I’ve noticed a couple of perfume brands seem to be particularly popular with UK social media influencers. One is Atelier Cologne and the other is Maison Margiela. So much so that my sister bought the Maison Margiela REPLICA Memory Box on the back of one of them raving about it.
She was enamored by the REPLICA concept of the ‘reproduction of familiar scents and moments from varying locations and periods’ like Coffee Break, Bubble Bath and At The Barber’s. Yes, it’s a cross between Demeter and CB I Hate Perfumes who pioneered this concept many years ago now.
The REPLICA Memory Box is a sample set with 10 x 2ml EdT spray vials. After testing, my sister gave two of the more masculine fragrances to her husband and the rest to me.
Under the Lemon Trees
This is a simple, bright, citrus fragrance. More like zesting a lemon than walking under lemon trees. It was fine until it all but disappeared after an hour. I suspect this is because after the citrus burst, it reverted to a white musk that I can’t smell.
Springtime in a Park
I thought this was going to be super dull but it’s actually a wistful, romantic lily of the valley with a fantastic pear note. It has a lovely, soft, hazy quality. Not my usual style but I enjoyed wearing it. Really pretty and mood-lifting and gives me a hit of the much needed hopefulness that Spring brings.
Lazy Sunday Morning
This is like a sweeter version of Springtime in a Park: mainly lily of the valley but this time paired with a syrupy orange blossom. There are musks to evoke clean bedding but they are subsumed by the flowers. It’s a pleasant floral but I liked Springtime’s airiness and originality more.
I thought this would be a rugged coastal fragrance but it’s actually your classic tropical beachy scent. Beach Walk leaves you smelling like warm skin and coconut sun lotion with some glorious ylang-ylang thrown in. It’s not new but this style of perfume is hard not to like.
By The Fireplace
Ooh this is more like it. I’m trash for a smoky scent and this one has a great roasted nut accord over a smoky vanilla base. It reminds me of the caramelised nutty smokiness of Aomassai by Parfumerie Generale which I always had a soft spot for.
A fresh floral in that straight-from-the-florist’s-fridge kind of way. It’s freesia-forward with clean jasmine rounding it out. Nothing special but it’s perfectly pretty and the kind of fragrance a lot of civilians (including a friend of mind) love.
This opens like a traditional masculine but settles into something far more interesting. It’s a refreshing sea breeze over leafy aromatics lining the sand dunes. The combination of salt and herbs works well and makes it more striking than most others in the line.
Whispers in the Library
I saved this one for last as I love the name and idea of it. Sadly, it was just too sweet. Old books have a vanillic quality but this is overly sugary and smells more like a bakery. A vanilla perfume sprinkled lightly with black pepper and cedar shavings. Shame.
What’s good about these perfumes is that they are available as 10ml travel sprays which is probably ideal for these kind of ‘novelty’ fragrances. I guess my main criticism would be that the ones I tried are generally not quite novel enough.
Do you like the sound of any of these? Did you like the Demeter or CB I Hate Perfumes back in the day?
10 responses to “REPLICA by Maison Margiela – Mini Reviews”
I do like the sound of a couple! To wit, Beach Walk and By the Fireplace. A few of the rest also sound ‘remorselessly pleasant’, as I sometimes say to be silly. I am not usually one for pear, but will be guided by your positive take on Springtime in the Park. Soon they can bring one out called “Sitting on a bench with a flask of coffee in the park and not feeling guilty for not exercising”.
Ha! Yes, they missed a trick with that one V. It could have been a 2020/21 limited edition.
‘Remorselessly pleasant’ isn’t silly, it’s spot on! The pear is actually a really light, fresh, fruity note and not too noticeable. It works well with the lily of the valley.
I like the concepts, but out of context, the fragrances may not have the same effect of novelty because of their familiarity. They might work better individually while presented in the environment they represent, like how Demeter “Library” was repackaged as a limited-edition scent sold by a bookstore in Portland, OR.
That is a great idea and I can see that would work really well.
I guess it’s the florals here that that while good quality, aren’t very evocative.
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Loved reading this review, it was so interesting to read what you thought about these fragrances. I’m wearing Whispers In The Library right now! Xx
Ah that’s so cool! It is a nice cosy villa, just not my style. Thanks for reading.
I’ve often thought that Replica might be a gateway brand. You know, find something fun and super weird (for a newb) and smell like a thing instead of a perfume. Then go fully evangelical telling everyone within earshot about how fabulously clever and out there you are, thus creating waves of acolytes.
The couple i’ve smelled from the brand were very nicely realised.
Even some hard core perfumistas I know love the brand as well.
Maybe we have become jaded because we have seen and sniffed so much before?
I did think they were good quality and you make a great point about them being a good gateway brand. I can see why they spark people’s imagination. But yeah, we’ve seen it all before.
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Some of these fragrances names tell a story of their own.
Thank you for sharing!
Very much so!