Aerin Lilac Path, Ikat Jasmine & Gardenia Rattan ~ perfume reviews

Aerin Lilac Path and Ikat Jasmine

Aerin Lauder launched her own lifestyle brand, Aerin, in 2011, and she's already selling all sorts of random lifestyle stuff, which is, after all, the whole point of a lifestyle brand — license your name out to all sorts of manufacturers, rake in some dough. So they've got lamps, lipsticks, shoes, eyeglasses, candles and whatnot, and more is on the way. Her beauty and fragrance license, as you surely have already surmised, is with Estée Lauder, and the first collection of five fragrances was introduced last month, with the outer boxes decorated with designs from her Aerin fabric line. Today I'm smelling three of the perfumes: Lilac Path, Ikat Jasmine and Gardenia Rattan. I will try to get to the others, Amber Musk and Evening Rose, next week.

I had sort of imagined that for her debut fragrances, Lauder would do something similar to the upscale Private Collection scents she designed for the Estée Lauder brand (and which are now designated on the Estée Lauder website as "Aerin Lauder's Private Collection"): Private Collection Tuberose Gardenia, Private Collection Amber Ylang Ylang and Private Collection Jasmine White Moss. In retrospect, that was wishful thinking. Those fragrances were never meant to appeal to a wide audience, and when you're building a lifestyle brand, you want to appeal to a wide audience. So if any of you perfumistas were thinking along the same lines that I was, time to recalibrate.

Lilac Path

I had perhaps the greatest hopes for Lilac Path, not because lilac is absolutely my favorite floral note — I don't really have a single favorite floral note — but because really good lilac perfumes are so terribly few and far between. This one features notes of lilac, galbanum, creamy jasmine, angelica seed and orange blossom, and it opens on a beautifully realistic lilac, nicely counterpointed with green. It gets softer and fuzzier as it dries down, but there isn't much movement after the first 20 minutes or so, and there's no real point of interest in the base to hold it all up. It's not quite dryer-sheet-clean, but it teeters awfully close to the edge. 

Verdict: awfully pretty, but even without going in the direction of "a touch of odd" like the wheat notes in Frédéric Malle En Passant, they could have made it more interesting than they did. It's too clean, really, to call it old-fashioned, still I could not shake the idea that it was basically old-fashioned without any of the fun of old-fashioned. Regardless, worth a try for lilac fans.

Ikat Jasmine

Ikat Jasmine was "intended to personify a modern woman", so you can already probably guess that it's likewise clean despite all the white floral notes; this one features jasmine, tuberose, honeysuckle and sandalwood. And the opening is very much white floral, but very much in the modern style. When I reviewed Private Collection Tuberose Gardenia, I said 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.

All of that goes double or even triple for Ikat Jasmine, which is as clean and polished as jasmine can be and still be jasmine. It's much lighter and softer (and more office-friendly) than any of the Private Collection fragrances — I would not call it full-bodied — and it fizzles out to a pale, bland base much sooner.

Verdict: again, pretty, and perfectly wearable, but not as much personality as I had hoped. If your tastes in jasmine run closer to Acqua di Parma Gelsomino Nobile, Guerlain Jasminora and/or Jo Malone White Jasmine & Mint than the gold standard of jasmine-bombs, Serge Lutens A La Nuit, it might be perfect for you. If you like your jasmine clean but want more oomph than Aerin Ikat Jasmine, you need Private Collection Jasmine White Moss.

Aerin Gardenia Rattan

Gardenia Rattan

Gardenia Rattan is "intended to capture the spirit of summer", and the notes include marine notes, gardenia, tuberose, Tahitian tiare and amber. And of the three, it is the most summer-y. Surprisingly, since I rarely care for marine notes, I found it the most interesting of the three under consideration today, and even more surprisingly, that's entirely due to the marine notes — the gardenia here has been de-clawed to within an inch of its life, and if you had asked me to smell it blind and guess the main floral note, I would never have come up with gardenia. But the marine notes, which are salty rather than melon-y, give it a liveliness that is lacking from the Lilac Path and Ikat Jasmine, and there is more warmth in the base to maintain interest past the first 30 minutes.

Verdict: arguably more interesting but less pretty than the other two, which is sometimes the way it works out. Still, worth a try if you aren't after gardenia anyway. If gardenia is what you're after, I immediately thought of Strange Invisible Perfumes Lady Day, but I don't know if it is still made. For a fresh gardenia, there is Ineke Hothouse Flower, for clean gardenia with some oomph, there is the already mentioned Private Collection Tuberose Gardenia. If you want some skank, try Aftelier Cuir de Gardenia; if you want sweet, try Jo Malone Vintage Gardenia. I have not tried Isabey Gardenia lately, but it used to be lovely.

