Positive Reviews of Estée 
Estée Lauder (1968)

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Estée by Estée Lauder

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Reviews of Estée by Estée Lauder

Those who have loved Estée when it came out, will not recognize the new version sold 2015. The name is the same, the faceted bottle reminds the original one, but the scent inside is a ghost of what Estée used to be.

It was a rich, earthy, smooth, aldehydic scent with lots of flowers from behind. From time to time a flower here and there peeped from behind. It was gorgeous, it was rich, it was opulent without being vulgar. You wore only a drop as the dawn creeps up the skies and at sunset Estée was there still present in all its refined presence. I fell in love at first spritz in one second and it is extremely beautiful to my nose from head to toe. I have not much been too fond of aldehydic florals, but vintage Estée might be loved by any lukewarm nose towards this family.

It's opening is so unique: a fizzy sparkling burst of aldehydes, fruit notes like I love them. It is a fragrance whose jasmine is enchanting and it goes on with a delicious blend of honey & styrax, sandalwood and moss with a touch of spices, one ot the most beautiful and sensuous but not languorous. Now you get an insignificant liquid, so poor, so modest, so cheap that's better for those who loved the original version not to surrender to the temptation. Yes, it's cheap, but you will lose your lovely memories.

There is a sublime effervescence to Estée EDP.  The aldehydes open in a shimmer, opal glow, almost as if I see refracting light as I smell the opening. and a coriander-dusted Casablanca lily blooms soon thereafter. This soon shifts into a magnificent carnation accord levitating above my skin in a most lustrous cloud. Estée feels like the warmth of the sun on an early spring morning, an epiphany following a long period of stasis. Its jubilant nature may be perceived as a bit too "precious" to some noses, but an aldehydic floral is more than fresh, clean, soapy. Estée is more than that especially, with the persistence of its fleshy, floral radiance.

Then there is the zen that is its dry down, honey glow woods and powdery, mossy coda. As I write this, I am listening to the hypnotic music of Terry Riley, which turns out to be an excellent pairing while experiencing the dry down. Just as Riley's music is polymetric and polyrhythmic, there is a sensation of movement, of activity, in Estée. It's quite stimulating, but also somehow relaxing. I do also see this going well with those going for a "glamour puss" vibe just as well as it would suit a quiet, bookish disposition. As a devoted admirer of Bernard Chant's, this ranks with Aromatic Elixir as a great work of this master perfumer.  

Estée by Estée Lauder (1968) is the second fragrance for women created by the house, following Youth Dew by Estée Lauder (1953), and the third overall release following Aramis by Estée Lauder (1965), which was a men's launch eventually moved to its own division. Also being the second fragrance created by Bernard Chant for the brand, his first women's fragrance for Lauder, and the first fragrance marketed as a "super fragrance", Estée is pretty special in many ways; although it was never as big of a statement maker compared to the previous perfume nor the things to come from the house, like Azurée by Estée Lauder (1969) the following year. I think a lot of this has to do with the way it was handled, the way Estée smells, and just a combination of little things that add up quickly to make a fragrance that decidedly doesn't want to say anything about its wearer, just itself. Estée Lauder herself didn't even consider this her signature fragrance until the 80's, even though it bore her name, and famously just asked for a scent that captured the "light between two crystal chandeliers shimmering through a glass of champagne", which speaks volumes of the thematic opposition this has to almost everything else in her early lines from the 1950's to the late 1980's. I like Estée and it is very much a classic exercise in chypre craft, being a lush bed of flowers and fruits over a soft and chewy bed of oakmoss, it just lacks the aggressive bite that her 70's output in this same style would have.

