Perfume review: Charlotte Tilbury Scent of A Dream

Perfume review: Charlotte Tilbury Scent of A Dream

Charlotte Tilbury’s perfume, Scent of A Dream, made a splashy debut, but does it measure up? We take it for a test drive.

Charlotte Tilbury entered the world of perfumery with a bit of a bang. She divulged her backstage scent secret, enlisted the help of friend Kate Moss and created a new fragrance category in one fell swoop. But, of course, what it really comes down to is how does Charlotte Tillury Scent of a Dream smell?

First impression

This is a perfume that I had a hard time deciding on. I knew right away it wasn’t a “me” scent—too many flowers—but when I first smelled it I liked it. There seemed something weird about it and I like weird. But the second and third sniffs dispelled a bit of the magic of that first experience. Not enough to dislike it—it still is a quality perfume—it just isn’t as interesting as I first thought. It’s a solid, dark, floral scent, but what I hoped for out of the darker notes (pepper, frankincense) doesn’t quite balance those big florals for me.

The facts

Unfortunate moniker aside (perfume names really don’t need to be more than a word or two in my humble opinion), Scent of a Dream has a lot working for it. CT calls it a fleurotic (an erotic chypre floral scent) and it is definitely sexy and flowery. And the scent was created, with input from the makeup artist of course, by famed perfumer Francois Robert who has also created scents for Hermes, Lanvin and Missoni. We’re off to a good start.

The notes include light and bright top notes (lemon, peach), strong, bold florals (tuberose, jasmine violet) and a bit of earth and spice (frankincense, patchouli) in the middle, and a combination of “mind and mood altering” ingredients at the base (fire tree, iso e super, hedione, ambroxan). According to press materials some of the base notes (likely the “iso e super”) are “pheromone notes” and reportedly are activated by body heat to stimulate desire. Erotic indeed. (Though I didn’t experience an uptick in erotic behaviour myself, I feel like taking this scent out on the town for date night is still a good idea.)

But it’s the floral notes that are most prominent, even after test-driving the scent. They are classic in an Old Hollywood-glamour way with an edge thanks to the spice and fruit. It’s consistent and heady and I can see how lovers of moody, nighttime florals will fall hard for this one.

The rating: ★★★/★★★★★


Charlotte Tilbury Scent of a Dream, $168 (100 ml),

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Alexandra Donaldson is the editorial assistant at The Whale & The Rose and a freelance writer and content creator. Although she recently took up yoga in an effort to be a healthy adult, she still binge-watches cartoons on a regular basis and dreams of running away to a cottage in the woods. She has yet to nail down her favourite perfume, but knows that it smells green, earthy and maybe a little bit spicy, but definitely not sweet.