Perfume Review: Estee Lauder Private Collection Tuberose Gardenia
In his speech at the World Perfumery Congress 2007, Daniel Annese, Senior vice president and general manager of Estée Lauder International, talked about “the notion of heritage, which acts as a symbol of simplicity and authenticity to today’s consumers. In other words: look to the past to define the future. While the idea of “retro” means brining back chic packaging, it also means reinterpreting classic fragrance notes”. (Perfumer & Flavorist, August 2007, WPC insert, page 4.) Private Collection Tuberose Gardenia is that idea of heritage and retro brought to life. When Estée Lauder launched Private Collection, she allegedly shared with the public a scent which she originally created for herself and a few friends. Paying the tribute to her grandmother, and at the same time offering herself as a replacement for the Estée-the aspirational model- in the minds and hearts of consumers, Aerin Lauder makes available to the world the scent she “has treasured for so long and shared only with her closest friends”. (Via the Estée Lauder press release.)
In an interview to Allure, Aerin Lauder said: “Everyone who smells the new scent really loves it, because it is very floral, and it’s very easy to wear. It’s not polarizing; there is nothing unusual about it. It’s not spicy and scary, it’s just like a beautiful bouquet of flowers.” (Allure, August 2007, page 245) Before I smelled Private Collection Tuberose Gardenia, I found this quote puzzling, doing a disservice to the scent. Easy to wear, nothing unusual about it? After sampling Tuberose Gardenia, I understood that Lauder was talking about the classicism and elegant simplicity of the composition. There is nothing unusual about a white sundress, that eternal summery classic, and yet it is endlessly attractive. The same would be true to say regarding the new Lauder perfume; there is nothing particularly unique about this harmonious union of two white florals, nothing except its lusciousness and its extraordinarily silky feel. Tuberose and gardenia are fierce notes and, when put together, might result in a blend of formidable headiness. In Private Collection, however, the star notes, although not understated, smell soft, non-aggressive. The long-lasting scent certainly has presence, but it is not a forceful presence, the sillage envelopes one gently, like an organza shawl, and does not loudly herald one’s arrival or impolitely linger in the room after one’s departure.
It is a simple scent, in a sense that nothing distracts the nose from the natural beauty of the title notes. Tuberose and gardenia appear simultaneously the moment the fragrance is applied, and go hand in hand till the scent wears off, many hours later. The two main notes are apparent from start to finish; in the very beginning, a cold, almost green floral accord, which I take to be lilac and lily, freshens the composition slightly, only to disappear very fast; at some point towards the end, a scent acquires a certain dry piquancy, which might be carnation…but really, if one is not tracking the development at regular intervals in order to prepare a review, one might not register the notes that appear in supporting roles and would probably just enjoy the unadulterated beauty of tuberose and gardenia.
When I wear Private Collection Tuberose Gardenia, I feel as if I am one of the “attractive people doing attractive things in attractive places” that inhabit the world of Slim Aarons’s photographs (see his books, Once Upon a Time, A Place in the Sun or A Wonderful Time. An Intimate Portrait Of The Good Life). It is the beau monde of pool parties, croquet and white villas overlooking always-blue seas. The world where women wear white sundresses with simple lines, made of luxurious fabrics, and exude the air of thoroughbred elegance.
Coming back to Daniel Annese’s idea of “retro” scents, I would not go so far as to say that Private Collection Tuberose Gardenia smells in any way old-fashioned. It has the patrician elegance, the approachability and the versatility of a classic. Sometimes, when I am in the presence of a scent which, I feel, possesses that indescribably timeless quality that will make it smell as interesting and appealing to my grandkids, years after I am gone, as it is to me now, I get a sort of a pleasant butterflies- in- the-stomach sensation. I have that fluttery feeling every time I smell Private Collection Tuberose Gardenia.
Image sources, Estee Lauder, Stanleywise.com.
More of my favorite Slim Aarons images here.
Please visit Aromascope to read Ina's review of the scent.