Estee Lauder Private Collection Tuberose Gardenia ~ fragrance review

Estee Lauder Private Collection Tuberose Gardenia fragrance bottles

Private Collection Tuberose Gardenia is the brainchild of Aerin Lauder, Estee Lauder's granddaughter and the Creative Director of the Estee Lauder line. It borrows its name from Private Collection, the 1973 release that was said to be based on a scent that Estee Lauder originally created for her own use. The new fragrance features neroli, lilac, rosewood, tuberose, gardenia, orange flower, jasmine, white lily, carnation and vanilla bourbon.

Private Collection Tuberose Gardenia opens sweet and bright, and seems to move rapidly from the mild touch of citrus in the opening into the white floral notes in the heart. The lilac softens the more exuberant floral notes in the early stages, but it is lush and full-bodied almost from the start, and it is almost linear after the first 20 minutes or so have passed. The tuberose and gardenia are the main players — you will catch glimpses of the other notes, especially the jasmine, but it starts out smelling like mostly tuberose and gardenia and hours later, it still does. The base is milky-creamy woods with a touch of vanilla, and is neither heady nor overly sweet.

It is a very soft fragrance, not in the sense of being light or close to the skin (it actually has excellent sillage), but in that all the raw, exotic edges of the tuberose and gardenia have been polished down and smoothed over. So while it is full-bodied, it has none of the edginess of Frederic Malle Carnal Flower or the sparkling playfulness of Robert Piguet Fracas, and I don't find it as sexy as either of those fragrances. Still, it is simply beautiful, and beautifully done. The lasting power for the Eau de Parfum is excellent.

Estee Lauder is positioning Private Collection Tuberose Gardenia somewhere between niche and mainstream. It will be available only in limited distribution (Saks, Neiman Marcus, Bergdorf Goodman, Holt Renfrew) but the pricing (see below) is not quite as ambitious as it might have been.

Estee Lauder Private Collection Tuberose Gardenia launches in August, and will be available in Eau de Parfum 30 or 75 ml ($65 or $120, see picture above left), Parfum, 30 ml, in bottle with a "gem-encrusted gold cap inspired by a Josef Hoffmann brooch" ($300, picture above, right), Solid Perfume ($175, picture below, right), and Body Creme in 200 ml ($75).

Estee Lauder Private Collection Tuberose Gardenia solid perfume

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73 Comments

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Want! And hope to smell it in NYC this weekend. Do you think any store would have an advance preview tester?

  2. Anonymous says:

    I'm seriously tempted, though I'm not sure if it's more for me or for my Fracas-wearing mother.

  3. Anonymous says:

    M, my local Neiman Marcus has samples (they did not have a full size tester yet when I was there, and they didn't have the Parfum), so I'd be shocked if you couldn't find it at Saks or Bergdorfs in NYC.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Extremely reasonably priced. I would love to fall in love w/ it for that reason alone, but I have these niggling doubts that it won't have enough oomphaliciousness (again, thanks Marina!) for me or the grounding base notes I often crave in white flower scents.

  5. Anonymous says:

    It really is beautiful, but nothing touches Fracas if you know what I mean. I'd like to have a small bottle of the EL myself though :-)

  6. Anonymous says:

    Do try it! The base is pale (and the rosewood is very mild), but it really is beautifully done, and I am so glad they kept the base subtle instead of going for the younger market with a ton of sweet vanilla musk.

    Actually it is very funny to try it next to Prince 3121, as a sort of exercise in what can be accomplished with adequate resources. The notes are almost identical, but Prince 3121 smells like a mess of cheap musk next to the ELTG

  7. Anonymous says:

    Is it true that the scent of gardenias is hard to capture and replicate in fragrances ?

  8. Anonymous says:

    I believe it is impossible to extract gardenia using traditional methods, but most anything can be done via headspace these days.

  9. Anonymous says:

    tried this yesterday, and though i liked it immediately, it wasn't until the deep dry down that i was hooked. up front, it reminded me much of diptyque's olene and do son (which i already have), but it finishes with more creaminess than those two, which i find clear and transparent, so i really liked it. it's a very pretty scent. i got more gardenia than tuberose from it, but i love gardenia, so that is just fine with me.

  10. Anonymous says:

    Love love Fracas but I have been very excited to try this so thanks for the review. As far as I'm aware I can smell it in Harrods around September time so I will look forward to giving it a go.

  11. Anonymous says:

    Agree it is much creamier than either of the Diptyques, and I'd say less heady than the Olene, more so than Do Son (and longer lasting). I am really looking forward to seeing what else they do with the PC line!

  12. Anonymous says:

    I love Fracas too, and it is really nothing like it — just tried it next to some other Big White Florals for fun :-)

    Would guess you're right about Harrods.

