Beyoncé Heat (2010) {Perfume Review} {Celebrity Fragrance}


O-letter-TSS-B.jpgOne question that people keep asking themselves when they think about buying a celebrity fragrance is how authentic is the affiliation of the celeb to the scent? Did the persons really put anything of themselves in it besides their names? Beyoncé preempted any doubts by saying,

"Everything, from the bottle design to the name and the ideas for the commercials -- that's me. When I commit to something, I do it 100 percent, and I've never had [creative control over a fragrance] until this project. I learned a lot of great things from the past -- but I always asked myself, 'If I could have my own scent, what would it be?' I wasn't worried about deadlines. It could have taken me three, four, however many years -- this was my first fragrance, and I wanted to make sure that it was something I would love forever." [WWD]

After discovering several celebrity fragrances that attempted to answer this nosy-parker question in a similar way and with their own means, I can say that I am pretty sure Heat reflects Beyoncé's preferences....



Why? Because Heat, like a few other celebrity fragrances, is what I would call a Celebrity-Fragrance-Wardrobe composition. It draws inspiration from perfumes beloved by the celebrity, collapsing them together and bringing to the world a newborn scent with an old soul or several old souls; you know how some babies seem to have the souls of centuries-old wise men or women? This is it. The Celebrity-Fragrance-Wardrobe is new but it's old at the same time, although in the case of Beyoncé, it seems her taste goes in the direction of fairly recent launches.

Notes: red vanilla orchid, magnolia, neroli and blush peach/honeysuckle nectar, almond macaroon and crème de musk/giant sequoia milkwood, tonka bean and amber.

Heat opens on a sparkling and shiny fruity-aldehydic impression followed by tart berries and creamy woods. The fruits in this concoction are downright sticky-sweet, but in a good way. It must be at the minimum coming from the "honeysuckle nectar" and the "macaroon" notes. It does not really feel gourmand. The magnolia, as usual, brings sophistication and softness to the mix.

To give you an idea of the initial fruity accord, which is striking, I would say that it seems to have been drawn out with a Stabilo fluorescent marker, so glaring it is. The fruits here make me think of artificial-smelling hip, geeky candies at first; it smells of a vision of yellow banana candy filled with raspberry and litchi jam. It is jammy, like in jars of salty plum jam heating in the sun ready to be tasted by dancing bees.


The fragrance is sweet but never unpleasantly cloying thanks to tart nuances, and something else. The rich syrupy jus is counterbalanced by this indispensable pinch of decay which makes your life feel more layered and deep: there are cheese-smelling indoles, in a good way again; magine a cup of fresh cottage cheese with moist and deeply crystallized fruits atop, and a dash of earthy patchouli.

My advice to you: if you want to wear real three-dimensional perfume, you'll just have to accept the dark side of the human psyche as well as animals' and people's strange attraction towards the scent of alluring decay emanating from flowers. On the other hand, you could always wear home fragrance to clear the air.

At this point, one can recognizes a giant quote from Black Orchid by Tom Ford with its wafts of slightly putrid-smelling flower ensconced deep in the jungle, waiting for its prey. Whatever they called the "black truffle" note back then is here too. A second ancestor of Heat which is also apparent, but more from the start, is Flowerbomb by Viktor & Rolf. The candied top notes and the berry fruit facet are really a recall of that scent.

Heat-fragrance-launch-4-B.jpgAs I said above, there is a trend in Celebrity-fragrance-making which is that often the new scent representing the public personality adapts and brings together a few of the perfumes that the celeb likes to wear. In other words, you, as a fan or not a fan, are invited to share their tastes in scent and help yourself to their fragrance wardrobes. How more authentic could it get? Well, it could be a little more recherché, like the autobiographical and surrealist encounter of marine air, Moroccan incense and marshmallow as in M by Mariah Carey. What the fragrance-wardrobe concept brings is a minimal insurance that the perfume will be worn by the celebrity as it has to agree with her or his taste for her or him to wear it effortlessly. This strengthens the identification process between the fans and the celebs as the first can imagine that they are wearing the perfume simultaneously with their idol while the celeb is always thrilled to smell her or his signature perfume on other people. Beyoncé said she intended to be able to wear the perfume "forever." Coty, Inc. said that Heat was destined to be "a classic." The genealogical approach of course reinforces this claim as familiar successful scents are usually "celeb aromas" in and of themselves.
Personally, I am still waiting for the celeb scent with a headspace capture of the aroma of the celebrity's belly-button (there was a project "recording" the scents of beautiful women and Thierry Mugler did a headspace capture of the scent of the belly-button of a virgin, facts.) Furthermore, now that we know that you can create fragrance thanks to sensors which capture your state of mind, I think fragrance developers ought to do a graph of a celeb's emotions over several months and come up with a perfume composed around a chart.

