The Fashion Spot Momtastic

We Tried It: Estée Lauder's First Scent in 10 Years

Could Estee Lauder's new fragrance really please everyone? We put it to the test to find out

I have a very selective nose when it comes to perfume. I blame my grandmother for that. The heavy, musky scents that she adored trailed her wherever she went, and sent me sniffing in the opposite direction. Until college, light and fruity Victoria's Secret body sprays were all I could handle. Even though my taste has evolved since then, I still lean towards fruity and floral spritzes (DKNY Be Delicious is my absolute favorite), and stay far away from woodsy scents in memory of that scent-clouded house.

But when I heard about Estée Lauder's latest fragrance (their first in 10 years!), Modern Muse, I was so excited. Sure, it has a soft musk scent to it, but it has a light, floral side to it, too. For this fragrance, Estée Lauder decided to turn the rules on their head. Instead of featuring a top, middle and bottom note, they made Modern Muse with two equally prominent scents.

The first. "sparkling jasmine accords," includes notes of mandarin, honeysuckle, jasmine and lily. The second, "sleek woods accords," contains hints of vanilla, amber wood and patchouli to create a soft musk.

This dual-impression approach is practically unheard of in the perfume business. But, according to Estée Lauder, it is meant to represent the dual nature of the modern woman: femininity and strength. Intriguing to be sure, but really, I was just excited to see if the perfume really could be a universally enjoyed scent..

Now any woman that has purchased perfume before would probably tell you that these two scent groups often don't exist together, but the point of the dual-impression is that the woman wearing the scent will focus on whichever aspect of the perfume she likes best. Did this mean that I would smell the light floral scents and anyone downwind of me who preferred muskier perfumes would smell the sleek woods accord? For someone who was traumatized by her grandmother's overpowering perfume, I was thrilled to find something that has the potential to offend no one. If this was a universally liked perfume (okay, our editor-in-chief, Beth may not like it ), it sounded worth saving up my precious pennies for the $98 3 oz. bottle.

My verdict? The bottle is total eye candy. The pink bottle with navy blue bow-shaped cap is definitely one I'd like to display on my vanity. However when the big scent reveal came around, I was ultimately disappointed. I did smell the jasmine and honeysuckle scent that I had read about ... only so did every other person in the office. After asking all of my cubicle mates to describe the smell, no one mentioned that they smelled the vanilla or musky side of the scent.

So while I do enjoy the scent of this perfume, and I could still smell it on my skin by the end of a long workday, I didn't think it lived up to the hype. Instead of a "dual impression," I wasn't left with much of an impression at all.


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