  13. Anonymous says:

    Heh, I am growing 4 bushes of gardenia in my garden right now (“growing” being used in a very generous sense) and the bloom smells NOTHING like any gardenia perfume ever found in a bottle. I'm not a fan of gardenia perfume, they always smell so strong and cloying, but I love the way the real gardenia smells. There are subtle variations among cultivars, you can tell if you have two kinds to sniff and compare.

  14. Anonymous says:

    I used to grow them too when I lived in CA, and agree nothing really captures the fragrance, but not sure I'd want to in the case of gardenia — would be too heady to wear, at least for me. This is more of a blended white floral, not a realistic interpretation of any one flower.

  15. Anonymous says:

    The lilacs and neroli are very pronounced, and it seems to have more jasmine and gardenia than tuberose. It smells more “natural” than other EL perfumes to me- ie: like actual flowers- but my sister dismissed it as “cheap Marc Jacobs”

  16. Anonymous says:

    Interesting — I didn't find the lilac or neroli at all pronounced after the first 15 minutes or so, and personally would have ranked it the opposite with the Marc Jacobs. Will agree it has a more realistic/less stylised character than much of the line.

  17. Anonymous says:

    Which other Estee Lauder scent does it most remind you of? Or is it entirely unique from the others? It sounds slightly like “Beautiful”.

  18. Anonymous says:

    This actually sounds really lovely. I must give it a whirl if I can find a tester at Holt Renfrew!

  19. Anonymous says:

    It sounds lovely and the bottle, particularly of the parfum with its jewel encrusted top, looks gorgeous. I quite liked the Marc Jacobs after I stopped smelling it everywhere in Summer 2004 but it is a bit watery which I'm guessing the EL isn't and would therefore be more to my taste. Thanks for the review.

  20. Anonymous says:

    It has nothing of Beautiful's 1980s feel — it is much softer — and can't think of another it reminds me of.

  21. Anonymous says:

    You might check now — the US stores all seem to have had samples for the last few weeks.

  22. Anonymous says:

    I was patiently awaiting your review of this.

    I got to sample the PCTG for the last month and agree: Its nice; it's creamy but NOT in a retro way; It is perfect for the hot weather we're experiencing all over the USA now; the sillage is quite impressive, only a couple of sprays and WATCH OUT!

    I am growing a gardenia bush in my front yard. No, PCTG does not smell like a flowering gardenia bush – but it also does not smell like 'synthetics' – based gardenia scents. It's gardenia and tuberose done very skillfully (ie: Kai, Carnal Flower, Tuberose Criminelle, etc)

    I would even go so far as saying this is unisex – I'm a man and have tested this with other men to get their reaction to it (blindly not telling them it was a womans perfume) and gotten good reactions to it. Or should I say, a man who is not afraid to wear Carnal Flower…

  23. Anonymous says:

    No, this isn't watery at all. I do wish they'd stuck at least one little jewel in the EdP bottle!

  24. Anonymous says:

    I am so excited — after living in Hawaii for over 20 years (with gardenias commonly grown in folks back/front yards), I'm a huge fan of gardenia scents and this sounds absolutely lovely! I wouldn't have thought of combining gardenia and lilac, but the combination (along with the other notes listed) sounds right on the money.

    Have to schlep down to Neiman's at Ala Moana this weekend to see if they have a tester…

  25. Anonymous says:

    I think both the gardenia & tuberose are headspace, so they're synthetic but they don't smell cheap, and so many do — so I know what you mean.

    I would have thought it considerably more feminine than Carnal Flower, so surprised by that! You know I think everybody should wear what they like, but would have thought your average male would find ELTG off limits.

  26. Anonymous says:

    Do ask them — at my local store, they don't have them out on the counter. And hope you will like it :-)

  27. Anonymous says:

    My sister is biased- she loves anything Marc. I think my skin eats white flower notes, which is a shame cos they are my favorite! Also, I tested a bottle given to Lauder managers, maybe the finished version differed a little? I'll have to try the actual bottle now

  28. Anonymous says:

    I'm sure what you tried was the finished version, so perhaps it just doesn't suit you :-)

  29. Anonymous says:

    Omigod. I'm on a serious roll here!!! I just bought Tuberose Gardenia and I am SO happy I did. It is gorgeous. THANK YOU. Money well worth spending. I can't believe that thanks to Now Smell This I have gotten so much more discerning — and far more brave. I NEVER would have been out here buying these extra-special scents without you guys!! I'd still be looking for discounted Envy Me. Seriously!!!!!!! xoxoxox

  30. Anonymous says:

    So glad it worked out for you, it really is a lovely scent!

