Tag Archives: Youth Dew

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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