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Thursday, February 23, 2017

Review: Le Couvent des Minimes Botanical Cologne of Love (An Under $20 Treat for Orange Blossom Lovers)

I feel like I should start a series called, "Stuff I added to my Ulta cart to get free shipping." Because, seriously, I've been rather impressed with myself lately when it comes my last-minute blind buys at Ulta! (Example: see my review of the TONYMOLY Strawberry Mushroom Scrub.)

A few months ago, I was about $16 short of getting free shipping at Ulta and I stumbled upon the Le Couvent des Minimes page. For those of you unfamiliar with Le Couvent des Minimes, up until just last month, they were owned by L'Occitane. In January 2017, it was announced the L'Occitane decided to sell off Le Couvent des Minimes to HLD Group. which is a European corporation that owns French skincare brand Filorga. Filorga is starting to get some traction here in the US, with their products now sold at Nordstrom, HSN, and elsewhere. But now I'm rambling.

It will be interesting to see, in the months to come, what impact this acquisition has on Le Couvent des Minimes. You can already see the impact starting to happen if you go on their website which, as of the time of publication, is now under construction. I've always thought of Le Couvent as the slightly rebellious younger sister to L'Occitane. Their products don't seem to have as much mainstream appeal, but sometimes their products seem a tad more "interesting" to me. So I'm curious to see where HLD Group takes Le Couvent in the future. Will they keep things the same, or head off in a new direction? Only time will tell.

Now on to the review...

Le Couvent des Minimes Botanical Cologne of Love
(retail: $16, 1.0 oz.)

On the Ulta site, you can purchase the 1.0 oz version of this cologne for $16. They also offer the 3.4 oz. version for $38 (there are more reviews on the 3.4 oz. version page, if you're interested in reading reviews beyond my own. Also check out the reviews at Fragrantica here). You can also pick this fragrance up on Amazon for a few dollars less (for the 3.4 oz. version) and they also offer a jumbo, 8.4 oz version from a third-party seller. 

Made in France

From the Ulta website:

Located in the heart of Haute Provence, France, Le Couvent des Minimes (the Convent of the Minims) is a unique sun-drenched convent with an ancestral tradition of love and passion for aromatic plants and natural ingredients.

The Franciscan Missionaries of Mary opened the doors of the Convent of the Minims to those in need. They welcomed these people into the convent with love and care.

The Botanical Cologne of Love pays tribute to this devotion with an original recipe that blends Orange Blossom, symbol of love and welcome, and 5 Plants selected for their beneficial properties in a generous fragrant water.

The Original Recipe:
  • Orange Blossom: source of softness
  • Bergamot, Mandarin: sources of serenity
  • Wild Rose: source of hydration
  • Nasturtium: source of radiance
  • Petitgrain: source of harmony

Since we're working with orange blossom, bergamot, mandarin orange and petitgrain here, I think it's safe to say that if you're not a citrus lover, this is a fragrance you'll want to avoid. It's citrus on top of citrus on top of citrus.

In its opening, Botanical Cologne of Love brings to mind orange-flavored SweetTarts which, I only recently discovered by reading through the reviews on the SweetTarts website, have been eliminated from the mix. Bummer! Anyway, my point is that the opening of this fragrance brings to mind sweet and sour citrus candy. Specifically SweetTarts, because there's a powdery quality here, much like that powdery "dust" of a SweetTart. Looking at the reviews on Fragrantica, I see that others get a Fruit Loops or Fruity Pebbles cereal note from this fragrance. That's easy to understand, but I don't quite get "cereal" here because I don't detect a grain or bakery note here. Some people pick up vanilla in this fragrance, but I don't. In no way does it smell like orange creamsicles or orange-infused baked goods to me.

After a few minutes on the skin, the candy note begins to slip away, and the "botanical" nature of this fragrance begins to take center-stage. That's really when the orange blossom note, in all its glory, bursts onto the scene. This fragrance is like a love song to orange blossom. To me, it smells like fresh orange blossoms blooming on the tree. But there's an extra kick of sweetness here, almost as if you picked a very ripe (almost overly ripe) orange and began to eat it while still in the presence of the orange blossoms on the tree.

