Estee Lauder Private Collection Amber Ylang Ylang : Perfume Review



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

The combination of sweet amber and flowers is the olfactory equivalent of hot chocolate with whipped cream, where the heavy richness of one component is balanced out against the airy softness of the other. Amber Ylang Ylang, a fragrance from Estée Lauder’s Private Collection, is a great example of how this sumptuous pairing works. Amber Ylang Ylang was created in 2008 by Annie Buzantian and Honorine Blanc-Hattab and it is a comforting, enveloping veil of a fragrance, with a gourmand twist.

Just as whipped cream is deceptively light, so too is ylang ylang. The initial cool wintergreen notes give an impression of freshness, while the richness of its jasmine-like heart comes almost as a shock. In Amber Ylang Ylang, the icy freshness is reinforced by citrus and green notes, and even if the overall aura is that of opulence, the bright prelude makes the fragrance more radiant.

The amber part of Amber Ylang Ylang is obvious from the very start. Folded into incense and vanilla, it has a rich, velvety character. Although sweet notes (vanilla, sugared almonds, candied orange) are pronounced, the dry woods temper them enough to prevent the fragrance from becoming cloying.

Do not expect twists and turns, however, because Amber Ylang Ylang places all of its cards on the table at once. It delivers exactly what it promises, a lush duo of two classical notes accented by woods and spices, but for lovers of rich orientals, it is a great choice. It is well-made, elegant, with a hint of drama. It also holds its own next to other excellent ambers like Lalique Le Parfum and Serge Lutens Ambre Sultan.

Estée Lauder Private Collection Amber Ylang Ylang is sold as both Eau de Parfum and Parfum. It includes notes of ylang ylang, bergamot, rose, cinnamon, incense, vanilla, sandalwood, and amber. EdP: 1oz, $80, 2.5oz, $135; parfum, 1oz, $325. Available from Estee Lauder counters.

Sample: my own acquisition



  • Julie: I love my ELPC amber ylang yang – to me it is like putting on a cashmere sweater, warm and comforting, always appropriate in cool weather. Is the photo of the bottle above the parfum? It is stunning! Those stones embedded in the cap – sooo pretty! Thanks for the lovely review 🙂 December 6, 2011 at 5:17am Reply

  • sweetlife: Goodness, I never did try this. Must remedy.

    So many ambers, V! Times have changed. 😉 December 6, 2011 at 12:03pm Reply

  • Victoria: Yes, that’s the parfum bottle. The EDP has a textured golden top, but still very nicely done.
    Your analogy is perfect! It feels very warm and comforting. December 6, 2011 at 9:49am Reply

  • kjanicki: MMm, I should really get some of that! I have the ELPC Tuberose Gardenia and it it excellent. December 6, 2011 at 10:50am Reply

  • sunsetsong: I love Amber Ylang Ylang – it is so cosy. In fact I shall go and spray it now. Divine!!

    Lauder perfumes are hit and miss for me, this with Youth Dew, Sensuous and Azuree are really my cup of tea. It is great that they have such a wide range, there is something for everyone! Interesting that the line also contains two of my biggest scrubbers – Pleasures and Beyond Paradise. December 6, 2011 at 5:49pm Reply

  • sunsetsong: Thank you for suggesting these. I shall try PC, Aliage and Knowing next time I pass a Lauder counter. Sampling three scents is as much as my nose can take on any one occasion. December 6, 2011 at 6:05pm Reply

  • Victoria: I also like Tuberose Gardenia very much. White Moss and Jasmine is nicely done, but it is essentially Chanel Cristalle. December 6, 2011 at 1:21pm Reply

  • Victoria: There are many ambers available today, but of course, it has always been a popular genre. As for me, I am trying to review the types of fragrances I have not focused on before. A good exercise to revisit old favorites or to find something interesting among the older launches. December 6, 2011 at 1:22pm Reply

  • sweetlife: Yes, I did mean your tastes rather than times in general. xo December 6, 2011 at 8:29pm Reply

  • bulldoggirl: Thanks for showing this underrated ‘fume some love. It’s one of my all-time favorites and a go-to throughout the fall and winter months. Truly a “cashmere” scent, with terrific sillage and longevity. Have you had the chance to compare the EDP and the parfum? If so, any notable differences? December 6, 2011 at 8:40pm Reply

  • Victoria: I love Calice Becker’s work in general, but as much as I appreciate Beyond Paradise for its radiance, I cannot wear it either. I understand that it was not a great success for Lauder.

    I also love Private Collection, Aliage and Knowing, besides the fragrances you mentioned. They are bold, memorable, dramatic. December 6, 2011 at 5:55pm Reply

  • Victoria: You might have to ask for testers at the counter. For some strange reason, these classics are not displayed at some stores. December 7, 2011 at 7:07am Reply

  • Victoria: No dramatic change, to be honest. Just trying to expand my horizons and maybe challenge myself a bit! December 7, 2011 at 7:10am Reply

  • Victoria: Underrated is just right! Surprising how it fell under my radar initially, considering that I love jasmine notes and incense. I'm making up for it now!

    I haven't tried the parfum. The EL counter never has any testers. I will update the review, if I find it. December 7, 2011 at 7:12am Reply

    • dr: I have the same question: is the pure perfume of AYY worth the money, i.e. richer, warmer and longer lasting? Merci Bella Victoria… And, is it true that Amber Absolute by Tom Ford is somehow superior – richer and a teeny-tiny bit more pronounced? January 22, 2013 at 9:25am Reply

  • Khemz: I smelt this perfume in a big departmental store in london and couldn’t take my mind off it for months. Then, I finally bought it just over a month ago. I like it but the only thing that didn’t do it for me is, it doesn’t last too long on the body. It wears off too quickly IMO. For the price tag, it should have more concentrated perfume and not overshadowing alcohol. I’ve used longer smelling Estée perfumes spellbind is one of them. The ylang ylang amber has everything I love in a perfume but it’s a shame it wears off too quickly! IMHO September 1, 2012 at 4:53am Reply

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