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I was first introduced to the "Philosophy" brand of perfumes and cosmetics by a good friend of mine several years ago, who had brought back several items for herself from a trip to America. She generously donated a few little samples of various products that she had got with other purchases, and it wasn't long before I understood the appeal of the brand.
With stockists in the UK seeming to be more difficult to come by, I had to research the brand a little before I could make some purchases of my own. I eventually found some items on eBay, and my mother and I made a sort of 'joint purchase' of a set of items from the Philosophy range from QVC, which is a television shopping channel.
When I was lucky enough to visit the USA for myself a couple of years ago, the range of perfumes and scents from the Philosophy range was much easier to come by, and I was fortunate enough to be able to sample several of the fragrances for myself, eventually deciding to purchase several for myself.
This review discusses one of my favourite fragrances from the Philosophy range, namely "Inner Grace".
I paid around $15 for my small bottle of the fragrance, which is a neat little 0.5 fl oz or 14.8ml. The scent is available to purchase in the UK, but I have only ever seen the larger sized bottles available. At the time of writing, (March 2012), the 30ml bottle of scent is available to buy online at www.amazon.co.uk for around £26, plus postage costs. Alternatively, you can buy the fragrance directly at www.philosophyskincare.co.uk, where the 60ml bottle will cost you £44 with free delivery.
* PACKAGING... LESS IS MORE..*
As I own the smaller bottle of the Eau De Parfum, this is what I will be describing in my review, although I know from having seen the larger bottles on sale in America that the design is very similar - if not identical, but obviously on a larger scale - to the smaller bottle that I own.
Comprising of a completely rectangular bottle, with a plain-looking silver lid on top, it is fair to say that the Inner Grace Perfume is not the most eye-catching packaging that I have ever seen. The label on the front simply has the word 'Grace' printed in lower case letters across the middle of the label, but on closer inspection, the word 'inner' is printed in very small print along the word 'Grace.'
The packaging fits in perfectly with other items in the Philosophy range, which all have a very simplistic look to them in my opinion. I think that this helps give the impression that the Philosophy range is clean, crisp and fresh, and although the overall range looks quite understated, I think this is the intended impression presented by the products and it gives the range a very sophisticated air about it.
* INNER GRACE... *
With the bottle being made of clear glass, I am able to see the liquid perfume within. The perfume has a sort of violet-tinted hue to it, although it is quite subtle and understated.
The scent of the Eau De Parfum is evident even as I remove the silver lid from the bottle. It is true that I find the fragrance is quite strong, particularly at first, and so I tend to exercise a little caution when spritzing the liquid on my skin.
When the liquid is allowed its release from the bottle, the first notes that are detected are extremely floral, making the fragrance feel extremely feminine. The strong floral tones are so 'heady' that I found this fragrance initially off-putting, and only reconsidered after I had actually had the opportunity to sample it for myself. I find that it is very much one of those perfumes that 'calms down' increasingly as the scent is allowed to absorb into the skin, so don't be put off by the initial aroma which is a heavy musk and overly-floral bouquet.
I tend to find that one squirt of this particular perfume is more than enough for my own tastes. A generous amount of spray is decanted from the bottle with a single spray of the pump, so I am able to rub this around both my wrists without the liquid - or its enclosed scent - feeling remotely scarce.
As the liquid is drying on my skin, there is a noticeable sweetness that is evident beneath the floral top notes. This sweetness is not overly sickly, nor does it override the floral notes, but rather sits beside it, making the overall fragrance seem extremely 'heady' once again. This combination took some getting used to, and indeed when I first bought the perfume I did wonder whether this perfume was far too old for me, as I bought it when I was approaching 30 and the heavily-floral musks within the fragrance just felt too old, and far too flowery to appeal to my own tastes.
When the scent is completely dry however, it is a different story, and my faith in my choice is again restored.
It is true to say that the floral tones in this perfume are still very much sitting near the top of the scent, and are very easily detectable. The sweetness too is still noticeable, although it seems to have subsided somewhat since its first appearance. Once the perfume has been allowed to develop, the sweetness in the overall fragrance seems to have become slightly musky and much more understated than it initially was. Rather than it shrieking to get noticed, as it did to announce its arrival in the initial fragrance, when the perfume has developed and absorbed into my skin the sweetness seems to have matured slightly, seemingly taking on some of the floral elements from the other tones and developing into a sweet musk that lingers on the skin. This overall fragrance has a very 'grown up' feeling to it, without it feeling too old for me as I had first feared. Likewise, it would be easy for the sweetness in the initial tones to come across as being sickly, and remind me of some of the perfumes I used to wear when I was a teenager. Instead, the Philosophy Inner Grace has a very grown up, sophisticated feeling to it.
The sweet edge to the overall scent actually reminds me of confectionary, marshmallows maybe, or some of those lilac-coloured Parma Violet sweets. Whilst I find this difficult to describe, I find that this particular element of the overall perfume is quite understated and it sits as a whisper behind the stronger top notes that are most definitely floral and sweetly musky.
All of these elements to the Inner Grace Perfume work in harmony with each other, without any overriding the next. This finely-tuned balance makes the perfume extremely uplifting to wear, and whilst it is undoubtedly one of the most feminine scents I have ever owned, it has a revitalising edge to it, whispering in its romantic, musky voice over and over throughout the duration that it is being worn.
The perfume is one that I find is more suited to evening use, or for special occasions. The product has quite a 'special' feeling to it when I am using it and wearing it, and I am fairly sentimental about it I suppose. I do think however that the fragrance could easily be classed as being too strong for everyday use, and so I tend to keep my perfume for those special nights out or one-off occasions.
The fragrance is one that lasts well which is down to the level of strength in its top notes in my opinion. The perfume is quite strong as I have already mentioned, and so I do find that I do not need to 'top-up' the scent by respraying for the most part. This is probably down to personal choice, but I do think that too much of the perfume would make it too 'heady' and over-powering for my own tastes. A little goes a long way with Philosophy products in my experience, and the Inner Grace Perfume is no exception to this rule.
* FINAL WORD... *
I would recommend this fragrance in a heartbeat. I think it offers something a little bit different to other scents and perfumes that I already own. I find the perfume to be completely new and unusual, without being too 'over the top' and I often get complimented about the scent when I am wearing it. I think it would appeal to most peoples' tastes as it comprises such a variety of different elements, being floral and sweet with a musky edge.
The other huge plus point for me personally is that the bottle has lasted such a long time. This is worth bearing in mind as the Philosophy range of perfumes are often more expensive than other perfumes that I buy for myself. As the perfumes are so strong in their tones and scents, I find that a little really goes a long way and the bottle lasts for quite a long time as a result.
Overall, I would thoroughly recommend the Philosophy Inner Grace perfume and plan to purchase a new bottle for myself in the coming months.