Estée Lauder (1988)

Average Rating:  53 User Reviews

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Knowing by Estée Lauder

Fragrance Overview Where to Buy Reviews Community Ownership

About Knowing by Estée Lauder

People & Companies

Estée Lauder
Fragrance House
Elie Roger
Ira Levy
Packaging / Bottle Design

Knowing is a women's perfume launched in 1988 by Estée Lauder

Fragrance notes.

  1. Top Notes

  2. Heart Notes

  3. Base Notes

Where to buy Knowing

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Reviews of Knowing by Estée Lauder

There are 53 reviews of Knowing by Estée Lauder.

Knowing envelops and stuns me. It's really difficult to articulate, like a cipher that can't be decoded. I just know that this is the culmination of decades of chypre evolution, composed by Jean Kerleo of Jean Patou fame, dialing back the stewed fruits a bit and ramping up the animalic growl. A salty, erogenous civet exalts all else here: synergizing with the aldehydes, transmogrifying the cottony mimosa sweetness into something neon and potent. The sillage is stratospheric: Knowing, at least my older version, is not one to be over-sprayed, or else others will be knowing you're on your way long before you enter the room.

Then there's the glowing rose and the patchouli: wow. A half hour in, and it's a blissful stage in the development where a rose garden is in the middle of a pine forest still damp from rain. It's a vernal mossy hallucination of a fragrance, fleshy florals, earthy, damp and rich, loamy. Suggestions of vetiver even come through in its dry down, giving an impression of raw vegetation cavorting with a slight skank under all the hypnotic blooms. Knowing is startlingly assertive, and that is part of its beauty and genius, just handle with care and enjoy the ride!

Knowing is an extraordinary fragrance; very much like a Guerlain or Gres creation. I'm surprised it's not one the Lauder best sellers. One reason might be it's name: hardly captivating or original. Sort of like they ran out of ideas. And the bottle looks like it was thrown together by someone with poor motor skills. That said, I believe it's one of the finest fragances for the 80s: Unisex; rich, deep and lasting; the very best rose chypre I know and, surprisingly, at its best in warm weather. A dab here and dab there goes a long way and the heat summons a low decibel explosion of rose and moss that has great longevity. The drydown remains true to the top notes. There are other olfactory elements lurking, but rose/moss predominates and each bring out the best in one another---like a good marriage. This beast is a beauty. 10/10

Sometimes the heavens part in the long trudge of trying out perfumes that are kinda ok but not worth pursuing further than the test-a-few-times stage and a ray of golden light beams down and hallelujahs sound. Knowing is, for me, one of those moments: a fully orchestrated perfume that I have only recently had the pleasure of, ahem, getting to know and which I am already clasping to my moobs in ecstasy.
The internet is awash with accounts of how this is only for mature, confident, yada-yada people, as if something that is as full-spectrum and unabashed with its goodies requires life experience on top of enthusiastic appreciation. Pay no heed and just depress that sprayer.
What awaits is a tapestry in boudoir shades. A gorgeous complex base of musky, mossy and woody tones, so rich and luxuriant that it rips the pants off much that passes for pricey niche. Set on it are burnished floral notes, proper fatty jasmine and sweet, almost peachy rose among them, that glint like gemstones but are also perfectly integrated by the gradations of cardamom, coriander, sandal, all of which shade by degree the space between the variegated flowers and the darker depths of that base. This is a perfume of all sorts united in perfect song. It’s bold, it feels like a thousand bucks and one need not go hunting down vintages to experience its armoury of temptations.

NOTE: This is my impression of the current formulation. I've never smelled an older version and honestly have little interest in doing so with such easy access to this stuff

Knowing opens like a bullet through your soft palate. It makes your blood rush–a full symphonic blast of radiated aldehydes and thorny roots, both framing a singeing knot of civet, mimosa, and rose that grips you by the sphenoid, lifting you up to get a better look at its prey. The impression of a living thing nearby you stays throughout the first hour or so, and from the time I first smelled this stuff the top has vividly called to mind some kind of huge slick-black beast with piss-matted fur grinning down at me from high in the rafters of an abandoned wood cathedral, the floor an overrun and mossy tangle of roses and mulch in all directions. It's as engrossing and rewarding as an opening can possibly be, the monster-funk lifted into perfect balance by the floral and the sweet.

From there, it relaxes and the light dims as the astringency seems to change hands from the animalic to the familiar, recalling a wooden spoon bobbing in a simmering pot of vinegar or cider, which lets the feminine contours of the shape come into clearer view. It's a steady flow of sweet flowers and sour fruits occluding and one-upping each other as you sit with it. By the end you're left with a sensual/skin-like smell with a pleasantly coherent chord I see I first described in my notes as “fermented genital lichen swallowing a faint plum.” That doesn't quite capture the calming delicacy of the scent but I'm failing to write anything much better.

This whole description might not get it across but this is a seriously alluring scent on anyone with the confidence for it. Even (especially) at its most unhinged it is completely intoxicating to smell on someone else, and is overwhelming in the way that could intimidate as easily as it could disarm. My girlfriend and I will likely break into punches over who can spend the day smelling it on the other at least once before quarantine is over. This is a masterpiece of a chypre that you can buy relatively cheap and it should be on your shelf, no questions asked. If you don't like it, keeping smelling it until you aren't incorrect anymore

A rose chypre that nicked the cheesewood from Aromatics and sprinkled it with powder.

Sample vial

Knowing is your usual vintage floral fragrance, with a bit of bitterness that I dislike. Very potent, as most Lauder fragrances. Average in this style.

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