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Nowadays anybody who can once claim to have been on Big Brother can release a perfume. There's a big fanfare, some cliche posters and by next year the scent is forgotten. White Diamonds by Elizabeth Taylor is different. First released in 1991, 25 years later it is still the best-selling celebrity perfume of all time. There'a reason for that (beyond the fact that Elizabeth Taylor was one of the last of the great Hollywood stars), it's actually very good.
I received my bottle as a gift but it's normally quite reasonably priced, especially when compared to other perfumes that I love like Joy, YSL Opium and Chanel No. 5. It's currently on offer in Superdrug for £20 and it's definitely worth more that that. You get 100ml of perfume which lasts forever, I've had my bottle for three years and there's still two thirds left.
White Diamonds comes in tall, thin glass bottle. The glass is clear but the perfume inside is golden. There's a ring of studded metal effect, meant to simulate diamonds, just below the gold cap and White Diamonds Elizabeth Taylor is printed on the bottle in black. I like this design, I think it's simple and classic. It's height makes it stand out, a lot of modern perfume bottles are almost squat in their shortness, but over than that it's quite an understated look.
I don't know enough about perfumes to go into a discussion of ingredients and top notes but to my inexpert nose White Diamonds is quite a floral and (initially) heavy fragrance, it's a vase of dusky flowers in the hot afternoon sun. I've heard some people say there's almost something powdery about it, I disagree I think it's musky. It certainly doesn't have an artificial scent.
Although I often receive compliments when I wear this fragrance I think that some people dismiss White Diamonds as a scent for the older woman. I, a 20 year old, disagree strongly. It's not a modern fragrance. It's not light, fruity and it won't evaporate within two hours. This is the kind of scent you could, if you sprayed enough, be enveloped in. That's not to say that it can't be worn lightly, it can but it's not a light fragrance. It does have something in common with the power fragrances of the 80s. It's a classic, it's sophisticated. You could wear it with a business suit or a little black dress.
I subscribe to the spray and dab method (I spray it on one wrist and then dab, never rub, it on a few other pulse points) and on first application White Diamonds can smell really heavy. This lessens slightly as it quickly dries to a more wearable level. As a scent, it lasts very well. If I spray this on in the morning, I can still smell it on my wrist in the evening. It doesn't change much with wear once applied. The scent at the beginning is pretty much the scent at the end.
Although this isn't the kind of perfume I'd purchase for myself, I received a bottle of Elizabeth Taylor: White Diamonds as a stocking filler at Christmas. When I saw it I was going to palm it off on my daughter as soon as possible, but after a few wears I'm actually quite happy with the fragrance and will continue to use it myself.
It's not a sweet and girly fragrance as seems to be the trend at the moment, and I'd say it's for the older lady (of which I do NOT class myself!). The overall experience of White Diamonds is heavy and musky, sensuous in an outdated 80s way - it reminds me of the power perfumes that everyone went mad for a few years ago and definitely won't be to everyones tastes.
It has an unusual mix of floral and woody tones; the florals come through immediately after spraying and remain for the duration of the perfume, while an intense woodiness battles to take over as the overwhelming scent after around an hour. Upon first spray I can make out a stunning jasmine fragrance and I believe it's this pungent floral note that prevents the woody tones from taking over, the jasmine (my favourite addition to a floral perfume) is apparent throughout the lifespan of White Diamonds but it jostles with a rich rose fragrance and delicate lily to create a bouquet of very mismatched (but ultimately lovely) floral tones.
This is turning out to be a very awkward perfume to explain as the notes listed on various websites aren't really all that apparent in the fragrance. For example, when I say 'woody tones' I mean this as an all-encompassing description as I simply cannot make out the amber, sandalwood or oakmoss at all. I suspect these make up the heart of the perfume as the fragrance becomes increasingly woody towards the middle section of wear (roughly two hours after spraying), so woody in fact that it takes on quite a masculine edge after a while and even the mish-mash of florals can't prevent this happening.
This is actually the kind of perfume I can imagine Elizabeth Taylor wearing in her heyday; it's cloudy and in-your-face for a while, musky (despite no musk being mentioned in the notes) and very much how I think a 60s starlet would have wanted to smell at the time. It's a very confident fragrance, complicated but only because the notes don't match up with the actual perfume - due to the fact that it clouds around the wearer (think Opium) it's not really a daytime scent, but will hold it's own beautifully at night if this is the perfume you choose to wear. It's a bit heavy for me to be honest, although I generally go for heavier perfumes for evening wear this is a bit too... there's no word to accurately describe it, although I think 'dated' would be the closest.
When I saw the name White Diamonds I imagined something classy and sophisticated (although I'm unsure why, Elizabeth Taylor was wonderfully beautiful but I tend to think that if she were famous these days she'd be more in the trashy than classy camp) but it's neither of these things. It's just 'there' - and there in spades! It's a harsh perfume when first sprayed but this thankfully mellows into something that smells like a moderately expensive fragrance, it's not something that's ever going to be mistaken for a high class perfume but clings to the wearer in a way that more expensive ones would. The scent lasts forever on my skin, in fact I sprayed it yesterday and could still detect a small amount of floral fragrance this morning when I jumped into the shower - this wouldn't have been strong enough for anyone else to smell it, but I was still secretly impressed by the longevity.
I absolutely love the bottle White Diamonds comes in. I have the 100ml Eau de Toilette version which comes in a tall cylindrical bottle that has a stunning band of crystals running around the top, the slightly tacky gold top spoils the look somewhat but I've gotten around this by using a top from a similarly shaped bottle (a silver top) and this gives the perfume a much more classical appearance. The bottle will look good with my collection of empties once all the perfume has gone and looks very imposing in the bathroom next to my more girly perfume bottles.
The fragrance dreams are made of / The name epitomises singular star quality radiant, extraordinarily rare and overwhelmingly bEautiful / A rich, sensual, floral fragrance with the endless brilliance of a rare jewel / Endlessly fascinating, multi-faceted, White Diamonds is truly the jewel in the crown of House of Taylor BEauty / The most successful celebrity fragrance of all time, White Diamonds has been a classic bestseller for fifteen years / Key Notes: Top: The fragrance seduces the senses with Living Amazon Lily, Italian Neroli and Crisp Aldehyde / Heart: As it unfolds, Egyptian Tuberose, Living Narcisse, Turkish Rose, Living Jasmine and Italian Orris capture the heart / Base: Amber, Oakmoss, Patchouli and Living Sandalwood are timeless classics that provide a rich, warm, sensual finish /