Merch Review

Britney Spears Just Released Her 22nd Fragrance So I Smelled Almost Half Of Them

How many perfumes do you have in your personal line of perfumes? Out of shame I will decline to answer for myself, but Britney Spears has 22, which is an insane amount. In an effort to illustrate how insane that amount is I looked up the number of perfumes Paris Hilton has, as she is the woman whom I most immediately associate with the candied white musk sweetness of celebrity perfume, but as it turns out Paris Hilton just released her twenty-third: a blend of rose petals and neroli called “Rosé Rush.” Damn. Britney Spears, I’m sorry. It brings me no joy to humiliate you in this way, but I do hope you’ve learned something — you must produce perfumes at a slightly quicker pace.

Spears’ twenty-second (which I say with a crestfallen sigh) perfume, “VIP Private Show,” launched in July as a follow-up to her 2016 scent “Private Show.” She spoke to People about her inspiration: “The original ‘Private Show’ celebrates one of my biggest passions — dancing — and I’m so excited to be able to take the fragrance to a more personal place with ‘VIP Private Show.’” But how does “VIP Private Show” stack up against “Private Show” and the eight other Britney Spears fragrances we were able to acquire for this exercise and have meticulously judged in several categories? Let’s see.

CREDIT: Kelly Conaboy

10. Maui Fantasy

Scent: This perfume is said to include top notes of bird of paradise, pink grapefruit, and passion fruit; middle notes of hibiscus petals, cyclamen, orange blossom, and Hawaiian monoi; and base notes of vanilla, coconut, blue musk, white amber, and blonde woods. Something I learned from this perfume is that it takes a lot of notes to smell like a little pink coconut’s long-awaited tropical vacation, particularly when you can tell the coconut is wearing a big hat and little sunglasses.
Name: The name is good — much better than the similarly-named Britney Spears perfume “Island Fantasy,” which we will get to later. It’s always nice to be specific, and the island in this fantasy is, specifically, Maui. Thank you.
Is It A Ball Shape: Yes.
Scene It Evokes: You are a little pink coconut who has decided to stop waiting to “find a lover” before you take a tropical vacation. You’re doing this for yourself, because you deserve it. And if you meet someone at the resort? Well… you’re open!

CREDIT: Kelly Conaboy

9. Midnight Fantasy

Scent: When all of the scents are lying in a pile on the pieces of paper on which they were sprayed — my primary scent testing technique, not that it’s any of your business — this is the scent I smell the loudest. It is heavy and robust; it fights to be smelled and wins deftly. This scent is said to offer top notes of black cherries, plum, and framboise, mid notes of night-blooming orchid, iris, and freesia, and base notes of vanilla, musk, and amber. It smells like someone screaming the scent of dark purple mixed with a cherry’s laundry in your face at nighttime.
Name: Midnight Fantasy. I love it. It is exactly correct. It is the most well-named of the Fantasy perfumes; it is midnight.
Is It A Ball Shape: Yes.
Scene It Evokes: You are wandering through a dark fruit forest dressed in a freshly laundered gown at midnight. The love of your life, in tattered clothes, stumbles upon you. “How did you find me?” you ask. “I could smell you,” they say. “Oh…,” you say, self-consciously. “No, I don’t mean necessarily in a bad way, it’s just —” “No, it’s fine.” “No really, I didn’t mean it… I just meant that luckily I could smell you and find you in this forest.” “It’s fine.”

CREDIT: Kelly Conaboy

8. Fantasy

Scent: This one is a winter scent, I would say. It has notes of lychee, quince, fresh kiwi, cupcake, jasmine petals, white chocolate orchid, smooth musk, orris root, and woods, which maybe don’t add up to exactly a “winter” scent in your mind, but please believe me that they do in the bottle; if I don’t have your trust I have nothing. It’s heavily musky and sugary.
Name: If your “fantasy” is a holiday party, like mine is, it’s extremely accurate.
Is It A Ball Shape: Yes.
Scene It Evokes: You’re at a holiday party. “Did you ever see the music video for the Britney Spears’ song ‘Perfume’?,” you ask a work friend in a moment of awkward silence. “It was directed by Joseph Kahn. The story is that Britney is, like, the ‘other woman’ for this guy. But the story in the song is that she’s a guy’s current girlfriend and she’s trying not to feel jealous about her boyfriend’s relationship with his ex-girlfriend, so it’s sort of confusing. Britney Spears has 22 perfumes and a lot of the time she’ll put them in her videos; the ‘Perfume’ video has her ‘Fantasy’ perfume, which is sort of a winter scent. Anyway. Sia wrote the song and you can tell.”

CREDIT: Kelly Conaboy

7. Intimate Fantasy

Scent: Ooh, lala! Top notes of lychee, violet leaf, and sunny lemon. Middle notes of lily of the valley, jasmine, brown sugar, and genet. Base notes of vanilla, heliotrope, laos benzoin, and white musk. This scent smells exactly like when baby doll manufacturers give baby dolls a fake baby skin scent!
Name: I’m not sure whose “intimate fantasy” the fake baby skin scent of baby dolls is but I suppose if we’re using intimate in a non-sexual way it could be a child’s. (?)
Is It A Ball Shape: Yes.
Scene It Evokes: Me, I mean you, as a child, playing with one of those powdery-scented baby dolls.

