Taylor by Taylor Swift

Taylor by Taylor Swift smells like lychee, apricot, mango, musk, and vanilla. It’s very juicy, fairly sweet, linear with good lasting power, and pretty gosh darned good. I also think it’s a blatant copy of Neela Vermeire Creations Bombay Bling.

Bombay Bling is constructed around mango and lychee. If I had to guess (please bear in mind I am no chemist), I would say Taylor uses the same ingredients to reproduce the smell of lychee that Bombay Bling uses, but the mango note is created differently. The mango note in Bombay Bling is uber realistic, encompassing every facet of fresh mangoes: sweet, sour, green, pulpy, slight petroleum accord. The mango note in Taylor is sweeter, without those more complex facets, and is sharing the spotlight with a lot of apricot. Bombay Bling owes its smoothness to seamless construction and expensive-smelling ingredients. In Taylor, all the notes are smoothed out and blurred with a pretty standard vanilla.

This instance of copycatting really bothers me. In some cases, I do not mind affordable “takes” on higher-end products—not exact copies or fakes, but things that deliver a similar idea at a more affordable price. In this case, I am bothered because the copier is a massive company and the entity being copied is a small independent producer. Whoever makes Taylor Swift’s perfumes is going to make tons of money off the creative work done by Neela Vermeire and Bertrand Duchaufour. This really doesn’t sit well with me.

I look forward to your thoughts in the comments. Have you tried Taylor? Do you think it’s a copy? How do you feel about Taylor Swift perfumes (or another big company) copying a smaller independent company?

For reviews of Taylor by Taylor Swift perfume, see Fragrantica.

Sample was my own acquisition. Reviews are never compensated, and posts are never sponsored. See my Media & Disclosure policy for details.

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25 responses

  1. Hm, interesting! I’ve only smelled Taylor on a magazine strip — in which context I thought it was awful, like off-brand candy, so it must not be well represented in that format. But, I must admit, I thought the top notes of Bombay Bling were too much, like getting absolutely walloped with a giant mango. So perhaps I’m just not a mango note person? (I did love the drydown.) I’m going to smell in person this next time I go to Sephora, though.

    • There is a certain candyness to it, I’m not gonna lie! A little fruit gum. Bombay Bling is infinitely better. But Taylor does strike me as the closest copy to BB you could make and still sell the perfume at a massive mark-up at the standard celeb scent pricepoint. I hope you let me know what you think about resemblance after you have a chance to smell Taylor again.

  2. I haven’t smelled it, but I’m really troubled by the situation you describe. A close, even somewhat screwed up blatant copy of a truly original scent is bad enough, in my opinion. (You don’t want to get me started on Tom Ford’s Plum Japonais completely ripping off Serge Lutens’ Fille en Aiguilles, for almost double the price! Or Bertrand Duchafour self-plagiarizing and cannibalizing his own Mohur for the start of that terrible, vile Vaara, which thankfully turns so bad later on that there is ultimately no comparison.)

    What you’re describing is infinitely worse, as there is an ocean of differences between the respective parties’ financial resources, distribution models, and support structure. It’s actually and genuinely upsetting to me if the perfumes are *that* alike. I’ll make a point of looking for it next time I’m at the mall. In the meantime, I’m going to have to eat some Nutella to fix the mood I’m in tonight!

    • It bothers me less when two big companies riff off each other than when a big company “borrows” (i.e., steals) from a smaller player, but I know what you mean. It’s frustrating even when the two companies involved are big names. As for Duchaufour’s work, I don’t even want to get started. I feel like there are common threads running through most of the scents he’s created in the last five years – and not just little signatures, but whole notes that make me feel like I’m smelling variations on the same thing. There is one recent notable exception, which I’m hoping to write about soon, however.

      Thanks for weighing in. I hope you have a chance to smell the Taylor and (hopefully) tell me I”m imagining things.

  3. I haven’t tried and even though I would love a Bombay Bling perfume, I wouldn’t go for this if it’s such a blatant copy. I’ll rather save money for the real thing.
    But now you have me intrigued – I will definitely try it now.

  4. I didn’t see that one coming!

    Of course copying someone’s work is just plain wrong but just thinking aloud, do you think it would be worse for the sales of NVC if a niche house did a copy of it because more people might forego purchasing BB and buy that instead?

    I really like Taylor Swift. She seems smart and talented and manages to stop her clothes falling off all the time :) She’s someone I’d be happy for my niece to be a fan of.

