Estee Lauder Pure White Linen : Perfume Review



Star rating: 5 stars–outstanding/potential classic, 4 stars–very good, 3 stars–adequate, 2 stars–disappointing, 1 star–poor.

Pure White Linen is a younger sister to Estée Lauder classic White Linen, a fragrance that should be mentioned in the course of any discussion of great American perfumes. The elegant simplicity of the composition created by the perfumer Sophia Grojsman in 1978 is fascinating. While White Linen appears to be built in bold blocks of aldehydes, florals, woods, amber and musk, the entire arrangement is so beautifully balanced that one cannot but admire its unconventional form. Pure White Linen weaves the elements of the original in such a manner that the resulting fragrance retains the classical Lauder character while nevertheless possessing the modern aesthetic sensibility. …

One can glimpse the outlines of the composition that inspired Pure White Linen, from the suggestion of aldehydic shimmer in the top notes to the velvety woods in the base. Yet, the weightless and transparent quality of Pure White Linen is a departure from the aldehydic intensity of its predecessor. Although the floral aldehydic genre has lost its popularity, the idea of creating a modern fragrance relying on the sparkling whiteness of aldehydes has never been abandoned, with the result that the modern aldehydic accords tend to be rendered like the delicate puffs of silver dust.

The fruity notes, crisp and tart like frozen green grapes, ornament the crystalline floral accord of Pure White Linen and complement the champagne fizz of aldehydes. The heart lingers through the adagio of green jasmine before cascading into the plush rose that lends richness and complexity to its soft melody. The fragrance unfolds beautifully in the warm summer air, and while the sparkling notes melt by the time the composition moves into the woody-musky drydown, Pure White Linen still retains the gossamer effect that made it alluring to me. Wearing it makes me feel as if being perpetually caught in the gentle summer breeze.

Pure White Linen includes grapefruit, Italian mandarin, raspberry, pear, green Granny Smith apple, white ginger, cardamom, red tulip, rose absolute, honeysuckle, gardenia petals, tuberose, jasmine, iris, osmanthus, cedarwood, heliotrope. It is available at Estée Lauder website, Neiman Marcus, Bergdoft Goodman, Nordstrom and Saks Fifth Avenue.



  • cynthia: I was about to ignore Pure White Linen (not a fan of the original), but your review inspired me to try it. It sounds so lovely. June 26, 2006 at 12:31pm Reply

  • Marina: So, a perfume-sequel that is actually good! How wonderful to hear that. I have got to try this one! V, what is your opinion of White Linen Breeze? June 26, 2006 at 8:53am Reply

  • Madelyn E: Dear Victoria,
    Hi ! Surprising to learn that the same parfumer who created Tresor also created white Linene. I have tried to wear it – in the form of the spray and body lotion. I never really “bonded ” with it . I have admired it on others. though. It is not sweet enough for my taste.
    Victoria, could you give me a recommendation? I need this week a sexy summer scent . I had planned to wear Musc Ravageur and Carita EDP. But the NY weather is hot ,humid and rainy. Any suggestions ? I really feel wonde4rful whem I sprau Musc Rav on – I just don;’t want it to br too heavy.
    Thank you !
    Madelyn E June 26, 2006 at 1:24pm Reply

  • Robin: I am the odd man out here…found PWL to be just about at scrubber status. But then, don’t love the original either. *slinks off to hide…* June 26, 2006 at 1:25pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Marina, it is very pretty, and the crisp floral effect with a slight musky creaminess is very soothing. It also reminds me of clean, soft fabric, perhaps because of the white musk base. Overall, I find it lovely. Unfortunately, I have not tried White Linen Breeze. June 26, 2006 at 2:04pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Ina, I particularly love the sparkling top notes, although the base is also very nice. Somehow, it retains the refreshing effect even on these hot, humid days. June 26, 2006 at 2:07pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Cynthia, I would definitely recommend trying it. I like White Linen very much, but I admit that it is not the easiest fragrance for me to wear. I am open to the modern takes on the theme. June 26, 2006 at 2:09pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Madelyn, yes, White Linen is definitely dry and intensely aldehydic. I would be curious to hear your thoughts on Pure White Linen and whether you might fare better with it. It is definitely sweeter, although not too much. The sweetness is just enough to add a pleasant, lighthearted touch.

