Tag Archives: Estee Lauder

Perfumed pages… The Beautiful and Damned by F Scott Fitzgerald is Estee Lauder’s Azuree The Dandy Celebrates World Book Day

“She was beautiful – but especially she was without mercy.”

Fitzgerald’s second novel is a typically decadent tale of a jazz age tycoon-to-be and his destructive marriage to a distant but beautiful wife… and the bottle.

It is a fable of art deco lines and loose morals, gorgeous gowns and haunted pasts.

At turns angular and alcoholic, sad, stylish and nihilistic.

At every point as exquisite in its execution as it is painful in it exposition.

“unloved women have no biographies– they have histories”

Bernand Chant’s masterpiece, Azuree for Estee Lauder, is a perfume of machine-made muscularity beneath a bias cut silk dress.

It is in essence a tension between chemically enhanced leathers high on moderne aromatics balanced, just, with soaring, stomach-dropping florals capable of creating Coney Island style thrills.

A match if not as turbulent as that conjured by Scott then every bit as diverting and almost as dangerous.

“I shall go on shining as a brilliantly meaningless figure in a meaningless world.”

The personalities in Fitzgerald’s semi-autobiographical work are, for all that they are consumed both by their pasts and the potential of their futures, suffused with a sense of the ephemeral.

One has a constant aching feeling throughout this fiction that these are characters on the brink of extinction.

Not simply as individuals on account of their wanton and helpless behaviour, but as a class or type of people they seem doomed.

They are socio-cultural dinosaurs waiting for the comet of the Wall Street Crash to collide with their world. Though they could have been as conscious as what was about to befall them as a brontosaurus was of his fate.

Fragrance then, especially Azuree: as vertiginous and apparently, though illusorily, permanent as the skyscrapers emerging in the twenties as the new form of the epoch, is the perfect metaphor for these temporary people.

It soars, commands, dazzles, defies all logic and experience before it expires.

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“I don’t want just words. If that’s all you have for me, you’d better go”

No more word’s from The Dandy then, though there’s a full review of Azuree in the archive.

Happy Reading.

Yours ever

The Perfumed Dandy.

The Perfumed Dandy

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Industrial Perfumes The Perfumed Dandy’s Unusual Weekend Break

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The Dandy was away at the weekend.

Though this time I found a succour in an unusual setting.

Not the countryside where I normally seek repose, but amongst the great rusting remnants of the original epoch of industrialisation.

To Manchester.

Cradle of the first wave of the factory age, which they tell us may now be coming to an end.

It’s viaducts, locks and piers, great mills and brick warehouses, unwanted freight railways and miles and miles of canals are the Roman ruins of the future scattered about us today.

If only we take the time to look…

Then it got me thinking, something I once read… could there be such a thin as Industrial Perfume?

Purple Under Sides

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Estee by Estee Lauder

Shop bought glamour for stolen kisses and unwise fumbles under the freeway flyover.

Oakmoss. Aldehydes. Coriander.

Steely hearts and unheard squeals.

Something Old, Something New

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Calandre by Paco Rabanne

Aluminium stiletto heels grind make up powders made of sacred glass into disco floors in warehouse clubs.

No one cares. They dance till dawn.

Hidden Green, Never Seen

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Futur by Robert Piguet

Antique idea of l’avenir that never came to pass.

Chartreuse no parts chlorophyll three parts chlorine.

Toxic temptation.

Flash car, fire escape...

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Mitsouko by Guerlain

Petroleum and decaying peach. The high life and the backstreet.

Perfectly tuned engine. Runs like a dream. Ride anything but smooth.

Castles In The Air

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Eau de Campagne by Sisley

Grab a bit of country air where you can find it.

Canalside, you can be lord of the manor, raise tomato plants and basil bushes.

View your lemon trees from castellated towers. Sundays only.

The Sea, Wholesale

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Womanity by Thierry Mugler

Crude humour. Blue joke.

Well told. Widely copied.

In questionable taste.

Games Without Frontiers

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Les Jeux sont Faits by Jovoy

Rum for Dad. Gin for Mum. Mother’s ruined already.

Heady, fruity cocktail consumed in a smoke filled bar.

Followed by a curry.

Saturday night on a production line.

Once More Under The Bridge, Dear Friends

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Higher by Dior

Merry on perry for the first time.

