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What Is A Fragrance Dupe? What You Need To Know About Dupes BEFORE Buying

Men's Grooming
Wednesday, 4th November, 2020

What Is A Fragrance Dupe - Here's what it means

Is it just me, or are fragrance dupes everywhere now?

Maybe it’s because I write a lot about perfumes and aftershaves, but I am seeing a fragrance dupe all the time.

If you don’t already know, a fragrance dupe is a scent which smells exactly like a designer fragrance. They’re cheaper alternatives made for the sole purpose of smelling like a more expensive scent.

Dupe is simply short language for “duplicate”, i.e. a certain smell has been recreated or duplicated by someone else.

As people’s tastes for more expensive designer and niche fragrances grow, people want the high end perfumes and aftershaves. But without the price tag. That is where the dupe comes in.

Here’s what you need to know about dupes.

The market for dupes has been around for quite a while, but it can be complicated. After all, there’s a lot of scents which smell similar, so when does something become a dupe?

If there’s two designer fragrances which are similar, is one a dupe of the other?

In my opinion, when you have scents which are similar, you can split them up into categories. I call them:

  • Dupes
  • Inspired By
  • Similar Fragrances


As already mentioned, These are fragrances which have been created for the sole purpose of smelling like something else. This is often a company creating a fragrance like one from an expensive fragrance house, while selling it at a more affordable price point.

They’ll be marketed and sold as smelling alike to another scent. There’s not much in the way of branding as their own scent, with more of a focus on who they’re trying to copy.

Primark Black Opulence vs Jean Paul Gaultier Le Male

Inspired By

Inspired by fragrances are scents which have been made in a similar style to another. Once again, this is often a cheaper perfume or aftershave which has been ‘inspired by’ a more expensive designer perfume house.

An example could be AMARF. A fragrance company who sell a range of perfumes and aftershaves. Many customers say they’re like the Creed range in Amazon reviews. This includes Club De Nuit Intense which is supposed to smell like Creed Aventus.

Dupes vs Inspired By: What Is The Difference?

For me, the difference is the marketing. A dupe is sold as a copycat of another perfume, a smell-alike. The entire point of the dupe is to replicate the designer as best as it can.

An inspired by scent has it’s own marketing, and it’s own branding. It might be from a high street store or brand, but it’s marketed as their own scent which they’re selling, with no mention of what it smells like.

The customer can then decide if it smells like their favourite scent, and often they do.

I got a cheap fragrance from Primark called Black Opulence to see how it faired as a scent. It was a blind buy, I had no idea what it smelled like. It took me a while, but I think that it smells like  Le Male by Jean Paul Gaultier.

The only purpose of a dupe is to smell like something else. A dupe is usually a cheaper fragrance which is a copy of a more expensive scent.

La Rive Blue vs Lacoste Cool Play

Similar Fragrances

There’s a lot of fragrances which are similar, or share the same notes or ingredients. Does that mean they’re dupes? Not in my opinion. There’s lots of designer scents which smell like each other.

I can smell similarities with Mont Blanc Explorer and K by D&G, as well as D&G Grey and Tom Ford Grey Vetiver to name only two.

Do Dupes Last For A Long Time?

One of the biggest problems with dupes is the consistency. There’s a lot of different companies which will offer a similar smell as an expensive one, but at times they might not last as long. When it comes to longevity, it can be hit and miss.

Some will hold up well, other will last a reasonable amount of time, and some will have poor performance.

Should I Buy A Dupe Fragrance?

Most of the time you shouldn’t but a dupe. There’s two good reasons why you might want to. I think these are:

  1. Testing
  2. When Your Favourite Is Discontinued

Testing: If you’re going to buy an expensive scent, it’s a big commitment. You can check out a dupe and wear it for a little while to see if you love it or not. Then, you can take the plunge and buy the genuine article.

Discontinued Fragrances: I’ve been writing about fragrances long enough to know that they can get discontinued. This is especially true from designer brands. There’s only one way to get that smell back, with a dupe or an inspired by scent.

I searched for a long time to find something like Lacoste Cool Play, and found La Rive Blue Line. It’s nice, similar, but clearly different and not as good in my opinion.

Why You Shouldn’t Buy A Dupe Fragrance

You shouldn’t buy a dupe fragrance because it’s not the genuine product. You’ll know it, and it will lose that special something you get from buying the real thing.

When someone compliments you, you’ll have to explain that “this isn’t the designer brand, it’s a cheaper version which smells like it”.

Buying a copy means you’ll lose that feeling of wearing something which is special. It’s no longer special, and so you’ll not be bothered about wearing it. If you get the expensive one, you’ll love it more, and feel better when you wear it.

You can find more of my fragrance reviews in the blog, if you’re looking for a new scent this year. Search for something special or the right scent for the right occasion.

Michael Adams

About Michael

Michael Adams is the founder and editor of Michael 84, blogger from Newcastle, UK. Sharing men's fashion tips, style advice and lifestyle information for all guys.

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