Last week I reviewed Lilac Path, Ikat Jasmine and Gardenia Rattan, all from Aerin, the new-ish lifestyle brand of Aerin Lauder. Erin asked if I'd left the other two fragrances in the collection, Amber Musk and Evening Rose, until later because they were the best of the bunch, but no, I left them only because I wasn't quite as interested, insofar as I'm not a huge amber fan and rose, well, 2013 was very nearly the year of the rose, right? At least, rose vied with oud as the note du jour. Of course, oud probably won, it usually does.
But yes, they are, arguably, the best of the bunch, and they do have more weight and sillage than the other three. They still don't quite meet the standard I'd hoped for from the set — something similar to the upscale Private Collection scents Aerin Lauder designed for the Estée Lauder brand, Private Collection Tuberose Gardenia, Private Collection Amber Ylang Ylang and Private Collection Jasmine White Moss. But they're closer in spirit, and while I have no idea which of the five will sell the best, these are probably the two that are most likely to please perfumistas.
Evening Rose is a berried rose, and there are enough berried roses out there already that the opening notes will be instantly familiar to many of you. It's lent a touch of interest by cognac and incense notes, and the opening is considerably weightier than that of the other three florals in the collection — for a few minutes, I thought this might be a smoldering, sexy, boozy sort of rose. But it calms rapidly, and while it's warmer and richer than Ikat Jasmine, Gardenia Rattan and Lilac Path, and the musky-woody-ambery base is reasonably dark, it's not quite as smoldering and boozy as the top notes might lead you to believe. It's somewhere in-between: not quite sheer, not quite rich, which is actually pretty close to how I'd describe the Private Collection fragrances, although to my nose Evening Rose is a degree more casual / less sophisticated than any of those.
Verdict: Very enjoyable to wear, and easily my favorite of the five. If you've been looking for a versatile, darkish-but-not-too-dark rose that would take you from office into evening, it might be perfect for you. I'm still not convinced it lives up to its $110 price tag, but hey, that's business as usual, right? If you do want a smoldering, sexy sort of rose, you might try Serge Lutens Rose de Nuit or Agent Provocateur.
Amber Musk was reportedly inspired by winter, just as Gardenia Rattan was inspired by summer. And it is, indeed, something of a cold-weather scent, albeit done in a more transparent style than you might expect — it's only marginally deeper than the Jasmine, Lilac and Gardenia fragrances, and it's not as weighty as the Evening Rose. There's a touch of coconut water, and while it's barely noticeable, it does provide a bit of creamy undertone (other notes include ambrox, rose, benzoin and musk). The dry down is sweet and vanillic, but it doesn't go nearly so far as, say, Prada Candy, and Amber Musk is light enough anyway that it shouldn't overwhelm.
Verdict: a nicely done sheer comfort scent. I don't think hard-core amber fiends will be impressed, but if your interests are more general, it's worth a shot. I am moved to steal Angie's words from her review of Private Collection Amber Ylang: "understated and versatile, more like a cashmere cardigan." As I am not a hard-core amber fiend, I'll have to hope that commenters will chime in with recommendations for alternatives. As for me, Prada Candy was the first thing that came to mind, along with i Profumi di Firenze Ambra del Nepal.
Aerin Amber Musk and Evening Rose are available in 50 ml Eau de Parfum, $110.