Aerin Collection : Perfume Reviews

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Aerin, the lifestyle brand of Aerin Lauder, recently presented five fragrances: Gardenia Rattan, Amber Musk, Lilac Path, Ikat Jasmine and Evening Rose. So what can you expect from the collection? Each fragrance is built around a distinctive theme and painted with delicate, pastel tones. The word that comes to mind is tasteful.

aerin

At first, I was a little disappointed to find such mild-mannered blends, but the more I wore the perfumes, the more the collection made sense as the scent equivalent of pret-a-porter. Wearing these perfumes is like slipping into a cashmere dress or silk camisole, a garment that may not look flamboyant but that makes you feel wonderful. The perfumes are not dramatic, to be sure, but they are a pleasure to wear.

While the perfumes don’t come cheap, Lauder didn’t skimp on high-grade materials when making Aerin’s collection. For instance, Evening Rose contains beautiful rose absolute and Amber Musk features a particularly luscious musk note. Overall, it’s a good fit with Aerin Lauder’s understated aesthetic and emphasis on quality. But if you want haute couture drama and panache, you’ll probably have to look elsewhere.

Evening Rose

It’s fun to experience a warm rose dressed in incense and dark woods as both rich and transparent. This seems like an impossible feat, but in the hands of perfumer Honorine Blanc-Hattab, Evening Rose does just that. The perfume starts out shimmering and bright–a sorbet of lychee sprinkled with pink pepper, but within moments you notice the velvety layers of red roses and sandalwood. The lingering finish of amber and incense retains the soft sensation, and you get to enjoy it for hours. Imagine Frédéric Malle’s Portrait of a Lady made lighter and fizzier, and you have Evening Rose. My favorite from the collection.

Amber Musk

Another sultry perfume theme made soft and luminous and another beauty from perfumer Honorine Blanc-Hattab. Amber Musk blends crisp amber with creamy coconut and rose in an effortlessly elegant blend with a touch of decadence. A magnolia leaf–an essence that smells like fuzzy lavender stems and ripe apricots–cuts through the richness of the musk and resins that give the perfume its curvy shape. A subtle hint of toasted hazelnuts and caramel adds a gourmand accent, although Amber Musk doesn’t smell edible. Sexy though it may be, it also feels cuddly and comforting.

Gardenia Rattan

The gardenia here is the barely opened buds, with a sticky green sap covering the waxy petals. As Gardenia Rattan develops, it gives you a glimpse of jasmine and tuberose, but all of them are sheer and radiant. What saves it from banality is a salty, marine note that makes the perfume seem as if the flowers were dipped in sea foam. A beautifully crafted perfume, but you can find a similar idea in Annick Goutal’s Un Matin d’Orage, a marine frangipani, and Marc Jacobs for Her.

Lilac Path

Inspired by Aerin Lauder’s grandmother, Lilac Path is as romantic as lilac can be. The danger with lilac scents is that all too often they come across as something that should be scenting your laundry or bathroom, rather than your own person. Lilac Path is so impeccably put together that it really smells like fresh lilac blossoms and nothing else. But after an hour, its primness makes me listless, and I reach for another less-behaved perfume to layer over Lilac Path. One might as well go for Pacifica’s French Lilac (a simple budget lilac) or Frédéric Malle’s En Passant (an impressionist rain-drenched lilac etude).

Ikat Jasmine

“Intended to personify a modern woman” says the press release, and I suppose that it’s true, if the modern woman in mind is a Bergdorf Blonde. If it’s possible for a perfume to be too tasteful and too polished, then Ikat Jasmine accomplishes that. Technically, it’s lovely, and it’s enjoyable as it skips lightly from gardenia to tuberose to honeysuckle to form a light veil of white petals on skin. But when compared with so many excellent jasmines out there, from Serge Lutens’s A La Nuit to Kilian’s Love and Tears, it doesn’t stand out. If I’m ready to pay luxury prices, at the very least I want my perfume to be memorable and distinctive.

Aerin Gardenia Rattan, Amber Musk, Lilac Path, Ikat Jasmine and Evening Rose are available as Eau de Parfum. 50 ml, $110.

Extra: please also see Robin’s reviews at Now Smell This.

