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Re-Branded Signature (Thomas) copy

I like to think that I’m relatively objective when it comes to reviewing perfumes.  Sure, I don’t see the sense in trashing something completely and if I don’t like it, I’ll politely and constructively say so, or I’ll leave well alone.  The same goes if I like something, I’ll be as positive as I possibly can be, after all perfume is meant to be fun, isn’t it?  There is one perfume however, that I simply cannot be objective about, and that is Stella McCartney’s STELLA, for the simple fact that it is the signature scent of my wonderful sister.

Now, I’m going to go off-piste slightly and give you a brief history lesson on my sister and me.  I was born a mere 11 months after my sister (yeah, my parents were busy in the ‘80s – the less said about that, the better) and right from the moment I was born, we were the best of buddies and still are today, except for on my birthday, because that means my sister and I are the same age for a whole month, and she gets grumpy (and has a tendency to bite).  In short, we are very close and I love her very much, even when she is mean to me on my birthday…

So yes, it is true that I cannot be completely objective when it comes to STELLA, but on this occasion of bias I am lucky because STELLA is in fact, a very good perfume.  Originally launched in 2003, Stella McCartney’s eponymous fragrance was created by perfume Jacques Cavallier, the man who was responsible for such gems as; Issey Miyake’s L’Eau d’Issey, Yves Saint Laurent’s Elle, Nu & M7 and Jean Paul Gaultier’s Classique – perfumes which are classed as some of the great modern classics.  His talent shines in Stella, and he takes the most familiar of perfume notes – the rose – and turns it into something new and entirely unfamiliar.

After a brief disappearance, Stella has been re-launched in new packaging and with a funky ad campaign fronted by model, Lara Stone.  The perfume remains unchanged; a fact that I’m sure will be comforting for many of its fans, and is still the same “homage to the English rose” as it was upon its launch, it has just had a bit of a face lift – that’s all.

Jump to: Win 1 of 3 Stella McCartney Stella Eau de Parfum Sprays in our competition

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Stella McCartney Stella Macaroons


The Notes

Rose, Mandarin, Peony and Amber


How Does it Smell?

Rose perfumes are some of the most diverse in the business.  From one flower, a perfumer can craft English country garden roses (Sa Majeste la Rose by Serge Lutens), pretty photorealistic roses (Rose by Paul Smith) blood red roses (La Fille de Berlin by Serge Lutens), dreamy roses (Idylle by Guerlain) and even more abstract roses.  STELLA definitely sits in the abstract camp and presents a genderless rose with a multitude of interesting nuances.

STELLA opens with a citrus-tinged rose accord.  There is a subtle sense of tension between the sharpness of the mandarin and the powdery feel of the rose (which is most definitely the more dominant part) that creates a dynamic that doesn’t feel either masculine or feminine, in fact, STELLA straddles the gender lines quite comfortably for a rose fragrance and one can imagine it being a suitable perfume for the likes of David Bowie and Grace Jones – the king and queen of androgyny.

As STELLA develops it becomes much warmer and transitions into a base of wood and amber.  Again, tension and contrast plays a key part, with the plush sweetness of the amber creating a warm shadow to the sharpness of cedar.  The rose carries through of course, and it remains powdery but the difference in the base is that, as it settles, the effect is more finely milled and iris-like than the opening, presenting a greater sense of delicacy.  These notes – the powder of the rose, the sharpness of the wood and the warmth of the cedar – are all beautifully linked by a patchouli note that gives STELLA a sour and almost-human-like funk that is akin to the smell of hot skin.  The remarkable thing however, is that the fragrance never smells ‘sexy’, instead it feels more like a glamorous and rebellious take on the rose that isn’t afraid to be a little bit challenging.

