Personal reflection… Private Collection by Estee Lauder The Perfumed Dandy’s Scented Letter

IMG_20130625_214130 The fragrance of an unforgotten lost friendship.

Of an affair, a life even, left unfinished. IMG_20130625_141230 Some think her distant, cold, uncaring.

You see on that sad day she failed to make any public declaration of her despair, would not permit sugar sweet eulogies to eviscerate the general agony. IMG_20130625_140756 She held and holds herself with dignity and finds herself in turn held in contempt by those who require outpourings of overdone emotion.

They should regard her now, trimming back nettles that have overgrown the grave where her husband lies. IMG_20130625_140922 She visits him regularly but infrequently, scared, not of the nettles’ stings, which are sharp and sudden and suddenly gone, but of the lasting unbalmable burn of loss, as keenly felt now as when he died.

From their cellophane sheath she pulls forth flowers.

Mainly chrysanthemums.

He adored chrysanthemums.

His father grew them in his garden and they reminded him of him.

She wishes it were otherwise, but they remind her only of death. His death.

Where she has unsettled the soil with her effort to hold back nature, the Earth gives forth a bitter scent of itself: of moss and old decaying wood. IMG_20130625_232322 The smell mingles unhappily with the hue of hyacinths and roses, feeble concessions amongst the bouquet to future pleasures indefinitely postponed.

She has started to cry as she knew she would, as she always does.

Gathering together the effects of mourning she returns to the car. Here in salty slightly sweet air that holds gentle sandalwood in it she looks across at his resting place. IMG_20130625_155542 Her tears continue to fall and rain starts from the heavens. IMG_20130625_221251 A scent of solitary sorrow, Estee Lauder’s Private Collection is perfume of private grief and almost immeasurable melancholy.

It takes a green note and makes of it a chord of pure blue.

Marrying nettles and lawn grass with oak moss and earth to achieve a cool, reserved opening of remarkable detached intensity.

What follows is a wall of floral sound.

Most distinct within it the voice of the greenest flower: chrysanthemum. And whilst this is mellowed in time with roses and hyacinth and perhaps a little jasmine, one is never too far away from stalks and leaves and thorns. IMG_20130625_221112 As though the scent senses that all might be about to topple over into melodrama, it seems quite suddenly to steady itself.

Well into dry down it dabs the tears from its eyes and composes a dignified departure of wood, spice and a little musk that feels like dust.

A forbidding but inevitable and immense journey that will ultimately be taken by men and women alike. IMG_20130625_220436

Yours ever

The Perfumed Dandy. The Perfumed Dandy


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17 responses to “Personal reflection… Private Collection by Estee Lauder The Perfumed Dandy’s Scented Letter

  1. Lilybelle

    A beautiful, sad elegy, Mr. Dandy.

    • Dearest Lily
      I must confess that it was America that bought this review back to mind.
      It seems like such an appropriate scent for the suffering of the 1970s with families mourning their lost sons in Vietnam or perpetually on tenterhooks for the potential return of MIAs. One wonders when, whether indeed, hope ever entirely dissipates.
      My mother was in Washington a week or so after me and visited Arlington. At Kennedy’s grave a limousine pulled up, a small honour guard cleared away the crowd and a elegantly dressed be-scarved women emerged to quietly tend the graves and lay some flowers.
      Then she was gone.
      Yours ever
      The Perfumed Dandy

      • Lilybelle

        I can’t imagine that hope – or love – ever dissipates. Surely, where there is one the other follows? They nurture each other, even as we hold on to our grief and tend our memories. Who do you think the lady at Arlington was, Caroline Kennedy?

      • Dearest Lily
        I do so share your beautiful sentiment love is the emotional enactment of hope.
        My mother’s suspicion was indeed that it was Caroline Kennedy, the security, the evident affluence and austerity of her dress would all seem to point that way.
        Yours ever
        The Perfumed Dandy

  2. This is beautiful, Dandy. I think you got it just right.
    The photos are wonderful and add so much to the story.

    • Dearest Gripping
      Thank you so much that’s a great compliment indeed.
      The pictures are of some public gardens near where I live.
      In central London many of our ancient graveyards were closed and then disinterred about a century or more ago.
      The result is a clutch of pocket parks bestrewn with the most beautiful of the old memorials, that have been left spectacularly in place.
      It is a magical space to spend moment or many.
      Yours ever
      The Perfumed Dandy

  3. Lovely. I don’t see the perfume in the same tragic light that you do (though it captures something highly melancholy), but I do love this take on it (and WHAT HAVE YOU BEEN DOING WITH YOUR CAMERA LENSES? WHAT IS THIS NEW DEPARTURE? IT IS DEEP AND CAPTIVATING…)

    For me, this perfume has a certain bitchiness, and deep snobbery, and is not quite as grave as you feel it is. And yet

    • Lilybelle

      I agree, the photos are gorgeous. They have an aged golden tint over the colors, like old poloroid snaps. Are you old enough to remember those, Mr. Dandy?

      • Dearest Lily
        I was given a second hand Polaroid when I was eleven and proceeded to bankrupt myself and harass nearest and dearest to meet the cost of the exorbitant film.
        Polaroids are like photographic memories for me, so I’m delighted if these snaps capture even an element of that.
        Yours ever
        The Perfumed Dandy

    • Dearest Ginza
      I wonder if sometimes deep grief when expressed in a rather buttoned up way doesn’t present as a certain kind of hauter, distance, snobbishness even.
      Certainly this is a perfume that seeks to control all its outward surfaces, though for me it never quite succeeds and reveals a somewhat softer heart.
      I’m glad you like the images, I took them yesterday in one of my nearby pocket parks that once were graveyards. The darker approach just seemed appropriate for subject and place.
      Yours ever
      The Perfumed Dandy

  4. Dear Mr Dandy
    You have described this beautifully. The photographs are to die for, if you’ll excuse the graveyard pun. I love the green notes in this, but what really makes it special is the mossy notes, which, as you imply, brings a sombreness to the party. It’s gorgeous, and although widely available, not widely worn, though I wish it was.

    Your friend

    • Dearest Iscent
      I often ponder on why Private Collection is not more worn.
      Whenever I recommend someone to take a sniff they are invariable in raptures but almost never buy.
      I wonder if everyone gets that quiet mournful quality and if most people are simply wary of it…
      Your ever
      The Perfumed Dandy

  5. Solace in grief, that’s an interesting concept, and a scent that captures it as your pictures do… Beautiful melancholy. And as always, captivating and compelling. Thanks for the Scented Letter.

  6. I have read this before and again in the second reading I am left silent and thoughtful…and shaken at the core. Lovely Dandy…just plain lovely.

  7. Bee

    I agree – beautiful photographs, you have captured amazing light! I must have tried Private Collection but I cannot recall it – so now I feel I must find it and experience it as soon as possible!!!

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