With Love Hilary Duff launched this fall under the Elizabeth Arden label. It is the first scent from the singer/actress (if you are as out of it as I am, here is her Wikipedia entry), who reportedly started working on her fragrance by...
...smelling more than 100 single notes before narrowing her choices down to 10, including amber. "I discovered that everything I really loved was [in] a warm Oriental," she said. (via Women's Wear Daily, 7/21/2006)
With Love is a mossy woods fragrance developed by perfumers Rodrigo Flores-Roux and Stephen Nilsen of Quest, and includes notes of mangosteen fruit, exotic spices, chai latte, mangosteen blossom, cocobolo wood, balsam, incense, amber milk and amber musk.
With Love targets women in the 15-24 year old age range; if you didn't already know that, you'd probably be tipped off by the massive dose of sugar and tropical fruit in the top notes. The sweetness takes about 20 minutes to drop to acceptable levels, by which time, happily, we've moved into more interesting territory: a creamy ambery-woods, vanillic and still a tad sweet, but considerably less sweet than many of this year's crop of celebrity fruity-florals. What remains of the candy disappears in the later dry down, which is mostly deep woods and musk.
It is almost but not quite dark, ditto on the spicy, but it has a pleasing warmth, and once the top notes are gone, it doesn't smell obviously geared towards the teen market. Neil Morris noted recently in the Boston Herald that "a guy could wear this". A guy willing to wait through the top notes, to be sure, but still, for a celebrity scent, it isn't quite what you'd expect. You could easily find a more unusual or elegant fragrance, but for a celebrity scent, it qualifies on both counts, and the retro-glam advertising and packaging are a huge improvement over most of Duff's celebrity competition at the perfume counter. Nicely done.