Top 10 Summer Fragrances 2015

Japanese Garden, Portland

Instead of returning to my weary perfume cabinet for a rundown of summer favorites (I already hear longtime readers thinking, Is she going to bring up that blasted bottle of Jean Naté in her refrigerator again? Yawn), this year I got smart. I asked André Gooren from Portland’s fabled The Perfume House to share ten of his summer favorites.

André was up to the challenge. During a Saturday morning, between helping a bearded Australian opera singer (Caron Nocturnes, two bottles), a charming older woman (4711), a Romanian couple (Robert Piguet Jeunesse), and a booming-voiced regular (Pino Sylvestre and Comme des Garçons Avignon), he laid out ten sophisticated and sometimes quirky choices…

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Estee Lauder Estee ~ fragrance review

Estée Lauder Estée

In the documentary Iris, the stylish 93-year-old Iris Apfel says something close to, “I don’t like pretty. I have no use for pretty. I know people don’t agree with me, but there you have it.” The camera lingers uncomfortably long on her. She finally turns away. There’s nothing pretty about Iris Apfel, but her marvelous excess is riveting. I bet she would love Estée Lauder Estée.

Bernard Chant created Estée, Estée Lauder’s second fragrance after Youth Dew. Estée launched in 1968. Its notes include jasmine, rose, muguet, coriander, ylang ylang, orris, sandalwood and moss. Those notes sound mild and “pretty,” but wearing Estée is like biting into a fresh kumquat. For a second or two you think you’ve made a dire mistake…

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Inside the Perfume Cabinet: Angela

Angie's perfume collection

Maybe it’s my interest in perfume, or maybe it’s plain old nosiness, but in movies and interior design magazine spreads, I look first for the perfume. I love to see how other people live with their bottles of fragrance. For that reason, I thought it would be fun to write an occasional series of posts showing real life perfume collections. I’ll kick it off with mine.

The cabinet: I store my perfume in a simple wooden cabinet against an interior wall in my home office. I’d bought a massive old French armoire for my perfume collection, but I couldn’t fit it through the office door…

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Estee Lauder Knowing ~ fragrance review

Elizabeth Hurley and Paulina Porizkova for Estée Lauder Knowing

According to the Estée Lauder website, “When on a holiday trip in the south of France, Evelyn Lauder was intrigued with a floral scent that wafted through the garden below her balcony. She searched for the source and found that it was the pittosporum flower, which she immediately knew could be the floral center of a wonderful fragrance.” That fragrance was Estée Lauder Knowing.

Perfume enthusiasts recognize Knowing as one of the few department store fragrances that earned five stars in Perfumes: The Guide. And it’s not the perfume’s pittosporum (one family of pittosporum is romantically named “cheesewood,” by the way) that draws admiration, it’s Knowing’s elegant and complex treatment of rose and moss…

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Estee Lauder Spellbound ~ fragrance review

Estee Lauder Spellbound advert

Down at my local Nordstrom this week, to my surprise I found the classic Estée Lauders packaged in new bottles among the regular perfume offerings. In the past, if I wanted to sniff Azurée or Estée, for instance, I had to ask at the cosmetics counter and hope there was a tester hidden away somewhere. But now, here they were, lined up like little perfume soldiers in plain sight. I asked for a sample of Spellbound.

I chose Spellbound because a few commenters on my post on Old School Chypres mentioned it. To me, Spellbound isn’t a chypre at all, but a massive warm peach- and orange flower-infused oriental that probably draws boatloads of fans, and leaves as many people holding their noses in disgust…

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