beyonce-grammy-2010-2-B.jpgHalle by Halle Berry was inspired by the actress's habit of layering Mimosa pour Moi and Premier Figuier by L'Artisan Parfumeur; Outspoken by Fergie is a melting-pot of Amarige by Givenchy, Comptoir Sud Pacifique Vanilla Apricot and Poison by Dior; Kim Kardashian was inspired by Michael by Michael Kors; and now Heat is a combination of Black Orchid by Tom Ford and Flowerbomb by Viktor & Rolf. It must not be technically that easy to have a wardrobe fit inside a single composition.

heat-beyonce-launch-6-B.jpgAfter reaching its mid-point, Heat cruises for a long while on the same linear impression of fruits and indoles and jungle fever. It's like a more berry-rich version of Black Orchid. The cheesy, dark nuances are really present veering more in the direction however of cream and caramel after a while. At this point, it makes me think of Hilary Duff With Love with its milky mangosteen/pineapple accord. It even smells a bit of durian candy here, just to let you know that there is a sulphuric nuance to the scent, which does not belie the name of the perfume.

If you are not afraid of smelling a bit ripe and fruity-carnal, this is a one to consider. Obviously, it is also a more affordable version of Black Orchid.

In spite of the borrowings I mentioned, Heat is well-blended on its own and smells really good, offering a sillage with an updated, young chypré impression, but also a powdery, oriental impression of vanilla on the skin. The longer drydown turns Heat into a powdery ambery retro boudoir-like scent with an atmosphere of intimacy about it. One quality it has is that it is both pleasant to smell on skin and pleasant to smell as a waft, with some differing nuances. Sometimes perfumes force you to make a choice, but this is not the case.

Pictures: ©Kambouris/©Mazur

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6 Comments | Leave a comment

  1. Earlier in her career, Beyonce said her favorite fragrance was Quelques Fleurs which she used to buy at the Houston branch of Neiman Marcus. :-)


    • Aw, thanks for the info! Well, that might explain the aldehydic facet which appears in the beginning, this impression of neon and fluorescence. But, I would have to smell Quelques Fleurs in the new version again as I own a vintage version but not the new one.

      I saw that Dita Von Teese also claimed it as an ex-favorite. Last but not least, we know that Gabrielle Chanel got inspiration from it for the No.5 :)

      Chant Wagner
  2. I like Heat. Im not in luv w/ it, but I like it. I dont think it has much personality and its way too artifical smelling. And I was not expecting all that sweet red berries in the top. Now I LOVE Black Orchid!! Adore it actually!! Its so rich and full of class. I'm dying for a new Tom Ford. : )


    • Heat, I think, has this quality of being easy to apply and of creating the desire in you to look forward to wearing it. Perhaps not in a passionate way, but at the same time, if you're a perfume wearer as opposed to a perfumista then, I think, you can feel quite content with it, in the best sense of the term. It's not exceptional but it smells really good.

      Chant Wagner
  3. I really like the fragrance beyonce heat it smells good but it has one flaw it stained my light pink shirt i still like the fragrance but i can only wear it when i have on dark colors because i am scared that it would stain my clothes again

    • Ah, thanks. I had not noticed that. Perfume makers are conscious of this type of problem and try of course avoiding this kind of flaw, but it can happen. Although there is a white-shirt test that is conducted in principle before a perfume has permission to launch.

      Chant Wagner

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