If you’re tired of the usual perfume dupes recommendations, you’ve come to the right place
The growing sentiment of perfumes as a beauty staple paired with how businesses were quick to replicate popular names in the industry at a more realistic price point resulted in the perfect formula to boost the Filipino perfume scene. Filipino perfume brands found in malls boasted increased sales as pioneers in the space. Multiple dupe houses then started emerging and competing with those brands.
Regardless of how popular dupes are, the itch to fulfill the original fantasy can be great especially if the dupes don’t smell close to the original. So, if your wallet isn’t quite there yet, treat this as a list curated from my maarte nose with maarte standards to yours. Trust that I compared these side by side and I may prefer some perfume dupes to their original counterparts.
Notes of Maison Francis Kurkdjian Gentle Fluidity Gold: vanilla, amber, musk, woodsy notes, juniper berries, nutmeg, coriander
Scent Therapy does a really good job of recreating the not-so-gourmand vanilla touch that the original Gentle Fluidity Gold has. This take only removes the spices in the original blend, making this smoother overall, which is why I think it’s a more PH-friendly take. It’s subtly sweet, creamy and even a little powdery. It’s an expensive-smelling vanilla that isn’t too dense or heady. I get why this is a fool-proof cozy pick.
Notes of Maison Margiela Replica Matcha Meditation: green tea, bergamot, mandarin orange, jasmine, mate, orange blossom, matcha tea, white chocolate, moss, cedar
Matcha Meditation is one of my favorite perfumes, so I’m happy to have found a dupe that I genuinely see myself wearing. Scent Therapy’s Matcha has just a touch of citrus in the opening, making the matcha a lot fresher and more palatable as it is less green and earthy than the original. The dry down is very similar; it still has this rich, decadent white chocolate. Surprisingly, the dupe lasts longer on my skin.
Notes of Maison Francis Kurkdjian 724: aldehydes, Calabrian bergamot, Egyptian jasmine, sweet pea, mock orange, white musk, sandalwood
724 was an interesting launch in the clean and musky realm of 2022 releases. It’s clean from the aldehydes, fresh and energizing from the touch of bergamot, has a bit of depth with the florals, and is also somewhat crisp and elegant with the sandalwood and white musk. Scent Therapy nailed that vibe but smells a lot more aldehydic in the opening. Think more soapy linen but the dry down is so similar, it’s almost scary.
Notes of Ex Nihilo Fleur Narcotique: litchi, bergamot, peach, peony, orange blossom, jasmine, petalia, musk, moss, woody notes
Once you smell Ex Nihilo’s Fleur Narcotique, you’ll understand why it’s Hailey Bieber’s go-to perfume. It’s a beautifully done fruity-floral perfume that boasts longevity. This opens with juicy fruity nuances from the peach and lychee, then you get the florals that give it this rich and intoxicating character. Overall, this is a delicate, easily distinguishable scent that’s fresh, clean, pleasant and light. I just find that the original has a more intimate touch, almost as if you caught a whiff of it, and you’d want to come closer to get a better smell.
Notes of Carolina Herrera Good Girl: almond, coffee, bergamot, lemon, tuberose, jasmine sambac, orange blossom, orris, Bulgarian rose, tonka bean, cacao, vanilla, praline, sandalwood, musk, amber, cashmere wood, cinnamon, patchouli, cedar
Symmetry Lab’s Good Girl is my favorite Good Girl dupe because of how spot-on this is. It smells sweet, warm and powdery. It’s addicting and sexy—like a good girl who knows how to have fun. Because of how similar these two smell, I can alternate both and nobody can tell the difference. This is why this dupe has never left my collection and probably why I don’t feel the need to repurchase the real thing.
Notes of Kilian Rolling in Love: almond milk, ambrette, iris, freesia, tuberose, vanilla, tonka bean, musk
If you never thought musk and vanilla could be a thing, Kilian's Rolling in Love will prove you otherwise. This sweet vanilla-almond concoction works so well even when blended with musky florals that it's perfectly strong yet soft at the same time. Symmetry Lab’s Floral Ballad smells just like that but has more projection than the original. If your concern with the steep price point is you’d be spending so much for something people will barely smell on you, might as well go for the cheaper alternative, am I right?
Notes of Kilian Angels’ Share: cognac, cinnamon, tonka bean, oak, praline, vanilla, sandalwood
This is one of the very few dupes that genuinely surprised me enough to make me purchase the original, but also replaced the original in my heart as I preferred this over the real thing anyway. People describe Kilian’s Angels’ Share to be a boozy cinnamon apple pie, and while that much is true, a lot of people don't talk about the heavy wood and cinnamon in this one. It could really just be that those who live in cooler climates don’t think much about it as the weather cooperates with them so they can enjoy the scent. With the humidity in the Philippines, the heavy cinnamon and woods can get cloying to many. I appreciate that Dindin Fragrance’s take is a lot softer and smoother, making it a more wearable alternative to our climate without compromising the vibes.