STELLA is a beautiful fragrance, and I can see why it is the signature scent of my sister.  At first it may seem unassuming, even shy, but with time you realise that there is a complex and beguiling personality beneath the skin.  It is this complexity and duality that makes it seem so in tune with the character of my charming sibling.  STELLA also masterfully takes a genre utterly and completely associated with femininity and turns it into something altogether more genderless.  It is simply a rose like no other, and for that reason you should give it a sniff.

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Congratulations to our winners Kate P, Theresa P and Kathleen B!

We have 3 Stella McCartney 50ml Eau de Parfum Sprays (RRP £58) to give away to 3 lucky readers!

To enter, simply comment below and tell us the story behind your signature scent. The competition closes on Wednesday 1st October. Good luck!

Breaker2No purchase necessary. A purchase will not improve your chances of winning. Contest begins 24th September 2014 and ends 1st October 2014. Winners will be selected in a random drawing on or about 1st October 2014. 3 prize winners will receive the items stated above. If the winner doesn’t respond within 7 days, the competition will be redrawn. Prizes must be accepted as awarded; not redeemable in cash or credit.

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  • Olivia Helliwell

    My signature scent was discovered when my mum picked up what she thought I asked for, but didn’t. I’m so glad she’s got a bad memory like me!

  • Suzanne McCusker

    My signature scent is Opium, my parents bought it for me for my 18th birthday, it made me feel like an adult, a woman, it still evokes the same memories every time I use it, or smell it on someone else.

  • Abigail Daniel

    My signature scent would be the Jimmy Choo Perfume!

    My sister gave it to me Two years ago, and I was saving it for a special occasion, I was about to go on my second online dating date. The first time, I had a feeling that he wasn’t going to be the one, so I didn’t wear it. The second date, I had a feeling that this would be the man! Don’t ask me how! Gut instinct, I guess you could say! 🙂 anyway the date was magical! And two years later we are still going strong! I hadn’t worn the perfume in around 1 and a half years! as I was trying out new perfumes! Which he never really commented on, I found the little bit that was left in the bottle from when we where first dating, and decided on our ‘Date Night’ to wear it. Thinking he wouldn’t even remember what I smelled like on our first date!, we walked along the beach, he hugged and kissed me. And said “wow, your wearing it!” I said “wearing what?” thought he meant the dress I was wearing, and he said “No, no! The perfume you wore on our very first date! I love it” Well this completely blew me away! So I have been wearing it ever since! 🙂
    Now, although I love wearing it! I would love another lovely smelling perfume to wear each day, and save my other perfume which has nearly all gone, for our date nights, so it’s really special!
    I have been on the hunt for a lovely smelling perfume to wear, so Hopefully I will get picked and be able to wear this! anyway I hope reading this hasn’t been very boring haha! ^_^ x

  • Turnip R Greasemonkey

    I have a citrusy scent, now I do put this partly down to the copius amount of orange juice I drink, but it’s probably due to the body washes and scrubs I use.

  • Tom Baines

    jon Paul Goutier struggling to find that right aftershave, sisters went to USA and as a gift bought my first JPG it was just right for me

  • Pm Liu

    my signature scent is Chanel Coco Mademoiselle, I’ve always liked this scent, when I spray it on me it brings out the fresh rose note in the fragrance and always thought it was really nice. I used to work for Chanel so used to get Chanel Coco Mademoiselle for a really cheap price and would stock up whenever I can.

  • jojones

    I had a French girl to stay at my house for exeat after my DD volunteered me at her boarding school. Her mother sent me a gift of a bottle of Channel no 5 as a thank you, & I loved it so it became my signature scent, but I would love to win Stella to give it a try as it sounds scentsational!

  • Sue King

    Got to be Chanel no 5. I remember I had to save for weeks to get my first bottle and a friend bought it for me from the duty free shop on her way back from Majorca. I was too frightened to open it as I wanted it to last forever.

  • Nicola BIven

    My Signature Scent is Bulgari, Omnia, My husband bought it for me on our first holiday together, it reminds me of the balmy Cypriot nights sat on a balcony watching the sunset and the world go by.

