She knows her own mind… Knowing by Estee Lauder The Perfumed Dandy’s Scented Letter

Being used to having all matter of things pretty much all her own way in the office, she wasn’t about to let a silly thing like March frosts come between her and her early blooming roses.

Of course she had space neither for a hothouse nor a conservatory, in fact she had no outside space at all.

But there was her building’s stairwell: that would do well enough, glazed as it was all the way up in its austere modernist symmetry.

Surely even her tedious co-operative co-members couldn’t object to being cajoled into allowing a little natural beauty into the clear lines and white space of their shared world, she decided.

The man at the flower store had advised a miniature variety would be best. She told him, a jovial, handsome but small framed man of Greek extraction, that she didn’t want anything ‘squat squatting on my steps’.

He shrugged and gestured for his eldest boy to fetch down the formidable peach coloured floribunda that she finally fixed on.

“It can grow to be quite bushy” he ventured “Oh. I’ve no problem with pruning where necessary” she assured him, a sharp half meant semi-smile on her lips.

With her words she gestured for the “&sons” of the establishment to take the plant and all the planting stuffs out to the taxi she had waiting.

It was in the cab that the smell first caused consternation.

The driver was, to put it mildly, displeased with the aroma she had introduced into his vehicle:

“It smells like a bloody barnyard in here” he bemoaned.

It was a cry she would hear time and again from the dreary folks on her landing and those on the floors above and below.
She explained that it really was necessary to mix peat moss and mulch and fresh farm soil to give the roses the best possible start.

She set out, so she thought, with a surfeit of patience that nitrogen was the very nub of things so far as roses were concerned and ,well, “horse manure is just the best there is”.

She took extra care when expounding that as no one would be eating the roses when they finally came it really didn’t matter that she had taken to spraying the plants twice a day with pesticide that some people said bought them out in a rash.

She even reacted calmly when other residents planted herbs along the corridors: coriander, bay, patchouli, to offset the odour.

And, if she harvested them a little robustly, it was they who had invited her to help herself.

She did, however, take exception when a few families started cooking spicy food much too regularly for her liking.

She raised questions about anti-social behaviour at a tenants’ meeting.

Then the roses arrived and everything was forgotten, by her.

She cut stem after stem and filled vases in every room of her apartment.

The scent was deliriously delicious.

In the hall, the cut back bushes gave off a green smell that the she just knew her neighbours were coming to adore.


Knowing by Estee Lauder is a single minded scent.

It has a clear and determined idea of where it wants to be and it’s damn well going to get there.

Opening with a minor avalanche of sparkling insecticide aldehydes, overflowing oakmosses are next, beating out a baseline with dark patchouli that will last the entire tune through.

The melody itself is carried from the off by a charming, slightly dry, somewhat spicy rose that is filled out in the heart by a string section of white flowers with some support from attendant aromatics.

The long dry down, so typical of this house, sees a smoky vetiver take up the letitmotif and the animalics, that have been harmonising so prominently play a subtle solo or two.

And here’s the thing, to the wearer, with the close to the skin rose note forever at hand, the whole symphony makes sense, once it’s modern take on classic theme is understood.

But to unschooled noses a little further away a misconception might form that this is a brittle, bitter and little too forthright fragrance.

It is nothing of the sort.

Knowing is a triumph of structure and strength: a modern rose with impeccable, if pruned back, floral chypre credentials.


Some scents one has a sense a man could wear, in this case one just knows he should.

Yours ever

The Perfumed Dandy
The Perfumed Dandy


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17 responses to “She knows her own mind… Knowing by Estee Lauder The Perfumed Dandy’s Scented Letter

  1. “It has a clear and determined idea of where it wants to be and its damn well going to get there.” Oh Dandy, I loved this!! The vision of the stairwell garden – wonderful!! (I was bracing myself with the mention of all the fertilizers and pesticides – I had a little laugh.) Thank you for this.

    • Dearest Gripping
      It’s my very pleasure.
      I had a neighbour once who took to cultivating practically a whole horticultural show’s worth of produce on a shared stairwell.
      When the flies arrived her plants departed.
      Oh dear…
      Yours ever
      The Perfumed Dandy

  2. Lilybelle

    A bully PLUS pesticides! Oh no! The very type I run away from. 😦

    • Dearest Lily
      Oh I can’t blame you for that at all!
      But would you run away from the perfume.
      It may come across as a slightly contrary Miss Dior to start with, but the aromatic rose at its heart is rather lovely.
      Yours ever
      The Perfumed Dandy

      • Lilybelle

        I actually tried the fragrance – and loved it – years ago. It turned into a dark gold and mossy rose on my wrist. I’m merely afraid that it has have been reformulated since then. It would be nice to think it hasn’t.

  3. Oh yeah you know i want to try this one! And if it doesn’t work for me well then I will spay my rosebush on the fire escape with it.
    Loved the review…. ! I always dew.

  4. brie

    Love it! (this review and the perfume 🙂 !)

  5. A rose with thorns and backbone – I’ll take it – and any pruning tips you care to share 😉

  6. I had this sample for a couple of years now… You’ve almost persuaded me to try it 😉

  7. Reblogged this on The Perfumed Dandy. and commented:

    A modern and modernist rose, with thorns, and a robust constitution too… just the thing to stand up to the sort of climate we’re enjoying in some parts of the world! Hope you’re enjoying the bouquet…

  8. rosestrang

    Always sounds slightly scary to me, impressive though – that’s my general take on the Estee Lauders usually!
    I do hope Parfum Sacre counts as a rose, I’ve just discovered its wonderfulness recently, outstandingly lovely!

    • Dearest Rose
      “Impressive but scary” one has the feeling that probably summed up Estee Lauder herself as well as many of the perfumes created for her brand while she was still alive and a little while after!
      Parfum Sacre does indeed count as a ‘hidden rose’…. more to come on that!
      Yours ever
      The Perfumed Dandy

  9. Love this tale and I’m dying to try Knowing now.

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