Notes of Jean Paul Gaultier Scandal: blood orange, mandarin orange, honey, gardenia, orange blossom, jasmine, peach, beeswax, caramel, patchouli, licorice
Nothing screams scandal like something bold and powerful yet modern at the same time—and such with finesse—such as Scandal from Jean Paul Gaultier. This honey, caramel and patchouli blend is creamy and earthy yet warm and almost gourmet-like. It's spicy, sexy, addicting and fun—exactly like the bottle. Dindin Fragrance’s Scandal, albeit vibes-wise looks very different from the allure of the original JPG Scandal, is one that thoroughly impressed me as it’s a strong reminder not to judge a book by its cover or in this case, a perfume by its bottle. If you spray both, I probably wouldn’t be able to tell which is which.
Notes of Les Liquides Imaginaires Blanche Bete: milk, ambrette, mystikal, tuberose, mahonial, jasmine, incense, vanilla, musk, tonka bean, cacao
Now this is super niche, but imagine being swaddled with the coziest blankets with a side of milk. Blanche Bête is lactonic, creamy and subtly powdery. It’s such a comforting and cozy scent that’s close to the skin. This dupe was something I just took a chance on at random but was pleasantly surprised to find how scarily alike this smelled. Elnaris Perfume’s take is stronger to the nose and projects more in comparison to the original’s intimate sillage.
Notes of Glossier You: iris, pink pepper, ambroxan, ambrette
People who like Glossier You are usually a very specific bunch. They don’t like girly-girl scents, don’t like anything too strong or cloying, and want something intimate but elevated and not trying too hard. A lot of fans also complain that a lot of dupes turn sweet after a while, perhaps because most dupes are strong on the ambrette, which has a sweet facet to its floral nuance. Elnaris does a really good job with this dupe as it never turns sweet and stays linear like the original You.
Notes of Maison Margiela Replica Whispers in the Library: vanilla, woody notes, cedar, pepper
Calling all the academia fans: Whispers in the Library smells like books with the woody or papery accord—but make it a little sweeter with age. It’s the books that have sat on the shelves untouched for a little while, not the books that are fresh off the press. It’s a subtly sweet woody perfume that’s also powdery as it dries down—but has a touch of something spicy because of the pepper. It’s perfectly unisex, the same way books don’t pick their readers’ genders. Elnaris just lasts longer because I find it has more oil-concentrate than the original.
Notes of Parfums de Marly Delina Exclusif: litchi, pear, bergamot, Turkish rose, oud, incense, vanilla, amber, woody notes
Delina Exclusif is one of the most popular women’s perfumes as it features a jammy rose that doesn’t scream “classic oldie rose.” The rose, mixed with fruits like litchi and pear, gives it a juicy touch. It’s dainty and pretty; it’s fun, and lets its presence be known. It’s a very beautiful scent overall. My issue with most Delina dupes is that it almost always has a plasticky smell. No dupe house has come close to how smoothly Parfums de Marly does it. It doesn’t matter if they nailed the notes because my nose just cannot get past the plasticky, rubbery smell that most dupes have. I’m happy to report that Exclusif from Scentopia doesn’t have that synthetic feel.
Notes of Kayali Yum Pistachio Gelato 33: pistachio, ice cream, bergamot, hazelnut, rum, cardamom, lily-of-the-valley, pear, jasmine, geranium, peony, raspberry, white peach, whipped cream, marshmallow, cotton candy, tonka bean, loukhoum, sandalwood, cacao, cedar
Kayali’s Yum Pistachio Gelato 33 had one of the best perfume campaigns in 2023, but a lot of Kayali fans were a little disappointed to find that while this was marketed as a gourmand, it wasn’t as tooth-aching as many expected. It does smell like a pistachio gelato but only mixed in with everything else; I guess they expected something more syrupy or dense like the gourmands we’re used to. Scentopia’s Gelato takes away the extra fuss from the original and keeps it straight to the heart so that you can smell nutty pistachios but also something smooth and creamy, exactly like you would imagine gelato to be.
Notes of Jo Malone English Pear & Freesia: pear, melon, freesia, rose, musk, patchouli, rhubarb, amber
English Pear & Freesia is Jo Malone’s bestseller for a reason. It’s fresh, it’s pleasant, it’s inoffensive, and it works well with the PH weather. While I find that it’s difficult to mess up this scent, I also want to acknowledge that Senteurs Par Shey (SPS) absolutely nailed this scent. I really cannot tell the difference. But because of the lightness of the notes, it’s normal to hear reviews that this scent doesn’t last too long. I find that SPS’ perfume also lasts way longer than its original counterpart, and with the price point, it’s hard to feel bad about overspraying.
Notes of Ariana Grande Cloud: lavender, pear, bergamot, whipped cream, coconut, praline, vanilla orchid, musk, woody notes
Ariana Grande Cloud has become so viral because it hits so many good marks for perfume lovers. It projects well, lasts well and smells great. It’s an addictingly sweet scent that’s both playful and sexy at the same time, making it easy to dress up for special occasions or dress down for everyday wear. Because of its rave reviews, everyone and their mom started wearing this fragrance; hey, you like what you like. SPS Cloud reignited my love for the original fragrance. It smells great; it lasts so long on my skin, and people can smell me and compliment me—exactly like the original.
Like I always tell my followers, there will always be something within your budget; all you have to do is look for it. If getting the real thing isn’t realistic for you or your wallet right now, there’s no shame in finding an alternative that works for you and your expectations. After all, beauty is subjective.
Here’s to feeling good while smelling good, without breaking the bank.
Words Jessy So
Art Macky Arquilla