Jasmine White Moss is the latest addition to Estée Lauder's Private Collection range. It's reportedly based on an unfinished fragrance that Estée Lauder herself had been working on in the 1980s:
Estée conceived Formula #546AQ, as it was known, as a new way to convey sparkling freshness balanced with sophisticated elegance and a distinctive signature. However, it was left unfinished in her lifetime and was gradually forgotten for many years.
Often inspired by her grandmother’s work, Aerin Lauder, Estée Lauder Senior Vice President and Creative Director, was looking back through the archives and rediscovered this lost fragrance. She fell in love with its unexpectedly lively, modern spirit and decided to complete the fragrance, using today’s advanced technology and the finest natural ingredients direct from France.1
Private Collection Jasmine White Moss is classified as a green floral chypre. Like the other Private Collection scents (see Tuberose Gardenia and Amber Ylang Ylang), it goes on big — Estée Lauder does not, in general, go for little wispy fragrances. It stays big, and the lasting power, as always, is excellent, but like Tuberose Gardenia in particular, Jasmine White Moss feels airy and open rather than dense. The opening is sharp fruity citrus for a few minutes, then it's mostly greenery and oakmoss, or rather, "white moss mist", oakmoss now being for all intents and purposes verboten. I'll second March's take on the white moss mist:
If “white moss mist” is the Lauder secret sauce that’s going to replace bad old oakmoss, hey – it’s gorgeous. Congratulations, chemists hidden behind door number three!
Mind you, it doesn't really smell exactly like oakmoss. It smells like clean oakmoss. Just as modern engineered patchouli is only vaguely related to the musty head shop patchouli oils of days gone by, so it goes with the white moss mist: those of you who thought classic oakmoss-based chypres smelled too much like mildew and swamp may find something to love in white moss mist.
The heart is a jasmine-based floral. It's very jasmine-y at first, then more of a blended floral later (the complete list of notes: mandarin, black current bud absolute, galbanum, bergamot, jasmin sambac absolute, jasmin India absolute, violet, orange blossom, orris, ylang-ylang, patchouli, vetiver and white moss mist). It's soft and clean throughout, and my biggest complaint is that it's just slightly too clean: most of the greenery and oakmoss is gone by the time we reach the middle stages, and the jasmine, while strong, is awfully smoothed over (I do like a touch of skank in my jasmine); the base, while moderately earthy, is not nearly so earthy as I'd like. All of which means that it's probably perfectly calibrated for modern tastes, and I should stop my kvetching. It is lovely, and it's beautifully done. Personally I don't love it nearly as much as Tuberose Gardenia, which is still easily my favorite of the 3 (modern) Private Collection scents, but it's a green floral chypre for grown-ups, and that alone is saying something. And hey, take a look at the solid perfume pendant below. I would like me one of those.
Estée Lauder Private Collection Jasmine White Moss is available in 30 ml Parfum (jeweled cap as shown above, $325), 30 ($80) and 75 ($135) ml Eau de Parfum (textured gold cap), and a limited edition solid perfume pendant (shown below, limited edition $195).
1. Via press release.