Estee Lauder Jasmine White Moss

Jasmine White MossI´m not sure exactly what I was expecting when I sniffed the new Estee Lauder Private Collection Jasmine White Moss, but it wasn´t what came out of the bottle and landed on my arm.  I scuttled home and did some online research, which made things clearer – the scent is (allegedly, I take all this with a grain of salt) an unfinished formula of Estee Lauder herself from the 1980s, completed by granddaughter Aerin – and can´t you just see her huddled there, over the beakers?!?  Anyway, once I had this info, things started to fall into place.

Upon my first sniff of Jasmine White Moss, I thought:  hello, Azuree! (The 1969 original, not the new Soleil one.)  I dug some of that up, but that´s not quite it.   The opening notes of Jasmine White Moss are closer, I think, to the original Chanel Cristalle EDT.

Notes are mandarin, blackcurrant bud, galbanum, bergamot, jasmine sambac, violet, orange flower, orris, ylang-ylang, patchouli, vetiver and white moss mist (a Lauder exclusive) and it’s categorized as a green floral chypre.  If “white moss mist” is the Lauder secret sauce that´s going to replace bad old oakmoss, hey – it´s gorgeous.  Congratulations, chemists hidden behind door number three!

The opening of Jasmine White Moss is astringent and dry, dry, dry, reminding me both of Cristalle and Azuree´s drydown.  Like the other fragrances I´ve named, it makes me think of an elegant woman smoking a cigarette (did Estee smoke?  Coco did.  A lot of their classic scents go great with cigarettes).  Then I dug up my Van Cleef & Arpels First, and while Jasmine White Moss doesn´t have quite the same everything-but-the-kitchen-sink feel to it, I definitely get the same balance between the mossy elements and the sweet ones.  Indeed, a quick check of First reveals many of the same notes as Jasmine White Moss – although, what isn´t in First?  Also, First is spicier and sharper and … wow, people, someone stage an intervention, because First is really growing on me.  First is the sort of big-shouldered 1970´s Statement Fragrance I have admired rather than wanted to wear.  Until now, I guess.  (Six hours later: my goodness, First’s drydown is gorgeous,  it needs its own review.)

Which leads us back to Jasmine White Moss and my ultimate lack of enthusiasm.  As it dries down, I lose most of the moss, galbanum, patch and anything else that would evoke a green chypre. The jasmine (which is very clean), orange flower and ylang dominate the drydown, which is soft and sweet and, I´m afraid, a little tepid for me.  It smells “modern” in that peculiar, safe way mainstream perfumery does – a little spicy, some sweet florals, a slightly sour finish that makes me wonder if their Lauder musk is lurking in there.  It´s also, and this is weird, the teensiest bit edible – orange almond shortbread?

EDIT IN AFTER THIS WAS POSTED, PROMPTED BY COMMENTS:  in theory this should go without saying, but I’ll say it anyway — we perfume freaks are clearly the target market for this scent, and I for one am incredibly grateful (and a little surprised) that something this “mature” was even made.  My daughters backed away from me in the car when I waved my arm at them the first time I tried it, which is an excellent sign; why the hell should everything smell like it was made for high school girls?   I hope the thing sells like hotcakes, and fake oakmoss (fauxmoss?) becomes the new pink pepper, although I’m not holding my breath.  Anyway, Estee Lauder — thanks for the pleasant surprise I received when I sprayed it on my arm.

In the end, it´s my head-to-head (arm-to-arm? nose to nose?) comparison to good ol´ Azuree, Cristalle and First that leaves me shrugging my shoulders at Jasmine White Moss.  Whether you tilt your tastes towards aldehydes, galbanum or oakmoss, this particular vein of beloved old-lady fragrances has a signature, and that signature, ladies and gentlemen, is moxie.  It is assertiveness.  It is trouble on the hoof. It is take-no-prisoners, stiletto-heeled attitude.  Starting off smelling like Liquid Danger and then drying down to a cross between Mariah Carey M and a plastic scented My Little Pony reeks mostly of disappointment.  I bet you can get Azuree and/or First online for less than fifty bucks.  Or how about some Norell?  Or the original Private Collection, or Jacomo Silences?  Feel free to name your own additions, but any of these scents have more personality and interest than the Lauder after the first half hour.  It´s not that the Jasmine White Moss is terrible.  It´s just been done, and done better, elsewhere, for less money, in my opinion.   No offense to those of you who’ve found a new love; remember, I really liked Amber Ylang, which most everyone thought was a snooze.

Estee Lauder Jasmine White Moss is slated for release in July, but is already at Nordstrom and I assume will pop up at Saks and wherever else they´re selling the other two scents in the Private Collection.