Electric shell suits fizzing static.

Zips slip easily, tongues entwine.

French kissing in a Northern style.

Printers’ Ink, Queen’s Cream

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M/Mink by Byredo

Liquid words with raw honey.

Crude oil of the mind.

Hot metal. Cool fumes.

An eclectic Monday to start a somewhat unusual week *he winks*.

Hope you like the snaps and scents.

Yours ever

The Perfumed Dandy.

The Perfumed Dandy

 

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Stack Heals and Hearts Aflame………. Tom Ford Black Orchid The Perfumed Dandy’s Scented Letter

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Sweat like an oil slick secreted from the smoked glass mirrors hanging on bitter chocolate walls.

Super sweet fruit cocktails ‘straight from Fire Island’ going half drunk on low tables, others tipped over, their cheap containers crushed under foot.

Four tonnes of silver glitter mixed with shards of glass and fresh cut coke for a floor.

Schrager says ‘it’s like standing on stardust’.

Secretly you’re thinking ‘how would he know he’s flying with the stars’.

She enters on a white horse: red dress, black hair, scarlet lips.

Supernature gives way to Heart of Glass.

And the beat goes on.

Around her, instantly, a crowd, a clamour for her glamour.

Photographers and their flashes, an instant strobe.

It’s all too much.

‘Someone will have a seizure’.

Behind Bianca you see her, pale and slim in a green sequined dress like a tube giving way to her equine neck and explosion of crimped coiffed hair, dusted pink.

She’s a flower.

An orchid.

And she’s holding his hand.

The skinny black kid wearing skinny pants, topless except a for a crimson bow tie, sucking on a lolipop holding a golden briefcase.

Blondie hands the baton back to Ceronne.

“We all feel the pain.
Is it necessary?”

You kiss her and your lips gloss leaves a mark on her powdered porcelain cheeks.

You can’t take your eyes off of him.

You long for Frankie Valli to come on, for the room to melt away for there to be just you and her… and him.

“When we feel the pain
Better stick together.”

You smile in his direction, he cocks his afro-ed head back and opens his plushly upholstered mouth ambiguously.

Is it a smile, an invitation?

“Music is the way
To relieve the pressure.”

She laughs and strikes a pose, he starts to dance and so, as if worked by wires, do you.

You spin and send out arms at diagonals, snake her under your embraces, crane yourself backwards against his leaning body.

In the heat their scent rises, they smell as though they came from a squat via a head shop and a candy store.

You’re high as hell on them.

“Music all the way
Do you get the message?”

His face in yours he mimes the words.

You close your eyes.

A kiss.

“Music all the way
Do you get the message?”

You come up for air.

It’s her staring back at you.

When did they change?

When did you stop caring?

“Music all the way
Do you get the message?”

You go straight back under.

The damndest happy drowning man in NYC.

“Chantez-moi
Je suis musique.”

Repetez.

“Chantez-moi
Je suis musique.”

To be clear Tom Ford Black Orchid emphatically does not smell like Studio 54, or at least not how I imagine it.

But…

This rich pseudo-intellectual, uber-complex, grand confection of a scent is an unmatched olfactory soundtrack for contemporary disco decadence everywhere.

It is the spirit of the dance floor at the end of the universe, bottled by Biba shipped by Star Wars.

Just as ’54 was very nearly the real incarnation of that concept.

It is perfume to be sexually ambiguous to, a fragrance for “girls who are boys who like boys to be girls who do boys like they´re girls who do girls like they´re boys”.

Sweet toothed and narcotic, floral and cordial-fruity it is a vulgar, beaming, over-opulent, grotesque of a thing.

And I love it.

I love the fact that it is everything that every two bit celebrity scent aspires but cannot bring itself to be.

I love it because I shouldn’t, because I know I should know better, because of all the ‘it’s beneath me’ baloney.

I love it purely and simply as a not-guilty pleasure and because if I were a clutch of years younger I’d be bathed in it every Saturday and silly on the fumes.

And in these times when it seems to have become a fashion, a sport even, in the Western world to wage cultural war on the young, this is one un-adult unadulterated pleasure we can and should afford them and, indeed, everyone.

There are acres of space devoted to this perfume’s notes, structure and development, so I feel no obligation to describe them in detail here.

