Estee Lauder: 18 posts

Estee Lauder Knowing : Fragrance Review

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Estée Lauder Knowing blends roses and moss, one of Elisa’s favorite perfume pairings. She revisits this glamorous and plush fragrance today.

There’s just nothing like a rose chypre. Though the perfume world has given me no shortage of beautiful options in this moss inflected category, there’s something about it that feels endlessly variable to me, and if I ever had the money and good fortune to commission a bespoke fragrance from a great perfumer, the perfect rose chypre is what I would chase.

knowing

As luck would have it, this category hasn’t yet been ruined by time or perfume regulations (unlike, say, lily of the valley). The classical chypre accord, traditionally a harmony between bergamot, oakmoss, and labdanum, is harder to achieve since oakmoss was identified as an allergen in 2001. But perhaps because rose plays so nicely with earthy materials like patchouli and vetiver, only a touch of the now restricted oakmoss is needed to create a dramatic effect. So, for example, Francis Kurkdjian’s Lumiere Noire Pour Femme (2009) is almost as beautiful as L’Arte di Gucci (1991).

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Estee Lauder Sensuous, Sensuous Nude, and Sensuous Noir : Fragrance Reviews

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Everyone in the perfume world bristled at Estée Lauder’s recent claims that Modern Muse was its first major launch since Beyond Paradise. They may want us to forget about Sensuous, but we haven’t! Today, Elisa revisits Sensuous and its two flankers.

noir

Sensuous

3 stars

Rated 4.5 out of 5.0

Sensuous (2008) is one of those rare perfumes that is not (quite) as good as its flankers. It’s almost as though Estée Lauder designed the pillar with the flankers in mind – it’s a stripped down skin scent practically begging to be layered or embellished.

But simple or not, Sensuous is exceedingly comfortable and well done. It doesn’t have a pyramid-style development, just a fairly linear balance between soft white floral notes (jasmine and lily), warm woody notes, and a citrusy white musk. (Note, however, that anything with vanilla smells more vanillic as it dries down.) In classic Estee Lauder style, it radiates good taste – there’s a daytime-appropriate freshness you rarely see in amber fragrances, and the sweetness is restrained, never verging on gourmand.

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Estee Lauder Modern Muse : Perfume Review

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Elisa questions whether Estée Lauder’s Modern Muse can be her inspiration.

I am a longtime fan of the Estée Lauder lineup. The first perfume to take my breath away was White Linen – my grandmother wore it, and one day (I was 12 or 13) she let me use a dab of the lotion from her purse. The scent rushed up at me like a blast of cold air, snow blowing into a hot room from an open window. I stood there smelling my hands in awe.

modern-muse

Years later, when my interest in perfume turned to full-blown obsession, Estée Lauder was one of the first lines I was drawn to return to. I bought a small bottle of White Linen, and others followed. I now own upwards of ten Lauder perfumes. With this many hits, of course I pay attention when they announce a new release, even if the marketing is suspicious. (Their first “major launch” since Beyond Paradise? What happened to Sensuous?)

From the get-go, Modern Muse smells very Estée Lauder – fresh, feminine, floral, and bright, pretty in a grown-up way, without the over-sugared sweetness of so many recent launches. There’s a crisp, leafy-green top note and a touch of juicy citrus, more like tangerine than dry, tart bergamot. These effects are layered over what the press materials call “dewy petals” – and yes, there is a petal-like feel to the floral accord, a white bouquet of lily, with its distinctive waxy, vanillic notes, plus raspy jasmine and orange blossom.

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Estee Lauder Youth Dew : Perfume Review (New and Vintage)

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This year Estée Lauder’s first fragrance, Youth Dew, will celebrate its 60th anniversary.  Originally conceived as perfumed bath oil, it is the dowager empress of the Lauder fragrance counter, still selling briskly despite its late middle age. So formidable is it that if you only try it once every ten years, you will recognize it.

youth-dew1

Youth Dew has always been a thick and nearly viscous brew. Lauder perfumes contain sumptuous amounts of perfume oil and nowhere is this illustrated as plainly as in Youth Dew, whose 30% dosage leaves a sheen on the skin.  In today’s terms, Youth Dew is retro in the same way Opium is retro; they are both heavily spiced and heavy-lidded Orientals of a type no longer in trend. As with Opium, Youth Dew is crazily ripe with orange top notes and aldehydes bursting over its clove and cinnamon heart.

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Estee Lauder White Linen : Fragrance Review

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In 1978, Estée Lauder launched White Linen as a part of a trio called “New Romantics.”  The New Romantics also included Celadon (a green floral) and Pavilion (a white floral).  The three New Romantics scents were pioneers in the concept of fragrance layering.  The ad copy promised “three incredibly pretty fragrances designed to interact with each other.  Wear one.  Wear two.  Wear all three together.”

Celadon and Pavilion have been mostly lost to time, but Sophia Grojsman’s White Linen was an immediate blockbuster that is still in the Lauder line-up three decades later.  To me White Linen smelled like nothing else out there while bearing a stylistic resemblance to Chanel No 22 (immense use of aldehydes over abstract white floral heart).  It smelled nothing like the big Orientals that had just taken hold, and if it were meant to be worn concurrently with Celadon and Pavilion the result would have been explosive (think about combining Pleasures and Beautiful). On its own, White Linen had a massive and imaginative signature.  To combine it with another scent of equal power would be unthinkable—in today’s terms.  In the late 1970s, perfume was still constructed and worn boldly.

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