The Escada Summer Fragrance Showdown

22 July, 2009

A lot of people may hate the Escada summer fragrances. To them, they are the generic fruity floral that is meant for teenagers, and nobody above the age of 25. But even though they may seem the same to most people, they really are quite different when you look at each fragrance. I believe I am well-equipped to review them, as I own 6 of them, and by the end of this year, hopefully 8 (add Ocean Lounge and Sexy Graffiti). I will be going in order from furthest back to most recent that I own, and my honest opinions. The fragrance notes are courtesy of Fragrantica.

Ibiza Hippie: 2003 (I believe)
Fragrance notes: Peach, pear, apricot, lychee, nutmeg, hyacinth, freesia, cranberry, sandalwood, musk, amber
Bottle: Red cap, frosted red to clear blue gradient
My thoughts: This is definitely the most evening-suited, mature of the 6 fragrances. I actually do get the pear and a bit of the peach, but I also get the cranberry very quickly. It could just be the lychee confusing my nose, but it’s really nice. It is a sweet fruit, but not sickly sweet. The heart of the fragrance is beautiful and feminine-one of my friends had it as her date fragrance. I don’t get as much of a drydown with this as my body chemistry vaporizes this before it dries down (as it does with most perfumes) but it is the absolute perfect fragrance for summer nights as it’s got something, but it’s not strong like my bottle of Hypnose. Fragrance-wise, I give this a B+. It’s not my absolute favourite, but it is amazing. The bottle though? Easily an A+-split the difference and we have ourselves an A- with this.Island Kiss: 2004
Fragrance notes: Orange, passionfruit, passionflower, magnolia, mango, raspberry, peach, hibiscus, berry notes, light floral notes, light woody notes, sandalwood, musk
Bottle: Blue cap, dark blue fading to pink
My thoughts: This was the first of the fragrances that I bought and right from the get-go, I get the fruity notes tempered by the magnolia. In fact, smelling it on my wrist, it smells like a sorta fruity magnolia to me. The raspberry is definitely there, but it’s not so overwhelming that it makes it sickeningly sweet. I actually, within a couple minutes of spraying, am getting the musk straight away, along with it fading down towards the heart with the peach and the woody notes. It’s a perfect summer cocktail or a great light fragrance for a winter day, as a sorta pick-me-up. I give this fragrance a B because it isn’t overwhelmingly special-it’s nice, but you can find similar. The Ed Hardy fragrance, in a way, is similar to this, but not as good-it’s the combination of the strawberry, the mango, and the rose in the heart that makes it crap.

Rockin’ Rio: 2005
Fragrance notes: Papaya, mandarin, pineapple, peach, sugared candy, sandalwood, musk, coconut milk
Bottle: Yellow cap with a pink fade to yellow
My thoughts: This is the one of the summer fragrances that finds its way into my purse the most, and it’s because of the citrus. I don’t normally go for peach, however I find I get the peach/pineapple combination right off the bat. I don’t get a whole lot of the coconut at first in the drydown-I get a lot more of the woody notes and so forth, but it still retains the fruity goodness that made me buy it in the first place. It’s not one I would wear for an evening out-for me, it’s strictly summer daytime wear. I give this fragrance a B as well-you don’t absolutely NEED to have it in your collection, but if you like citrus-tinged fragrances this will work well for you.

Pacific Paradise: 2006
Fragrance notes: Lemon, lime, apple, berry notes, banana, pineapple, coconut, cotton candy, sunflower, sugary notes, sandalwood, musk, amber
Bottle: Turquoise cap with purple fade to turquoise
Thoughts: This perfume had me at the top notes-lime, berry, apple, pineapple, lemon, banana, and just a hint of coconut. All the fruity goodness that I want to have in a perfume, without smelling too sickening. It retains the banana and citrus through to the heart of the fragrance, where it’s met by sunflower and sugary, cotton candy notes, and dries down to woody notes. This was the first one that really got me into Escada, as I smelled it in the page of a magazine and fell in love. I actually bought it in a 3.4 bottle two years ago and have gotten through about 30% of it, as I find I use the other fragrances more. When I compare it to the others, it’s just a step below-I would say a B-. I do like a bit of floral with my Escada, which is why it goes lower.

Sunset Heat: 2007
Fragrance Notes: Lemon, papaya, mango, pineapple, melon, peach, sandalwood, coconut, musk
Bottle: Orange cap with yellow-orange fade to bright orange frosted bottom
Thoughts: Oh man, is this amazing! I actually own two bottles of this because it is that good. It opens up to a very nice citrus-I don’t get as much peach in this as I do in Rockin’ Rio. I would say that RR is more peach and pineapple-led, while this is more lemon and papaya led. It doesn’t have as much of a heart, although I definitely get peach, before it turns to the typical sandalwood/musk drydown that is de rigeur for the Escada fragrances. It does not have a whole ton of lasting power, which is a big negative-but I love the perfume itself, and it is my go to winter fragrance because in the cold Seattle winters, I want to have something to remind me of these 90+ degree days that we are going to be having here shortly. I have to give this fragrance a B because it is amazing as far as fragrance, but the lasting power absolutely sucks.

Moon Sparkle: 2008
Fragrance Notes: Strawberry, black currant, citrus notes, floral notes, sweet pea, freesia, jasmine, rose, raspberry, musk, sandalwood, amber
Bottle: New streamlined glass bottle with taller silver metal cap and a purple to royal blue fade
Thoughts: Boy, oh boy, I wanted to love this-but I just can’t. I think it’s the black currant coupled with all the fruits in the top that makes me not like it as much, as currant and me do not mix well. However, the fruity-laced top notes give way to a heart that is even worse, with four floral notes that I would not put together unless I was doing a pure floral fragrance, and the freesia would be in the drydown. Sometimes it smells a little powdery to me, but it may be due to the combinations. The base of the fragrance is the typical one, joined by the raspberry, which is an interesting choice but a good one at that. The thing about this is it isn’t your typical fruity-floral-it does smell more luxe and more expensive, but at the same time, it just turns to nonsense on me. I rarely ever reach for it because it just does nothing for me. I know a lot of people like it, but I just can’t as much. I’m having to rate this a C because well, it’s just average. Nothing more, nothing less.

All in all, the general creed with these is that many of the fragrances are similar. If you have Island Kiss, you can skip Pacific Paradise, or vice versa, although both of them are good. They are different enough, however, that it is worth it to at least have a small bottle of all of them so that you can try out the one you like. My favourites? Island Kiss and Sunset Heat. The easiest place to get back years of the perfumes is a store like Perfumania or Parfumerie-and you can smell them first in many cases. I did get my Ibiza Hippie via eBay, though, which is always a good resource to check.

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