It’s sticky, patchouli, smoky, berry and very, very chocolaty. It seems to make some people feel sick and an awful lot of others inclined towards sex.

Just like a good discotheque then.

Fans pretend after sophistication, but actually it’s a bit of wonderfully old fashioned razzle dazzle.

And if it seems already a little out of date in this age of austerity… wait, it’s time will come again.

Ring my bell.

By the way I hope you enjoyed all the tunes (try tapping on the pictures).

Just call me DJ Dandy!

Yours ever

The Perfumed Dandy.

The Perfumed Dandy

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Which ‘ladies’ scent’ will this gent wear come Christmas? The Perfumed Dandy’s Yuletide Hit Parade

Dearest Festive Fairies and Fellows

The Dandy adores Christmas.

I’m sorry, but I do, and over the next week or two I shall be devoting these pages to my own particular form of celebration… details of which to follow anon.

Apologies to the ‘bah humbugs’ among you, but The Dandy says ‘bah humbug’ to your ‘bah humbug’ and that’s enough humbugs to fill a sweet shop with. Now, to kick things off… A Very Special and Seasonal Hit Parade.

I have selected twelve perfumes, one for each day of Christmas, that have never made it to the top of our little chart (though they may appear on it currently).

You, my Santa’s elves, have between now and The Big Day to decide which scent will next my skin come 25th December 2013. So, all you have to do is pick from the sumptuous list below and cast your…

… wait for it…

… 12 Special Time of Year Votes for your favourite or favourites. Here goes, the big list…

French Can Can by Caron

Yresse (formerly known as Champagne) by Yves Saint Laurent

Phul-Nana by Grossmith

Visa by Robert Piguet

Joy by Jean Patou

Rouge (formerly known as Parfum d’Hermes) by Hermes

Diorling by Dior

Tom Ford Black Orchid by Estee Lauder

Chantilly by Houbigant

Louve by Serge Lutens

Parure by Guerlain

Mandragore by Annick Goutal

Well, twelve festive belles there if I may say so. Now The Dandy’s Noel aroma is in your hands… … do spread a little cheer in this direction!

Yours ever festively

The Perfumed Dandy. The Perfumed Dandy

Post Script

Don’t forget that’s 12 votes each, to be dispensed and dispersed as you see fit… use them wisely.

Voting closes at a moment before midnight GMT on Christmas Eve, the winner will be announced when The Dandy’s done opening presents!

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Of peacocks, palaces and pagodas… Incredible Kew Gardens The Perfumed Dandy’s Scented Day Out: Part II

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Dearest All

As you may well know by now, The Dandy was at The Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew on Sunday, trying his best to ignore the winter weather and concentrate on the wonderful feast for the senses these 300 acres afford.

Today, some more images that left a lasting impression on me and the fragrant thoughts they inspired…

1. Hydrangea Failing to Hide in The Gloom

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Its Impure White Will Out

2. Cedar Above The Torrents

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Comforting Against Black Clouds

3. A Strawberry Tree?

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Who knew such fruity fantasies existed?

4. Temple of Remembrance

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Private Reflection

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The Dandy has considered Estee Lauder’s Private Collection before.

5. Better…

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Than…

Find out more about The Dandy’s thoughts on Mitsouko and this connection.

6. Glacial Beauty

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Containing Continents

Why does Ma Griffe make The Dandy think of icy botanists? The review tells all.

7. Unusual Grasses

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Flowering For Many Seasons

8. The Pagoda

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A Chinese Pavilion All Her Own

Discover a schoolteacher’s Beijing adventure in Cinnabar’s Story.

That’s all from magical Kew for now.

We return to the real world tomorrow, well almost.. we’re off to the opera!

I almost forgot, don’t you forget to take a peak at Part I of the visit.

Yours ever

The Perfumed Dandy.

The Perfumed Dandy

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The Boss… Azuree by Estee Lauder The Perfumed Dandy’s Scented Letter

Pop the champagne corks people the prima donna power woman has been promoted to the top.

She enters as always in a graphite pencil skirt sharpened to a point and beautifully tailored jacket tucked at the nearly-not-there waist then angularly out to fill full broad shoulders.

One significant piece of jewellery.

She snaps a greeting to the crowd then an invitation to the few: her office, vintage fizz on ice…

“Now!”

