March’s Two Scents

Two scents today.

First, Lee blogged on Serge Lutens´ new ginger scent, Five O´Clock au Gingembre, yesterday. It occurred to me that this would be a fine time to plug Roger & Gallet´s Gingembre.

I love ginger – ginger tea, gingersnaps, ginger beer. Is R&G Gingembre a replacement for Serge, which I haven´t smelled yet? Of course not. But while you wait to get your hands on the Serge, R&G is a great ginger – somewhere between the rooty bite of raw ginger and the effervescence of ginger beer. (Digression: and you haven´t really lived until you´ve drunk a shandy, IMHO. Ignore all the disgusting recipes online; what you want is 6 oz. of a good ginger beer, and 6 oz. of your favorite lager). The web says something about “oriental flowers and musk” in the Roger & Gallet. I get a burst of ginger, some light florals, maybe bergamot, and a nice clean musk at the finish. A great spring spritz.

Okay, today´s focus is on…

Estee Lauder Bronze Goddess (and sorry for the lousy image, the best I can do, the lotion’s in the yellow bottle). A couple years ago, many of you flipped for the Tom Ford Estee Lauder Collection Azurees – the body oil and the Soleil Eau Fraiche, both of which have been discontinued as part of a limited licensing agreement with Tom Ford, if I have my facts straight. (And none of these bear any resemblance to the original 1969 Azuree, a leathery chypre as legendarily b@ll-busting as Private Collection and Youth Dew. It´s still in production and I´d no doubt have smelled it by now if they didn´t keep the bottles hidden behind the counters and deny its existence.)

TF/EL Azuree Soleil Eau Fraiche’s notes were gardenia, coconut, orange blossom, jasmine, magnolia, myrrh, bergamot, mandarin, amber, sandalwood, vetiver, and caramel. (In the interests of not driving myself crazy, I’m going to refer to that one as Azuree Soleil for the rest of this review.) Azuree Soleil sounds heavy, but it wasn´t – it was a light, beachy fragrance that smelled like what you´d imagine the world´s finest tanning oil might smell like, maybe with some damp hair and warm sand in the background. Lovely as it was, it wasn´t quite me. It was too … something. There was a note in there that put me off, and I wish I had a sample of it to remind me, as well as to better compare it to the new Bronze Goddess, a riff on the theme, so to speak. I look forward to comments from any of you who´ve done a direct comparison.

Having test-driven Bronze Goddess several times, I may have to pony up for a bottle. It comes in an Eau Fraiche, a body oil, and a Luminous Body Lotion. The Bloomies near me didn´t have the body oil (possibly my preferred concentration), but I was wowed by the shimmery body lotion, which generally isn´t my thing. The sheen is golden and subtle as these things go (no big glittery sparkles). I´m fair, and mostly past the glitter stage, if you catch my meaning, but I would love this on my collarbone, neck and arms in the summer. By the way, this is part of their Bronze Goddess makeup collection, which I believe has been around a season or two (correct me if I´m wrong). There´s also this hilariously ginormous mirrored compact, which I can´t decide if I like or hate – it weighs a ton, but looks kinda fab … wait, where were we?

The notes I have from the EL press blurb, stripped of breathy descriptors and other extraneous b.s., are: coconut milk, sandalwood, vanilla, vetiver, myrrh, mandarin, bergamot, lemon, orange, gardenia, jasmine, magnolia, orange blossom, lavender. Don´t let that list scare you; it’s as light as the original, and the notes are quite similar.

If I had to guess (and it is a guess, without Azuree Soleil in front of me) this is very close in smell, and if you liked that, you´ll probably like this. I prefer this one. It doesn´t do much in the way of development; again, it´s the world´s finest suntan oil, with that buttery, beachy note I love in Creed´s Virgin Island Water, although this is a much less tropical scent. The gardenia and jasmine are very muted and not indolic, and the coconut is not so pronounced as to give you that Hawaiian Tropic cheap tanning oil vibe. The whole herbal/citrus side of this is really subtle. Instead, I´m swept up in the emotion, which is, basically – let´s pull on the bathing suit and a kicky sundress, grab the new copy of Allure and a pack the cooler, and head to the beach. It´s not a Serge Lutens kind of genius, but it´s genius nonetheless.