Do comment with your favorite lilac, jasmine or gardenia perfume, or tell us all three.

Victoria reviewed all five of the Aerin fragrances yesterday at Bois de Jasmin, do read!

Aerin Lilac Path, Ikat Jasmine and Gardenia Rattan are available in 50 ml Eau de Parfum, $110.

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  1. Omega says:

    Been wanting to sniff Lilac Path..close to dryer sheet clean though? Sounds a little too fuzzy for me. Softer and fuzzier..not liking that. I don’t like honeysuckle with my, I think I will pass on that one. I don’t really do gardenia much either. Guess I am not really eager to seek these out to sniff.

    Thanks for the reviews Robin, very informative. Did you try Evening Rose by any chance?

    • Robin says:

      Do read Victoria’s review (link above), she does not find it as clean as I do (although she doesn’t seem to love it either).

      I have smelled Evening Rose only once, quickly, on paper, so should say nothing. Will spend more time with it this weekend.

  2. Erin says:

    Love this line: “I could not shake the idea that it was basically old-fashioned without any of the fun of old-fashioned.” Amen to that.

    So, I’m impatient, and am wondering if you’re leaving the Rose and Amber to the next review because they’re the best two, as Victoria seemed to think.

    • Robin says:

      Actually, no, left them because I was more interested in the other 3…I don’t usually love amber, and gosh, there are so many good roses already, right? This is nearly the year of the rose. But have a feeling she is right. She usually is.

  3. Dawnkana says:

    Hi Robin,

    I was one of those people… “So if any of you perfumistas were thinking along the same lines that I was, time to recalibrate.”

    I saw the line at Neiman’s and I ran over to the display and spritzed on Gardenia Rattan, Amber Musc and Ikat Jasmine. What a let down!!!

    Yes, time to recalibrate!

    I agree that Gardenia Rattan is the more interesting one in the line up and does NOT smell like gardenia. If you are expecting gardenia, you’ll be disappointed. I too, smelled the marine note. It wasn’t terrible but it was surprising. I didn’t expect it. You are right on with your review of this perfume.

    Ikat Jasmine to my nose was very clean and kind of reminded me of the Jennifer Aniston scent.

    Amber Musc – Linear from start to finish. It never changed. I am trying to think of what it reminded me of… an unpolished version of Tom Ford’s White Suede. It also reminded me of some scent that was popular when I was in junior high school. Not bad but not nearly as complex as I prefer my scents.


    • Robin says:

      Glad I was not the only one that let my expectations run riot. I feel on the one hand like these really aren’t bad, just not my sort of thing — I mean, they are pretty. On the other hand, not sure they’re really quite good enough for $110 & the fancy packaging.

      • Dawnkana says:

        Right. They aren’t bad. However, I don’t feel that they warrant a $110.00 price tag. I was thinking more in the $50.00 to $65.00 range.

        The bottle tops / caps are plastic. Again, my expectations were high. They look better in photographs than in person. They felt cheap in person.

        For the record, I love and have a bottle of Jasmine White Moss and that’s where my expectations were in regards to these new offerings.

        • Robin says:

          Ah, and I have not seen them in person yet.

          I’d say the same of the Private Collection bottles, at least, the ones w/o the stonework on the caps. Not quite what I expected at the price.

  4. Dawnkana says:

    p.s. Ikat Jasmine… You had mentioned a similarity with Jasminora and I meant to say that I agree with that too.

    • Robin says:

      Good…tried to find my sample of Jasminora to compare, but the darned thing is hiding, like most of my samples.

  5. Dilana says:

    I’m also somewhat surprised because I thought the Lauder company was using “Aerin’s” product line as a positioning for a costlier, “hipper” and slightly niche subbrand.
    On the other hand, the scents actually sound like they are a decent choice for well done, adult but non-controversial office wear, a category that it is actually rather hard to find, particularily from the non obsessed consumer.

    • Robin says:

      Well, they’re certainly pricing them that way. But these are not the sort of statement fragrances that the Private Collection scents were. “Well done, adult but non-controversial office wear” is actually a pretty good description, although I think they could have stayed safely inside that boundary and made them a bit more interesting — not weird or hard to wear, but less bland — than they did.

