Cheap Thrills: 8 Best Budget Fragrance Buys

Best Budget Fragrance Buys - Giorgio Beverly Hills EDP

So you’ve spent more than you should have at Christmas. Or you are scaling back on your expenses and something has to give. But dealing with these financial realities doesn’t mean you have to compromise on smelling good. With this selection of best budget buys fragrances, for example, it’s possible to spend way less than you would normally do and still stand out for your fragrance finesse.

“With this list of best budget buys fragrances, it’s possible to spend way less than you would normally do and still stand out for your fragrance finesse.”

Of course, you can also keep your eyes on bargain bins, where sometimes incredible deals are to be had. And don’t forget sales where 20-50% discounts are not uncommon.

NO 4711 Original EDC

This bargain fragrance is apparently still made according to a secret recipe from the late 18th century (yes, it’s been around that long). While 4711 Original Eau de Cologne lacks staying power, it more than compensates with its uplifting mix of lemon, bergamot and orange oil. More than a fragrance, it’s a superb pick-me-up tonic. R235 for 90ml and R575 for 200ml.

Best Budget Fragrance Buys - No 4711 Eau de Cologne

The Body Shop Activist EDt

This one has been around for over 23 years – and for good reason. A light oriental with a clean, fresh vibe, it features standout notes of green grass, citruses, amber, spices and woody notes. It doesn’t have the most impressive staying power and projection, but at the price, a couple of re-sprays is not a problem at all. While you’re in The Body Shop mode, look out for White Musk. It’s a highly rate Body Shop classic that features notes of lavender, jasmine, geranium, sandalwood, vetiver, tonka bean and, course, musk. R320 for 100ml.

Best Budget Fragrance Buys - The Body Shop Activist EDT

Giorgio Beverly Hills edt (ML Quince, Francis Camail, Harrry Cuttle)

I’ve never been shopping on Hollywood’s Rodeo Drive in a Rolls-Royce with the top down, but this classic from the 80s would be the perfect choice for it. It’s such a happy, carefree, almost hedonistic scent. This floral features standout heart notes such as tuberose, gardenia, orchid and ylang-ylang. After all that spending, champagne is so necessary. R599 for 90ml.

Best Budget Fragrance Buys - Giorgio Beverly Hills EDP

RODEO DRIVE, HERE WE COME: Giorgio Beverly Hills EDT is one of the best budget fragrance buys from the 80s.

Rogue Love by Rihanna EDP

Rihanna has amassed quite a respectable fragrance portfolio and word is that she’s more involved in the creation of her scents than the average celeb. Her fragrances, while not in any way revolutionary, certainly deserve consideration if you’re on the hunt for budget fragrance buys. Rogue Love is a very appealing scent with fruity, floral, musky overtones. It features big hits of plum, suede, patchouli and vanilla notes. Like most celebrity fragrances, it’s sweet, but it’s handled smoothly and sophisticatedly in this EDP. R620 for 125ml.

Best Budget Fragrance Buys - Rogue by Rihanna EDP

Zara Tobacco Collection Rich Warm Addictive EDT

A seemingly simple composition of tobacco, coconut, sandalwood, honey and cedar notes, it yields so much more than its structure suggests. It’s on the sweeter side of things, but who cares when this EDT is so smooth and creamy. Zara has numerous examples of cool cheapies like it, so it would be time well spent to visit your local store or the website for more options.

Best Budget Fragrance Buys - Zara Tobacco Collection Rich Warm Addictive EDT

Elizabeth Taylor Love & White Diamonds edt (Carlos Benaïm)

I recently reviewed Elizabeth Taylor White Diamonds as a classic powerhouse (read here). A flanker, Love & White Diamonds is inspired by the actor’s passion for flowers and diamonds. It features a citrus twist on the original, with opening notes of petitgrain, orange blossom and neroli. The heart is all floral and features notes of gardenia, Turkish rose, jasmine sambac and tuberose. Although not as complex as the original, it earns its spot on this best budget fragrance buys list for its charm and longevity. R750 for 100ml.

