the perfume on display. I was definitely not impressed, but I also thought there was mint in there, which made me pause and smell again. Can you think of a good use of mint in perfumery? I think I'm curious about the note now. Something akin to light, summery mint tea would be lovely.

    • I personally really like the mint julep accord in Caron Aimez-Moi and the North-African mint tea accord in Comme des Garçons Nomad Tea (discontinued now for the latter). There is L'Artisan Thé pour Un Eté which is jasmine tea with some mint. Mandragore by Annick Goutal has mint and anise notes. I reviewed Jo Malone White Jasmine and Mint and Jean Charles Brosseau Violette-Menthe.

      More recently I thought that True Blue Morocco Moroccan Tea and Cucumber Shower Gel (available at Bath & Body Works) had a surprisingly pleasant, subtle mint smell.

      Heeley Menthe Fraîche and Guerlain Herba Fresca are also references for mint perfumes.

      There are also stronger mint notes as in Géranium pour Monsieur, but we are definitely getting away from mint tea.

      Otherwise, drawing a distinction between mint and "minty" (up to a point), you could find perfumes that offer this touch by using other ingredients than mint, such as fir, eucalyptus, anise...

      Chant Wagner

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