Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Estée Lauder Aliage

Launched in 1972, Aliage was touted as the first "sports fragrance" for women. Now, I must admit I'm not exactly a sporty gal myself. For one thing, if I have to select a sport in which I might deign to engage, it must be a sport with an outfit, like tennis or golf, and not a uniform, like basketball or, say, roller derby. I also imagine being able to make frequent references to "the club." In this, I believe I am probably in league with Mrs. Lauder and her ilk. The upper classes have always had "sporting" women who play tennis or ride horses or sail boats around Nantucket. All of those activities involve a club. I can't prove it, but I'm pretty sure this fragrance is for them.

Not that you could tell by the smell.

Okay, first off: if you read yesterday's post, then you're already familiar with my prejudice against fragrances that are overly green and citrusy. Take a gander at these notes:

Top: jasmine, citrus
Heart: nutmeg, rose, armoise
Base: oakmoss, vetiver, cedarwood

To get right down to it, Aliage smells to me like an old saddle rubbed with citrus oil. Before you get all excited about the idea of leather, let me paint a little mental scent picture for you: think about sniffing the inside of an inexpensive leather handbag. It smells rather dusty and synthetic, like it's been treated with chemicals. Now spill some cheap perfume in said purse--or maybe some lemony, grassy aftershave--and you've got Aliage.

Okay, maybe I'm being unfair, but really, this scent goes nowhere on my skin. After an intolerable green opening, it flattens out to dry woods and reedy vetiver. This offering was clearly meant to capture that part of the market that was women who enjoyed wearing men's fragrances, but I can't imagine that after trying this one women wouldn't go right back to the other side of the aisle and just buy the darned men's cologne.

Had I grown up with the horsey set, perhaps I would find this fragrance appealing, even comforting. Alas, I grew up in a family where "outdoor activities" meant "sitting on the patio at a restaurant." I can think of at least a dozen scents that are prettier and more well-suited to doing that.

*image from esteelauder.com