If you're looking for a cheap thrill at the perfume counters, you'd be hard-pressed to do better than something from Pacifica. Since expanding into personal fragrance in 2007, they've launched 22 straightforward, reliably wearable scents available in a variety of formats, including spray perfume ($22 for 29 ml), solid perfume ($9 for 10 g) and the newer roll-ons ($12 for 10 ml). The packaging is basic but fun, and they're reasonably easy to find: Sephora has them, and I see the line in gift stores here and there.
The California Star Jasmine fragrance is their latest offering. As all of you gardeners already know, star jasmine (sometimes called Confederate jasmine) is not the same plant as true jasmine. It's a vine with clusters of small jasmine-like white flowers, and in Southern California, you often see it used as a ground cover or trained to spill over a wall. I never grew it myself and my memory of the smell is hazy — all I can tell you is "good" and "sweet" — but Pacifica's founder, Brook Harvey-Taylor, calls the perfume "a love note to the Southern California neighborhood where she grew up".
California Star Jasmine opens on a slightly green fizzy citrus; the fizz fades but the juicy orange note lasts well into the dry down. I can't tell you if the floral notes smell like star jasmine or not (and of course, who knows if there's any real star jasmine in the blend anyway), but it's a pretty, jasmine-ish floral, a bit spicy, and while it's sweet, the sweetness is cut by the orange and the finish here is more clean than not. There is supposed to be a driftwood note, but it's subtle at best — I would call the base a pale musky woods, rather nondescript. Just for fun, I tried layering with Andrée Putman Préparation Parfumée but the combination was not as wonderful on skin as it was in my imagination, and next time perhaps I'll try a less peppery wood.
It wears like a casual daytime floral, very cheerful and bright, and a good fit with the Southern California inspiration. It's not my favorite from Pacifica (so far, that honor goes to Tibetan Mountain Temple, but I also like the Malibu Lemon Blossom and Nerola Orange Blossom, and there are quite a few I haven't tried as yet). It will last a few hours before you'll need to reapply.
If you have a favorite from Pacifica, do comment!
For buying information, see the listing for Pacifica under Perfume Houses.