“ Brand: ora-ito / Type: Fragrance / Concentration: Eau de Toilette / Gender: for women „
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For my birthday in 2008 my then close friend thought it would be funny to buy me some Anti Depressant perfume as a gift, part intended as a joke, part intended to be a serious hint to get some psychiatric help I assume. We had been in Selfridges in Manchester a couple of months prior to this and I had tried the fragrance and absolutely loved it, so I was really grateful for the gift anyway as I was out of perfume.
The scent comes in an unusual box, which looks like a box of prescription tablets (even includes the braille). The bottle is shaped like a pill, with an unusual pump spray dispenser, that's almost like the spray pumps you have on angina / ear spray bottles. It has a yellow, black and white label, again in keeping with the medication theme. One thing I don't like is that you cant stand the bottle up, aside from that, the packaging and bottle is fresh and funky and very kitsch.
The bottle I was bought was a 30ml size, and cost £32.99. This is the average amount I would expect to spend for a top end high street fragrance, like Alexander McQueen or similar. As I didn't pay for it it was even better, but given the lure of the fragrance and the packaging, I probably would have paid this for it, and deemed it to be quite good value; as a 30ml bottle lasts for ages. You can get the product online, from Selfridges and other major department stores. As yet, it isn't discontinued, although I noticed that the whole section in Selfridges has reduced to one row of the fragrance only (soaps and deodorants were also available). So if you want to try it, I would get some now!
The fragrance itself launched in 2006, the packaging and scent is the idea and design of a 33 year old French designer called Ito Morabito, trading under the design company name of Ora-Ïto. He has designed for major brands including Swatch, Heineken, Adidas, Bic, Perrier and Thierry Mulger, to name but a few. Born in Marseille, he specialises in ultra original design specifications and some of his work on his home site is absolutely enthralling. So it stands to reason that Smiley lives up to all expectations!
The formula for the fragrance is based on the theory of complimenting the body's natural bio chemistry. It includes micro-nutrients to activate happiness, including 'mono animated alkaloids' Theobromine and Phenylethylamine derived from pure cocoa extract - that's right the chocolate feel good buzz in a perfume!
Theobromine is reputed to be non-addictive, a stimulant for feeling good and an aphrodisiac. It is said to increase concentration, improve mood and can even lower blood pressure! Theobromine can also be found naturally occuring in Guarana berries - something which was added to Boost chocolate bars years ago - and it is added to several energy drinks. Phenylethylamine is sold as a dietry supplement for mood improvement and weight loss therapies and again, occurs naturally in cocoa. Combining both of these psycho stimulants contributes to the aim of this perfume - to lift your mood in the same way a bar of chocolate would, only without the calories...
The scent is primarily orange, similar to Clinique Happy and DKNY Woman (Orange essential oils are uplifting and mood moulding), with notes of patchouli and pimento - which are known to bring a feeling of comfort as they are often associated with childhood memories; giving a sense of contentment and happiness. The blend of cocoa is entirely subtle, but adds to the overall sweet rich cloy of the fragrance and claims to effect your mood too.
The verdict? Well, this scent is absolutely divine, it is grown up and unusual, I have never met anyone who has either used it, tried it or heard of it. When I met my current partner I was wearing this and she absolutely raves about the attraction of the smell saying it makes her happy - or perhaps she should say smiley; she always tells people that when she met me I was wearing some kooky anti-depressant perfume - and to be fair likens me to Pheobe out of Friends, but that's alright with me, I could think of worse people to be likened to. It is a little off the wall and curious, but I really like that. I bet your dying to know if it actually works? Well the answer is yes, it does uplift your mood, and when I occasionally use my last dregs of it (I am hanging on to it in case of emergency) the scent really does genuinely put a big smile on my face. Essential oils are said to be calming and have anti-depressant properties, so why should a fragrance be any different. I am not saying it is an alternative to anti-depressants, but anything that makes me feel good and positively happier and doesn't infiltrate my body like pills do, can only be a good thing right!?