PS Lipstick Freaks — come play on yesterday’s pink lipstick post, In the Pink!

74 Comments
AnnieA June 30, 2009

How about: "foakmoss"?

Joe June 30, 2009

Thanks for this review! Sorry for the shameless promotion, but I'm trying to host a split of this on ScentSplits. Just sayin'.... "why the hell should everything smell like it was made for high school girls?" Yes! Yessss! YESSSS! (Doing my best Meg Ryan imitation.)

Robin R. June 30, 2009

Just wanted to say that I've been lovin' this thread! I wish the execs at EL could see it. We take our fumes seriously (and have some fun at the same time) and our nostrils have been around the block a time or two. I know I'm impressed by y'all!!!

Scott June 29, 2009

Yes, it's definitely worth waiting for the final act in Elena's early work. Gorgeous, well constructed, tenacious. In First, and in his truly "first" creation, which was Eau de Campagne for Sisley Paris. Thanks for a great review!

helenviolette June 29, 2009

Helloooo! I tried this last week maybe and thought it smelled a lot like the original ELPC modernized. It was nice (meh)- need to sniff again...(and more love for the ELPCAYY from yours truly)

Robin June 29, 2009

Still waiting for my sample. Really does seem to be shaping up as a love it or hate it. Thanks, in any case, for advance notice to wear next to First, which is long overdue for a retry anyway!

Musette June 29, 2009

Well! I certainly didn't expect such a lively discussion here but that's because I'm not a huge Lauder fan - I like Azuree but for the most part ELs don't sit well on my skin. The comparison to First made me giggle because just recently I revisited First, simply because it was sitting on the Saks counter right in front of me - I didn't realize it was a JCE. What an evolution (devolution?)...First really is jam-ola with stuff, innit! I wasn't paying that much attention to it the day I spritzed - I'll have to go back and revisit. Doing many vintages these days - my recent contemporary loves leave me feeling 'uf', so I went back to the motherland. Wearing a vintage Bandit on one arm and a vintage L'Aimant on the other - yum. xoxo>-)

Gretchen June 29, 2009

I'm one of those who get very little white flower but plenty of white moss/faux moss from sampling this. With so little experience of fragrances so far, I don't know whether it's been done better or cheaper-- I liked it, but only enough to try again, not to buy. In any case I haven't yet really liked wearing chypres, as opposed to admiring them; they're not what I want to live with all day. But last night, in the middle of the night after a brutally hot day, I woke up wishing I could sniff some EL JWM! Considering that I had worn Aliage all that hot day (the only green scent I wear, and only for 100+ degree weather), that wish must indicate something. Time to mooch a sample from the EL counter?

Nava June 29, 2009

I must be missing a chromasome or a significant number of brain cells because none of the classic scents you mentioned in comparison with the new Lauder do anything for me. On the other hand, I still really like Sensuous, and the mainstreaming of woody notes, but an oakmoss (or "fauxmoss") trend in modern perfumery would leave me feeling flatleft on the playground. I hope some of you are familiar with the juvenile moniker "flatleaver", or what I just said will make no sense at all. :-D

sweetlife June 29, 2009

Well, clearly I need to try First. *scribbles down name on imaginary list already a mile long which she already can't remember most of* That said, I found myself wondering if it was your arm-to-arm comparison that killed off the poor EL. In a way, this brings up many of the issues we discussed when you reviewed Blue Mitsy. Without First and Cristalle and Azuree nearby, would the end have fallen so very flat? Or might it have seemed--delicate, pretty, all those words that are sometimes a backhanded compliment for the cojones-loving crowd. Or maybe it was, as you've been saying, simply the contrast between the two parts of the scent itself? The failed promise... So now, without even having smelled it, I'm thinking up all kinds of heretical layering experiments to prop up the back end, so to speak.

Kim June 29, 2009

Cajones? see, that is why I love L'Heure Bleue in the heat! And why I love this perfume addiction. I don't like so many of the new releases because they are menh, and I want something that, as March said, has moxie. Am looking forward to trying the new EL and will have to try First now as well - I do LOVE a good chypre (wore Paloma for years as my evening perfume). Can't wait for your review March of a perfume that "hits you upside your head" aka First.