This crazy French  rush her only concession to her elevation.

Yes it has been hard work. 

There were others in the field.

Too right, they fell by the wayside.

Too bad.

Not the women they used to be.

She’s twice the woman she’s ever been.

The party over before it begins. She throws her Barda bag onto a glass and chrome coffee table where today as every day a fresh bunch of red carnations dressed with green grey moss buys time in a clear cube.

A feeble nod to a futile idea of femininity in a room that is a temple to the tanner’s art.

In the vestibule cringeing would-be colleagues cower on Barcelona chairs awaiting an audience with this new crowned empress of commerce.

Ushered in they sit on couches by le Corbusier, sipping too hot, too strong herb tea from constructivist espresso coffee cups while waiting to explain themselves.

It turns out their copy is, well, just not good enough.

The men leave. They are, if not fired, not hired either.

Appointments continue throughout the day, no let up in her manner no diminution of her power.

She departs in private elevator to chauffeur driven car to private elevator and finally top floor apartment.

Only the cheap take Penthouses, and then only for the articles.

At home and undressed, alone except for powder, she is poise and self possession personified.

An ornament of amber glows warmth across her expansive inner space.

Do they like her?

She laughs.

Does she care?

She doesn’t want love, affection, gratitude, infatuation, respect or even adoration.

She simply demands that they worship and obey her.

Azuree by Estee Lauder is to the power chypre what the Apollo moon rocket is to long haul air travel.

In these days of reductive reformulation she is a monument to ambition, quality of construction, projection and longevity, in every sense of that word.

Opening in a vertical trajectory, fueled by aldehyde and super charged bergamot, this scent is heading for the stars.

The interior of USS Azuree is pure leather, no PVC and hard plastics here.

In order to retain a sense of space age decorum, the more animalic elements are banished by a good strong bunch of synthesized herbs and a modest bouquet of boiled up blooms.

The pace is maintained a million miles or more, then, arriving at it’s destination our spacecraft scent slows almost to a stop, allows the softest of amber landings.

Mission accomplished.

Can a man wear it?

Azuree could be in a crowd of super heavyweight boxing champions and still be the butchest one in the room.

Yours ever

The Perfumed Dandy.

The Perfumed Dandy

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Never mind the six feet… Let’s talk about the seven inches… Youth Dew by Estee Lauder The Perfumed Dandy’s Scented Letter

Some said it was the largest trailer ever seen on location in the first six decades of the movies.

Some said it stipulated in her contract that it had to be the biggest, the best, the most extravagant and admired motor home in the history of American cinema.

No, in the history of America.

No one though could argue that right now it was rocking back and forth rhythmically and that the sounds emanating from within sounded a whole lot like on set love making.

Then. Nothing. Silence.

Suddenly the door of the Winnebago swings open and a spent twenty-something extra, shirtless and dishevelled stumbles on the metal steps before crashing to the floor.

The weary crew turn and watch and wait. Cups of going cold coffee in their hands, eye brows almost raised, bags weighing heavy underneath.

From the inner sanctum a sound like the rumble of distant Prairie thunder indicates a throat being cleared.

Then for a few consecutive seconds a huge hiss, a cross between a wet kiss and a punctured zeppelin, echoes across the set.

A moment later the same strange sound slithers all around again.

“She’s spraying” stage whispers the make up girl.

And all the assembled imagine in unison a dry ice cloud of perfume appearing from the doorway of the most elaborate caravan in creation.

What comes instead is at first one, then another, then a flourish of ostrich feathers.

A four letter word is the next thing to emerge from the palace on wheels, accompanying a very audible crash and the disappearance from sight of what must have been a spectacular headdress.

The vehicle lists dramatically as though a very heavy object has come to rest at an awkward angle, then it rights itself and footsteps can be heard.

The headdress it turns out is in fact a hat, and one of the most spectacular hats that Hollywood has ever seen at that.

Underneath this marvel of millinery is revealed the industrially beautiful demi goddess who has deigned to make ‘their movie’ magic with her mere presence.

As the cumulonimbus of her fragrant concoction forms a very warm front, enveloping fellow cast and crew alike, she, a no less impressive force of nature herself, processes into position.

