When fashion label Maison Margiela launched Replica in 2012, the concept was simple and effective; to create a fragrance library of ‘scent memories’ that had the ability to evoke an emotional response from the wearer as only fragrance can. Well, they succeeded.
In the individual scent descriptions below, for quick reference I’ve included the 3 main components (top, heart/middle, and base notes) for each scent, along with my personal take on each.
Replica Blur Filter (CAN $80.00) | Created in 2016 along with Glow Filter (not shown), this is an oil based fragrance primer and designed to work exactly as its name implies: by softening or ‘blurring’ the edges of any Replica Eau de Toilette it’s paired up with. The composition includes:
- White Musk Accord
- Grey Amber Accord
Make no mistake: this is an oil and as such, don’t go thinking you can spritz it on as you would your usual fragrance and expect the same result; it needs to be gently rubbed into the skin before you layer anything else over it. That said, Blur also happens to work perfectly lovely on its own, imparting a subtle and almost soothing scent to go with the nourishing properties that derive from its oil formulation, and thereby help in that supple skin feel. Basically, using an innovative product such as this becomes an entirely new sensorial experience and one that can moreover be used with any other fragrance you own as well.
Replica Eau de Toilette Fragrance Library (CAN $145.00/each) | The range consists of 10 fragrances: 7 for women, 2 for men and 1 (By The Fireplace) as unisex. The crisp & clear lines of the bottle silhouette draws inspiration from classic apothecary jars, while the white fabric labels are made of 100% cotton printed with black ink text and resemble the tags made for the brand’s Replica Couture Collection. Yet another nod towards the design house comes via the rope detailing found around the pump, bringing to mind spools of thread. I just adore touches like this that go into tying all the components together to beautifully, don’t you?
On each label is a ‘provenance’ (origin or known history) along with an accompanying year, linking the notes of the scent with a particular place & time that’s not only helpful in setting the backstory, but also gives a good idea of what fragrance family you’re looking at. Note that the only fragrance not included/shown in the listing below is Lipstick On (2015).
Beach Walk (2012) | Capture: walking along the beach shore, sun radiating on sand & water, salty skin and a light breeze teasing strands of your hair. Let’s just say that this had me at “beach”. There’s a Summery vibe I get at first spritz and within minutes I pick up that classic sun-tan scent, but as this fragrance develops further it brings out a briny, marine-like side, finally settling into an end-of-the-day kind of warmth. Not your typical beach-coconut fragrance, but one that’s still fun yet grown up too.
- top: bergamot, pink pepper, lemon
- heart: Ylang-Ylang, transluzone, heliotrope, coconut milk
- base: musk, cedar wood, benzoin
Funfair Evening (2012) | Capture: carnival atmosphere with music, neon lights and the scent of popcorn & cotton candy filling the air. Light-hearted laughter, shrieks of joy and carnies, those are the images that I swear pop into my head when wearing this scent — the fruity top notes start off with a little boost, but then this scent develops into something a bit more complex and yummy but without any cloying tones to muddy it up.
- top: petigrain, sweet apple, pear ester, star anise, neroli
- heart: infusion of Moroccan rose, tuberose, infusion of Egyptian orange blossom
- base: ambrox, white musk, Tahitian vanilla, caramel
Flower Market (2012) | Capture: Parisian flower market, buckets of blooms as far as the eye can see, crushed leaves & petals along the ground. I’ve been to Paris and have walked through endless flower stalls; that heady combination of exotic blooms and lush greenery is so perfectly captured in this scent, but it keeps from becoming overly floral with the addition of the woods to keep it ‘grounded’ (see what I did there?!)
- top: crushed leaves accord, freesia
- heart: Sambac jasmine from India, infusion of Egyptian jasmine, infusion of tuberose, rose from Grasse
- base: peach, cedar wood, oak moss
Jazz Club (2013) | Capture: Brooklyn private club, deep leather armchairs, heavy cut-crystal tumblers filled with rum, a jazz pianist playing in the background while cigar smoke wafts to the ceiling. I dare you to spritz this on and NOT get the imagery depicted; this is a 1920s speakeasy captured in bottle form; lush, boozy, and with an in-your-face sexuality that’s hard to ignore. Meant for men it might be, but I love wearing this just the same.
