In fragrance circles, often the question is asked whether or not the price of a perfume directly equates the quality of the scent itself. Certainly, the cost of materials and oils used in perfumes vary depending on their source, scarcity and character, but on the whole, there are still some extremely well constructed scents to be had for just a handful of coins. With the global economy in crisis, consumers as a whole are now looking for alternative purchasing options that won't break the bank. The Perfumed Water series from Spanish design house ZARA is a prime example of how just a little money can be well spent.
Teaming up with fellow Spaniard Antonio Puig, Zara have created 7 perfumes in the line to date - 3 for men (Vetiver, Ambar and Sandalo) and 4 for women (Lirio de Agua, Rosa Bulgaria, Flor de Azahar and Tierna Peony). The range offers essences cleverly constructed using 3 main accords that are declared on the box, in 50ml and 200ml bottles. Zara's strategy here is to offer strikingly beautiful perfumes, using a minimum of ingredients, which ultimately makes them very affordable. Exactly how affordable? I hear you say... well, I have noticed a tiny variation in cost from country to country, but the 50ml is offered at approx €13 ($16 USD) and the very generous 200ml bottles at around €20 ($25).
At those prices, why wouldn't you want to indulge in the big one?
I personally was very taken by many scents from the men's and women's line, but the standout edt for me, was Vetiver. Whilst Puig's interpretation of vetiver here might be far from "true vetiver" in a niche or botanical sense, it does conform to Zara's ideal of producing highly appealing scents for the mainstream market.
The opening spritz reveals bracing grapefruit and tender orange blossom which immediately revivify the senses, and of course the third accord forming the base: vetiver. The effects of this scent are felt instantly... sharp, crisp, and uplifting and is much in the same style as a lively splash cologne that exemplifies a state of pristine clean and immaculate grooming. (Perhaps the same instantaneous effect can be enjoyed when applying Thierry Mugler's Cologne; though Vetiver I feel is less 'transformed' than Mugler's creation; and somehow more aromatic).
In contrast, I have since added Ambar to my personal collection of Zara's Perfumed Water as to me it represents the antithesis to Vetiver. It is a wonderfully warm, spicy honey-like winter indulgence that evokes thoughts of blazing fires and comfort food. I am sure to revisit the ladies line again too as I feel there is much to enjoy from this series.