What´s different with this one? Well, maybe nothing (again: please report in from the field!) But I´m reminded of a passage in Diane Ackerman´s A Natural History of the Senses where she interviews uber-nose Sophia Grojsman, and Grojsman talks about searching for a kind of seamlessness when developing a scent, and how if something sticks out incorrectly it´s problematic. Something always stuck out in Azuree Soleil that I didn´t like, a perfume-y note that made it too much for the beach – like all the bugs would be after you. Too much amber? Gardenia? Bronze Goddess, on the other hand, is perfect. Pardon me, I have to go shave my legs and dig up my bronzer – summer is, apparently, on the way.

FRAGRANCE CHALLENGE – SHOUT OUT TO PATTY: Looking at the notes for the original 1969 Estee Lauder Azuree (basil, jasmine, citrus, artemisia, vetiver, rose, patchouli, oakmoss, amber) I decided it sounded like just the ticket – for Patty. Hey, she wore Private Collection back in the day, and I am pretty sure she likes the original Youth Dude. So, I have made an unsniffed purchase, which is on its way to Patty from Estee Lauder (and they better have thrown some extra crap in there, P!) and I want Patty to do an honest, no-holds-barred review when she gets it.

  • Kim says:

    sorry to post so late – but you can get the original Azuree on, probably bloomie’s and sak’s too. Great looking bottle – hope it shows up now on the perfumed court for sampling (hint, hint):d

    • March says:

      Patty’s bottle is on her way from! And the only reason I picked them was their shipping was faster and you got other cosmetic freebies thrown in, so what the hey. Also I was thinking (although possibly wrongly) the bottle might be fresher.

  • rosarita says:

    I am on a long weekend with my (working) spouse, in a small city with an actual mall, right across the street from our hotel. I went sniffing today and stopped by the EL counter at Carson Pirie Scotts. *sigh* No Bronze Goddess yet, no tester of Private Collection, either, and a flustered SA who’s new and knew nothing about anything I asked. Kind of disheartening, but not unusual. My mother was an Aliage lady in the early 70s, but her crustier golfer sister wore Azuree. I remember it was hard to know where the cigarettes & bourbon stopped and the perfume began; it really was *her* for a time. I think Bronze Goddess sounds pretty fabulous right now! I hope I get to smell it before I go home. Oh, as an aside – I did smell the new JLo, Deseo. Not me, but not bad, either, but the bottle looked better in pics than it did in person, IMHO./:)

    • March says:

      But that gets to me, Rosarita – why *doesn’t* she know anything about the line. She took the job, right? Don’t they train? Didn’t she do some research before she started? Unless she’s over there from Lancome covering for someone’s lunch break, what is the deal?

      Okay, screed over.

      Love your line about Azuree and bourbon! I hope you get so smell Bronze Goddess too. And I liked the Deseo bottle — it’s less cutesy than some of her others, and interesting to look lat.

      • Musette says:


        I’m finding that way too many SAs are like the SAs in other kinds of shops now – they don’t really work in perfume because they love perfume – they are just dropped in there because that’s where the slot needed to be filled. I don’t know if it’s them, the shop, what….but it’s sad..and when you couple it with their aggressiveness it’s really irritating. There’s some new scent out by some new, young designer (on some reality show – that’s a lot of ‘somes’, I know:-)…the SA at Macy’s/MF waxed on about the guy and the free bag and not one word about the fragrance! I only have so much nose at a time so I declined…I figured it couldn’t be all that (now watch me be wrong:o)

        Has anyone here smelled the new YSL ‘elle’? I will have to resniff and retry but I could swear there’s ginger in there, as well. I know there is pinkberry but the SA actually had ahold of my wrist and was stroking my arm! so I was too bemused by that to pay much attention!

        I swear………

        • March says:

          Hmmm, I am trying to think what fragrance they were talking about! And you’re right, when they’re focusing on everything but the fragrance, not a good sign. And yes, it would all be less irritating if they weren’t so aggressive at the same time.

          Here are the notes for Elle: Cedrat, Peony, Lychee, Pink Berries, Freesia, Jasmine, Patchouli, Vetiver, Ambrette. I think what you are smelling is the pepper, and I mis-identified it as grapefruit (combining the pepper with the citrus, most likely) I happen to like it, it’s user-friendly if not innovative. It’s not especially sweet, which makes me happy. Could be this year’s Light Blue! Which I just typed as Light Glue, oddly, wonder if that symbolizes anything.

          • Musette says:

            The bag is sort of faux-messenger, with some sort of tiger on it, if that helps. Other than that I have NO idea who he is.

            On the Elle, I agree – sans spray paint would be a better way to try it out!

            Btw – been meaning to say this for TWO DAYS NOW!

            Congrats on the Time interview!