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68 Comments

  • Marsha Smith: I read an article in *Town and Country* about her a couple of years ago and I gathered that she is all about minimalism – nothing more than is absolutely necessary. December 4, 2013 at 7:59am Reply

    • Hannah: I’m like that too. Whenever people would come into my dorm they’d say “oh, you’re transferring?” because they thought I had packed most of my stuff away. I want a futon (a real Japanese one) because I hate furniture. I don’t own any jewelry and my entire makeup collection consists of a few bottles of nailpolish. I can’t get myself to own more than 5 bottles of perfume and I think even that is too much. These perfumes aren’t my style, though, but I’m glad to hear that they’re well done. December 4, 2013 at 9:11am Reply

      • Ann: I own more makeup than perfume but this year I pruned down my stash to things I actually wear. It felt liberating and I’m trying to keep it this way. December 4, 2013 at 11:00am Reply

        • Victoria: Good for you, Ann! I try but I don’t really succeed. Something always come along to tempt me. :) December 4, 2013 at 3:25pm Reply

    • Victoria: I admire that! I was just talking to a friend of mine yesterday about minimalism and how appealing such an idea seems until I take stock of my life and realize that given all of my interests, living in a pristine, Zen-like environment is completely out of the cards. :) December 4, 2013 at 3:23pm Reply

      • Marsha Smith: As I was reading the article, I admired her very much just because I’m so unable to do this. I would love to be able to achieve this in my surroundings. December 5, 2013 at 6:12am Reply

        • Victoria: Me neither. I can’t do it with my clothes or makeup either consistently, because I would get bored. Generally, my style is understated, but sometimes I need something flamboyant, otherwise I feel bored. I don’t remember who said that less is not more, less eventually simply means nothing. December 5, 2013 at 10:43am Reply

      • Courant: I fell in love with the first line of Mary Quant cosmetics in the late 60s. Even though they cost half a weeks wages I still saved up for them. Yellow eye shadow was all the rage and I laugh to see it has returned. I have never managed to beat the addiction to cosmetics and perfume but I don’t have a shoe/clothing weakness, thank goodness January 20, 2014 at 2:41am Reply

        • Victoria: It all comes back sooner or later. :) January 20, 2014 at 10:41am Reply

  • Becca: I was interested in Lilac Path the most, because there aren’t many lilac perfumes. Do you have any other lilac recommendations besides the ones you mentioned? December 4, 2013 at 8:42am Reply

    • Connie: Ineke has one, I think it’s called ‘After My Own Heart’ or something along those lines… December 4, 2013 at 12:25pm Reply

      • Victoria: I agree on Ineke, that’s another very pretty lilac. December 4, 2013 at 3:05pm Reply

      • Becca: thank you! I like the name. December 4, 2013 at 5:36pm Reply

    • Victoria: Estee Lauder Pleasures has a nice lilac note. Also, Caron Farnesiana and Guerlain Apres L’Ondee. But they’re not straightforward lilacs and have much more going on.

      A while ago I wrote this post on lilac. Maybe, you’ll find it helpful:
      http://boisdejasmin.com/2012/05/lilac-perfume-note-that-smells-of-almonds-and-roses.html December 4, 2013 at 3:21pm Reply

      • Becca: I’m going to read it now. I was looking for something that smells like real lilacs. What do you think of Jo Malone Wild Lilac and Rhubarb? December 4, 2013 at 5:38pm Reply

        • Victoria: It’s even less memorable than Lilac Path. Pale, wan, lifeless. I was not a fan. December 5, 2013 at 10:49am Reply

    • sara: alfred sung sha smells like lilac to me. December 4, 2013 at 6:25pm Reply

  • Anne of Green Gables: Evening Rose sounds especially appealing. Are they available outside the U.S.? The fabric-like packaging is so beautiful. December 4, 2013 at 8:46am Reply

    • Jenna: Anne, I don’t know where you live, I saw them at Selfridges in London. December 4, 2013 at 8:54am Reply

      • Anne of Green Gables: Thanks, Jenna. I live in Germany and I don’t know if they’re available here. I have many other perfumes on my ‘To Sniff’ list so it wouldn’t be the end of the world if I can’t find them here. December 4, 2013 at 12:12pm Reply

        • Victoria: Yes, you can probably survive without them. :) From what I can tell about your perfume tastes based on your comments here, these may not be necessary. December 4, 2013 at 3:06pm Reply

    • Victoria: They recently launched in the US and then in the UK, so I suspect that they will make their way to other big European stores.