    As for a fragrance fragrance that would work in the hot weather, how about Ormonde Jayne Champaca? I find that it is quite sensual, but without the dark heft of orientals. Also, I found Youth Dew Amber Nude to unfold beautifully in the warm air. A small amount is all that is needed. June 26, 2006 at 2:15pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: R, given your preferences, I did not think that you would like it. The musky base would probably bother you. June 26, 2006 at 2:18pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: TSS, I would not call it avant-garde, but it is beautifully done using high-quality materials and the result is simply lovely. I could live with such conventions. June 26, 2006 at 2:44pm Reply

  • Ina: I haven’t had a chance to smell the original White Linen yet but I found Pure White Linen quite nice. Lots of stuff going on there – a whole array of florals and fruits. The result is gorgeous but a bit heady for my taste. June 26, 2006 at 11:04am Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: TSS, I love the fact that Youth Dew Amber Nude has given me a new perspective on Youth Dew, not just a modern version of it. June 26, 2006 at 3:12pm Reply

  • marchlion: Okay, off to re-try this one. You always give me a fresh perspective. June 26, 2006 at 3:28pm Reply

  • Judith: Another one I haven’t tried! Doesn’t sound like my style–but you never know. Will definitely try this next time I’m in a dept. store. . . The problem is, you make EVERYTHING (well, everything you like) sound soooooo beautiful! June 26, 2006 at 4:12pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: March, I hope that you will not be disappointed. There is creamy, slighly soapy aspect that I find very enjoyable and comforting in the drydown. I actually just received a compliment on it from the one of my colleagues. June 26, 2006 at 4:36pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Judith, it is not difficult to make lovely things sound lovely! I also do not think that it is quite your style, but perhaps you will surprise me. June 26, 2006 at 4:40pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: L, of course, I would love to hear your opinion! June 26, 2006 at 4:52pm Reply

  • The Scented Salamander: I think that it is undeniably pretty but also rather conventional. It makes me think of a fragrance that any focus group would give their stamp of approval to. June 26, 2006 at 1:47pm Reply

  • The Scented Salamander: I was also pleasantly surprised to see that Youth Dew Amber Nude smelled better in the warm weather than during the winter. June 26, 2006 at 3:01pm Reply

  • Laura: Of course, now I have to try it. I’m your puppet. June 26, 2006 at 4:23pm Reply

  • Diane: Will try when I try Ferre. If you like it, well… yeah…

    Anyone else dying for frozen grapes? That sounds so perfectly scrumptious right now. June 26, 2006 at 8:14pm Reply

  • Madelyn E: Dear Victoria,
    Thank you very much for your “sexy , summer ” fragrance recommendations ! I will surely explore Champaca …And .. Youth Dew Amber Nude. I remember that White Linen was one of a Triplet set of fragrances introduced by Estee Lauder is the late 70’s. Do you, dear Vic, remember Celadon and Pavillion ? I do. I am showing my age ,now. But , for the life of me I don’t understand why Estee L. chose to abandon the other 2 . I loved Pavillion – it was refreshing , a sort of transparent , musk. Anyway , where can I find (in NY) the Ormonde Jayne Champaca ?
    I , did, however take note that you have not yet experienced White Linen Breeze. It is very nice on.
    Thank you – for all your beautifully written reviews. It is just a joy to log on to BDJ.
    Best To you- Madelyn E June 27, 2006 at 1:25am Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Diane, I have been craving some frozen grapes too, especially in this heat. Hope that you get a chance to try Ferre soon. It is another beautiful fragrance. June 27, 2006 at 2:32pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Madelyn, thank you for your kind words. I am glad that the recommendation is helpful. Unfortunately, Ormonde Jayne are not sold in the US, only through its UK-based store. You can find the entire line here: (the samples are also available). Champaca is one of my favourites, and so is Ta’if and Frangipani. I am not familiar with either Celadon or Pavillion. June 27, 2006 at 2:34pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Luccia, thank you very much. Pure White Linen is quite different from the original White Linen, therefore even if you disliked the original, I would not discourage you from trying the new version. Tresor (Lancome) is different still, in a very different genre and family, although like all Sophia Grojsman’s fragrances, it is warm and round. June 27, 2006 at 8:53pm Reply

  • Luccia: Very interesting take on these fragrances, I am inspired to try Youth Dew Amber, but unfortunately I have not had much luck with the EL fragrances like White Linen or Tresor.
    Your reviews are so details and thoughtful it is such a pleasure to come to this site… June 27, 2006 at 7:15pm Reply

  • violetnoir: I don’t like White Linen, but I actually smelled the smell strip in Allure last night and…I found the fragrance very fresh and lovely. On a smell strip, no less! LOL! I may actually try this the next time I visit the mall.

    V, did Sophia Grojsman create Pure White Linen, too?

    Hugs! June 29, 2006 at 12:36pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: R, it is very lovely. I wore it this morning, but now I switched to Fracas. Pure White Linen was not created by Sophia Grojsman. It was done by Sophie Labbe. June 29, 2006 at 6:17pm Reply

  • terry: i have been wearing White Linen for years, love the stuff, but because i could never get hold of the body cream, i bought the pure white linen body cream, it brought me out in a very painful rash!!! i tried it again , just in case , and again, the rash appeared.
    Guess this is not the one for me!!
    WHat does one do in this case? May 22, 2007 at 2:03am Reply

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