          • March says:

            Thanks! Regarding the fragrance — not ringing any bells, which is probably just as well.

    • Musette says:

      Rosarita –

      That’s EXACTLY how I feel about T42! My mom wore Shalimar for evening and T42 smells like the inside of her evening bag, with the hint of Shalimar on her handkerchief, the gold cigarette case (with the everpresent tobacco in the bottom of the bag – she smoked unfiltered cigs), the fur stoles with the tails….and the smell of a good Scotch pervading everything.

      • March says:

        And that is a wonderful description of Tea for Two and the emotions it evokes in you.

        • Musette says:

          You are incredibly kind! I lack the experience to differentiate much of anything in fragrance beyond the obvious basics (just gimme a minute, tho:-) but I do know what stuff smells ‘like’, if that makes sense? That’s what I love about certain scents – they conjure up an emotion in about 5.2 seconds…and the emotions just keep washing over me, shifting and swirling, as the fragrance goes through its evolution..

          …btw (again, off topic) – I tried the YSL ‘Elle’ yesterday – whew! Lemme tell you: I was spray-painting boxes…and it got so I was preferring the spray-paint to the scent!b-( (I think that’s the right emoticon) TWO HOURS LATER it finally settled down to something inoffensive and okay. Might smell better on somebody else or maybe I should try it without the spray paint?

          • March says:

            I’m sorry Elle was so horrid! But I do agree you should try it without the spay-paint.

            The emotions are my favorite part.

  • Robin says:

    I think I am going to be the only one who liked Azuree Soleil better than Bronze Goddess?

    • March says:

      Well, Bronze Goddess is pretty darn … subtle. And I’m betting as people get around to smelling it they’re going to decide they liked the original better; it was more interesting, I think.

  • Marina says:

    I think it is kinda citrusier on me than Azuree. But otherwise it is more or less the same fragrance. If I get some tan this summer…and with golden sandals and a white sundress..oh yeah baby Bronze Goddess bottle will be mine then 🙂

    • March says:

      Well, that’s the general comment. More citrus. Less cowbell. :)>-

      I know, let’s break out the summer dresses already! And I have some CUTE sandals… sigh.

  • violetnoir says:

    Dude, I think you would love the original Azuree. Although it does have a “presence” (euphemism for “b*all-busting,” lol!), there is something in it that is very effervescent…like bubbly gingerale. 😉 It is an acquired taste, no doubt about it. In fact it took me several tries before I fell for it, but once I did, I fell hard.


  • aelily says:

    As it is still only 30 degrees outside and we have a snow storm heading towards us here in the Midwest, I am willing to coat myself in Coppertone and/or Hawaiian Tropic to smell summer, sun and fun. I am so desperate I might have to brave the Mall to stop at EL on the way home from work to get a sniff of Bronze Goddess.:”>

    • March says:

      I hear we’re getting the rainstorm version. And I feel your pain. It’s the time when I have really, really had it and ready for summer, forget about spring!

  • minette says:

    i love the original azuree, too. it is smoky and a little leathery on me – nothing else i’ve smelled smells like it. and if you don’t love it on the body – it is a wonderful aroma to have in the air. they really shouldn’t hide the azuree. it’s one of their best.

    the soleil version of it was just an oily mess to my nose. i was surprised it got so many raves online. yick. will sniff the new one out of curiosity but with limited expecations. scents for the beach are not my thing.

    • March says:

      Oh, that does sound perfect for Patty! I hope she likes it.

      You might like this better than AS (I think Mike nailed what I didn’t like about it, an aquatic note) but probably not much better. 🙂

  • Patty says:

    OH, no!!! You’re not sending some ‘orrible thing to me, are you? Me, your friend, who sends you nice stuff, except that Human Existence and the Black Musk thing, but those were aberrations, I didn’t mean it!!! Is this payback?

    *hiding in corner, avoiding postalperson*~:>

  • mikeperez23 says:

    I love ginger and can’t wait to smell the Serge. The R&G I have been eyeing for a while now, after I read about it in Burr’s article on food and scents…the Origins one is nice but it doesn’t last enough on me and it doesn’t have that sparkle I look for in ginger scents.

    I ‘ran into’ Bronze Goddess two weeks ago at Nordstroms – it smells a LOT like AS, but has a heavier top note of citrus that made it slightly different and did not have that ‘coral salty rock’ accord I got from AS (which honestly, I loved). I have half a bottle of AS in my wardrobe, so I will use it up slowly before I head for the goddess.

