As I mentioned when I reviewed White Musk Libertine back in 2011, The Body Shop is one of my favorite hunting-grounds for cheap thrill fragrances at the mall. L'Occitane has pretty much priced themselves out of the cheap thrills category altogether, and it's been a long time since I liked anything at Bath & Body Works. Lush is always worth a stop assuming you can handle the olfactory overload, but my local store rarely has more than a fraction of their fragrance line.
The Body Shop is iffy, mind you. I don't like everything they make. You don't run to the Body Shop because of the high quality ingredients, much less the daring compositions — you won't find anything like Lush's The Voice of Reason at The Body Shop. But hey, if you do like something at The Body Shop, and you get there on one of their frequent sales days, you might just walk out with 30 ml of something for less than $10.
Honeymania, their latest, is a case in point. At its full retail price of $14, it isn't the sort of expenditure likely to require weeks of advance budgeting, but The Body Shop is willing to go even cheaper: last week you could take home a bottle for $7. Yes, I bit. Even at $7, unfortunately, it was a bit of a disappointment. I was hoping for honey, and plenty of it — maybe not so uncompromising as Serge Lutens Miel de Bois, perhaps, but still, honey, and not just in the name, á la Marc Jacobs Honey. Maybe something along the lines of MAC Naked Honey (why does MAC keep reissuing Turquatic instead of Naked Honey?) or one of the L'Occitane honey scents...
And there is honey, mind you, but Honeymania is mostly a light, honey-inflected floral, which is, in all fairness, pretty much exactly how it's described at The Body Shop. It's very sweet (and a tiny bit loud) early on, but that doesn't last long. It gets drier and softer as it calms on skin, and it smells vaguely like wildflowers, albeit in a very clean and smoothed over and "straight from the lab" sort of way. As it continues to dry down, it gets a bit warmer and a bit deeper, and the honey comes more into focus, but it never gets as warm or deep as I'd like, and it also gets oddly flat after about 30 minutes. I did not try any of the body products, but a commenter mentioned that the body butter is a "truer honey", so now I wish I'd bought that instead.
Verdict: even at $7, a bit of a dud for me — I really doubt I will reach for my bottle ever again. It doesn't smell bad, not at all, but it isn't terribly enticing either. Props to The Body Shop all the same, for keeping prices low, for using Community Fair Trade honey, and for making everything in small sizes.
Do comment if you tried it, or to tell us your favorite honey fragrance. Mine is still the much-maligned Miel de Bois, which yes, is best not smelled for a good 20 minutes or so after application. Apply, clip your nose, wait.
The Body Shop Honeymania is available in 30 ml Eau de Toilette ($14) and in matching bath & body products ($6-20).