Why get a Chanel perfume for £70 when you can get a Lidl scent for £4 and smell identical? That’s what money-saving expert Martin Lewis asks, as he claims that both perfumes smell almost exactly the same.
According to the bargain expert, ‘Suddenly Madame Glamour’, made by the discount supermarket, is “virtually indistinguishable” from the designer ‘Coco Mademoiselle’, suggesting it could be a Christmas gift option for those looking into saving.
Mr Lewis told The Independent: “There are many 'smell-alike' perfumes on the market and a perfect example of this is the Lidl’s perfume and the Coco Mademoiselle.
“This is something we discovered on my TV show [Martin Lewis Money Show], when we got some people to smell them. About 50% of them either couldn’t tell the difference or preferred the cheap version.”
This Lidl’s fragrance “with citrus and floral notes, incorporating bergamot and jasmine” has become “one of the most popular beauty items and a household favourite”.
A spokesperson for Lidl told The Independent: “Two independent consumer panel blind tests carried out by the Perfumer's Guild on the Lidl Suddenly Madame Glamour perfume against a hugely popular designer branded perfume revealed incredible results - 50 women in the first test voted overwhelmingly for the Lidl perfume with 89% saying they would prefer to wear it over the designer brand. And, 90% of the 100 women who blind tested the perfumes in the second round said they also preferred the Lidl perfume.”
However, the difference is in the branding. Coco Mademoiselle comes in a luxury bottle and box, and it is endorsed by actress Keira Knightley, who has fronted numerous campaigns for the French fashion house. In contrast, Lidl’s bottle is plain and less luxurious.
“I think we need to be honest here. People like branded goods. It has a certain caché and I can’t persuade people away from that… It’s brand snobbery.
“However if it’s for yourself or for someone that can’t afford it, there’s nothing wrong on doing so [buying the cheap version].”
But before buying a fragrance under a fiver, many concerns might come into question. Is it a copy? Is it illegal? What about the health and safety process? After all is something you splash on your skin. But Mr Lewis explains that brands like Lidl and Next –which has a smell-alike perfume to a Ralph Lauren number - are both legitimate. “These are not copies and I’d expect them to have a higher duty of care. And no, this is not a copy nor illegal.”
Britain's bestselling perfumes
Britain's bestselling perfumes
1/8 These are some of the country's most popular fragrances...
Calvin Klein CK One
Boots.com, £17.25 for 50ml eau de toilette
The original ‘Unisex’ scent, sharing CK One was revolutionary to 1990s teenagers, when it was groundbreaking to smell androgynous.
2/8 Chanel No. 5
Iconic and Marylin Monroe's favourite
3/8 Prada Eau de Toilette
4/8 Chance Chanel
Chance: In 2003 Polge came up with Chanel's most youthful fragrance, which is a floral oriental following in the footsteps of Coco Mademoiselle.
5/8 Davidoff Cool Water
Davidoff Cool Water
6/8 Tom Ford Black Orchid
7/8 YSL's Black Opium
YSL's Black Opium
Jo Malone Lime, Basil & Mandarin
Jomalone.co.uk, £38 for 30ml cologne
Endlessly imitated but never bettered. Instantly recognisable mix of peppery basil, fresh lime and sweet mandarin.
Lidl and Next, however, are not the only high-street retailers to sell budget perfumes. Superdrug launched a range last year with prices starting at £4. Simon Comins, its buying director, told Mail Online: “Fragrance doesn't have to cost the earth.
“Of course many people love the sense of luxury that comes with wearing a designer perfume, but a savvy shopper is happy to wear an amazing fragrance that doesn't come with the designer bottle and luxury price tag.”