Saturday, July 11, 2009

Estee Lauder Private Collection Jasmine White Moss

There was a discussion on POL recently started by cubby titled “Estee Lauder Fragrances, Why do they last so Long?” Estee Lauder perfumes do have the most wonderful longevity, don’t they? Many of the comments mirrored this sentiment and expressed their gratitude that Estee Lauder is committed to quality fragrances (“best bang for the buck” is what one POLer wrote).

Last year I was pleased by the launch of Sensuous – a mainstream fragrance that ventured into wooded territory. I was happy because EL was launching something different from the usual fare at Sephora and it made EL seem brave. Ultimately Sensuous left me cold, it was an utter snooze, but I’m still happy that EL went for it.

I was cheering for Estee Lauder again this year with news of Private Collection Jasmine White Moss. A green chypre for 2009 seems very brave to me. A green chypre also seems like a nod to us perfume fanatics, because, who else would be in the market for this sort of fragrance, but us, the complete fragrance junkies?! I mean, this is NOT a fruity floral, nor another Angel wannabe (this trend seems to have ended), or another safe clean floral number to bore us to tears.

No offense to others who have reviewed Estee Lauder Private Collection Jasmine White Moss (henceforth EL PCJWM) but I don’t see any reason to make side-by-side comparisons between it and other heavy hardcore chypres from thirty years ago. When I reviewed Cristalle Eau Verte and Mitsouko Fleur de Lotus I made comparisons to the original fragrances for obvious reasons but with EL PCJWM I wore it all by itself and made no such comparisons.

My initial reaction was “wow, this is really oakmoss-y.” The first 15-20 minutes spotlight oakmoss, and while I know it isn’t the real deal (given the maddening IFRA restrictions), this smells like good oakmoss. I went to Neiman’s first thing this morning with the intent of sampling EL PCJWM and then running several other errands, having lunch and doing a bit more sniffing later in the afternoon. I kept sniffing my wrists throughout the delay, evaluating and taking note of it’s development. It reminds me a bit of the original EL Private Collection as well as Azuree in it’s galbanum green-ness (as March on Perfume Posse also suggested). Call me the contrarian but I really love EL PCJWM, and I think I love it precisely because it is a modern chypre. To give you a point of reference, EL PCJWM reminds me a bit of an airy, less dense and complex, Ralph Lauren Safari.

Once the fragrance dries down the oakmoss and aldehydes burn off and what you have left is a soft green floral. The jasmine is obvious at the start but after time passes it becomes mostly a mixed floral affair. It’s a lovely composition. It’s a weightless, carefree and easy-going modern chypre. I don’t find fault with it because it’s much less smoldering than chypres of years past, I like it for it’s faceted yet wispy quality. Similar to the way I ended up liking Shalimar Light, while I’ll always love original Shalimar, there’s a place in my heart for modern chypres, for lightness, and simple beauty. The galbanum & vetiver notes (I think) keep the fragrance from straying into “sweet” territory and it stays nicely dry throughout.

After lunch and other errands I returned to Neimans and Nordies and sniffed a whole bunch of other perfumes. Everything else just seemed mediocre. EL PCJWM really stood out, this is a winner, so I bought myself a bottle. I decided it was that good.

Taken from the Estee Lauder website:
Notes: Black Currant Bud Absolute, Galbanum Absolute, Bergamot Absolute, Aerin's Jasmine Sambac Absolute, Estée's Ylang Ylang Absolute, Estée's Jasmine Absolute, Violet, Orange Flower Absolute, Orris, Patchouli Heart Absolute, Vetiver Absolute, White Moss Mist Absolute (an Estée Lauder exclusive).


elpasogal said...

Thanks for this insightful review! I'm a chypre lover from waaaay back and my first impression of Jasmine White Moss was Wow, this isn't nearly as gutsy as I was expecting, but each time I wear it I love it a little more. It lasts a long time, but very softly. I think this is a winner, but it is very different for an EL scent - it doesn't overwhelm.

Joe said...

Now that this has been out for at least 3-4 weeks, I have really got to haul my butt down to Nordstrom and smell it. I expect to like it at the very least, and I appreciate your review as another one of the voices in the chorus that seem to be favorable.

I'm on a seriously chypre kick lately, and I think my recent discovery of Lancome Sikkim (of which I bought a mini) is the best of the bunch. I could sniff that stuff all day.

I'm glad the galbanum/vetiver keeps JWM a bit dry; I was afraid the jasmine might have far too much sweetness. OK, really... off to Nordstrom... soon!

Abigail said...


All I ask is that you sniff EL PC Jazzy White Moss and compare it to other 2009 releases - not chypres from long ago. I think that puts it in the proper perspective and makes it a winner. It's far better than A LOT of stuff out there this year!

Hope you like it!

Ines said...

I'm waiting for my sample of Jasmine White moss after reading this review. I have to say I had high hopes for Sensuous but unfortunately, they were dashed. But Bronze goddess although not private collection is my favourite of the whole line.

Brian said...

mmmmmm. Lancome Sikkim.

nakedbeet said...

Wow! I actually remember Sikkim and how I loved it. I'm trying to find a replacement for my Truth Calvin Klein, sounds like maybe EL's white moss might be close. Have any recommendations for that?