josephine catapano: 2 posts

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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Birthday Ladies : Estee Lauder Youth Dew and Robert Piguet Fracas

This year two formidable classics celebrate their sixtieth anniversaries. Robert Piguet Fracas (1948) will turn 65, while Estée Lauder Youth Dew (1953) will mark its 60th year. These remarkable fragrances elicit strong emotions and inspire us even today. Youth Dew set the trend for rich orientals, while no tuberose perfume can be spared a comparison with Fracas.

fracasYouth Dew

These perfumes are also notable because they were created by two of the first female perfumers: Germaine Cellier and Josephine Catapano, respectively.  The perfume industry of the 1940s and 50s was a boy’s club. In 1947, Donald William Dresden wrote in his article, The Twenty “Noses” of France“Only a few people have the supersense of smell necessary to become a Nose—for reasons known only to Noses themselves, no woman has ever had it…” Dresden, reporting for the New York Times, simply reiterated what he heard around Grasse, France, the main perfumery hub of those days.

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