Thursday, 12 November 2009

Lidl Suddenly d'Or - a Swiss Ghost Story

Anyone familiar with the European discount chain Lidl will be aware that it sells both food and non-food items on a pretty random basis. On one day last week they had a delivery of guitars, apparently, and you can routinely find everything from spaghetti hoops to crocs via shower curtains, table soccer games and the occasional security camera.

One day earlier this year I noticed two new own brand perfumes named Suddenly D'Or and Suddenly Fleurs, selling at the ludicrously cheap price point of £3.99 for 50ml! My nose was drawn to Suddenly D'Or, a pretty decent fruity floral. I bought a bottle on the spot - £3.99 is a bargain by any standards. It smelt to me like a perfume that cost up to five times that ie what I would consider as the lower end of the designer market. Or at least three times, say - comparable in quality perhaps to those frequently remaindered lines like Elizabeth Arden. A few weeks later, I ran across a promotional display for the new Ghost scent, Ghost Luminous. The bulbous-bottomed bottle looked uncannily like Suddenly D'Or and the scent was even more reminiscent of the Lidl one! Notwithstanding the chronology of events, I assumed the Lidl scent was most likely a knock off of the Ghost, and not vice versa...

I felt I couldn't ask Lidl outright if they had modelled their scent on the new Ghost release, but I could at least ask them what the notes were, to see if I had correctly identified a strong resemblance. My phone call to Lidl customer services was met with a refusal. They could not help me because their Swiss supplier would not permit the release of this information. I tried to explain that the note information I was after was very much in the public domain for all designer and niche scents, and that I wasn't trying to extract the precise chemical formulation from them. So I asked the lady to go away and put my question to the supplier again.

Weeks passed, when "suddenly" I received a letter from Lidl's Product Quality Services department in Scotland:

"On receipt of your query we contacted our Quality Assurance Department who have advised that the fragrance used for our Perfume consists of apple, lime-tree blossom, violet, melon, jasmine, lily of the valley, peach, rose, iris, musk and sandalwood.

If the product is not to your liking, please return the item to your local Store for a refund."

But I do like the item! I like it £3.99's worth and more! With trepidation, I googled a note listing for Ghost Luminous - common notes are highlighted in italics:

"Bergamot, pineapple, orange, blackcurrant, melon, apples, sea breeze accord, champagne, jasmine, lily of the valley, raspberry leaves, violet, rose, freesia, sandalwood, vetiver, powdery dream, candied raspberry and peach sweet.

Okay, so the Lidl one is not an exact replica, but eight of the eleven notes listed for it also feature in Luminous. Even to my neophyte nose, that counts as a "ghostly resemblance".


  1. I've never tried Ghost but have a sample of Lidl, courtesy of a certain lovely Brit blogger. Thanks for reminding me of this fun, refreshing, bright and feminine scent. It certainly doesn't smell budget. I love it!

  2. Do try the Ghost if you come across it - would love to get a second opinion on this!

  3. Vanessa, you are a veritable Perfume Poirot! This is Megsmate btw but I can't understand the comment options and neither does Meg.

  4. Why thanks for that, Megsmate! It might be worth asking Flossie about the comment options...

  5. oooh, I spent more time than I'd like to own up to trying to find the nose for this online, I didn't think of emailing Lidl! They have it in our store just round the corner, I think Mr Hebe would be more than a little surprised (in a good way!) if this found its way onto my Christmas list!

  6. Hey Hebe, another Perfume Poirot - indeed you can be my Miss Marple! I too would love to know the ID of the nose, but I reckon he is the third man in a white coat from the left in Givaudan's lab in Geneva. Just a hunch, mind, because of the reference to "Swiss supplier". Like it's not going to be Andy Tauer, is it?

    If Mr Hebe is thinking of getting this one as a stocking filler for you, may I recommend Lidl's olive oil, luxury coleslaw and dry roasted peanuts while he's there: - )

  7. I like Suddenly D'Or. I love flowers and perfumes and this one is just to my liking. Thank you Lidl.

  8. Hi Anonymous,

    Yes, for the money it is unbeatable!

  9. Gosh, I can't believe this entry is a year old already!

    I just wanted to add a recent (non-perfume) Lidl story. Some months back I bought a pair of cycling shoes from Lidl. The quality of the finish was not great (indeed I exchanged the first pair due to sharp nylon threads protruding through the heel inner), but the grip on my pedals was excellent so I stuck with them (sorry...). Fast forward to last week, when the owner of my favourite cycling shop picked up one of these shoes when delivering my Christmas bike. Whilst I cringed in shame, he remarked that the tread pattern on the sole was almost identical to that on a shoe he carries in the shop. We then established that there was a 50pound difference in price between the shoes. I would love to know more about the Lidl supply chain, it seems that there really are some gems in there!

  10. Oooh, how interesting to hear that Lidl appears to be making me-too products of the most diverse range of high ticket items! You got yourself an absolute steal there. I sense these bargains are pretty haphazard and random though - things come and go from the stores with no rhyme or reason to it from what I can see.

  11. suddenly smells like coco chanelle madamoiselle

  12. Hi Anonymous,

    It most certainly does - have you seen my recent posts about it? Suddenly Madame Glamour, I mean?