Friday, 12 May 2017

Persolaise Review: Azurée D'Or from Estée Lauder (2017)

It's hard not to succumb to a sense of ennui at the interminable parade of flankers presented to us by mainstream brands these days. But when a company leaves a gap of almost 50 years between a perfume's initial release and the appearance of its first bona fide follow-up, you can't help but experience a measure of curiousity. Cue: Azurée D'Or, the brand new companion to Azurée, which has been in Estée Lauder's catalogue since 1969. (Okay, strictly speaking, we did have a coconut-heavy, limited edition in 2007, but that was very short-lived and can probably be pushed to one side for the sake of today's argument.) A span of almost half a century provides a compelling opportunity to consider how certain scent codes have changed. In other words: how do we alter the style of a late 60s leather composition to bring it in line with contemporary tastes? In this case, the answer would seem to be: flush the toilet.

The original Azurée is a glorious piece of work, although there's no doubt that some people now find it rather challenging. They read the gushing online reviews, they learn of its cult status, they find out that it's been a steady seller for decades... but when they come to smell it for themselves, they're left rather perplexed. Smack in the middle of the leather, the aldehydic sunshine and the heated mosses is a sizeable patch of sage, which brings with it, as many of you will know, an instant link to the diffusive, metallic, nostril-piercing note of urine. We were far more tolerant of such scatological suggestions in the 60s and 70s. Indeed, we almost demanded them: they were the very features that made a perfume meld with the wearer's body. More importantly, we hadn't yet been conditioned to find them borderline offensive. But then, in those days, cleanliness wasn't quite as close to godliness as it is today. 

So now, in the second decade of the 21st century, we have Azurée D'Or. Yes, it's still a leather - very much of the modern, translucent, tangy variety - and it's still based on mossy woods and it's still an amply-proportioned diva. But there's no doubt that it has cleaned up its act, ditching the suggestiveness in favour of hauteur. In this iteration - which, despite its name, is more silvery than golden - the intrigue is provided by the likes of pepper and saffron, materials that hint at curves rather than placing them in full view, as it were. Yes, there's a plum note too - always redolent of boozy abandon - and a prominent dose of labdanum in the base, but they're never allowed to get out of hand, kept in check by the more well-behaved elements. If that sounds like a lukewarm assessment, allow me to make my view clear: I've thoroughly enjoyed wearing this and I am mightily pleased that Lauder didn't choose to turn it into one of the cynical, sell-out flankers we get from so many other brands. But in terms of originality, distinctiveness and sheer gumption, the prototype takes some beating. Still, maybe those frightened of its allure can work their way up to it via this commendable, or-covered pathway?

[Review based on a sample of eau de parfum provided by Estée Lauder in 2017]



  1. I haven't tried the original. But I do like the sound of it. I can imagine how "urine" would have worked then. It's a pity we have become so prissy about these things. Will look out for the newbie when it lands in South Africa. Big thanks for such a great review! R

    1. R, thanks for your comment. You should definitely try to seek out the original. Absolute classic :-)

  2. I love the original one and was intrigued by the new one. However, it is very pricey and after reading this review I am not so sure I should by it.

    1. Hi :-) Yes, it is pricey... but ultimately, I'd say you need to smell it yourself.


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