Best Budget Fragrance Buys - Elizabeth Taylor Love & White Diamonds EDP

Jeanne Arthes Cobra Man EDT

There’s more complexity to this woody-aromatic fragrance than its price tag suggests. It opens with notes of citrus, orange blossom and rosemary. The heart is quite unusual and features notes of ginger and angelica among the more familiar cinnamon and lavender. The base is warm and cosy, with notes of sandalwood, tonka bean and vanilla bringing smoothness. Jean Arthes is a French fragrance company that’s based in Grasse, the heartland of French perfumery. Another option from the brand well worth sniffing out is the leather-licious Colonial Club Legend EDT. R209 for 100ml.

Best Budget Fragrance Buys - Jeanne Arthes Cobra For Men EDT

Elizabeth Arden Red Door EDt (Carlos Benaïm)

Originally launched in 1989 (and now with five flankers), Elizabeth Arden Red Door EDT is still one of the company’s best-sellers. Sweet and complex at the same time, it features over 20 listed notes. The sweetness comes through from the beginning, courtesy of peach and plum notes. But it’s really the honey and abundance of floral notes (carnation, tuberose, orchid, violet, rose, freesia, lily, jasmine, ylang-ylang and heliotrope) that makes this EDP such a sweet and agreeable bouquet, depending on your preferences. R750 for 100ml.

Best Budget Fragrance Buys - Elizabeth Arden Red Door EDP



THE BUMPER CATCH-UP REVIEWS EDITION: Elizabeth Arden Green Tea Fig EDT, Issey Miyake L’Eau Super Majeure D’Issey EDT Intense, Cacharel Yes I Am EDP, Yardley English Blazer Azure EDP, Jimmy Choo Fever EDP, Dunhill Desire Blue Ocean EDT, Elizabeth Arden Sunflowers Summer Air EDT, Jimmy Choo Man Blue EDT

Elizabeth Arden Green Tea Fig EDT Review

Fragrance Fatigue (noun): The exhaustion experienced by perfume-loving bloggers when confronted by the sheer volume of annual launches. 

I read somewhere recently that almost 2 500 fragrances are launched every year. That’s a lot of fragrances for even the most dedicated of perfume-loving bloggers to get (and smell) through. An impossible task, in fact. The number alone is enough to give me Fragrance Fatigue. So where am I going with this? I recently experienced an impending sense of MFF (Major Fragrance Fatigue) when I realised I had an awful lot of fragrance reviews to catch up on. The second half of the year sees new launches flooding the market, even though we only get a very edited selection in South Africa of what’s launched internationally.

So this post is a bumper catch-up edition, which fortunately saw me overcome my initial fear of Fragrance Fatigue. If I can say so myself, there’s an eclectic mix here.Jimmy Choo Man Blue EDT Review

Elizabeth Arden Green Tea Fig EDT (Rodrigo Flores-Roux)

If the superb Diptyque Philosykos is way out of your price range, Elizabeth Arden Green Tea Fig EDT is a very worthwhile substitute. Yes, it’s that good. The 19th addition to the Green Tea range celebrates (this is such a happy fragrance, after all) the pleasures of the fig tree. “I imagined nibbling on juicy, nectar-filled figs while savouring a warm, fragrant cup of tea… all of it happening under the enveloping branches of a fig tree!” says perfumer Rodrigo Flores-Roux of his inspiration. It opens with an unmistakable and captivating note of fig leaves. This is not a “pure” fig scent, so there’s also Italian bergamot, cedrat, clementine and ivy leaves in the mix. The fig theme is carried through to the heart, with kadota fig mingling with green tea accord, violet leaf and pistachio tree resin. A truly delicious cure for Fragrance Fatigue! R445 for 100ml.