      The packaging is very nice, and the bottles are really well-made. December 4, 2013 at 3:19pm Reply

  • Caroline: Tested Lilac Path & Ikat Jasmine at Saks last week. While I adore the smell of natural lilac (and the scent seems to be good quality), I don’t think I really want to wear lilac. The jasmine one was utterly forgettable. Now I wish I’d tried the rose. The Saks site has a nice coffret of all in travel sizes. December 4, 2013 at 9:03am Reply

    • Victoria: Yves Rocher had the best lilac on the market, and in their infinite wisdom, they chose to discontinue it. I’m still missing it and hoping that they might bring it back. December 4, 2013 at 3:18pm Reply

      • Jenna: Why do they keep discontinuing the best ones? I went to look for Rose Absolue after reading many nice comments about it and I was told it’s being discontinued. December 5, 2013 at 4:39am Reply

        • Victoria: I don’t understand it either. Rose Absolue was another one of my YR favorites, and it’s a shame that they decided not to keep it. My guess is that it became too expensive for them to produce, because the formula is quite pricey. December 5, 2013 at 10:46am Reply

        • Andrea Marie: I like AG Rose Absolue as well, and had good luck finding a tester on EBay. They have it right now at Surrender to Chance, if you want to get some, I just checked! December 5, 2013 at 11:51am Reply

  • Sabine: The Aerin make up line was once described by someone as:…for women who don’t like make up.”
    It’s all a bit ethereal and well behaved. Not like me then. December 4, 2013 at 9:32am Reply

    • Victoria: It makes sense then, because the perfume line would be perfect for someone who doesn’t really like perfume and wants something subtle. December 4, 2013 at 3:17pm Reply

    • Marsha Smith: This comment reminded me that the article in *Town and Country* was about her makeup line. Yes, *ethereal and well-behaved.* Only one piece of statement jewelry. Etc, etc. December 5, 2013 at 6:09am Reply

      • Leslie: Her lip and cheek cream color is to die for and I already bought a replacement. Maybe I’m more of a minimalist in makeup than in perfume. December 5, 2013 at 3:29pm Reply

  • Alicia: Victoria, since this Evening Rose makes you think of a softer Portrait of a Lady, I will certainly fall for it. But not at the moment: I have just fallen in love with another rose. This one you have to try: Tauer, Phi: une rose de Kandahar. I will say no more.
    Following your advice I have now tried By Killian, Rose and Amber Ouds. Like both very much, but not surprisingly, given my natural inclination, I prefer the rose oud. I have noticed for some time now that among all florals I tend to wear rose the most. I even perfume my pillow with Tea Rose, which smells just like the flower, and it is cheap. There is an amber perfume that I truly love, L’Air du désert marrocain. I have also tried the Montales. Now I recognize ouds, thanks to you. I think his Safran Aoud interesting. I also bought his Taif Rose, which I found somewhat bitter or acrid, and certainly loud. What can I say of the several Montales I smelled? I grew up with Guerlain and Chanel, I love Malle, and Lutens, and Tauer, and Caron and Lauder, and now Amouage … These are symphonic fragrances, and the Montales make me think of a brass band. I find the Montales interesting, but not for me. Thank you again, Victoria, thank you so very much. December 4, 2013 at 10:40am Reply

    • Victoria: Alicia, I’m adding it to my list! Thank you very much.

      Your description of Montales is spot on. There are a few I like (Black Aoud, for instance), but they’re better suited for certain moods, whereas less jarring perfumes like Guerlain Nahema or Caron Parfum Sacre smell good anytime. December 4, 2013 at 3:15pm Reply

      • Alicia: Ah, Victoria! Nahema is my Immortal Beloved….This year I fell in love with Amouage Lyric. And this week with Tauer’s rose de Kandahar. There are so many others I love…I may become a Don Juan of roses. Not a bad fate. December 5, 2013 at 12:28am Reply

        • Victoria: It’s not at all a bad fate to choose a beautiful rose as your quest! :) December 5, 2013 at 10:48am Reply

    • Alice: That’s interesting, Alicia. I recently did an audit and realised I have and wear more rose-based perfumes than anything else, so have decided to focus future purchases on rose. It’s not a big restriction, as there are so many different types on the market, but will give some cohesion to my collection (plus also is practical, as it doesn’t matter so much if they get accidentally layered). Thanks for your suggestions, I will watch out for future posts!
      BTW, echoing what Victoria says above, I’m so disappointed that Yves Rocher discontinued Rose Absolue; a lovely fragrance, which I confess I reach for more often than some of my more ‘exclusive’ bottles December 5, 2013 at 4:55am Reply

