About the author: Andrea likes to sample anything he can get his nose on, and to write about it in his blog Smellitivity.
I’m not sure why, but when I saw Estée Lauder Perfume Sensuous I was expecting a delicate floral, probably because of the round bright orange bottle with sinuous lines.
I was in for a big surprise though. Sure, there is a prominent jasmine in it, but what I got was complexity rather than floralcy.
Jasmine itself is partly responsible for that. In spite of its gracious look, it’s not always the gentlest of flowers, unless the perfume maker wants it to be. Serge Luten’s A La Nuit, created by Christopher Sheldrake, is a good example of gentle jasmine, whereas if you want a nasty one, Thierry Mugler’s Alien would be a good candidate. With woods and pepper on top of jasmine, the result for this Estée Lauder Sensuous Eau De Parfum is an all but floral, wonderfully weird smell.
Actually, talking about the opening, I should say wonderfully smelly: earthy and dirty, body odour at its best for the first half an hour.
After that, the fragrance will have cleaner and fresher notes, thanks to amber, which adds a powdery quality, but also a light sweetness. There is probably also a very small amount of clean laundry detergent smell, the one that is usually added in massive quantities to fresh aromatic perfumes for men like Cool Water, Drakkar Noir, Azzaro Chrome or Paco Rabanne Pour Homme.
The result is an aroma that is clean and powdery on the one hand, and dry, warm, spicy, animalic, earthy, floral, and at times even slightly smoked on the other. And that’s what I meant by complexity: the ability of the perfume maker to take opposites like dirty and clean, air and earth, and force them to share a space and talk to each other. It takes great skills to make a fragrance that walks this fine line. With less capable hands, the risk is to make a perfume that is all over the place, but nose Annie Buzantian, who created Sensuous in 2008, sure did a great job.
To give you an idea, imagine you’ve hanged your clean laundry outside to dry. It’s sunny, but the soil is still wet for the rain. Right after you’ve gone back inside, a shirt falls to the ground. When you return after a couple of hours, everything is dry, soil and shirt, but the earth has returned part of its rough aromas, smudging the clean laundry smell.
In the dry down, after challenging the nose for hours, Sensuous Estée Lauder Perfume is more easygoing, with soft honey-sweet notes, and a much gentler floral side.
So, who’s it for? Don’t be scared off by adjectives like “earthy” or “animalic.” When it comes to perfumes, they are never so bad as they sound, and they’re always there with other notes.
This is a sophisticated fragrance, so there is a chance that you won’t like it. But you may indeed find its quirkiness very pleasant and with great social skills. One sure thing is that you will smell classy and different from all the sweet fruity or sweet floral fragrances for women out there at the moment, and that’s worth a try.