The air is alight at first with an aldehyde brightness, then a thick viscous almost impenetrable jungle of smell, that near suffocates and yet at once seduces, saturates the atmosphere until it could almost be cut through with a spoon and eaten like syrup.
En masse they swoon.

The star meanwhile is gargling warm Coca Cola to relax her vocal chords.

“What the hell is that smell?” the director yells as after being summoned from his slumber he finally makes it to set.

“Why, mister ‘whatever-your-name-is-I’m-so-sorry-I-forgot’, that smell is me!”

He shrinks and she grows to fill the set as she will fill the screen.

She’s ready for her close up now.

Some say Estee Lauder’s Youth Dew used to be big.

Let me assure you Estee Lauder’s Youth Dew is big.

It’s other perfumes that got small.

This is a monster, but by no means a monstrous, scent.

The biggest perfume in American olfactory history in so many ways, it can still at the age of sixty plus not so much fill a room as engulf The Metropolitan Opera.

So what does the uber-scent smell like?

Without being facetious it smells like Youth Dew!

There are a handful of perfumes, No. 5 chief among them, that have a scent more of themselves than anything else.

They have become the points of comparison: other things smell like them, they do not smell like other things.

People dance like Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire, we do not talk about those whose technique Fred and Ginger aped.

For the record though this opens all bracing aldehydes and then becomes an explosion in a spice factory, or maybe that should be on the production line of a well known syrupy soft drink.

But there’s more, an accord of oakmoss and patchouli lies underneath giving a slightly darker edge, while a powerful powdery musk introduces a maiden aunt propriety into the proceedings.

All in all it’s a bare knuckle battle between a prom queen, a spinster and the local tramp!

Or perhaps they are just the parts that Youth Dew plays, because being the true star of every scene it never really ever stops being itself.

Perhaps indeed it is that instant recognition factor combined with the towering personality that almost overshadows the wearer, the way stars outshine their characters, that leads some people to dismiss or even detest this perfume.

Is it possible that we just don’t want scent stars to be as big as Youth Dew undeniably is?

For I can find little to fault in the fragrance itself: an intense, engrossing, delicious self-contradiction of an aroma all wrapped up in bow.

And I, for one, am happy to bow before it!

Indeed, I would be scared witless but deliriously excited to take it out on a date.

Yours ever

The Perfumed Dandy.

The Perfumed Dandy

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The Perfumed Dandy’s American Scents: the nineteen50s… Youth Dew by Estee Lauder Ain’t there anyone here for love? 

Jaynes Russell and Mansfield, Diana Dors and Doris Day, Joan Collins to Marylin Monroe and even the young Brigitte Bardot..

“Sex” as Mae West once exploded “Sells!!”

Mrs Estee Lauder new this only too well too…

From the hourglass figure flacon, tied tight at the waist with a bow, to the dirty bourbon colour of the liquid within Youth Dew is silver screen sex appeal made scent 1950s style.

Now in its sixties, some today sniff that this smells like a retirement home, if so those folks are the residents of what must be the happiest sunshine establishment on Earth.

This is not so much a fragrance as a full frontal attack on the olfactory faculties.

‘Oriental’ seems the only appropriate term for a perfume that has a hemisphere’s worth of notes in its all conquering harmony.

Oh yes it’s spicy, but search deeper into its endless depths of draped velvet, damask silks and satin petitcoats and you will find a crinoline like structure of oakmoss, aldehyde, patchouli and gunpowdery powerful musk keeping the whole pavlova like creation on the road.

But don’t be fooled into thinking that this is some bright falling star, this is one heavenly body that has the staying power to remain a celestial fixture for generations to come.

Quite apart from all aromatic pyrotechnics on show and the oh-so-not-so-subtle double entendre of the name, this immaculate liquor would earn its place at the top of the perfume tree for another reason alone.

Before Youth Dew, American women did not, as a rule, buy perfume.

A lucky few had fragrance bought for them and the rest did without.

Mrs Estee Lauder was not satisfied with this state of affairs and so set about to change it.

Releasing her 1953 fragrance, she executed a coup de parfum that would change the way that scent was sold forever.

By launching Youth Dew both as a perfume and an eminently affordable perfumed bath oil she liberated women by allowing them buy scent by stealth for themselves en masse for the first time.

Once the American woman was hooked on the intoxicating juice there could be, as Estee foretold, no turning back and the the rest as they say is the perfumed past.