      • Alicia: Alice, thank you! Yes, I wear roses very often, but I don’t think that I would be able to limit my collection to a predominant note. I need woods, and orientals also, particularly in the colder seasons. Some of my most beloved fragrances are not roses, such as Feminité du Bois, Chanel 19, 31 Rue Chambon, Iris Silver Mist, Private Collection… there are too many I would miss. I may have an unfaithful heart, but although not the only one, rose is my true love. December 5, 2013 at 9:00pm Reply

        • Alice: I love these ones too, and own the first three – I wasn’t going to ban them, as I wear them often. It was really for new bottles, I though I might try focusing on a theme for a while and see how it goes. And my definition will be wide, ie woody roses, oriental roses etc will be just fine! December 6, 2013 at 12:49am Reply

  • Ann: I like Aerin’s makeup very much because my favourite look is simple, not the kind that screams “she’s wearing makeup.” I’m very interested in her perfumes now especially Amber Musk. December 4, 2013 at 10:58am Reply

    • Victoria: I haven’t tried any of it, since it’s not available in Belgium, and whenever I’m at Selfridges, my attention is drawn completely by the Suqqu counter! :)
      Amber Musk is definitely worth trying if you like soft, warm blends. December 4, 2013 at 3:09pm Reply

  • george: A rose, an amber, a lilac, a gardenia and a Jasmine scent- I guess that’s what one calls a range. El expensivo Jo Malogne (that’s a cologne/Malone portmanteau) is what it seems to add up to. Evening Rose sounds interesting, but the rest too born of politesse. I am so not the market for these, I feel! December 4, 2013 at 11:33am Reply

    • Anne of Green Gables: Jo Malogne! :-) lol, george! I love your sense of humour. December 4, 2013 at 12:14pm Reply

    • Victoria: I started laughing out loud and my husband came in wondering what’s going on. :) December 4, 2013 at 3:08pm Reply

  • Vanessa: The first thought that went through my mind was those Armani bottles! Surely it is more than a nod in that ‘pebble top’ direction…;) December 4, 2013 at 1:45pm Reply

    • Victoria: Yes, the pebble lids definitely made me think that too. Plus, the focus on the single notes, etc. Have you tried them already? December 4, 2013 at 3:05pm Reply

  • wefadetogray: I really need to try Amber Musc. I am in search of ambers this fall/ winter. So far, I am enamored with MdO’s Ambre. I cannot wait to try Aerin’s rendition. December 4, 2013 at 2:01pm Reply

    • Victoria: It’s one of the softest ambers I’ve tried, but it’s not at all dull. Another amber I’m enjoying right now is L’Artisan L’Eau d’Ambre. It’s transparent but has lots of layers. December 4, 2013 at 3:04pm Reply

  • Elisa: The rose and musk sound really appealing from your descriptions but in reality they’re probably too expensive and too subtle for me so I’ll probably skip this collection! December 4, 2013 at 3:29pm Reply

    • Victoria: I sort of felt that about Dior’s collection–too well-behaved and too expensive.
      But do try the Rose and Amber, if you pass by the Lauder counter. They’re really a pleasure to wear. I could live without the rest though, but this is always the case with multiple launches. Invariably, there will be one or two good ones and the rest–so-so. December 4, 2013 at 3:42pm Reply

  • Andrea Marie: I just tried these (on paper) at Neiman’s this weekend. I love gardenia, but this smelled too much of coconut and “marine” scent. I didn’t get gardenia at all. The rose was definitely for those who like their roses dark, which surprised me, as Aerin’s line is all in a soft pink hue. I was expecting a soft pink rose to go with it, à la Crabtree’s Evelyn. The Jasmine smelled too familiar, like it had been done somewhere before (V, did you get a bit of “Private Collection” in the jasmine?). The Amber surprised me the most. I don’t like amber, typically, but this had a cozy vanilla scent which I really liked. The lilac have me a splitting headache. It might have been more interesting if they did the Jo Malone mix-and-match thing… I would buy THAT coffret in a heartbeat! December 4, 2013 at 6:19pm Reply

    • Victoria: I can see what you mean, since both share the green jasmine part, but I agree, it felt a bit like a deja vu. I also didn’t expect Evening Rose to be this lush, but it was a nice surprise. It’s still on the expensive side for me, but if I had a small bottle, I would very happy with it. December 5, 2013 at 10:51am Reply

  • sara: the look made me think of armani’s exclusives. December 4, 2013 at 6:21pm Reply

    • Victoria: Vanessa mentioned it too above. When I saw the bottles at the store, I didn’t make the connection. Private Collection bottles also had little stones in the lids, so perhaps, they used that for an inspiration. December 5, 2013 at 10:52am Reply