Estée opens with coridander and jasmine with a massive blast of aldehydes, I mean enough aldehydes to make Coco Chanel herself take pause, and then some. This big aldehyde blast is responsible for the many complaint of Estée smelling of bug spray, especially if over-applied and especially if you're using an older vintage of the "super cologne" before it became something else later on. The aldehydes really make this a fragrance for aldehyde lovers and they last hours into the dry down, unlike others where there is a puff then gone. However, the key players beyond these remain the coriander, soft floral jasmine followed by a nice full rose. Estée Lauder Knowing (1988) twenty years later would revisit this rose and make it stronger, with patchouli and some civet. while here it sits more quietly, surrounded by muguet, iris, and carnation for a much soapier feel, albeit not as soapy as the sharp savon of Estée Lauder Private Collection (1973), the scent Estée herself first claimed as a signature. I probably make it seem like many themes were pulled from Estée and later extrapolated into their own dedicated perfumes for Lauder, and knowing how Bernard Chant self-references in his work, I'm probably right. In any case, this soapy rose and carnation end up on a lovely ambery chypre base of oakmoss, orris, sandalwood, and musk from ylang-ylang. Assuming you survive the aldehydes, the payoff here is a nice rich and smooth floral chypre experience with the right balance of clean and dirty, although more the former than latter. Expect 10+ hours or more from most incarnations of this old girl, including the newest much-tamed version out there.

Lots of drugstore and other value-oriented brands like Revlon, Avon, and Elizabeth Arden would spend the better part of the next decade trying to strike the same level of sedate balance in their feminine-market work; so despite Estée's inability to strike passers-by with its charm, it did seem to render the competition smitten, and sold very well. Coriandre by Jean Couturier (1973) is probably the more-risque version of this scent, although I wouldn't say that makes it better. Avon would also try an oddly more animalic and pissy version of this with Avon Charisma (1970), then would go into a far soapier direction with Avon Unspoken (1975), that the brand labelled cheekily as an "ultra-cologne". Revlon hit with Moon Drops (1970) while truth be told, Estée might have been a reaction to Climat by Lancôme (1967), released a year prior. There's also a bit of confusion concerning the difference between "Estée" and "Estée Super" but the reality is they are actually the same if we're talking about "super cologne/super fragrance" permutations of the Estée release dating from the 1960's through until the product nomenclature switched to "Super Eau de Parfum" in more-recent bottles. It's the "super perfume/pure fragrance spray" that's actually a different animal from the standard Estée which got its start in a pineapple-shaped bottle, and itself was never known as "Estée Super" anyway. A great classic floral chypre of exquisite quality for all lovers of these vintage styles, but more of a demure kitten in the catalog once you get past the reverberating aldehyde roar. Thumbs up

Very few fragrances have such a qualitative difference between a light dose and a drenching. If applied heavily, Estee has the definitive “bug spray accord” that gets discussed in ‘old lady' perfumes. I don't deny that, and in fact I enjoy it. For the benefit of those I love, though , I wouldn't wear Estée at this dosage unless I were home alone, with no plans to see anybody before my next shower. But with a very light hand, and probably at least ½ hour after administration for a cooling down, this is a beautiful dry, aldehydic, woody floral. At this volume, Estée has moderate sillage, excellent endurance and becomes pleasantly soapy. I know some see this as a floral chypre, and they likely have more discriminating noses than I, but I don't get the moss. I do wonder, though, if it's there behind the long-lasting aldehyde in Estée and I just can't see it.

With this quality and concentration (Pure Fragrance Spray, huh? Never understood the EL terminology.) Estée, along with Alliage , Private Collection and Azurée, represent the best-spent money in perfumery. Remarkable that this stuff is so inexpensive.

I wore Estee as a signature scent in the late 1980s, though in the perfumed cream version, which I think made it somewhat less sharp. I always got compliments on it. Unfortunately the cream isn't sold any longer, and while I occasionally wear the perfume, I've moved on to other loves.

Very feminine frag here, and consistently in production since 1968 for all the right reasons. Still, Estée MUST be worn lightly, else its monster sillage can/will clear a room in no time flat. I wish that EL had a "light" version of this one readily available.

I have always thought that Estee smelled exactly like a lighter, more refined version of Prince Matchabelli's Windsong. They're both heavier scents, but can be pretty on the right person.

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