paloma picasso perfume review

Paloma Picasso Perfume Review: Is This Fragrance Suitable for You?

Perfumes are so important to me; I think they’re an essential accessory that should match and enhance your personality. The Paloma Picasso perfume I’m reviewing today could create many controversies regarding its extracts and scent. It’s something I never tried before, and I’m still debating whether I like it or not.

It’s supposed to be made for seductive and sophisticated women who’re not afraid of showing their power and independence for the whole world to see. Even the creator, Paloma, had an iconic fashion style in the 80s, with her red lips and elegant clothes that were mostly a red and black combo.

Bottom Line Up Front!

Paloma Picasso is certainly not my favorite perfume. I’m a fan of intense and sweet floral aromas, but this one also has woody and tobacco scents, and I don’t fancy those. It’s an exciting fragrance that some of you might love. But, I’m sure that others won’t be able to stand it. Regardless, this is the kind of product that people talk about, and it doesn’t go unnoticed.

On the other hand, the smell is a bit “dusty” and feels like an old perfume that my grandma’s generation used. Another downside is the perfume’s low durability. It doesn’t last long.

I can feel it strong only when I apply it. Then, after a while, it fades away, and after a couple of hours, I can’t feel it at all.

Paloma Picasso - L'Oréal Group | Paloma picasso, Paloma, L'oréal group

Paloma with her signature perfume

Image source: Pinterest

Features at a Glance

  • Attractive bottle with a unique yet classy design;
  • Powerful scent – you either love it, or you hate it;
  • An interesting mix of diverse notes, including coriander and sandalwood;
  • Unique opening structure yet easy to use;
  • Not that long-lasting.

What I Liked About It

  • The packaging looks nice, and the contrasting red-black colors are timeless;
  • It’s unique and a niched perfume for those who are courageous enough to show their authentic selves;
  • The notes are a sophisticated blend of tobacco, spices, floral extracts, and other curious elements.

What I Liked Less

Paloma Picasso perfume bottle
Photo by: Alexandra Gavrilescu
  • It’s a bold and curious mix of different essences, including floral, woody, tobacco, spices, and animal extracts, and that’s a combination that not many people enjoy wearing;
  • It doesn’t last very long;
  • Not my type of fragrance – but that’s just me; maybe, this perfume will suit your tastes and personality perfectly.


trying the Paloma Picasso perfume on my wrist
Photo by: Alexandra Gavrilescu

The box is red, contrasting with the perfume’s bottle, which is surrounded by a black oval structure. It reminded me of something precious and vintage, like old jewelry, perhaps a bracelet. The design of the bottle is simple yet refined. I liked how the perfume container is encapsulated in the center of the construction, like something that needs to be protected.

I couldn’t help but open the lid and take a sniff, and it hit me right that instant. The fragrance had everything to do with how the perfume looked like. If I closed my eyes, I could almost be transported back into another time, a more elegant one. So, vintage, classic, and elegant were the first words coming into my mind.

At the same time, I got a little worried because the wooden essences and tobacco extract made this perfume smell like something out of my range of preferences. I thought, what if Paloma Picasso isn’t my cup of tea?! But, I stopped myself from judging the product so quickly and waited to apply it on my wrist and neck to see how suitable the scent was for my tastes.

Paloma Picasso Perfume Review – Fragrance Notes

Paloma Picasso perfume with some decorative elements contained by the formula
Photo by: Alexandra Gavrilescu

This perfume brought me back to another era when women wore only skirts and dresses, and men still wore elegant hats. Here are the three categories of scented notes of the Paloma Picasso Eau de Parfume. It’s supposed to be love at first sniff, but it didn’t work that way for me.

At first, I found this perfume way too overwhelming, almost dusty. And, I think I know where that feeling came from. It probably was the mix between the perfume’s wooden scents and tobacco. The perfume has a particular fragrance that sticks to you for a long time and lingers inside your nostrils.