CREDIT: Kelly Conaboy

6. Curious

Scent: “Curious” has top notes of louisiana magnolia, golden anjou pear, lotus flower, mid notes of tuberose, star jasmine, pink cyclamen, and base notes of vanilla-infused musk, sandalwood and blonde woods. It smells like the perfume section of a department store, or a perfume sample in a magazine, or a childhood memory of a woman wearing perfume. The scent is very “perfume,” but also certainly pear. Like a pear with human legs and arms wearing the idea of perfume.
Name: If I had named this perfume I would have called it “Perfume,” bus alas I did not name it, so it has a different name: “Curious.”
Is It A Ball Shape: No!
Scene It Evokes: You, a pear, are wandering through a department store perfume section. Later, you have a work function.

CREDIT: Kelly Conaboy

5. VIP Private Show

Scent: Ah, the new scent! “VIP Private Show.” It includes notes of blood orange, red apple, mango, violet blossom, orange blossom, magnolia, raspberry wood, amber, and musk. It smells like red apple and raspberry are in a battle for Top Scent In “VIP Private Show” and, no disrespect to raspberry, apple is winning.
Name: I’m not exactly sure what, in this scent, makes it the “VIP” version of “Private Show,” but I will say that the liquid is pink, which I love. If I were a “VIP” I’d rather my perfume be pink, you better believe it.
Is It A Ball Shape: No.
Scene It Evokes: Me, as a VIP.

CREDIT: Kelly Conaboy

4. Private Show

Scent: Notes of whipped crème coffee, clementine, juicy nectarine, dulce de leche, orange flower, jasmine sambac, luminous amber, and sensual musks. This is the only semi-masculine scent of the bunch, which is interesting. (Please nod your head indicating that it is interesting.)
Name You know, it’s a good name. It’s masculine, like what I just said (which you found so interesting), but it’s also slutty, which is nice.
Is It A Ball Shape: No.
Scene It Evokes: Please keep your mind out of the gutter.

CREDIT: Kelly Conaboy

3. Island Fantasy

Scent: It has top notes of mandarin, clementine, and watermelon, mid notes of jasmine, violet, and freesia, and base notes of musk and sugar cane. Not to reveal all of my tricks, but when smelling these perfumes I wrote down my first impressions of the scents before looking at the perfumes’ stated notes, to test my olfactory palate. For this one I wrote: “watermelon, very fruity.” Believe me when I tell you that I am not saying this for compliments though I will receive them graciously, but, as you may have already noticed, I was right about the watermelon.
Name: I’m not sure why you would have an “Island Fantasy” when you’re also going to have a “Maui Fantasy.” Does the “Island Fantasy” comprise the “Maui Fantasy”? If so, why are there scents found within the “Maui Fantasy” not found in the “Island Fantasy”? I’m afraid we may never know, which leaves me with sadness. “Island Fantasy” does smell better than “Maui Fantasy,” however, which could be a hint.
Is It A Ball Shape: Yes.
Scene It Evokes: You wake up on an island, somewhere, surrounded by watermelon. The air is syrupy sweet, but light — at least lighter than some of the other perfumes, I mean airs, that you’ve smelled, I mean breathed. How did you get here? It’s murky; you can’t remember. How will you get home? You’re losing hope that you’ll ever find out.

CREDIT: Kelly Conaboy

2. Fantasy In Bloom

Scent:We can have some more / Nature is a whore / Bruises on the fruit / Tender age in bloom.” Of course, we all know the song — but what of the perfume? Top notes of berries, mandarin and cherry blossom; middle notes of osmanthus, jasmine and tuberose; base notes of Australian sandalwood, Madagascar vanilla, and amber. I wouldn’t say it “smells like teen spirit,” heh, but I would say it smells like a flower got washed in the laundry machine with a bunch of sugar in its pockets!
Name: Love it, but I’m looking forward to “Fantasy In Utero” a little more, heh.
Is It A Ball Shape: Yes.
Scene It Evokes: You’re walking through a field of flowers, enjoying a spring day. Falling from the sky you see — what’s that? Snow? You bring the substance to your lips. It’s… sugar? Just then, a metal object blots out the sun. What is happening? The object falls to the ground and everything is instantly thrown into a cyclone. Oh my god. The camera pans out and you are tea leaves in a woman’s cup (!). The woman is instantly thrown into a cyclone. The camera pans out and she is a blouse in a washing machine (!). A child dumps more sugar into the swirling mass. The child is… oh my god: the baby from the cover of Nevermind.

CREDIT: Kelly Conaboy

1. Believe

Scent: This if my favorite bottle, which I know has nothing to do with “scent” but I’d like to keep the “is it a ball shape” category limited to a clean yes or no — you understand. It is also my favorite of the 10 scents! Notes of guava and tangerine; honeysuckle and linden blossom; amber, patchouli, and pink pralines. It’s light and fruity with sort of an aspartame bitterness. It smells like your little cousin when she’s going on a date.
Name: I was reading the description for “VIP Private Show” while smelling this and thought, “Well, I definitely smell the red apple” — which is a scent included in “VIP Private Show” but not in “Believe” — before I realized my error and altered my opinion. Hm. It’s hard to know what to “believe,” isn’t it? An accurate name.
Is It A Ball Shape: No.
Scene It Evokes: Your little cousin is ready for her date. She has on her nice jeans and a green sweater, plus she threw on some lip gloss and some blush. She looks nice, and I bet she’s gonna have a pretty nice time.