      • Dilana says:

        And of course, the “infusions” by Prada, particularily the amber and iris also fit the “well done, but adult non-controversial office wear” category because they are so transparent. Those, however, are also more interesting. Plus, since the Prada’s have been around longer, they are also available at discount sources.

        • Robin says:

          Yes, exactly — those are what I’d pick.

  6. Merlin says:

    I would have thought that the three private collections were quite office appropriate already. Personally I don’t find them to be powerhouses. But I agree that they are relatively sophisticated and sound like they have a lot more depth than these do!

    • Robin says:

      I guess it depends on how much sillage you can take to work with you. Some offices are pretty anti-fragrance these days.

      • Merlin says:

        And also how sharp your colleagues sense of smell is!

  7. galbanumgal says:

    Tried Lilac Path & Ikat Jasmine at Saks last week, and wasn’t even slightly tempted by either. Much as I love genuine lilac, I’ve decided I don’t want to wear it in as close as soliflore form as this one is. I could barely detect Ikat Jasmine. Agree that Jasmine White Moss, even though rather clean, has a lot more oomph. Oh well~as you often remind us, money saved!

    • Robin says:

      Funny because the first time I tried Ikat Jasmine, I sprayed it on a blotter, and I could hardly smell it either, and ditto with the Gardenia. Had better luck on later tries, on skin, so don’t know what that was all about.

  8. Lilac – this spring, I was wearing the heck out of Soivohle’s Lilas et Narcissus. I need to find more good lilac options!
    Jasmine – can’t choose just one! I’d love to have a bottle of Dior’s Grand Bal and Nasomatto’s Nuda if they weren’t so spendy. I do really quite like the Patou Joy Forever than I won here recently, but I also like the big jasmine bombs… Lush Lust is a favorite. A La Nuit could easily be added to my collection someday (I also want to try Sarrasins). I also think MPG’s Jasmin is underrated.
    Gardenia – I ordered a sample of Tom Ford Velvet Gardenia not long ago and it’s quite nice, although I’m not sure if I think it’s as nice as people go on about. I also like Annick Goutal’s Gardenia Passion, although everyone says that’s not really gardenia.

    Robin, I was curious how the Ikat Jasmine compared to By Kilian’s Love and Tears?

    • Robin says:

      Nice picks, thanks! I still have not even smelled Grand Bal (I think. Now I can’t remember. There are TOO many fragrances.)

      Oh, Love & Tears — it is admittedly not a favorite of mine, but is a whole magnitude more full-bodied (& jasmine-ish) than Ikat Jasmine. And it is beautiful, I do acknowledge that, whereas Ikat Jasmine is pretty at best.

    • Laurels says:

      Ooh, Lilas et Narcissus sounds delightful. Thanks for mentioning it.

    • irisfreak says:

      As I mention below, Ineke’s “After My Own Heart” is your next lilac! I’m in love with it.

  9. mals86 says:

    Given my typical difficulty with Lauders (there seems to be something in the base that makes me feel nauseated after a few hours, even if I loved those first few hours – as in Knowing), I wonder if these would have that effect or not. I CAN wear PC Tuberose Gardenia, but so far that’s the only Lauder that does not just killlll me. I can wear some of them on scarves, just not on my skin.

    My *favorite* lilac is of course the tender Vacances, of which I only have a weensy bit, but my next favorite is DSH White Lilac. Sadly, I think that one is gone.

    Jasmine’s not a favorite note for me, but I did rather like Miller Harris Jasmin Vert, that was very pretty. Jasmine is a tough note for me – too clean and it smells thin, too full and it goes ladyparts (oddly, not poo). I, um… okay, I’ll ‘fess up: I like Alien. I do. I go through samples from time to time. It’s definitely not the French jasmine, though, and probably more silicone than real.

    I mentioned liking PCTG in terms of gardenia, but it’s still more tubey to my nose. AG Songes is one of those things that seems to straddle the line between jasmine and gardenia, and I think it’s lovely. Kai is pretty, but it has a certain, I dunno, hippie-macrame-essential-oil-blend quality that puts me off it.

    • Robin says:

      I don’t think these 3 smell like typical Lauders…there’s much lighter. But will be curious to hear what you think.

      I always forget about Kai! I like Kai, but you’re right.

  10. kindcrow says:

    Has anyone tried Highland Lilac of Rochester? It gets a lot of love on the Interwebs.

