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I was thrilled to take the opportunity to write an Anais Anais perfume review, not because I love it but because I love the idea of it. It’s made its way through a little over 40 years of history and people still enjoy it today. Indeed, it must be some kind of hidden gem no one talks about anymore, even though they’re wearing it.
Anais Anais perfume, which was the first Cacharel perfume ever released, has been around for a long time (since 1978), and I love the vintage bottle because it takes me back to my childhood. I don’t think my mom ever wore it, but the aesthetic matches many of the products I grew up around in the 80s. I wanted to love it for the nostalgia factor alone.
I’ve been perfume-obsessed since at least 1997, and I’ve reviewed fragrances for years. Still, I don’t think there’s ever been another scent to throw me for a loop like this one–especially not without sending me on a trip through time or conjuring up some strong emotions for me.
This one does nothing to my mind or mood, but I can’t stop sniffing it.
Bottom Line Up Front
I wanted to love it, but I didn’t.
I didn’t dislike it, either, though. I just expected it to wow me, and I was underwhelmed.
It’s pretty, and I love the bottle, but what’s inside the bottle is a light, inoffensive floral that smells pretty and just a little soapy but fails to inspire me. There’s no mental scene I flash to or mood I instantly feel when I spritz it on. I can’t pick out any individual notes.
It’s a shrug in a bottle, wearing a delicate pastel cardigan. Meh.
I’m hoping it’ll grow on me over time, though. I feel like that’s happening now. Every time I spray it on, I like it a little more. It gets just a little more intriguing. It’s almost as if it has layers, even though it feels pretty unchanging from when you spray it on until you wash it off.
About Anais Anais Perfume
I’ve been trying to dissect this perfume for days and figure out what I like and don’t like about it, whether I’d recommend it, and what I think of it.
The more I wear it, the more I love it. If I just do a tiny spritz, I like it less. If I go for it and spray as I mean it (full sprays, not the hesitant half-sprays I started with), I like it more.
What Does Anais Anais Perfume Smell Like?
A floral bouquet with some green notes and a little something that smells like a hint of pepper or spice (but it’s not a peppery or spicy perfume overall). Notes for the L’Original Eau de Toilette launched in 2014 (the one I have) include hyacinth, honeysuckle, lily, lily-of-the-valley, jasmine, ylang-ylang, rose, moss, vetiver, musk, sandalwood, and black currant.
Hyacinth is the most noticeable on my nose. It’s a blend of green, vegetal aquatic, sweet, spicy, and floral, which sums up the whole perfume to me. I pick up some lily and lily-of-the-valley, too, but that’s fleeting. I’m not detecting the jasmine, ylang-ylang, or black currant. Maybe I smell moss and vetiver?
I wasn’t familiar enough with hyacinth to know that was likely the source of the vegetal note that bugs me at times when I wear it. It gets less noticeable over time, so if you try it and hate that part, give it some time before you decide you don’t like Anais Anais at all.
This perfume is a little bit of everything–floral, clean, soft, comforting. I wouldn’t call it sexy or sensual, but I’m sure some people would classify it that way. There’s a tenderness about it I don’t find in many perfumes.
Who Is It For?
It’s for people who love clean florals without a lot of spice or sweetness. This isn’t a modern fragrance, but it’s not so far in the past that you’ll just smell powder, either.
It’s innocent but not childish. Pretty, but not a sparkling fruity, floral mix.
Where and When Should You Wear It?
This is an excellent everyday scent, even for people who work in an office, in a school, or even with patients. (Don’t quote me on the patient’s part, though; I know some places have strict rules about fragrances.)It’s a good weekend scent for daytime, but I would personally want to wear something much different for nights out (or even in), whether I’m aiming for a romantic, cuddly, sensual, or sexy vibe.
To me, Anais Anais perfume doesn’t fit into any of those categories. Possibly romantic or cuddly, but better options exist for that.
Pros and Cons of Anais Anais Perfume
This is the part of Anais Anais perfume review that’s a little hard to write. Every pro can be a con and vice-versa (except the budget-friendliness, which is always a pro). I’ve never had a perfume flip-flop in my mind so much. I usually love, like, or dislike (sometimes even despise) a fragrance, and my opinion doesn’t change much unless I just get tired of it.
I don’t even think this is that complex of a scent, but it still baffled me. A lot is going on, mainly in a good way, yet the fragrance seems simple, too.
- I like how this one keeps me guessing and changing my mind about it. I never dislike it, but I keep bouncing around on the scale of how much I like it. It’s not exciting, but I still enjoy wearing it. I like how I can’t pick out specific notes or notice a shift as it falls through the top and middle notes to the base notes.
- I love the bottle. It’s not especially pretty in a traditional perfume bottle kind of way. It looks old-fashioned, but not in the same way a Guerlain that’s been around for about a century does (obviously, they redo their bottles as time goes by, but they seem to maintain that classy, yesteryear type of bottle). The Anais Anais bottle looks straight out of my childhood. I think it reminds me of a white lamp with painted yellow flowers on it that stayed in my bedroom for years.
- I enjoy this perfume’s innocence, tenderness, and softness. It doesn’t give me a headache, but it triggers my asthma a little (nothing major).
- I like the price. If I decide to give my bottle to my mom to see if she’s got any memories attached to it, I can easily replace it. Sometimes you can find a small bottle for around $20.00 or a large (3.4 oz.) one for about $35.00.