So phenomenally important is this famous and infamous fragrance that The Dandy feels a full scented letter is needed to do justice to its incredible life…

A missive has, therefore, been penned and is in the post with a view to being with you shortly.

Yours ever

The Perfumed Dandy.

The Perfumed Dandy

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The Perfumed Dandy’s American Scents: the nineteen70s… Alliage by Estee Lauder Game, set and match

It’s nearly the end of the second week of Wimbledon here in London and for once the weather is sunny and unbelievably warm…

So far so good, but what has it to do with women’s perfume, the 1970s or for that matter America?

Well quite a lot as it would happen.

For this year the Women’s Tennis Association, the body that runs the female professional game, celebrates 40 years since its inception at a meeting in a London hotel just before the All England Club‘s championships in June 1973.

The WTA was more than just an exercise in sports management power politics, it was an important stepping off point in female emancipation.

The organisation was founded by women players, led by the iconic Billy Jean King, for women players.

It saw as its purpose nothing less than achieving something that had never been done in any other sporting arena: gaining equal pay and equal status for female athletes.

Their battle would be hard in a world where newly commercial competions were dropping ‘the girls’ game altogether, and in those tournaments that remained open to all men could earn twelve time what women did.

But these were women as determined to win their battles off the court as their matches on it.

No perfume captures the independence of spirit and sense of purpose embodied by the stars who formed the WTA better than Esteee Lauder’s Alliage.

Marketed as the first ‘Sport Spray’ this is a verdent green and grassy, vigouros, coniferous, vibrant and unappologeticaly mossy affair.

What’s more Alliage acts as an immensely effective olfactory air conditioning unit for the athletic human form in motion.

It is tennis played by Amazons on sweltering Summer days without a bead of sweat arising from foreheads creased in sporting concentration.

It is sport as scent and the scent of sport.

Just as the WTA was a touchstone for the struggle of women across America, acoss the world indeed to gain better conditions in and in some cases even access to the workplace; so Alliage, launched just one year before it in 1972 was the poster woman of a dynamic new begining in fragrance.

Scents that made sense for women on the move, ‘girls who were going places’ suddenly became the new vogue.

Fresh, feminine yet assertive, sexual but intellectual, at once playful and serious these new greens led by Chanel 19 and followed, by Silences and Scherrer and ultimely by unisex Eau de Campagne reflected a decade in which the first steps toward female empowerment became a march.

The Dandy could have chosen any of these sprays to represent the era, but it is Wimbledon fortnight, the weather is sunny and even warm and Alliage makes me think of tennis and America in almost equal measure.

The great news is this ‘bottled summer sport’ is available and appropriate all year round as I concluded in my full review.

And by the way it took until 2007, but now, at Roland Garros and Wimbledon at least, men and women do enjoy the same status and cash rewards.

Game, Set and Match Ms Billy Jean King and Mrs Estee Lauder.

Until we play again…

Yours ever

The Perfumed Dandy The Perfumed Dandy.

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The Perfumed Dandy’s American Scents: the 20teens…Ombre de Hyacinth by Tom Ford Nice, niche but not 

An American perfume with a faux French name made by a fake ‘niche perfume house’ owned by a multi-national in conjunction with a celebrity known more for fashion than fragrance who doesn’t do that much designing anymore but does make films…

If any perfumes more precisely encapsulate today’s topsy turvy world of scent better than those like Ombre de Hyacinth from one of Tom Ford‘s micro ranges produced in conjunction with Estee Lauder and some of the biggest names in the business then I don’t know which they are.

Apart from the olfactory history perspective though, this particular aroma does point to an often unmentioned fact

Out there amongst the endless ‘prive’ lines and not so exclusive ‘exclusif’ collections there are a wealth of well made, relatively widely available and, in this case at least, quite unusual fine fragrances.

While bone dry, high tech, galbanum and blue flower ice queens like this can slip beneath the corporate radar perhaps there is still hope for mainstream perfume even if it resides beyond the headline scents…

Many, many thanks to the estimable Ginzaintherain of The Black Narcissus for brining this bottle of grey mist anti-joy to The Dandy’s attention.

Backwards through time we go…

Yours ever

The Perfumed Dandy.

The Perfumed Dandy

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