Elizabeth Arden Green Tea Fig EDT Review

Issey Miyake L’Eau Super Majeure D’Issey EDT Intense (Aurélien Guichard and Fabrice Pellegrin)

When I reviewed Issey Miyake L’Eau Super Majeure D’Issey EDT last year, I described it as a sombre fragrance – in a good way. The latest version has more of a herbal opening, with notes of rosemary and clary sage, but it’s still firmly in moody territory. The heart sticks to the marine script, with lashings of sea and sea salt notes. There’s also a strong smoky and woody vibe to this EDT. It’s not radically different from the original, but is well worth sniffing out if you’re in the market for a distinctive maritime scent. R1 040 for 50ml and R1 290 for 100ml.

Issey Miyake L’Eau Super Majeure D’Issey EDT Intense

Cacharel Yes I Am EDP (Honorine Blanc and Christophe Reynaud)

Any discussion of this fragrance is going to start with its love-it-or-hate-it packaging. Object of desire or tacky sex toy? While the scent itself is not as divisive, its “spicy cremoso” will largely influence whether this fragrance with gourmand, floral and fruity characteristics is the one for you. Cacharel defines this innovation as “an eau de parfum based for the first time on the spicy creamy contrast of cream of cardamom”. The fragrance is mostly sweet, but not yuckily so, and more sophisticated than its youthful marketing suggests. R675 for 30ml, R990 for 50ml and R1 100 for 75ml.

Cacharel Yes I Am EDP Review

Yardley English Blazer Azure EDP

Who would have thought that a Yardley English Blazer fragrance could be so intriguing and darn frustrating to place? Listed notes include fresh ginger, nutmeg, amber, cashmeran, vetiver and musk. But there’s something else going on in this powerhouse EDP that I can’t figure out at all. I’m still not sure if this is a good or bad thing. Best you try it yourself and please let me know if you experience the same issue. R379.95 for 100ml.

Yardley English Blazer Azure EDP Review

Jimmy Choo Fever EDP (Nathalie Lorson and Honorine Blanc)

Gourmand meets floral in Jimmy Choo Fever, as in Night Fever. Jimmy Choo fragrances for women have always been on the sweet side of the scent spectrum and this one is no exception. It features a full-on gourmand gathering, courtesy of black plum nectar, lychee, roasted tonka bean, vanilla, hazelnut and coffee notes. Heliotrope, jasmine and vanilla orchid bring in the floral aspect, while notes of creamy sandalwood and benzoin up the sugar content. It’s a loud scent, guaranteed to last from dusk to dawn, and provides a whole new take on the subject of fragrance fatigue. R1 310 for 100ml.

Jimmy Choo Fever EDP Review

FISHING FOR COMPLIMENTS: Those scary creatures in the water are some mighty large koi. I shot this pic at a good friend’s home and wish to assure you that no animals were harmed in its production.

Dunhill Desire Blue Ocean EDT (Philippe Romano)

The Dunhill Desire range was launched in the year 2 000. Dunhill Desire Blue Ocean EDT (not to be confused with Dunhill Desire Blue EDT, although this flanker builds on it) is the seventh addition to the line. No prizes for guessing what it’s about. It has a fresh and invigorating citrus and mint opening that quickly segues into a salty interpretation of its maritime theme, with base notes of patchouli, vetiver and tonka bean rounding it off. It’s an outdoorsy scent that’s refreshingly un-sweet. R1 245 for 100ml.

Dunhill Desire Blue Ocean EDT Review

Elizabeth Arden Sunflowers Summer Air EDT (Caroline Sabas)

The official inspiration for a fragrance can often make for hilarious and misleading reading. But in the case of Elizabeth Arden Sunflowers Summer Air EDT, the reality perfectly reflects the inspiration of a summer breeze, complete with wafting notes of lemon, apple, vert de mandarin, rose, osmanthus, jasmine, cedarwood, musks and amber. This is fresh, green, uplifting stuff which, like its namesake, comes and goes, so it requires regular re-applications. At this bargain price, I ain’t complaining. Super! R445 for 100ml.