  • Claire Nutman

    Jovan musk when I was young, it is so seductive and subtle, my tale is that I was smitten by a boy and when I finally saved my pocket money for a bottle I wore this out in the evening, needless to say he was impressed and swoon he kissed me,,,,,a happy ending x

  • emilyomara

    I love DOT by Marc Jacobs is a fresh scent, my mum happened to buy the same one when it came out, so we have the same scent now!

  • Cris Curran

    My signature scent it Gucci Flora. Its light and pretty… My sister gave it to me as a gift and I’ve loved it ever since!

  • Victoria_CosmeticCravings

    My signature scent is Viktor and Rolf Flowerbomb. I had loved it from afar for a while but chose it as my wedding day scent, where I wore it for the first time. Now I routinely wear it as one of my favourite perfumes and my husband says he loves the fact that whenever he smells it, he is transported back to our wedding day.

  • Monkeygambler

    My signature scent (YSL Cinema) was discovered when I randomly asked a girl in the club toilets for a spritz of her perfume. Later that evening, I met my now-fiancé – when we got up close and personal he told me how much he loved my perfume and how unusual it was.
    I’ll be wearing my signature sent on our wedding day, for sure…!

  • liz denial

    My philosophy in life is ‘if you see someone without a smile give them yours’ so it’s very apt that my signature scent is called Smiley which is a fragrance of “happy therapy”, based on olfactory molecules theobromine and phenylethylamine that are known to trigger happiness

  • Ane S

    I got given a perfume set for Christmas and it was my first proper perfume, as soon as I smelt it I loved it, and I wore it practically for the whole year! The person who brought it said they thought it would go well with my personality 🙂 Guess they were right!

  • My signature fragrance is Burberry London – discovered a decade ago by my husband, then boyfriend. He gave it as a Valentine’s Day present to me and ever since the ‘London’ became association of me for everyone I know. It would be amazing to wear ‘London’ the fragrance in the city of London – it’s a dream of mine to visit the capital and the trip would tie my favorite, signature scent to one of my biggest wishes.

  • My signature scent is Thierry Mugler Alien which is the first perfume I ever bought with my first wages from my first full time job after leaving school. It’s still my favourite perfume to this day xx

  • Zoe Warren

    My signature scent is Coco Mademoiselle. My husband bought it for me on my 31st Birthday last year, and it’s been my favourite and his since then. Not the cheapest to replace, but definitely worth it!

  • My signature scent is Flower by Kenzo. I first came across it in an airport duty free shop when I was leaving home for the first time to go and study abroad. Needless to say I was very upset about it and I bought Flower to make me feel better. I have gone through countless bottles since then and the scent always takes me back to those amazing years I spent as a student! It’s such a comforting scent for me! 🙂

  • Sharon Vos-Arnold

    I was given a bottle of Guerlain Mitsouko when I was about 15, it was love and first sight. I have been wearing it since. I do wear other perfumes but I always go back to Mitsouko ♥

  • blueberry heart

    Mine is Chanel Cristalle. I got given a bottle as a 21st birthday present (many years ago!) when on a trip to New York. I associate it with there and have loved the fragrance – and New York ever since!

  • The first proper perfume i fell in love with was CK1 , i was given it as a pressie and its my fave everyday scent

  • skye moore

    I found my signature scent in the bottle of Ambre perfume by L’occitaine. It’s a warm comforting golden hug in a bottle. I pray they never discontinue it!

  • Nicola

    Miss Dior – the scent i wore on my first date with my boyfriend and he has continued to love ever since

  • Alissa Reid

    I don’t have a signature scent – I am still on the hunt! For a moment I thought it was going to be the new DKNY NY perfume but I’ve gone off it now. Maybe this will be it?!

  • lhm

    I was given Paco Robanne Lady Million as a gift for successfully getting my first proper ‘office’ job and wore it on my first day of work, so now I always wear it for work as it gives me this sort of work ‘alter ego’ and professional mode! It smells so sensuous and sexy but mature and classy at the same time 🙂

  • Coline T.