- top: pink pepper, Primofiore lemon, neroli
- heart: rum absolute, clary sage oil, Java vetiver oil
- base: tobacco leaf absolute, vanilla bean, styrax resin
Lazy Sunday Morning (2013) | Capture: fresh laundry, silky skin on sheets, sun shining softly through a curtained window, time standing still. From start to finish, what I get from this scent is “fresh, soapy skin”, but never powdery. Then it starts to morph into something a little deeper and calls forth a more sensual side, but it stays sunny and warm. This has quickly become my favourite go-to daytime fragrance and for the record, I do love wearing it on Sundays.
- top: aldehydes, pear accord, lily of the valley accord
- heart: iris accord, rose absolute, orange flower accord
- base: white musk accord, Indonesian patchouli oil, ambrette seeds absolute
Promenade In The Gardens (2013) | Capture: A classic British maze garden framed by tall hedges, surprised by small bushy trees and gorgeous floral bouquets at every turn. So it turns out that even a floral-avoider such as myself can be made to like something garden-esque, provided it has hints of mysterious spices and the bitterness of herbaceous plants in the mix. Victorian-sounding name aside, this scent is more green than typically flowery and one I’m actually quite smitten with (does anyone even say smitten anymore?)
- top: crispy green accord, freesia accord, coriander oil
- heart: Turkish rose oil, peony accord, Sambac jasmine absolute
- base: patchouli heart oil vetiver oil, Australian sandalwood oil
At The Barber’s (2014)| Capture: classically masculine, freshly honed razor sliding through shaving cream, steaming white towels soothing skin. My father started as a barber in the army and when he emigrated to Canada from Greece, he brought his trade with him; not a scent I personally wear, but I love sniffing this just the same as one whiff immediately brings my dad to mind in vivid detail. Scent memory, indeed. Oh, and anyone who’s ever smelled a can of shave foam will instantly pick that up here; it starts off clean and soapy but there’s nice hits of spice and herbs to keep it interesting, inoffensively fresh, and so, so manly.
- top: Bigarade essence, basil accord, black pepper
- heart: geranium essence, lavender, rosemary essence
- base: tonka bean, Evenly, white musks
Tea Escape (2014) | Capture: A serene tea house, tatami mats underfoot, the soft clinking of the tea service, the elegance of the tea ritual. I am a huge matcha fan and if you’ve ever smelled the ritual of making matcha tea, then you’ll totally get it with this fragrance. The overall tea presence makes itself known basically from start to finish, but there’s an almost sad/nostalgic tone as well; every time I wear this I think of soft Spring rain or walking through fog, both of which I absolutely love.
- top: bergamot essence, mint, pink pepper
- heart: Sambac jasmine absolute, osmanthus flower, green tea
- base: Maté absolute, crisped cice, milk accord
By The Fireplace (2015) | Capture: a quintessential Winter morning, large white snowflakes fall softly, the crackling fire the only sound you hear. One word: OBSESSED. This has become my favourite Winter scent and one I think I’m going to keep on wearing regardless of how warm it gets. Instantly transporting me to weekends at my country place, the smokey/woodsy notes are prevalent from start to finish, but what start off as a touch acrid at first spritz, quickly develops a warmth and almost gourmand tone that continues to play in the background throughout the wearing. Le sigh …
- top: pink pepper, orange flower petals, clove oil
- heart: chestnut accord, Gaïac wood oil, cade oil
- base: veilla accord, Peru balsam, Cashmeran
Every bottle tells a story; my favourite ‘chapters’ here have the ability to not only uplift my mood with just a spritz, but to transport me to a treasured place as well. Beach Walk brings me to where I always long to be: by the ocean, enveloped in sunshine and salty air. By The Fireplace is all kinds of raw smokey coziness, while Lazy Sunday Morning is that perfect time of day where sleep-rumpled sheets & knowing you have no schedule are the rule of the day. As someone who doesn’t lean towards traditional florals, I’ve been enjoying Promenade In The Gardens probably because of the sharp herbaceous hints in the base that give it a slight edge, and my craving for men’s fragrances is totally satisfied with the boozy yet sexy notes in Jazz Club. Lipstick On is the only one missing from my collection — an oversight I’ll be rectifying soon enough because not only is it so unique in my own personal collection, but well, LIPSTICK.
Anyone else as addicted to these fragrances as I am? Let me know!
Media samples kindly provided, all opinions are my own