    • Robin says:

      I haven’t!

    • Sapphire says:

      I have a little sample of Highland Lilac and couldn’t recall what I thought, so tried it back on. Straight air freshener at first, but over time smells like lilacs in full bloom (though taking into account I have never smelled a lilac bush). It has a bit of spice to it that I haven’t smelled in the other lilac perfumes like En Passant or Lilac Path. I did go ahead and buy Evening Rose last week during the NM Scent Event. Was glad to see Victoria liked it, since I am not normally a rose person. Really looking forward to Robin’s impression.

      • kindcrow says:

        Thanks for the Highland Lilac review. I like some spice in a lilac fragrance. A few months ago, someone left a vase of lilacs in the breakroom at work. It smelled divine!

        • Sapphire says:

          Just wanted to let you know that as the day went on, the hint of spice was there, but it was still pretty overwhelmingly air freshener to me.

    • Sapphire says:

      Mind you, I thought Lilac Path was really pretty and if I didn’t have En Passant already, I would have gotten it.

      • Robin says:

        Thanks for trying the Highland Lilac, & glad you liked Lilac Path…and congrats on your bottle of Evening Rose!

        • Sapphire says:

          Crazy that we seem to crave validation for buying perfume. I wonder if people who collect other things have such buyer’s remorse.

          • Robin says:

            Yep…just talk to a knitter / yarn-freak.

  11. egabbert says:

    I actually do think PC Tuberose Gardenia has a weird edge — to me there’s a petroleum note that makes it better than just clean/pretty. I love it in summer.

    I’ll have to swing by Neiman’s and try these, though I’m 90% sure they’re not going to hold my interest. I’d normally gravitate toward the rose and amber more than jasmine and lilac.

    • Robin says:

      It’s a great scent…was very happy to see they did it in a little travel size this year. Going to be very surprised if you find a weird edge in the Aerins, but maybe in the rose or amber — I haven’t spent enough time with them yet.

      • egabbert says:

        Oh, really? Like a purse spray? Nice! I finally got a FB of it (30 ml) in a swap last year, yay me.

        • egabbert says:

          By the way, Robin — have you considered adding an option to subscribe to followup comments? I’d love that feature!

          • Robin says:

            I know, we really need one. I messed with a plugin a couple weeks ago and had some trouble with it, but it’s on my list of things to revisit this weekend. Sorry, I know it’s a pain to come back to the page.

            The purse spray is $55 for 20 ml…the 30 ml is $85. So not a bad deal at all.

  12. scentfromabove says:

    I hear a lot of mixed reviews, but still want to see. I really want to see what the Amber Musk is like. We shall see. – ScentFromAbove

  13. irisfreak says:

    I adore Ineke’s Hothouse Flower gardenia! So glad you agree, Robin. And when it comes to lilac, I think her After My Own Heart is outstanding, and after running through the sample I bought a full bottle.

    • Robin says:

      Ah, and I totally forgot that one. Admit they are both too fresh for me personally but they’re very well done, and either would make a better lightweight / casual floral than the Aerins.

  14. C.H. says:

    Got a sniff of Lilac Path yesterday. I definitely agree, it’s not especially interesting; I’d rather have En Passant, especially for that kind of money, or for half the price per ml, After My Own Heart. But someone looking for a really straight, pretty lilac that avoids that potentially soapy quality, it could work. Although while we’re comparison shopping, I haven’t smelled the Pacifica lilac, and I wonder if it’s essentially the same thing for a third of the price…

    • Robin says:

      I have smelled the Pacifica but can’t remember it well enough to compare. They do a good job though, wouldn’t surprise me at all if it was.

  15. gordbrad says:

    certainly not a tour de force or anything, but a solidly *nice* jasmine that keeps you smiling all day–for very little cash–is Tendre Jasmin by Yves Rocher. one of their ‘matieres premiere’ series [raw materials], along with voile d’ambre, vanille noire, etc., it is *not* skanky, indolic, commercial, challenging, etc. does what it says on the bottle: tender jasmine, green, fresh and pleasant with staying power, for the aforementioned super-cheap price.

    • camia says:

      And a solidly realistic gardenia is another Yves Rocher, Pur Desir de Gardenia. When I saw the beautiful full page Aerin ad in the paper a few weeks ago I promised myself a trip to the local Saks or Neiman Marcus but reading the reviews has me less enthusiastic, especially after hearing that the Aerin Gardenia Rattan doesn’t have much of a gardenia note.

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