    Hi, my signature scent is “Parisienne” by Yves St Laurent. She was discovered when my mother gave it to me as a gift for my birthday.

  • Alex De Vere

    Miss Dior Cherie, when it was first launched back in 2006, it reminded me of strawberries and cream (vanilla). Shame they changed the basic scent and brought out endless useless variations

  • Robyn Logan Clarke

    My favourite signature scent is Dolce and Gabana Light Blue, my mum bought me a bottle for my wedding as my something blue, we got married in South Africa, so the scent always reminds me of that happy summery day.

  • Juliette

    During the olympics in 2012 my sister bought me Agave and Cacao from Jo Malone – the smell reminds of my grandma who I was very close to and I often have compliments on the scent

  • tapdance6

    It’s the scent I pick to make men tick.

  • Janet Humphrey

    My favourite perfume is Miss Dior Cherie, I wore it for my wedding day (six years next week) and everytime I wear it, my husband says ‘you smell like married’ 🙂 awww

  • dragonfly63

    I won Essence in a competition years ago and have worn it ever since. Hope your winner does the same.

  • Lindsey Bannister

    I was given some Thierry Mugler Angel for Christmas and people are always complementing me on it. One girl at work says it smells like pear drops, and she can smell me coming every time I go to the water cooler!

  • maci234

    my favourite is lacoste woman love it

  • Annamaria0

    Narciso Rodriguez For Her – my husband bought me my first bottle as a gift, when he came back from a business trip to the US, and it was instant love. He does know me well!

  • Debbie Anne Hume

    For me it is Chanel No5….I first tried this when my mum had it…now I adore it and everyone that knows me knows that I love it <3 x

  • angiehoggett

    I love Tom Ford Black orchid, because it’s deep and sensual

  • Claire GriffithssoontobeAldrid

    i found my signature scent on a family shopping trip in a perfume shop

  • Neeru Sharma

    It was the first one my husband bought for me.

  • Catherine Joyce

    I love Cool Water by Davidoff, I bought a bottle after trying my friends and have loved it ever since

  • emily

    I love marc Jacobs daisy – as it was the last gift my nan bought me

  • janet haste

    For me it is Anais Anais, I was give some as a present years ago and still use it. Lovely, light fresh scent.

  • Kate Pilcher

    Stella is my signature scent! Being created by the same person as L’eau d’Issey is spooky though as that’s my mothers…we must be alike! 🙂

  • Jayne K

    I’m currently hooked on anything rose scented. I used to have a tiny vial of rose attar and the beautiful smell always made me smile.

  • Karen Lyons

    Love the classiness of Chanel No 5 – it just reeks sophistication!

  • Insiya Ezzy

    My signature scent is Mademoiselle Ricci by Nina Ricci. I actually bought a sample sized bottle just because I fell in love with the bottle (typical me!) Little did I know I would end up loving the scent so much!

  • TamTimes Three

    Stella – wish there was a more romantic story to this but awas actually just a random lucky spritz in duty free, several years ago. Love it because it’s quite subtle, not too perfume-y!

  • Christine Northrop

    My signature scent is Midnight Rose by Lancome and it was the first perfume my granddaughter bought for me

  • Tara

    Yves Saint Laurent Cinema – first tried this in Milan whilst I was on my year abroad. I adored this scent as soon as I smelt it and even now it makes me feel special and glamorous. I’ve worn this perfume on a number of occasions and the great thing is that the scent lasts as well as adding a touch of luxury to your day 🙂

  • Nisa Tariq

    My favourite perfume is actually (believe it or not) Stella by Stella McCartney. I brought it for myself at the beginning of the year (who doesn’t like a treat?) after hearing rave reviews about it on the blogosphere. Let me tell you I was not disappointed. Even my beloved Chloe perfume trails in second place. Love the smell and the design of the perfume bottle – oozes sophistication.

