Wednesday, November 5, 2008

L’Heure Brun: Estée Lauder Amber Ylang Ylang

Aerin Lauder’s latest addition to her Private Collection, Amber Ylang Ylang, is as close to a calculated risk as you can get. After last summer’s star-studded launch of Sensuous, a perfume more notable for its signaling of Lauder’s volte-face than for its compositional merits, Private Collection Amber Ylang Ylang betrays a realization, on the part of Lauder and creative captain Karen Khoury, that a new Estée Lauder customer is waiting to be wooed.

Amber Ylang Ylang is more self-consciously femme than Sensuous, a scent whose ‘Molten Woods’ caught many women off-guard. Where Sensuous was woody and peppery, Amber Ylang Ylang adopts a similar palette of tones but for a vastly different effect. Instead of an interior by Pottery Barn, we have a brown vélour salon by Ruhlmann, in which musicians can be heard tuning up for a pièce de chambre by the likes of a Mompou or Poulenc.

In extrait de parfum, the only concentration I’ve really taken my time with, the first thing that strikes me is sweetness - honey, vanilla, labdanum and something equating maple-syrup (for once, not immortelle flower) - a sweetness that reminds me more of high-end pâtisserie than the bins at Dylan’s Candy Bar. As it progresses on the skin, the florals come through. Ylang ylang, a note that I adore in No 5 extrait but which can be terribly off-key, is reigned in, not once caught trying to outplay the other members of the quintet. The real star solo, though, is played by heliotropin, that almond-marzipan-morphing-into-Play-Doh note so expertly handled in classics such as Après l’Ondée and L’Heure Bleue and, more recently, Jarling and Dans Tes Bras.

Despite the golden amber used in abundance here, even in the extrait concentration don’t expect something equating a Lutens’ or Tom Ford amber. Even the sandalwood is shot with Vaseline on the lens, never reminding one of a souk or savouries. Rather, everything is bathed in a soft, golden glow, and I for one find it very becoming.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I didn't get to try the extrait at the Sniffa, but I've just added it to my list after reading your review! Sniffed the edp on a card, and it didn't catch my attention. Should have requested a sample to try later...

November 6, 2008 at 8:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I read these reviews and think about self cannibalism!
Gourmet perfumes are great but marzipans, caramels, cotton candy notes...

November 11, 2008 at 7:07 PM  
Blogger Vetivresse said...

+q perfume-

yowzers! I think Carmencanada of Grain de Musc would agree when I say that gourmand perhaps has more to do with food fetishism than Corpus meum.

November 12, 2008 at 2:06 PM  

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