Tuesday, October 21, 2008

First Post ~ the blush of youth?

It's a little intimidating really- making one's first post. The vintage scent I've selected for this auspicious occasion is .... Estée Lauder's Youth Dew. This was an easy pick for me. It's an American classic that has achieved iconic status. You might think at first, that if you found them, you would keep all of the wonderful "rare" vintage perfumes but ultimately you can't. Not if you're going to be into perfumes for any length of time. Imagine what you'd accumulate in 10 or 15 or 20 or more years! Eventually, we must all admit that novelty is big part of the story of an attraction between a perfume and a girl or boy. And it's fun to hunt. I've already given more space over to bottles than I want, and they are fragile and precious. So they live in dark, cool places shut away like prisoners. It's not right. Eventually, it will be wasted spoiled, spilt, broken, forgotten or lost. My solution is this- first, I'm going to start documenting them. Photographs and reviews. And then, I'm going to get rid of them. Not in a big rush, just one by one as I find new, I will release the older ones I've tired of playing with or looking at. I hope there are a few more vintage perfume lovers out there, who might enjoy this venture also. Have patience though, for I will only post once or twice a week, unless I'm on vacation.. But in any case, all are welcome and the tone will be strictly informal. Lauder's Youth Dew is so mainstream, so old school, maybe it is also too old fashioned? Well, Lauder herself surely wasn't. No, she was ahead of her time, a true pioneer. And what about her most well known perfume? The story I know is that Youth Dew was a perfume designed to appeal to women, not men, who traditionally bought perfumes for women, so they would buy YD for themselves. Today we have the right hand ring, back then women made the same statement with perfume, apparently.

My own mother, a natural beauty, shunned artifical adornment. There are perfumes I know she wore at key points (White Shoulders, L'Air du Temps, Bellodgia) but the perfume I remember best from my youth was Youth Dew. It wasn't hers. It belonged to my Gran-Loo, (Grandmother Louise thank you very much!). She was a grand lady, a real 1920's - 30's party girl, and a vixen I'm quite certain. Let me tell you, she loved perfume! Chanel, Caron and Norell bottles sat enthroned like precious jewels upon her dresser. But Youth Dew was different. For one thing, it's as black as coffee. And it never really lost it's roots as a bath oil. Looking at it as a child I felt it was probably some awful psuedo-medical toilet item, as appealing as an old crusted shaving mug. And the scent, to my tender young nose, was nothing more than a blast of bitter burning spices- no sweetness, no light. So from then on, I avoided anything in the familiar bottle. Since then, nothing ever really make me give it a second thought. When I found the bottle you see pictured above- um, I was smitten. The glass poppy topped stopper hinted at sweet narcotic depths hidden within the murky waters. No one would design something so beautiful for anything that wasn't divine. The glass is frosted and smooth. It begs to be held and touched. And the highly polished hand cut sides reveal an intimate view of the juice within.

So now I had a reason to explore Youth Dew. I had a reason to stare and dab and consider, to ponder, to assimilate and finally to conquer, wearing it as if it was the latest release from some niche French perfume house. And guess what? It really is that good. The swoon came to me incredibly easy. They say and it may be true, you have to be of a certain age to fully get this perfume. The bottle is labeled "Original Youth Dew' and I feel it may be perfume or a very high concentration oil, possibly the vintage bath oil version (it is oily). It smells sweet but not in a fruity way. In fact, my husband proclaimed it smelled like candy (a shocker- with him, usually it's soap or powder). He must like spicy complex candy, because a plain Jane this aint. It hits me like a heavenly blast of balsamic spicy resins, cool rather than warm at first with dry, almost chalky nuances. (I love any chalk, powder or pollen type effect in a perfume.) It seems linear but in the dry down it just keeps getting sweeter, honey sweet. I haven't gotten to looking up any notes but it is not really a floral scent. If I had to pick what type of flowers are in there, I would think it must have heliotrope and the chalk. There is amber warmth at the end and what could be orris- I say because it has a slightly bitter woodiness. Sometimes I associate that chalk quality to orris. It becomes a fabulous skin scent by then. Also, it turns exquist if you are smelling it on a smoker. Youth Dew over the roasted tobacco residue left on finger tips...

There were at least two early varients, an extreme type, Cinnabar and a little seen "soft" version with less warm spice and more animal base maybe taking away the edge that made orginal Youth Dew so successful.

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