  • Renate Keiding Lindholm

    Aqcua di Parma – it’s summer every day when I put it on:)

  • Valentina by Valentino. It was the first perfume i ever had, my mum bought it for me on my 18th to cheer me up, now whenever i need an emotional lift i simply spritz and smile.

  • Aoife Bruce

    My signature fragrance has to be Tom Ford, Black Orchid. It’s dark, sticky, sexy and lingering. I could not be without it now!

  • Angela Wheeler

    Daisy by Marc Jacobs – I love this scent and wear it all of the time. My partner and I went away for the weekend and my mum babysat. My youngest son wouldn’t settle so my mum sprayed some Daisy on his teddy and he settled straight away! So cute x

  • Farhana

    For me its the Armani Diamonds. It was first gifted to me on my honeymoon (dutyfree) by husband and I have fallen in love ever since 🙂

  • Mine is Stella In Two Peony… I bought it at the airport when I was flying out to see an old boyfriend, so I could spritz it right before hugging them. Now it always reminds me of the excitement and the butterflies of that moment.

  • Madeline Connolly

    i love my daisy bought by my daughter love it

  • lyn

    I was after something for my wedding but couldn’t quite find the perfect one. My mom suggested Cartier Baisser Vol (think thats how its spelt) and I loved it . Perfect, and it reminds me of my husband and my wonderful mom too

  • gfa01

    I like Daisy by Marc Jacob. I won a bottle, loved it, and have worn it ever since.

  • Emily Hutchinson

    I love Fahrenheit, yes I know it’s a male fragrance, but I discovered it when I was 14 while testing scents as a teenager and I still love it

  • lorraine polley

    i love the perfume ghost, i always think of the lovely patrick swayze when i wear it

  • Rebecca Duffy

    My Signature scent is D&G Light Blue, partly because David Gandy caught my eye on the adverts before I had discovered it and then when I did get to smell it in store I just really loved it and I’ve always made sure I have a bottle at home ever since!

  • MorganSpiked

    Thierry Mugler Angel I can remember the first time I smelt this and thought it was gorgeous and have now been wearing it for 10 years 🙂

  • Kathleen Brown

    I smelt Opium in my early 20’s and excuse the pun; but I became instantly addicted and knew I had to purchase this scent for myself. It seemed like an eternity before I bought my first bottle; as it was so expensive at that time; but boy oh boy; was it worth it. When I wore it, I knew I smelt good; which in turn boosted my confidence. I am now in my 50’s and although; I have tried many other perfumes; I still remain loyal to Opium.

  • Aimee

    Mine is Eau so Sexy by Victoria’s Secret. I love Victoria’s Secret & the perfume is lovely – fresh, floral & fruity. My boyfriend bought it for me because he loved it too. I only wear it for special occasions and he loves it when I wear it 🙂

  • Louise

    J Del Pozo in White – my kids clubbed together and bought me this when I was ill, it really brought a lump to my throat, and made it extra special, I love the scent too, it’s quite a flowery jasmine smell. Every time I wear it I feel loved.

  • Erica Price

    NO 5 is a real classic and one I never tire of.

  • Maralyn Smith

    Mine is a Chanel “Chance”. I was given the perfume, deodorant, moisturiser and bath/shower for a special birthday present some years ago and have used it ever since. It is lighter than most of Chanel’s range and I love it.

