Monday, 3 June 2013

Elizabeth Arden Sunflowers Eau de Toilette (review)

Summer is well and truly here now in the United Kingdom and this means it's time for the heavier, stronger scents I love for most of the year to be put to the back of my fragrance wardrobe (perhaps only to come out at night) and the lighter, fresher scents to have their heyday.
Elizabeth Arden Sunflowers Eau de Toilette

One perfume I've loved since I was little I never knew the name of until quite recently. It was my mother who was wearing it, I remember it was a gift from my father on a trip to Portugal – I must have been about ten – it was called Sunflowers. Long after the holiday had ended the tall, slim bottle stood proud on her dressing table as a reminder of summer sun, seaside adventures and family get-togethers. This intimate connection has stayed with me ever since, so when I came across a bottle for sale – quite by accident – I snapped it up, wondering why on earth I hadn't bought it sooner!

My bottle of Sunflowers doesn't look quite so imposing; it's only 30 ml, whereas my Mum's must've been 100 ml. And the bottle isn't as pretty as I remember. Now I think the white plastic lid looks cheap and the clear glass bottle uninspired, saved only by the bright orange liquid contained within. It could well have had cost-cutting measures applied in recent times. But nevertheless, I smile when I look at it, which is evidence of the power of memories! The outer box is better, but it's hardly expensive looking. Which shouldn't come as a great surprise, it's much cheaper to buy these days.  Unfortunately, the white-on-yellow writing is hard to read unless you have good vision.

Like many of my favourite scents, Sunflowers debuted in the 1990s – 1993 to be precise – and was created by David Apel, he of Tom Ford Black Orchid Voile de Fleur fame. Elizabeth Arden describes Sunflowers as 'A celebration of life: bright, uplifting, invigorating in spirit and mood' which is exactly how I feel when I wear it. I don't know how much of that is down to the scent and how much is my memories; probably a bit of both. The perfume contains real sunflower extract, but the actual fragrance notes are as follows:

 Bergamot, Melon, Peach, Osmanthus
 Jasmine, Cyclamen
 Sandalwood, Moss

I'm not normally a fan of fruity perfumes, but I think this is nicely balanced. There's definitely a watery fruit top, but it's given some life with a hit of floral and tempered with the bergamot citrus note, which stays throughout the development of the scent. You quickly come to the middle notes which feature one of my all-time favourite ingredients: jasmine. This lasts for quite some time and blends effortlessly into the rich base which is heavier than you might expect for such a summery perfume, but it isn't at all cloying; it's well done.

Quite frankly anyone could wear this at pretty much any time, the only caveat being it's definitely a warm weather scent. Such a bright, warm scent doesn't fit well with dark, wintry days to my mind, but whatever works for you! I wouldn't say there's a typical age range for Sunflowers, either, it's pretty versatile.

I'm only knocking half a star off because this really needs to be packaged better. I'm not talking about a full redesign, the basic design is too classic for that but the quality is pretty disappointing, especially the lid which is particularly cheap feeling. The great-value price justifies this somewhat, but I'd pay more for a bit of extra quality. At least the scent is long-lasting, so you're getting your money's worth in that respect.

Sunflowers is certainly a fragrance I could recommend willingly to anyone. You have to at least try it before you dismiss the scent as being either 'old-fashioned' (I don't think it is), or 'too strong' (it's light and fresh once it's settled down). Twenty years down the line it's still selling well, which speaks volumes about it's appeal. I just wish I'd bought it sooner!

Very warm, comforting and bright
Bottle looks and feels cheap
Evocative of summer

Surprisingly affordable these days


Brand: Elizabeth Arden

Size: 30 ml
Price: £17.00 (£56.67/100 ml)

Size: 50 ml
Price: £22.00 (£44.00/100 ml)

Size: 100 ml
Price: £36.00 (£36.00/100 ml)

Manufactured: France

Ingredients: Alcohol Denat., Water (Aqua), Parfum (Fragrance), Helianthus Annuus Sunflower Extract, Propylene Glycol, Amyl Cinnamal, Benzyl Alcohol, Benzyl Benzoate, Benzyl Salicylate, Butylphenyl Methylpropional, Cinnamyl Alcohol, Citral, Citronellol, Eugenol, Farnesol, Geraniol, Hydroxycitronellal, Hydroxyisohexyl 3-Cyclohexene Carboxyaldehyde, Limonene, Linalool, Butyl Methoxydibenzoylmethane, Blue 1 (CI 42090), Orange 4 (CI 15510), Yellow 6 (CI 15985)

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