  31. Anonymous says:

    I am feeling utterly wretched at my inability to pull this beautiful scent off: I received a bottle of the 30ml Parfum with the jewelled cap but the dry down on me is bringing an intense cheap rubber scent which is making me shudder every time I catch sniffs of it. I've tried dabbing it, spraying it, but alas nothing is working. I'm sure the EdP didn't bring this up.
    This is my first comment on this blog. I didn't know if there was an etiquette here to introduce oneself or not, but hello! Discovering NST has been a revelation and gem, and it never fails to bring a bright spot to my day.

  32. Anonymous says:

    Hi and welcome, and thanks for the nice words!

    What a shame it isn't working for you — that parfum bottle is gorgeous. I haven't even tried the parfum yet so don't know how much it varies from the EdP — so sorry to be no help at all.

  33. Anonymous says:

    Would you be willing to part with it. I recently smelled it and gardenias are a comfort scent for me. I fell in love with it. Let me know if you would consider doing a Paypal and how much. Thanks

  34. Anonymous says:

    I am not usually a fan of Estee Lauder's scents but I recently tried PCTG and am in love with the scent. It was soft & creamy on my skin and it lasted until the next morning! I tried the cream, very luxe……..

    Does anyone know if they coming out with a shower gel?

  35. Anonymous says:

    yes the dry down is what's really wonderful. it gets more bass toned as it drys down, as gardenias actually are and not so light and lilting like a tuberose. the dry down is wonderful and as you wear this scent it gets better and better throughout the day, but it is also great when first applied.

  36. Anonymous says:

    i used to grow them too, and ESTG smells more like them than anything on the market

  37. Anonymous says:

    Sorry, I don't know! But it is a lovely scent.

  38. Anonymous says:

    Robin, if you could rank all the tuberose fragrances you knew of from loudest to quietest, where would Tuberose Gardenia fit in?

  39. Anonymous says:

    Hmmmm…PCTG is loud in the sense that it has some hefty sillage (e.g. it fills the space around it), but it is airier than most other tuberose fragrances. So loud but not heavy, if that makes sense?

  40. Anonymous says:

    Hmm… I could see that. I put it on and during the two hour drive to my boyfriends immediately after, I had to lower the window to refresh the air a couple of times. However, once it had aired out, it proved to be a big hit with my anti-fragrance, super-allergic boyfriend. So I picked up a bottle this morning :)

  41. Anonymous says:

    You know, this is one of those scents that might be worth decanting into a little splash bottle so that you can just dab on a few drops instead of spraying. I think it's lovely but can see how you had to open the window, LOL…

  42. Anonymous says:

    I had actually thought of that too, but when I tried twisting the top off, I found it wouldn't come off at all (I have the 30 ml eau de parfum bottle). Sad, but I could always just spray one on the upper half of my body and one behind my knee or something, to reduce the sillage.

  43. Anonymous says:

    Nam, you don't need to take the top off to decant:

    http://tinyurl.com/2xbzot

  44. Anonymous says:

    Excellent! Thanks for the tip!

  45. Anonymous says:

    When trying on Sensuous, the SA mentioned that EL is currently developing another fragrance within the Private Collection line. Apparently, there is a new version of PC to be released in late Fall?

  46. Anonymous says:

    Oh good, so glad to hear that, thanks!

  47. Anonymous says:

    Finally bought mine yesterday – between Bronze Goddess and this, EL has become this year's summer scent company for me! I wore it this morning and it is still wafting nicely from my decolletage 4 hours later.
    I wish wish wish I could afford the parfum – want that bottle, not to mention it is probably amazing.

  48. Anonymous says:

    I have avoided even asking to sample the parfum for just that reason — can't afford it. The bottle really is lovely.

  49. Anonymous says:

    i, after making a painstaking decision, have decided to part with an equivalent sum for a decent latin ballroom dress or two pairs of competition level ballroom shoes and handed over the heartstopping amount for the parfum with the jeweled cap…

    i just HAD to do this, because i can never wear florals (they turn too sweet, so i tend to stick with hesperidic or fresh perfumes) but gardenias work on my skin, and this one is very creamy and well done and layers fabulously with my favorite body cream of all time – origins shedonism (the perfume version, sadly has almost no lasting power, so i had to shell out the big bucks). the perfume girl at holt renfrew obviously knew nothing about perfumery and kept on trying to make me buy creed virgin island water instead, eww.

    i'm glad i bought it because the boyfriend has not stopped sniffing me since i've worn it. he usually NEVER comments on how i smell, so i guess it's a hit!

  50. Anonymous says:

    Oh, lucky, lucky you! And how do the 2 concentrations compare? I still haven't smelled the parfum.

  51. Anonymous says:

    the eau de parfum is very close, although it's a bit screechier (?) and sharper in the opening to the parfum…

    i also tried the solid, the solid is the creamiest in finish out of all the concentrations.

    the parfum, though, is absolute heaven and i love staring at the bottle cap. i have a feeling though, the bottle cost more than the juice!

