Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Ralph Lauren Romance Always Yours

I remember buying a bottle of Ralph Lauren Romance in 1999, shortly after it came out. I was still captivated by all things Lauren (hey, I was young and even Jersey Girls dream of the Hamptons), and since I loved both the original Lauren (pre-mutilation) and the beautiful Safari and have gone through several bottles of both during the previous decade, I felt like I was supposed to love Romance just as much. The problem was that Romance belonged to the new generation of faceless, characterless perfumes that were meant for a new customer, one who wants to smell "clean", whatever that means, and would be horrified were someone to actually notice her scent. As you might have guessed, I wasn't that woman even ten years ago. I could never distinguish any of the specific floral notes and the whole synthetic mess thing didn't work with my skin chemistry any more than it suited my personality. I ended up selling the bottle almost full and never looked back.

Late last year, to commemorate a decade of making people smell like laundry detergent, L'Oréal, who owns the license for Ralph Lauren's name, launched Romance Always Yours. It's a variation on the same theme, an updated sequel, which actually is supposed to add something to the original, instead of the usual flanker MO of using an established name to sell an inferior product. Smelling a magazine insert got me interested to sniff the real thing at Sephora, and I liked it well enough, so when it appeared on one of the discounters' site for the ridiculous price of $22 and some change, I decided to get a bottle.

Romance Always Yours feels to me like someone tried (and mostly succeeded) to fix whatever went wrong with the original concept of Romance. I think it gives the washed-out floral a little character. It's still pink, still not my idea of a grand romance, but it's cute, likeable and wearable, while actually having a point of view.

The official note list makes very little sense. Have a look:

Romance notes:
Sun goddess Rose, Marigold, Yellow Freesia, Ginger, Chamomile Oil, White Violet, Lotus Flower, Musk, Day Lily, Patchouli, Oakmoss

Romance Always Yours notes:
Sun Goddess Rose, Freesia, Ginger, Lotus Flower, White Violet, Musk, Day Lily, Patchouli, Oakmoss

If there's any real oakmoss (in either perfume) it's in such miniscule amount, neither I nor an IFRA bureaucrat can detect it. I can't tell what really changed, added or tweaked, but the end result is that Romance Always Yours smells nice. It's not challenging or inspiring and I just can't see it as very romantic in a soul stirring way. It's a Doris Day scent and not a sultry screen siren, but there's a place for that even in my dramatic wardrobe.

Marina from Perfume Smellin' Things suggests some appropriate occasions to wear Romance Always Yours. Like her, I don't see a meet-the-parents event in my future, so I wear it when weeding my tomatoes.


  1. I used to wear Romance all the time, but I always felt like there was something missing... like I was meant to fill in the blanks with something else. I'm glad I wasn't the only one who thought that, though, all my friends thought I was nuts. :D Personally I don't have a problem with clean fragrances as long as they have some interest. (I'm too into Marines for my own good, I think.)

  2. I totally agree with your comments above, very insightful! The Romance fragrance is rather bland, but the Always Yours takes it up a notch. I do miss my preppy Lauren fragrance from the nineties, but the Always Yours wil have to do.


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