I like the beautiful, almost musical harmony created by the mix of floral scents and wooden fragrances. Or not?! I’m confused because there are moments when I like the perfume, and other times I feel I could never wear it. If you’re feeling seductive, this perfume is definitely for you.

Top Notes

The top notes consist of floral extracts, spices, and citrus:

  • Rose – commonly used in perfumes; versatile and memorable; feminine and delicate; the sweet scent fades away pretty quickly, though;
  • Carnation – they’re subtle and offer a spicy yet balmy scent; a mix of herbal, floral, and woody fragrances;
  • Bergamot – only the ripped fruit’s essential oil is used, and it has a sweet freshness;
  • Coriander and clover – very spicy and robust yet fresh and uplifting;
  • Neroli – a highly aromatic scent; a curious mix of floral, citrus, and herbal fragrances;
  • Amalfi lemon – a fizzy and refreshing scent that reminds me of summer;
  • Angelica – an aromatic odor that resembles the musk scent.

Core Notes

The middle notes are a blend of the following elements:
  • Hyacinth – intense scent that reminds me of spring and fresh green plants; robust without being overwhelming, with spicy, aquatic, and sweet notes;
  • Patchouli – a herbaceous and earthy scent featuring woody base notes;
  • YlangYlang – floral notes with a rich and sour smell; deep, exotic, and creamy;
  • Mimosa – powdery floral notes; fresh yet vibrant – a timeless scent;
  • Jasmine – oriental, exotic, sweet, and rich, with sensual and fruity notes. 

Base Notes

Paloma Picasso perfume bottle
Photo by: Alexandra Gavrilescu

This perfume’s base notes are the ones I like the least:

  • Castoreum – this might sound a bit strange, but maitre parfumiers sometimes use the extract from beavers’ dried sacs; it’s not icky, as you might think, but more like a mix of vanilla and musky smell;
  • Sandalwood – has a creamy sweetness, and it’s often used as one of the base notes in numerous perfumes; woody fragrances;
  • Amber – compared to other woods, amber is sweeter and warmer; it’s a powdery woody scent that’s included in oriental perfume formulas;
  • Oakmoss – sensual, woody, earthy, smoky, and bitter. Please pay attention that this ingredient is controversial, especially in Europe, regarding its use in perfumes. In some cases, it led to skin rashes;
  • Vetiver – one of the most elegant notes of the perfume, with deep and warm fragrances; reminds me of wood, earth, dirt, smoke, and salty water;
  • Civetta – when diluted, this compound smells excellent, like a floral scent. Otherwise, it isn’t enjoyable;
  • Musk – subtle yet powdery and powerful; smells intoxicating and earthy, and it’s supposed to last long on your skin.

While this perfume might not be my top favorite one, I understand Paloma’s vision and goal. She wanted to create a fragrance that would represent her personality. So, this product features aldehydic accords.

The Story Behind Paloma Picasso Brand

Paloma Picasso is the daughter of Pablo Picasso, the famous cubism painter. It seems she inherited her father’s artistic sense.

Besides her signature perfumes, she was a fashion and jewelry designer, working with reputable brands like Tiffany & Co. Paloma’s maternal grandfather was both a chemist and parfumier, so maybe she got her interest in creating unique fragrances from that part.

It’s interesting how Paloma was initially skeptical about entering the art market, especially regarding fashion. But, soon enough, she became passionate about design.

She launched her first perfume in 1984 and targeted it as a strong fragrance made for powerful women like her. Iconic accessory designs followed the scent, and they’re known and appreciated today due to their beauty and high-quality materials.

You can find Paloma’s creations in many places worldwide, including the US, the Middle East, Japan, and Europe.

Paloma Picasso Perfume Review – Detailed Features

Here are the things I noticed after using this perfume for several days.


Paloma Picasso perfume ingredients
Photo by: Alexandra Gavrilescu

Oh, wow! I don’t know what to tell you about the scent. It’s strong! You don’t expect it, but it will hit you hard at first. The smell was powerful and overwhelming when I first tried this Paloma Picasso perfume. I can’t say I loved it right from the start. It reminded me of something old, something that my grandma would wear.