Longevity is quite impressive, considering that this is a cologne. I expected this fragrance to last an hour or two, tops. But no. Almost eight hours in and I can still detect traces of it on my clothing and wrists (it's even stronger in my hair). Projection, though, is more mild. You do have to get in my "sphere" to notice it, which is something I prefer when it comes to fragrance.

As for similarities to other fragrances, some Fragrantica members say this a very (very, very) inexpensive alternative to Love, don't be shy By Kilian, which can set you back a cool $260. I haven't tried the latter, so I can't confirm or deny.

FINAL VERDICT: This is a glorious orange blossom fragrance, with an extra burst of candy-like sweetness that does not veer into sickly or cloying territory. If you like sweet, tart, citrus scents that evoke the beauty of nature (rather than a bakery), I think you'll be quite happy with this one. That's not to say that gourmand lovers will be disappointed, because I do think there's just enough of a candy-like quality to this fragrance to satisfy those with a sweet tooth. For $16, I think this is a worthy investment if you're drawn to citrus fragrances. Longevity is very impressive for a cologne, so even the 1.oz bottle should last you quite a while. I am looking forward to wearing this in the spring and summer months, for sure.

Again, on the Ulta site, you can purchase the 1.0 oz version of this cologne for $16. They also offer the 3.4 oz. version for $38. You can also pick this fragrance up on Amazon for a few dollars less (for the 3.4 oz. version) and they also offer a jumbo, 8.4 oz version from a third-party seller.

The products featured in this post were purchased with personal funds. For more information, click here.


  1. I have the hand creme mini of this fragrance, which I tend to tote around in warmer months. I tend to just dab a bit on my wrists or behind my ears if I want a small pick-me-up, or apply some to my hands since it's a good moisturizer, too (with glycerin, shea butter and coconut oil). I didn't realize the cologne was $16 (maybe that don't have that size in store?), but I think I'll have to pick this up. I always loved 4711 perfume, and while this isn't the same, it seems like a sweeter cousin of the fragrance, but still appealing to me. Plus anything orange or lemon is a win for me.

  2. Have you tried Pacifica's orange or lemon cologne? If so, how does this scent compare? I love citrus colognes.

  3. I didn't know Le Couvent was sold, I can't wait to see what direction the brand takes in the future! I've been a fan of their fragrances and shower gels for a long time.

  4. I absolutely LOVE their body balm lotion with a pump. I am definitely picking this up, I love orange scents this year-thank you for the recommendation and review!

  5. I just bought an enormous bottle of this from Dermstore at 20% off. The largest one (8.4 oz?) I think it's sold out now, but that was a deal. It's my go to scent for spring and summer. Their verbena line is so refreshing too.

  6. I bought the 3.4oz bottle a while back. The innocence of the citrus scent with just the rest got hint of that sweet, candy-like aroma just reminded me of a French baby cologne I used as a young teener! Now, this makes for a great, everyday scent that just smells simple, clean and uncomplicated. :)

  7. I just love Orange blossom and would also pick up some oil when I was in Florida. Seems I can't find it anywhere down there anymore. This could be an excellent alternative and I have been searching for the perfect replacement. Thanks for the review G! I have missed them!

  8. Heads up, at my Ulta today I saw this and several other 3.4 ounce Le Couvent on sale for 18.99 in the clearance section of my ulta today

  9. Does this smell like oranges or orange blossoms? I grew up in a citrus town in Florida and miss the white floral orange blossom scent that would take over the outdoors each spring, but most things labeled orange blossom smell like oranges instead. (Which I also like, just not the same.) Lush's Happy Happy Joy Joy is the truest orange blossom commercial scent I've found so far.

  10. OMG this smell sounds amazing (and you describe it really precisely) and I'm in love with the vintage packaging. Thank you for bringing this to our attention--I would have totally missed this otherwise!

  11. I bought this for my mother- i love that is smells like natural orange blossom- not a soapy chemical smell! It is awesome!!

  12. This sounds divine and has a great price!


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