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May 09, 2008

Estee Lauder Pleasures Revisited : Perfume Review


I enjoy re-reading books that struck me as memorable. As time passes and one gains more experience and knowledge, one’s perspective changes sufficiently to make new discoveries. Revisiting fragrance is not much different in that respect--the knowledge one gains in the interim makes one understand better the art and the pleasure of perfume. Estée Lauder Pleasures has been on my list to reevaluate for quite some time, largely because of its reputation as a modern classic. It was never a personal favorite--its clean and wholesome aesthetic runs counter to my love for things dark and mysterious. However, as I wear it, I cannot but admire its strong signature and its gorgeous layers of floral absolutes set against the crisp green notes. …

Created by Firmenich’s Annie Buzantian and Alberto Morillas, Pleasures has been one of the top sellers for Estée Lauder since 1995 when it first debuted. It expresses an idea of a stylized peony, a holographic image in vibrant green and pink shades. What separates Pleasures from other pretty floral renditions is that it is layered over a unique musk base—metallic and sparkling, rather than animalic and sweet. Indeed, Firmenich musks are renowned in the industry for their variety, complexity and performance. The result is a “just out of the shower” scent that conveys perfectly the American ideal of clean.

While Pleasures captures a scent that soap and water leave on the skin, it is also luxurious and memorable. The rose absolute notes are honeyed, warm and complex. Pleasures wears like iron, and its sillage is strong without being strident. Another notable facet of Pleasure is a pink pepper note, which contributes a delicate cool spiciness. Even now, more than 10 years after it was first used, pink pepper continues to be a trendy accent for new launches.

In many ways, Pleasures has shaped much of the olfactory landscape of the 1990s and rejuvenated the green floral genre. Its family of offsprings and imitators is large enough to warranty a separate article, if not a chapter. Moreover, I find solace in the fact that the best-sellers on the market like Pleasures, Thierry Mugler Angel, Chanel No 5 and Coco Mademoiselle are the high-quality, well constructed fragrances, which ruins counter to the marketers’ notions that it is the consumers who demand cheap, celebrity endorsed juices.

Pleasures includes notes of “White Lily, Violet Leaves, Black Lilac, White Peony, Karo-Karounde, Baie Rose, Sandalwood, Patchouli.” There exist also various flankers (Pleasures Delight, Pleasures Intense, Pleasures Exotic.) It is available directly from Estée Lauder website as well as the Lauder counters.



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