  • Kelandab

    DKNY BE delicious has been my signature scent ever since my mum bought me some back from New York – she now buys me a bottle everytime she goes through the airport 🙂

  • K4tiemay

    Mine appears to be Calvin Klein Euphoria, I bought a bottle for myself on a whim at the airport once, and everyone in my family have decided it’s ‘what I wear’ and keep buying it for me. I think maybe it’s about time I moved on, maybe Stella is the way to go 🙂

  • Natalie Bradley

    Mine is channel coco, my gran got me for my 16th birthday and since then i have been in love with it 🙂

  • ♫ Alison M ♪

    For me it is Eden, my husband bought it for me for the first time and I always got complements when I wore it

  • Sam B

    My signature scent for me is Lolita Lempicka, the original fragrance in the purple and gold apple shaped bottle. I wore this when I first met my partner and whenever I wear it, he says it reminds him of the first day we met x

  • Beans12

    Rive Gauche-my first love bought me some and it made me feel so grown up and special-I was only 19, and very young for my age; I knew nothing about the classics in life, and this was his favourite scent. Since we’ve split up though, under horrendous circumstances, I can’t stand the smell of it!!-(to be honest, i never did like it much-way too heavy for a 19 year old! the fact that he also liked the smell of “Tweed”-!!-says it all!!)

  • Crystal Renee

    Mine is Chanel 22. Such a clean and gorgeous scent. It is a comforting scent to me.

  • Keshia Esgate

    Guerlian – Le Petit Robe Noir – my colleague spritzed me with some one day and I fell in love with it!

  • Cally martin

    An ex boyfriend brought me Alien thierry mugler years ago and I have been in love with it ever since <3

  • Heather

    Victor Rolf flower bomb. Bought it in duty free in Dubai airport on my way to Rome to see my boyfriend after months apart. Still my favourite and it was my push present when we had our son.

  • Emma Brooksbank

    chanel allure it was the first gift my hubby bought me 18 years ago and it evokes those heady first flush of romance memories <3 xx

  • Susan Pringle

    Stella is my favourite perfume. My partner bought it for me for a birthday years ago, and I love it.

  • Ellie powell

    D and G Light Blue – my hubby bought me some years ago and I have stuck with it ever since!

  • Donna Davies

    Jimmy choo – it was my first birthday present from my husband, and I just wore it on our wedding day!

  • cornishgirl

    Mine is Clinique “Happy” – a light and breezy fragrance – a little spritz of it brightens up a dull day! 🙂

  • Katie Holderness

    My signature scent is Boudoir by Vivienne Westwood. It’s such an unusual fragrance whilst still feeling ‘classic’. I always remember the first time I set foot in a Westwood store and thinking “what IS that incredible smell?!” I’m sure they pump it into the shops! Infact, that’s the dream right there; to own a Vivienne Westwood home fragrancing machine and have my whole house smell of Boudoir! One day…one day… 😉

  • Natalie Crossan

    for me it’s d&g light blue because my mum wears it and it reminds me of her 🙂

  • andieg

    I love Marc Jacobs Daisy cause it reminds me of parma violets and take me back to my youth eating those sweeties.

  • snarepuss

    I love chanel no 5 – 18th bday present 🙂

  • Lindsey Kent

    For me it is Calvin Klein’s Euphoria – dark and mysterious yet always rememberable – I like to leave a little bit of mystery behind where I may go!

  • scarletblackbird

    it is Chanel No 5 as it was my mother’s favourite scent and thus reminds me of her.

  • Sam Furniss

    L by Lolita Lempika, I bought it because my usual perfume wasn’t available. Everytime I wear I get compliments, which is lovely! I love the fact that it’s not widely available and I have never smelt anyone else wearing it while out and about. It really does make it my signature perfume.

  • yasmine

    Dior’s j’adore this was my first premium fragrance from the dior. I still love it

  • Deborah Nicholas

    For me its Narcisso Rodriguez! I love the heady scent and im the only person i know who uses it as most comment that it smells lovely but theyve never heard of it! (plus its suppose to be Angelina Jolies favourite fragrance which may have had a little influence over why i bought it in the first place!) 😉

  • Lynette Furber

    My signature scent is Vera Wang – Princess. It was the perfume I wore for my wedding day back in 2007 and I still absolutely love it.

  • Helen Smith

    Calvin Klein Escape takes me back to balmy, blissful days under a crystal clear sky on honeymoon in Mauritius. Just One sniff and I can hear the waves lapping on the shore!