    • I didn’t either. I guess it never occurred to me that a big company would copy a smaller one. Naive, I know. As for whether it would change things if a niche company did a copy, that’s a good question. I don’t know. I can’t help thinking that the lower price of Taylor will be attractive for people who liked BB but didn’t want to buy a bottle, and that might not be the case with another niche brand. +1 about Taylor keeping her clothes on, though. :)

  5. I’m probably in the minority on this one but I’m not that bothered by it because I don’t find Bombay Bling to be all that creative or distinctive. I would be surprised if there WEREN’T a downmarket copy of it. In fact isn’t it as likely as anything else that Duchaufour was invoked in the Taylor Swift perfume as well? I wish Bombay Bling were less like mass market fruity florals, not the other way around.

    • Ah, that’s interesting! I thought it was quite a unique mango, but admittedly I am not a huge consumer of fruity florals. I remember Bloody Frida and I talking about whether there was something more affordable than BB, but similar to it, and I don’t think we came up with anything at the time.

      Good point about Duchaufour possibly being involved with the Taylor perfume. One never knows. They haven’t released the name of the perfumer, as far as I found in my research.

  6. I’m with you unseencenser. I think the cost of a lot of them are outrageous no matter who made it! They’re are outstanding indie perfumers out there. Laurie Erickson from Sonoma Scent Studio is a perfect example of high quality ingredients in all her fragrance’s that the average person can afford. Who cares if Taylor smells similar to Bombay Bling. Not me, I have other things to bothered by.

    • Thanks for weighing in, Bethanne. I understand what you’re saying about price, and we all know that the price of the juice is but a fraction of the cost of a perfume, which is quite frustrating. A big part of the reason this bothers me is that I can’t help imagining the impact on a small business if a bigger business comes along and swoops up their idea. I’m in business for myself as well, and I just think it would feel awfully unfair if something like this happened to me. I get that it’s the way business works, but it’s not an aspect of business that I like very much!

      • I wasn’t looking at it that way. I mentioned Sonoma Scent Studio. She’s a small indie perfumer with fabulous scents and it would be like a big business copying one of hers at a lower cost and without the high quality ingredients she uses. Now I see what your post was about and I completely agree! I didn’t realize til your comment to me that was what you meant! :)

        • Ah, I see what you are saying! Well, I still think the other question is a good one. I mean, as Undina, Anne Marie, and others have pointed out, perhaps there are two different markets for the two frags and my worry on behalf of NVC is completely unnecessary. I hope so!

    • I don’t expect all perfumers to provide perfume at lower price points, bethanne – I respect what Roja Dove does at ridiculously high price points, for instance – but at a high price point I would expect a more unique or more obviously high-quality ingredients. Others seem to perceive those things in the line, so I suspect I am wrong. But Bombay Bling, even more than the other two first perfumes, does not seem so drastically different from any number of other fruity florals out there that the price point would be justified.

  7. I wouldn’t have ever thought about trying this perfume but now I’m curious and if I ever come across it I’ll give it a sniff.

    This copycat doesn’t really bother me because I’d rather have masses accustomed to cheap(er) copies of good perfumes than copies of each other. It’s not like NVC’s customers will settle for TS…

    • Do let me know if you think it is as close to BB as I do. Thanks for putting another spin on this, and I’m sure you’re right about NVC’s customers. They have to be a discerning bunch. :)

  8. There being no intellectual property rights in perfume, this sort of thing is bound to happen and it always has. It works both ways of course. Guerlain took perfumes by Coty (Emeraude and Chypre) and refined them into Shalimar and Mitsouko. Coty brought out L’Aimant in answer to No. 5. (Apparently Jacques Guerlain’s wife preferred L’Aimant to her husband’s perfumes – ouch!) And how many Angel clones have there been? Well, who’s counting.

    I agree on the imbalance between Neela Vermeire and Taylor Swift, but they are not addressing the same markets. Maybe a few people experienced perfumistas, having sniffed Bombay Bling, will opt instead for the cheaper perfume by TS, but surely we are talking very few lost sales.

    • I really appreciate you bringing up these other examples, Anne Marie. They make me feel a bit better, as I didn’t want to have a bad taste in my mouth about this (so to speak), but I did. And you’re right that this kind of thing has been going on for a long time. And I hope you and Undina are right that there are two different markets for the two frags.

  9. I doubt I will come across this scent as Taylor Swift is more of a US personality, but am very intrigued by the resemblance. I always loved the drydown, but it took me a full year to appreciate the whole of Bombay Bling – for a long time I had a similar response to Elisa above and once described the opening as ‘aggravated fruit’. But I do have issues with mango as a note eg in Manguier Metisse by Huitieme Art. Fast forward and I like BB as least as much as Mohur now, so it is funny how tastes change over time. Regarding the copying issue, I don’t think for one minute that the two market segments will meet, so am not worried that NV will suffer as a result.

    • I did not realize she hasn’t crossed the pond. Good to know! And thanks for weighing in on the issue of the copycatting. Sounds like I was a little overzealous in my worry about NVC.

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