Thursday 14 January 2016

Tuberose Gardenia by Estée Lauder

When Estée Lauder launched Private Collection in 1973 it was intended as a "thank you" to the loyal followers of her company. Created by Vincent Marcello, it was originally reserved for Lauder's personal use before the decision was taken to release it commercially. A Floral Chypre, it proved popular and is still in production forty three years later. Jump forward to 2006 and it was announced that Estée Lauder would be creating a whole Private Collection, with the original as its figure head. At a time when brands were feeling the pull between luxury and commercial would the first release, Tuberose Gardenia, bridge the gap and spearhead a new collection?

On its launch in Summer 2007 Aerin Lauder said of Tuberose Gardenia, "the new Private Collection is designed for the modern woman of today who understands that simplicity is the purest form of luxury and elegance. It's a tribute to my grandmother and the love we shared for these magnificent white flowers." To create the perfume Aerin gave Firmenich's Harry Fremont the challenge of combining the two key florals into an "elegantly simple bouquet". After eight years it's time to revisit it and see how it has fared.

The fragrance opens with a luminously fresh burst of "gardenia", but it's tempered with a jasmine and ylang ylang undertone. To keep it buoyant however you're given the delicate note of lilac and clove. The effect of gardenia is always man made, because an essence cannot be successfully extracted from the flower, but here we are treated to a beautifully realised interpretation.

A very slight almond note starts to peep through the fragrance as it sweetens to reveal a carefully balanced tuberose. Also at this point you start to get the scent of orange blossom, which is a great way of keeping the freshness of the opening but adding a fruit aroma to the mix. The fragrance continues to develop, with a delicious tonka/vanilla combination, but never becomes sickly. In amongst you also get a trace of rose, but it is so subtle and simply there to pull together the two star florals. Gardenia has a tendency to be too piercing and tuberose can be overpowering, but in Harry Fremont's combination you have the perfect partnership.

The collection was added to in 2008 by Amber Ylang Ylang, created by Annie Buzantian and Honorine Blanc-Hattab, and in 2009 by Jasmine White Moss, which was realised by IFF's Jean-Marc Chaillan. The latter apparently began life in June 1989 as a collaboration between Estée and the IFF team but was never completed. Aerin rescued Formula #546AQ from the archives and it provided the basis for the release. From the original modern three only Tuberose Gardenia has survived mainstream, with Jasmin White Moss now exclusive to select stores and Amber Ylang Ylang unfortunately discontinued. It seems fitting, in a way, that it's Estée's and Aerin's first Private Collection fragrances that now form a duo; the original and the tribute.

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