  52. Anonymous says:

    I'm sure you're right about the bottle, but still — the extrait sounds just lovely.

  53. Anonymous says:

    I. Love. It.

    Currently living on bread & water in an attempt to put together enough money to purchase this full bottle :)

    LOVE IT!

  54. Anonymous says:

    After reading the comments above, I'm thinking I should have done the same to buy the extrait :-)

  55. Anonymous says:

    How do you think ELPC Amber Ylang Ylang and

    Tuberose Gardenia would smell layered together? I'm tempted to try this.

    And secondly, I thought neroli and orange blossom were the same,

    are they?

    -Joy, Becca

  56. Anonymous says:

    No idea! Guess it would be strong though.

    Neroli & orange blossom are from the same raw materials, processed differently.

  57. austenfan says:

    I just sampled this for the first time today. I find it every bit as beautiful as it is described. Simply gorgeous.

    • Robin says:

      So glad you liked it!

  58. NamonNST says:

    I know I commented about this fragrance last summer when it came out, but I have to re-register with you guys how much I still love it. Just showing some love for the PCTG! It’s absolutely my go to summer scent.

    • Robin says:

      Sort of wish they’d do a summer flanker in a somewhat lighter concentration. It is lovely, but I don’t reach for it in the heat.

  59. Joy_oh_joys says:

    I’m so glad to find his site, ( and so many fans of PCTG). What a fabulous scent.

  60. newsitian09@yahoo.com says:

    I did get a sample and try it. It is a very good gardenia scent. I has a long “hang time” on me and that is almost unheard of. The first day I wore it, I could actually still smell it after I left the house. I sat next to a lady for more than 30 minutes, enjoying my scent. When she started to leave, I asked her if my perfume had bothered her and she said no. I like that in a perfume; I can enjoy it without bothering others. If you are looking for gaardenia, I would recommend this one.

    • Robin says:

      Glad you liked it, and agree, it lasts forever!

  61. calliope says:

    Hi Robin

    Just found your website, which is fantastic, and did a quick search for gardenia scents (I’ve been looking for one for a long time).

    Tried this tuberose gardenia scent yesterday and fell in love completely. It is just as you described, not ‘edgy’ but still incredibly smooth and attractive – a very clean, well-balanced smell. Plus, I can still smell it on my wrist 24 hours later (after a shower!).

    I will be heavily hinting to get this for an early christmas present….
    any thoughts on how this compares with the Private Collection Jasmine White Moss in your opinion? (It hasn’t been released in Australia yet so there are no testers).

    • Robin says:

      Hi and welcome!

      Hard to describe how it compares w/ the Jasmine Moss since they’re different floral notes, but I did review the Jasmine here:

      http://www.nstperfume.com/2009/07/14/estee-lauder-private-collection-jasmine-white-moss-perfume-review/

      and can only add that I like the Tuberose Gardenia much better.

      • calliope says:

        Thanks – I have a feeling, of the two of them, I would still prefer tuberose gardenia – it will be mine! :)

        I currently wear Sandalwood body oil (in the morning) and Dior ‘Pure Poison’ if I go out at night.

        I have to pick your great knowledge of perfume……..
        I used to have a perfume I adored, even though it was a “cheap” one – Noa Fleur by Cacharel – it had peony as a note I think. Can’t find it now. Can you think of anything similar to this? The notes (according to the internet) are:

        Top Notes
        Black currant, Coriander Leaf.

        Middle Notes
        Bulgarian Rose, Hibiscus, Nutmeg, White Peony.

        Base Notes
        Musks, Benzoin.

        Thanks

        • Robin says:

          I’m sorry but I don’t know Noa Fleur well enough to say (and the notes are too common to matter — they don’t tell what it smelled like). But it does look like NF is easily (and cheaply) available online in the US, if you’re willing to pay shipping.

  62. calliope says:

    thanks robin – I thought it was out of production.

    Have you come across a sample of the new guerlain idylle? I think that might have a similar appeal as NF…

    • Robin says:

      It might well be out of production, but there are still plenty of bottles for sale!

      Yes, tried the Guerlain — very pretty & happy.

  63. Blimunda says:

    I can now tick this off my list of ‘Tuberose Fragrances To Try’. I tried Fracas two years ago, liked it, but dismissed it as being far too sweet and heady. I tried Carnal Flower, liked it, but dismissed it as being too boring and predictable…..I’d rather wear Fracas! Then I tried Tubereuse Criminelle and it blew every other floral I own out of the water. I WANT THIS SO BADLY!!!!!! Anyway, I really like this Estee Lauder frag – I found it so smooth, elegant, rich, sophisticated and restrained. It screams MONEY to me, for some reason.
    Can anyone recommend any other ‘must try’ tuberose frags?

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