- It lasts on my skin. Hours and hours. It doesn’t quite make it through a shower, but the wear time is impressive for an EDT you can pick up at the drugstore. Its longevity is much better than other soft, innocent scents I’ve tried.
- I thought it was exceptionally dull at first. I still kind of think it’s boring, but enough is going on that I can’t resist keeping it around and spritzing it on. I don’t know why. I just can’t help myself.
- Because I knew it’d been around for a long time and many ladies (and their significant others) have loved it over the decades, I expected something more. Then again, Love’s Baby Soft (which I love but haven’t worn since the 90s) was a big deal in the 70s, so maybe I shouldn’t have been surprised. Love’s Baby Soft came out in 1974, and Anais Anais followed in 1978.
- You may feel it’s intense if you spray it twice as I did (I do; I’m very much aware of its presence on my forearm), but other people might not notice it. My husband thought he smelled it about 30 minutes after spraying it, but it was my dry shampoo. Then he thought he smelled it again, and it was something else I’d tried on earlier, on my wrist, that I’d been wearing for several hours and attempted to wash off. He never smelled the Anais Anais, even when he tried. He’s smelled it before, so he’s not anosmic to it.
- It’s a little dated.
Where to Buy Anais Anais Perfume
Anais Anais is easy to find and relatively inexpensive. It’s usually around $35.00 or less for a 1 oz. bottle, but check the pricing because it’s all over the place.
Sometimes you can get the 3.4 oz. bottle for that amount.
You can purchase it at:
- Nordstrom Rack
- FragranceX (where I got mine; it was packaged well with another perfume I ordered)
Alternatives to Consider
This is tricky. There’s nothing quite like Anais Anais because it can be so many things simultaneously. I can’t think of a dupe, but I can make recommendations based on which facet of Anais Anais’s scent you like.
If you like the idea of soft, innocent perfume, try Love’s Baby Soft or Lancome Tresor. Love’s Baby Soft is very much a baby powder scent and not much else. There’s musk, vanilla, lavender, and some subtle florals, but unless you’re seeking those out, you’ll probably just think “baby powder.”
Lancome Tresor can be many things just like Anais Anais–comforting, sweet, sensual, and even romantic. Its main notes are rose, peach, amber, and musk. If you like the feminine white floral vibe with a hint of green, you could try Dior Pure Poison
These two perfumes don’t smell anything alike, but they’re in the same family. Dior Pure Poison was an instant “love” for me. I knew I had to have a bottle as soon as I smelled it in a magazine. There’s more warmth to it, thanks to amber, sandalwood, and musk.
Notes include jasmine, orange, bergamot, mandarin, gardenia, orange blossom, sandalwood, amber, cedar, and musk.
If you like the idea of different notes that make you think about what you’re wearing, try Chanel Gabrielle Original or Essence. Chanel Gabrielle will do the trick if you like perfumes with a lot of notes that blend and make you think about what it is you’re smelling.
This is more of a classic floral than a green floral, so it won’t smell as crisp. It’s more sensual and romantic than Anais Anais, and though it could be worn daily, I feel it’s better for date nights than Anais Anais.
Its notes include citrus and black currant on top, orange blossom, jasmine, ylang-ylang, tuberose, lily-of-the-valley, pear, and pink pepper in the middle, and musk, sandalwood, cashmeran, and orris at the base. There’s some crossover between the notes, but they’re not incredibly similar.
If it’s the promise of a soft, clean floral you love, try Pillowtalk Poet or Maison Margiela Replica Lazy Sunday Morning
Pillowtalk Poet’s soft and stays close to the skin. Its notes are powder, geranium, ambergris, clove leaf, musk, amber, and sandalwood. It’s meant to be a “comfortable-in-your-own-skin” kind of scent, according to the Pinrose website.
Lazy Sunday Morning is a similar type of scent. Still, it focuses more on that feeling you get when you put on fresh sheets on a Saturday night. You’re just lying in bed with your significant other the next day, being lazy and enjoying each other’s company. The main notes here are lily-of-the-valley, iris, and musk.
Either of these could give you the clean floral with a tender side you’re looking for.
Question: Is Anais Anais long lasting?
Answer: It lasts for several hours on me. I haven’t tested it for a full day, starting early in the morning, but it performs so well, that I wouldn’t be surprised if it did last morning to night.
Question: When was Anais Anais discontinued?
Answer: It was only temporarily discontinued. It was discontinued in 2009 and reintroduced in 2014.
Question: Is Anais Anais still made?
Answer: Yes, Anais Anais perfume is still made. It took a time-out for about five years and returned to the market.
Question: What does Anais Anais mean in English?
Answer: According to BabyNames.com, it means gracious or merciful.
Question: How do you pronounce Anais?
Conclusion: Should You Buy Anais Anais Perfume?
If you’re intrigued and have a little extra money, yes, you should try Anais Anais perfume. It’s not a significant investment, especially if you can find it in the $17.00 range, which isn’t outside the realm of possibility.
There’s so much going on that I think it could appeal to a range of preferences. It might not be the best if you’re looking for a warm, spicy, sexy scent or a sticky-sweet gourmand. Anyone else might be able to latch onto something they like about it and let it grow on them like I am.
If you find that you can’t stop spraying it on even though you’re not in love with it, just because you don’t know what to think or how to feel about it, don’t say I didn’t warn you. We’re in the same boat (but it’s a fun ride!).