It took me a while to familiarize myself with the fragrance and discover its hidden notes. It has some Mediterranean vibes. I tried to imagine the perfume as a person, and I think she would be a temperamental and strong-willed woman. Because of the fragrance’s complexity, the aroma was difficult to sell and promote.

At first, I could strongly feel the coriander’s spicy scent. The other notes came after.


I was disappointed by this perfume’s durability. It doesn’t last longer than a couple of hours (2-3 hours tops). I thought since it feels so powerful, almost overwhelming, when I apply it, I would enjoy it for a long time, but that wasn’t the case.

After using the perfume on my neck, I went out for about two hours. When I came back home, the perfume was almost entirely gone.

I asked my husband if he still felt it, but his answer was negative. So, the manufacturer should improve the perfume’s durability because this aspect is a downside for most perfume users.


I was pleased with the packaging. It came in a red rectangular box, wrapped and sealed with transparent plastic foil. I eagerly took the box out of the foil and then opened it. The perfume bottle is oval-shaped and surrounded by a black design.

However, the perfume is contained only in the center, where the transparent container is. Some might be ok with that, while others could consider that there’s too little perfume in the actual core bottle.

The colors (black and red) were chosen for a good reason:

  • Paloma’s favorite color was red;
  • According to her, black could be one of the symbols of power and strength.

Marketing Initiatives

Paloma Picasso Mon Parfum Eau de Perfum Spray Perfume for Women, 100 ml


Paloma wanted to be involved in all the stages of the perfume’s creation. It was like her baby. Still, the public received her first fragrance with a skeptical approach since the scent was nothing like they’ve tried before.

Below, I’ve added a couple of ads I found.

Vintage Perfume Commercial:

Old Paloma Picasso Commercial for American Express – in which she was the ad’s main character and stated a few things about her perfumes:

Other Paloma Picasso Perfumes

Besides the perfume I’m reviewing today, Paloma Picasso only created a few other perfumes.

Mon Parfum

Mon Parfum

Mon Parfum is a Chypre fragrance dedicated to women. It was created in 1985, and you’ll find Angelica, rose, and lemon among its top notes.

Iris is part of the base notes, while Jasmine is among the middle notes. The fragrance is sweet and powdery, as well as mossy and musky. Mon Parfum is best suited for evenings and nighttime events.

The box is exactly like the signature perfume I reviewed today. Moreover, there are several similarities in the formula’s composition.




Constellation is a complex perfume with floral notes, earthy scents, and mossy fragrances. This mossy perfume contains bergamot, coriander, and amber.

It’s rich and intense and suitable for passionate women. I like the zodiac signs featured on the bottle. Another element I like about Paloma Picasso’s perfumes is the brand’s consistency: the boxes are very similar and showcase Paloma’s favorite colors: black and red.

It’s an expensive perfume that was released in 1984.




The most special notes of the Tentations perfume are amber and spicy scent. But the perfume also consists of other notes such as sweet floral extracts and woody essences.

The fragrance also features a unique vodka and cinnamon combination, which intrigues me. It’s suitable for autumn and winter, and you can wear it at evening events.

Peach and pepper are among its top notes, while incense, cedar, and Tonka are part of the product’s base notes. The perfume’s core comprises orchid, carnation, Jasmine, clove, and other bold elements. This is a newer Paloma Picasso perfume, launched in 1996.

Minotaure for Men

Minotaure for Men

Minotaure is the only perfume for men that Paloma created. It’s aromatic and sweet with vanilla and spicy notes. It’s an excellent choice for spring; men can safely wear it during the day or at night. Minotaure was released in 1992; it’s formulated with galbanum, geranium, musk, Tonka beans, and tarragon.

It’s pretty lightweight for a cologne. Moreover, it’s portable, versatile, and timeless, infused with fruity scents.

Main Alternatives

I also like the following perfumes, which are great alternatives to Paloma Picasso’s spicy and woody scents.