Elizabeth Arden Sunflowers Summer Air EDT Review

Jimmy Choo Man Blue EDT (Nathalie Lorson)

Following on from the successes of Jimmy Choo Man EDT, Jimmy Choo Man Intense EDT and Jimmy Choo Man Ice EDT, there’s Jimmy Choo Man Blue. This woody-aromatic-leathery EDT opens with a big hit of clary sage essence (I also pick up the bergamot and black pepper notes). The heart goes a little deeper with leather and cypress, while the base features sandalwood, vanilla and um, apparently, vetiver. (What’s it about these listed vetiver notes that are so difficult to smell?) Ostensibly aimed at rebelliously cool 20-somethings, its appeal should extend beyond that demographic due its versatility, wearability and easy-going elegance. R1 110 for 100ml.

Jimmy Choo Man Blue EDT Review



Female Floral Fragrances For Big Boys: From Fresh To Full On

Floral Fragrances Mood Pic

About six months ago I posted about why men should wear female fragrances, in particular floral fragrances. You can read that post here: After all, why miss out on so many more options by limiting oneself to so-called masculine fragrances?

“Why miss out on so many more options by limiting oneself to so-called masculine fragrances?”

Since then I’ve been sniffing out some new floral fragrances. While officially female floral fragrances, brave boys should consider giving these a go, too. I have already shared my thoughts on this year’s mega-launch, the much-debated Gabrielle Chanel EDP ( In brief, although it’s not particularly ground-breaking, it’s a good option if you are looking for a well-executed and elegant white floral.

Floral Fragrances - Gabrielle Chanel EDP

Here are my thoughts on some of this year’s other floral fragrances, which range from the fresh to the full on.


The big designer fragrance brands are all hustling for the millennial moolah, with varying degrees of success and desperation. Stella McCartney Pop Bluebell is one of the better young’uns on the market. It features notes of bellflower (using biomimicry, as the bluebell is an endangered species), tuberose, violet, frangipani, tomato leaf, green mandarin and sandalwood. It’s more grown-up than its intended target market suggests. Stella McCartney Pop Bluebell EDP, R815 for 30ml, R1 105 for 50ml and R1 475 for 100ml

Floral Fragrances - Stella McCartney Pop Bluebell EDP


Elizabeth Arden has a reputation for producing worthwhile budget fragrances and Green Tea Mimosa is another goodie. Green tea and citrus notes open this EDT, with mimosa then coming to the fore. There are also splashes of osmanthus, orris root, heliotrope and ambrette seed here. It nails summer freshness oh so well. And because it’s not over-powering, it’s the perfect intro to floral fragrances if you’re still not quite ready to go the full-on florals route. Elizabeth Arden Green Tea Mimosa EDT, R425 for 100ml.

Elizabeth Arden Green Tea Mimosa EDT


Phew! Never mind full on – this is a super-intense white floral fragrance. It’s a collaboration between master perfumer Alberto Morillas and Gucci creative director Alessandro Michele. This EDP features natural tuberose absolute, natural jasmine absolute, jasmine bud extract and Rangoon creeper (apparently the first time it has been used in a fragrance). Gucci Bloom is like being in a hothouse – wonderfully intoxicating or get-me-out-of-here suffocating, depending on your mood. Gucci Bloom EDP, R975 for 30ml, R1 335 for 50ml and R1 710 for 75ml.

Floral Fragrances - Gucci Bloom EDP


There’s no floral fireworks to be found in Yardley Bond St No 8. What you will find, though, is a slightly sweetish take on the genre, featuring notes of neroli, orange flower, white rose petals and musk. It fades quite quickly. But for the price, it’s a good enough cheapie. Yardley Bond St No 8 EDP, R399.95 for 50ml.



The latest addition to the Zadig & Voltaire fragrance range features patchouli, vanilla, white jasmine absolute, tuberose absolute and woody notes. It’s a smooth, soft and creamy floriental, without the in-your-face associations of the genre. It comes in a striking sculptural bottle, designed to fit its male counterpart. I will review Zadig & Voltaire Just Rock! For Him in an upcoming post. Zadig & Voltaire Just Rock! For Her EDP, R785 for 30ml, R1 100 for 50ml and R1 460 for 100ml.

Floral Fragrances - Zadig & Voltaire Just Rock! For Her EDP