  • annemariec: So, by the sound of it these they don’t have the traditional Lauder sillage? Even Lauder perfumes these days don’t have the traditional Lauder sillage, if Sensuous and Modern Muse are anything to go by. December 4, 2013 at 8:51pm Reply

    • Victoria: No, they don’t. They have decent lasting power, but next to the older Lauders, they’re wallflowers. December 5, 2013 at 10:53am Reply

  • Jenna: I went to Selfridges to try these today and my favourite was Amber Musk. I liked the rest too, except I couldn’t smell Ikat Jasmine on me after 30 minutes. December 5, 2013 at 4:35am Reply

    • Victoria: I didn’t have issues with Ikat Jasmine’s longevity, but I wish it had more drama or just some of hook. It’s pretty but forgettable. December 5, 2013 at 10:47am Reply

  • N.: I got the fragrance set which includes all five of these scents. I like that I get to have all the fragrances, but don’t have to pay for all five full size bottles, which would be way too expensive for me. The bottles are small, but are pretty spray bottles and will probably be enough for me. It is like having a fragrance wardrobe in one box. Amber Musk for autumn/winter, Lilac Path for spring, Gardenia Rattan for summer, Ikat Jasmine for day, and Evening Rose for night. We always had vases full of lilacs cut from the garden in the spring when I was growing up, which smelled divine. Aerin’s lilac version is so real that I actually really enjoy it for that reason. Go figure. I think the Amber Musk and Evening Rose are my favorites also, but I know I will enjoy all of them.:) December 5, 2013 at 5:38am Reply

    • Victoria: Glad to hear that they all work so well for you! I included the set in my gift guide last week, because it was so adorable (and yes, the price is much better and you get all 5 perfumes). December 5, 2013 at 10:44am Reply

  • rainboweyes: I’m an absolute purist when it comes to interiors and clothing, and I love minimalist and understated scents, yet, regardless of their minimalist concept, they have to be distinctive in a way. Whereas Giacobetti’s or Ellena’s creations perfectly fit into this category, the Aerin line certainly doesn’t. Money saved this time :)! December 5, 2013 at 6:30am Reply

    • Hannah: Yeah, I agree.
      CdG compliments my minimalist aesthetic very well. Every minimalist has a different aesthetic. December 5, 2013 at 8:55am Reply

    • Victoria: They really didn’t push the envelope with this collection, that’s true. December 5, 2013 at 10:41am Reply

  • Leslie: I didn’t try Evening Rose but echoing what you said the others are too thin. I almost purchased a set blindly, because I could wear Private Collection Tuberose Gardenia as a signature perfume and I thought that these ones wuld be similar. December 5, 2013 at 3:26pm Reply

    • Victoria: That kind of a blind purchase is risky, and yes, these are not like the Private Collection perfumes at all. Even Evening Rose is mild in comparison to Ylang Amber. December 5, 2013 at 5:26pm Reply

  • fleurdelys: I was pleased with Lilac Path when I tested it. It’s one of my favorite notes, and you are right, it can veer into “bathroom cleaner” or “room freshener”. Some lilac fragrances become either too cloying or aggressively laundry-fresh. If this one is prim and well-behaved, I think I can deal with that! December 6, 2013 at 10:51am Reply

    • Victoria: It’s a well-done lilac, and at no point I got the dreaded “Glade” association. Maybe, I just like my lilacs a bit more mixed with other flowers, but if you want a straight up lilac (and it lasts well on you), Lilac Path is a good option. December 6, 2013 at 12:24pm Reply

  • The Perfumed Veil: You really hit the nail on the head with this review, as you always seem to do with your writing. I tried Amber Musk and Evening Rose as white flowers and lilac are my least favorite smells. The Amber one is just oriental enough to be interesting, but quickly fades into the slightest whisper. Evening Rose is more potent. I love the box, bottle and cap (thought they could have used real stone instead of plastic). For the price, 50 mls of Evening Rose is not worth it because it does not maintain that fizzy rose character long, but if you get it 65% off like I did, it is a classy fragrance to display. If you continuously apply, it creates a really pleasant aura. April 22, 2014 at 5:17pm Reply

    • Victoria: What a bargain! Congrats! Now, a discount like that makes it worth it, because after all, it’s a well-made perfume and is interesting to wear (ie, it loves skin and changes nicely throughout the day.) Enjoy it!

      P.S. Thank you for the thoughts on the other ones too. April 22, 2014 at 5:33pm Reply

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