Monday, February 24, 2014

Marc Jacobs- Honey

When Marc Jacobs launched Honey last summer, the PR team at Coty Prestige (the company that holds the license for Marc Jacobs Perfumes) teamed up with a group of fashion bloggers and asked them to create images and "Honey Spots". It resulted in various mood boards and nail art photos, many of them far more interesting and original than the perfume in question. I don't know if the people at Coty approached any perfume blogger with this offer. I'd go out on a limb and say that they didn't even consider it. They're not that stupid.

Honey is aimed at the same audience that bought other Marc Jacobs perfumes because they have cute bottles with a label that says Marc Jacobs. Are they interested in perfume? Maybe. Kind of. They do buy perfumes and presumably enjoy them (I hope). They want to smell nice, which I guess is what they get from Honey. Does it smell nice? Well, it doesn't smell particularly bad. Is that a good enough answer?   Honey is a sort of fresh, sort of fruity-floral.  Sort of perfume, but not quite. It's more like a detergent or shampoo, though not particularly luxurious, as the most dominant notes are a sort of pear, sort of peach, reconstructed fruit juice, plastic honeysuckle, and a chemical orange blossom.

The opening of Honey is a declaration of intents: fruity, sticky, and the kind of young that listens to One Direction. But as Robin said in her review on NST, it's tolerable. We've all smelled worse. The green and white plastic bouquet is more difficult for me to endure. It's trying too hard to be pretty, and it shows. The honey in Honey is more of that kind-of-sort-of thing that marks this perfume. You don't need to get your Miel de Bois for a side-by-side comparison. There's absolutely nothing in common there, and the animalic beeswaxy thing you and I tend to recognize as honey is completely absent from this Marc Jacobs offering. Why they even bothered to call this perfume Honey? I'd venture a wild guess and say that the bottle design came first as a sequel to Dot, the ladybug perfume from spring 2012. Someone created the bumblebee version, which lead to the honey theme.

As the fragrance settles on skin it becomes more and more about a not particularly good honeysuckle note. It penetrated the vague and generic department store perfume dry-down and makes the long hours Honey survives on my skin quite unpleasant (of course. You knew it'd hold on for dear life). The right skin chemistry and preference might not find Honey so aggravating, but I do. In a world that offers so many fantastic perfumes for those who dare to look outside of Ulta or Sephora, this dumbed-down idea of commercial perfumery is less and less acceptable.

Notes: pear, fruity punch, mandarin, orange blossom, peach nectar, honeysuckle, honey, vanilla, wood.

Honey by Marc Jacobs ($52, 1 oz) is available from Ulta, Sephora, and most department stores.

Top photo: Marc Jacobs in his PJs at the Louis Vuitton A/W 2013-2014 show in Paris, March 2013.


  1. I was feeling optimistic when I saw the name of his new fragrance. But I got a sample and tried it and it smells like every other newish mass-marketed perfume out there. I honestly can't tell the difference between most of them these days.

  2. Wow - I guess you don't like this or any other Marc Jacobs scent. I don't either...actually, I don't know if I've ever tried any - the bottle designs don't appeal to me at all.

    But...don't you think you could let everyone know your dislike of the scent and other Marc Jacobs scents without insulting those who might either A) like it or B) not have as sophisticated and extensive knowledge about perfumes and scents as you? I have no problem with your comments on those who created the perfume, but do you have to be so nasty toward the consumers?

    1. I don't understand where Gaia insults anyone outside of the creators of this scent or was in any way nasty. She even says "The right skin chemistry and preference might not find Honey so aggravating, but I do" - no judgment necessarily implied.

      FWIW, I like the original Marc Jacobs perfume (the gardenia one) and am surprised no one really ever mentions it.

    2. I went back and re-read Gaia's original post to see if I had mis-judged her tone. Perhaps "condescending" is more proper than "nasty"...but I wasn't mistaken.

  3. I'm here to say that no one over the age of 5 should be wearing pajamas in public.

  4. Hi Bisbee,
    In defense of Gaia I must say that I understand her reactions to a luxury brand "abusing" it's name for it's natural linking to "high quality". There used to be a time when you bought Carven or Schiaparelli or... an got great ingredients and good perfume.Perhaps it wasn't to everyone's liking but in any case it was a good quality product.

    Sure, most people are not informed and just hop in a perfumery chain. But if you buy for instance an Adidas deodorant you know you'll get just that. If you spend high dollars on a bottle you should get more.It has to do with pride concerning your brand.
    I often feel annoyed by my collegues perfume choices, because to me it doesn't smell ok, and then it turns out to be an actual YSL or the likes of it.
    Then they look at me as if that should shut me up, because, hey it's an expensive brand they're wearing!! Brands are misleading us and milking their names for revenue.

    Last but not least I take my hat of for people like Gaia or Victoria (Bois de Jasmin) that keep on writing and informing us about perfume, must be draining sometimes. So if the tone of one post is not exactly wright to everyone , let's be a bit forgiving.


  5. My husband had a co-worker that wore P. Diddy's cologne "Sean Jean" which was so strong, heavy and harsh on his co-workers skin. It didn't smell nice at all on this person, but he was so wrapped up in the "brand name" hype and price, he thought he should wear it. Even the guy's wife hated it.

  6. I'm a big fan of honey notes in perfume, so I did sniff this one. Not for me, but, then, I knew going in that I wasn't exactly the target audience. However, what really fascinates me here is the direction he seems to be going with his perfumes - not the scents so much as the bottles. If I just saw the Dot and Honey bottles, I'd immediately think that they were scents for Oilily's children's line - not at all scents I'd associate with what I saw in Marc Jabob's 2014 fall collection. I can usually see the connection between a designer's aesthetic and the perfumes they put out and I could see the connection MJ had with his eponymous perfume, the splashes and Lola, but the ladybugs and bees? Not so much. To my mind, at least, they're a lot more cute childlike than cute modern/youthful/edgy. Maybe he's trying to radically distance himself from his LV days. If so, bravo to him - major success on that front.

  7. Gaia, thank you for this post, you have expressed exactly what I thought when I sniffed Honey, for that matter all MJ fragrances. Fair play for the honest review.

  8. I can't stand one Marc Jacobs scent, not one. They are mostly bland - indeed like shampoo. I totally get the criticism of Marc Jacobs. But, I don't think it's necessary to slag on department store scents in general and especially not Coty Prestige. Not after Balenciaga Paris, Bottega Veneta, Love, Chloe or even SJP's Lovely. I think that's what bisbee is getting at. Some of us don't live in NY or LA or even the USA where niche and even a product like Chanel Exclusifs are easy-ish to come by. For me, ordering samples of every interesting scent is ridiculous so I usually don't. I wear department store scents from Guerlain and the Coty Prestige I mentioned above, etc that I can access "locally" (4 hour round trip drive) or order online. Often, I don't want to spend a lot of money so while I could order niche scents, I chose not to. Yet, I smell fabulous. And, I do enjoy this blog, thank you. :)


I love comments and appreciate the time you take to connect with me, but please do not insert links to your blog or store. Those will be deleted. The comment feature is not intended to provide an advertising venue for your blog or your commercial site.

Related Posts Widget