Shelley June 29, 2009

Okay, this kind of back and forth is the BEST. Doesn't it speak to what we've been trying to argue for a while...same formula is going to hit different skins/noses/mindsets differently??? You speak it like you see it, March...and you've done a beautiful job in both the original and the follow up of, as Ricky Ricardo would have said, the 'splainin' you need to do. I've seen Ida (and others) painting this with love elsewhere as well as here. {Big wave!! mwa!!} I am, of course, fascinated by the idea of JWM, based on all the intense chatter from the various noses I pay attention to. As a result, I am planning a field trip to go try it. Lauder should know that's important; I'm a pretty active fan of scent, but most won't merit a trip out of the house just so I can smell it NOW. But the buzz, even if varied--the time taken with this, the worthiness of engagement--means that this one was worth creating, right? I am so happy you are going to do a review of First. That was one that grabbed me early on, with adjectives like "Like" and "Important" and "Revisiter." (Revisiter = a scent that I know I need to revisit as I learn more and my nose evolves.) I am very happy I have a mini of pure parfum...and leery that at some point, I'll need to seek more. Which is more likely now that you've tickled my awareness of it after I squirreled it in the back of the pack for safekeeping....

Olfacta June 29, 2009

Hmmmm. I love First, have a vintage EDT tester; it's one of my favorite sleep-scents. And Cristalle, which will always remind me of a certain spring season (oh, awright, 1983.) My lousy-ly-stocked neighborhood Macy's -- don't have to tell you that the SA had never heard of the original Azuree -- will they even have the JWM yet? My guess is that the will fall apart very quickly on my skin as most things do, but whatever is left after that will last forever...and ever...as every EL I've ever tried does. We shall see.

Melissa June 29, 2009

Haven't tried this yet, but my hopes are fading a bit. I don't like most of the Lauders, although Tuberose Gardenia is a nice exception. Amber Ylang Ylang is pretty, but kinda meh on me. And I really, really want to like this new one because, um, I like the name? White moss. I want some in my garden. Well, I can always toddle my high-heeled, old-lady-fragrance-loving self on over to a bottle of First. I haven't sniffed it recently, but a friend of mine used to wear it. She radiated glamour and the scent suited her perfectly. Anxiously awaiting your review!

chayaruchama June 29, 2009

Alright, Marchie- FESS UP ! WHAT DID YOUR SKIN DO to this ??? Louise, I know we've got wildly different chemistry, baby. I may admire EL's, but I generally have little desire to 'bomb' myself with them. Maybe 'immolate' would be a better word ;) Yes, it's not edgy, per se. Is it beautiful ? For me, it is. Everyone who smells me SWOONS. Cristalle made MAD LOVE to Diorella- And they spawned this. I will gladly shell out for the perfume- and, for me- For EL, that's unheard of. I feel that it as as lovely, say- as Farouche, or some other gorgeous chypres- If I want edgy, I've got LOADS to wear... [Not that anyone normal would enjoy my aromatic choices !] This scent lifts my mood, and it's well-balanced. I think it really depends upon what one looks for; it's not 'common', it's not 'fruity', it's not 'ballsy'....

trinity June 29, 2009

I happen to be firmly in the love it camp on this one - it's a pure delight on my skin. (Lucky me!) I adore how GREEN this starts out on me, with just the tiniest bit of jasmine wafting in and out. Jasmine almost always turns indolic on my skin - not so with the lovely Jasmine White Moss. I really don't know what the heck white moss is supposed to smell like, but I really like it anyway. As with all scents, opinions are going to vary. And that's a good thing. I sure don't want to smell like everyone else, and variety is certainly the spice of life. I do hope all the lovely perfumistas out there will at least give this one a sniff!

Elle June 29, 2009

I really like several EL scents, but this doesn't sound like one I'll be needing to purchase. You've perfectly expressed what has bothered me about so many scents recently - they are lacking in cojones, in any real attitude, distinct character. Scent conformity seems to be the watchword of the day. :-(

Louise June 29, 2009

This one seems to be turning into a love or hate fragrance. With a fair dash of meh. From descriptions elsewhere, it seems to run a long gamut of reactions. It was terrible on my skin, though I'll admit to feeling a bit ill anyway that day; it certainly did nothing to ease my poor state. The beginning was aggressively bitter and sharp on me, with none of the elegance of Cristalle that you compare it to. It piddled along into dull white flower territory for a bit, while I was waiting for at least a bit of clear jasmine bite. The drydown followed with bitter-gone-sour, no delicious moss, just powder (hey, you know I like my powdery things), mixed with an odd acrid chemical odor (faux moss?). It did have good longevity, sadly so in this case. Which is to say, I didn't care for it :) As usual, I'll be fair, and retry (but only one time...) Happy Monday, all!

carmencanada June 29, 2009

Oh my. I'd pinned a lot of hopes on this one -- 70s style green chypre with new, IFRA-compliant materials and thus, not in danger of being reformulated in the next five seconds... So this is a castrated chypre, I guess? I won't have a chance to smell this until a sample comes my way from the USA (it won't be sold until September in Paris), so I can't comment myself (hey, I just have)...