Believe by Britney Spears

Do You Believe?
I remember when this was first launched in late 2007 and the controversy surrounding Britney at the time. I think she had just shaved her head and had her kids taken off her, yadda yadda yadda and then there was the hullaballoo about the ad campaign where Britney looked...well...not like the Britney we had seen deteriorating before our very eyes. It almost seemed comical that the tagline to the ad campaign read: “The greatest freedom is to believe in yourself.”
If they could only convince our Brit-Brit.

Anyway, so at the time, I was just getting into the fragrance swing and hastily ordered myself a bottle from the US and almost did cartwheels when it arrived. I liked it and enjoyed it for a few days- and then pretty much forgot about it. Now we are in August 2010, and I find myself rekindling an intense liking for this fragrance thanks to my daughter. I had a bunch of stuff pulled out from a storage chest and among the treasures was a tube of Believe body lotion that my daughter helped herself to. We are sitting in the living room watching TV and a spicy, sweet scent drifts under my nazi nostrils.
"Have you sprayed something?" I ask her.
"Nah, just put on some lotion I found" she nonchalantly muttered and nudged a box of beauty products towards me with her foot. I see shes found the Believe lotion and by now, this scent is starting to penetrate my pleasure chakra's and instinctively I grab her arm and sniff at it.
"Mmm this is really nice, baby!" and I help myself to the lotion too. Of course, for some reason I prefer the smell on her and sniff at her arm again, really starting to mentally dissect all the notes to find the culprit note that has me captivated.

Linden Blossom & Guava
From first spray, Believe comes off a little peppery, giving it an effervescence like a freshly popped bottle of sparkling wine.
Guava pulp is the predominant fruity topnote that grabs me instantly, theres something so luscious and incredibly mouthwatering about this fruit. It immediately commands attention to its sticky, sweet, fleshy nectar. The linden blossom is a curious addition, I have only ever smelled the dried version and it has an odd scent that is hard to describe, but is distinct. Its a fresh green leafy kind of smell, a tad pepperish and bright. Its present right from the start, and I really dig that they used this note because its not a widely used ingredient, but works so well. But of course, for me the piece de resistance is the smouldering patchouli/praline base that sends me reeling with pleasure. Its an airy kind of patchouli, light, earthen and sweet with the gentle sugariness of the praline to smooth it out into an almost creamy, musky caramel-patchouli.
When I think of another scent to compare this to in its entirety, it completely escapes me. Angel, naturally, has the sweet patchouli likeness but it doesn't have the sparkling green shimmer with the juicy tartness of fruit. Midnight Rain by La Prairie comes close but only in the fruity opening and lacks the basenotes.
Believe is (to date) probably the most sophisticated scent in Britney's repertoire and at the time, it was quite an unexpected fragrance given the drama surrounding her. Unfortunately, because it was released amongst so much turbulence, I think the bad press ruined this release for her and it wasn't really given a fair shot. Its a fragrance that is obviously targeted at Britney's younger audience, but I think it would smell precocious on anyone under 16 and feel its better suited for a young at heart woman.

Rediscovering this fragrance has been serendipitous and humbled me somewhat. Lately I have become preoccupied with niche fragrances, searching for something to impress and inspire me to feel passionate about. In this quest, I have been overlooking the simple pleasures eagerly waiting at the back, holding their breaths in anticipation whenever the box lid is opened, only to be left crushed and hurt when a Chanel has instead been plucked out. Kinda like those creepy talking toys from Toy Story that want nothing more than to be brought to life and played with again.

Believe, apart from being a darned good scent,  now has a new place in my perfume heart. It's a grounding fragrance to remind me that sometimes the inspiration we look for to light our lives, can be found in the darkness where we have neglected to revisit them.


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