Coco Mademoiselle by Chanel

Coco Mademoiselle by Chanel

The most intense note of this Chanel perfume is its amber floral scent. Coco Mademoiselle is a must-have among perfume lovers and enthusiasts. It’s formulated with grapefruit, litchi, vanilla, patchouli, and musk. Like all Chanel fragrances, this is also a long-lasting product. It was created for young, vibrant women and launched in 2001.

Miss Dior by Dior

Miss Dior by Dior

I’ve used Miss Dior in the past, and I loved it. Its scent is so vibrating and cheerful, like the perfume could have the power to change one’s mood. I like its fresh floral notes and the ribbon design featured on the lid. Peonies, Lilly of the valley, rose, iris, vanilla, and sandalwood are among its most important notes.

Nomade by Chloe

Nomade by Chloe


Nomade is your to-go perfume if you want something that sends the message of femininity and freedom. This Chloe perfume hides many symbols, including love, kindness, gentleness, and strength. This floral fragrance appeared on the market in 2018 and has peach, Mirabelle, freesia, amber wood, and white musk notes. It’s made for courageous and adventurous women.

How to Choose the Best Perfume for Your Skin

testing Paloma Picasso perfume on my neck
My vision of what this Paloma Picasso perfume stands for. Photo by: Alexandra Gavrilescu

How perfume smells is the most important thing. If you don’t like the scent, you will hate wearing it. A perfume should bring you confidence and joy. It’s also essential to test the fragrance directly on your skin to see how it reacts to it. That’s the proper way to unveil all the perfume’s notes and extracts.

I’ve recently learned a curious yet helpful thing: to become familiarized with a new perfume, you must be patient and wait about 20 minutes after you’ve applied it to your skin. Its intensity won’t be that overwhelming after that, but it won’t be faded away, either. I prefer Eau de parfum to eau de toilette since the first is more intense and lasts longer.

Here are some guidelines to help you select the best-suited perfume for you:

  • Check the perfume’s notes and see if there is something you might not like;
  • Consider volatility – I love sweet solid perfumes that are long-lasting;
  • Choose the proper concentration – I prefer Eau de parfum because they’re deeper and richer; you might opt for a lighter version which is Eau de toilette. This is also more affordable than pure perfume. The least concentrated option is eau de cologne which only lasts two hours or so;
  • If possible, test the perfume on your wrist before buying it;
  • If you’re ordering online, perhaps you can first purchase some samples;
  • Think about when you’ll be wearing the perfume – during the day, at the office, on vacation, or once in a while, at nighttime events;
  • Start with lighter fragrances and build your way up to more intense perfumes;
  • Be patient and check how the scent behaves on your skin after a couple of hours.


Question: What Does Paloma Picasso Do Today?

Answer: She is 73 and resides in Lausanne, Switzerland, but they also have a house in Marrakech, Morroco. She’s married and has three grown-up children.

Question: What Perfume Type Is Paloma Picasso?

Answer: It’s a chypre floral perfume with woody notes and a strong scent. You could say it’s a niche perfume since not many could wear it proudly and confidently.

Question: How Should I Pick a High-Quality Perfume?

Answer: If you can afford it, it’s best to opt for intense perfumes called Eau de parfum. Opt for those made with a high concentration of essential oils because they’ll last longer once sprayed on your skin. Also, I would always buy perfumes made by reputable and trustworthy brands.

Wrapping Up

It’s hard for me to decide and state one thing or the other. I think I have a love-hate type of relationship with the Paloma Picasso perfume. There are moments when I like it, and other times I tell myself I will never wear it again. However, it intrigues me how I notice the perfume’s notes separately.

Sometimes I feel the wood and tobacco potent mix, while there are other moments in which the sweet floral and citrus fragrances are more noticeable.

It feels to me that this perfume is best worn in winter and autumn. Its strong musky scent makes me think of cold winter days and rainy autumn evenings. I’ll use the perfume I already got, but I can’t say I’ll purchase it again in the future.

Other scented reads:

*All photos were taken and created by me – except the ones for which I mentioned the source. 

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