I Tried Luxury Perfume For A Fraction Of The Price -- And I’ll Never Go Back

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While I love to experiment with all things beauty, I’m secretly a brand (and product) loyalist. I prefer to have one thing I love that does the work of the latest fifteen “innovative” products, and am willing to invest in a quality purchase if it means I’ll reach for it every morning. This has been the case with the perfume I’ve used for the last four years -- I won’t call it out by brand, but I will hint that it rhymes with my name. I love the scent, so much so that many of my friends can identify when I’ve been in a room or will soon approach by the trace of my perfume alone.

So, when I set out to test Dossier, the latest (and potentially greatest) DTC disruptor in the fragrance game, my standards were high. My perfume is part of my identity, after all! Dossier’s model and prices are pretty groundbreaking. The brand crafts perfumes inspired by designer fragrances but sells them for a fraction of the cost, despite being entirely vegan, cruelty-free, and composed of the same high-quality ingredients. They’re even produced in Grasse, France, also known as the perfume capital of the world. By eliminating prestige pricing, advertising, and packaging, Dossier sells designer perfume blends (some of which ordinarily sell for over $100) in the range of $29 to $39.

Credit: Dossier

The New Scentsation

Much like its business model, Dossier’s shopping experience is transparent. Each perfume is listed in tandem with its corresponding designer perfume, engineered to make your purchasing decision simple. Still, the add-to-cart journey is endless when all of the fragrances are inspired by cult-favorites and luxury classics, like Le Labo’s Santal 33 or Chanel’s Coco Madeoiselle. I wanted them all! 

Credit: @dossier.perfumes

Fortunately, Dossier offers a 100% risk-free ordering process. Each bottle comes with a small separate sample, so you can try the fragrance on your own skin before deciding whether you want to keep the bottle or return it for a full refund. I decided to experiment with a few of the scents I was most intrigued by: Woody Sandalwood (inspired by Le Labo’s Santal 33); Aquatic Peony (inspired by Armani’s Acqua Di Gioia); Woody Oakmoss (inspired by Chanel’s Coco Mademoiselle); and Floral Lavender (inspired by Yves Saint Laurent’s Libre).  

The Real Deal

Dossier first impressed me with its unboxing experience. Each pale pink box opened up to reveal a bottle and sample, along with a card describing the fragrance’s notes, original brand inspiration, percent concentration, and return process. I soon discovered that one of my favorite things about Dossier’s minimalist packaging is its sleek and uniform bottle design. The caps on the heavy glass bottles are magnetized, and each perfume has an identical bottle style -- two features that make them look elegant (and organized) on any bathroom or bedside surface. 

To measure the actual quality and efficacy of perfume, there are really only two major questions that matter (to me at least). Does it smell fantastic? Does it last? Dossier immediately checked both of these boxes. I first tried Woody Sandalwood, the blend designed to imitate Le Labo’s iconic Santal 33. Not only did it smell exactly like its luxury counterpart, but my Dossier bottle lasted with a more natural tone than when I’ve tried the Le Labo equivalent. While I sometimes feel that designer perfumes can sit a little heavy on my skin (and impart a harsh initial hour or two of scent), Dossier’s Woody Sandalwood delivered a gentle but powerful fragrance that lasted for hours. 

Get The Scent (And Spare Your Cents)

Each Dossier perfume consistently exceeded my expectations. The scents are shockingly identical to their designer inspirations (and most even seem to last longer). But the definitive review comes from my roommate, who’s the only person around to notice my perfume in lockdown. When I first wore the Woody Sandalwood fragrance, she immediately asked if I had bought Le Labo’s Santal 33. As I tried each scent, she commented on the delightful fragrance floating through our apartment. 

The only thing better than a fragrance that inspires compliments is one that costs less than half of its designer equivalent. I won’t be taking Dossier up on its risk-free purchase policy -- instead, I’ll be buying a few more bottles as luxurious holiday gifts that won’t sabotage my budget.

5 More Reasons To Love Dossier

  • Dossier’s perfumes are 100% vegan, cruelty-free, paraben and phthalate-free, and colorant and UV-filter free -- so you can smell amazing without compromising on your wellness.
  • Unsure what your “signature scent” is? Dossier offers a short quiz to help you navigate your first purchase!
  • With Dossier’s completely risk-free process, order (and sample) your fragrances of choice and return whatever you don’t love for a full refund.
  • Dossier’s blog has helpful tips on how and where to apply your perfume for the longest lasting scent and more educational content intended to strip the fragrance world of its historical sense of exclusivity.
  • Dossier’s affordable perfumes aren’t cheap -- they’re made in Grasse, France (the perfume capital of the world) with the highest quality clean ingredients.

Editor’s Note: In late 2022, Dossier brought back candles to their suite of products. Previously offered and removed from the site due to pricing concerns for the size, the brand has relaunched candles that are 3 times the original size to ensure this little luxury is affordable to all. With a price of $49 for 17 oz, or 170 hours of burn time, you can enjoy your favorite perfume scent in a totally new format.

Try Dossier yourself here and get up to 20% off your first order.

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