    And yes, as someone mentioned above, Azuree the original reminds me of Aramis. Or does Estee remind me of Azuree? Those old EL ones are confusing…

    OH and completely OFF TOPIC: A little birdie told me that EL will be re-branding and re-naming Youth Dew Amber Nude (the other Tom Ford fragrance) in a few – for now, it has also vanished from EL shelves and website. So, those of you holding bottles of YDAN, keep them – they’ll probably be collectors items, right?

    • March says:

      You know what? I bet it is that “salty rock” accord you’re referring to that I didn’t care for. I’d concede that Bronze Goddess is I think less interesting as a result, but it’s less interesting in a way that works for me. :”>

      And I did wonder about YDAN. If it’s a limited marketing arrangement, you figure the stuff’s going to go away eventually. Thanks for the tip.

  • Malena says:

    i´m not a big fan of ginger scents – but who knows, now that i like fig scents everything seems to be possible :d so far, ginger is just to fresh or whatever for me, perhaps too sporty 😕

    yesterday a very lovely & generous friend send me a package with several EL samples, azuree (original) is among them 🙂 i didn´t have the time (= enough place on my hands/wrists/arms) to test it, yet. i´m just discovering the ELs. i like them quite a bit, but so far all of them (youth dew, knowing) are power house fragrances. but that isn´t bad 😉

    last summer, i almost bought AS, but something stopped me – it´s just not me, i guess. mostly, i prefer more complex scents & for the few times i´m craving something lighthearted, i stick with OJ frangipani absolute.
    but that won´t keep me from testing bronze goddess :)>-

    • March says:

      Well, maybe you will have to stick with ginger in your ginger ale then. 🙂

      I never got much beyond the ELs on the counter (Beautiful, Beyond Paradise etc.) which didn’t do anything for me. The discoveries of the wonders of the older stuff (particularly Cinnabar) is a recent, happy one.

  • donanicola says:

    Putting another word in here for the original Azuree. You’re so right about the way they hide it (in Selfs in London too) and look at you funny if you ask for it. I love it but it’s BIG and reminds me of Aramis (but I liked Aramis so the similarity is a good thing to me). Great bottle too and on the its box is mention of oakmoss as an ingredient so I’m hoping it’s at scary levels! Eagerly anticipating Patty’s opinion. The Tom Ford AS is great fun. I love it for the beach holiday vibe and am so looking forward to this new incarnation. I’m wondering if the lotion will layer nicely with the TFAS? Makes me happy to think of it!

    • March says:

      D’ya think she’ll like it? Sounds like a yes. Then I’ll whine at her until she sends me a decant, that’s our usual routine. :d:”>

  • chayaruchama says:

    I love ginger- the R & G is a lovely summer splash- not one I’d go for, for longevity- just refreshment.
    WHAT- no Origins ?
    Gingerale is VERY refreshing, and I sometimes crave their heavyduty ones.

    Sniffed Bronze Goddess at Neiman’s this week.
    Not sure what to think.
    It’s nice, seamless.
    I probably don’t need it, though- I’m a summer failure, alas.

  • Elle says:

    Beach, summer, kicky sundress (a personal addiction)….brain blurs, all else fades in face of extreme longing. Reels self back in. You’ve convinced me. *Must* get my derriere to mall and purchase this ASAP. Never did get AS – not exactly sure why, but may have sensed the same dissonance you did.
    The original Azuree really is delightfully ball busting. Love the stuff and am curious as to how much reformulation has gone on. Got the vintage parfum on ebay, but am wondering if I could do just as well trying to hunt it down in a store now.

    • March says:

      I know! I wanted to wait to review it until I could compare it to AS directly, but really, in our extreme/weird weather over the past week (28! 65!) it was the only thing that appealed. I love the concept of a beach frag, but over the past year a couple of old faves (BB Beach and cheap ol’ Sand & Sables) have really fallen out of my graces, i can’t take that intense hairspray-sweet note any more. Too jarring. And Creed VIW was *close* but a little too tropical. Smelling Bronze Goddess was realizing they’d done the fragrance I wanted, I just had to wait for it. 🙂

      Azuree (the original) is all over the internets; I bought it from EL because they said there’d be some makeup freebies, and who doesn’t love those? Based on your comment I feel that much better about Patty liking it.

  • Sariah says:

    Looking forward to trying both of these. Regarding ginger, there is that Crazy Lilyblue solid stick called ginger something, and it totally made me giggle first time I put it on. Smelling like a big bowl of Thai curry with the ginger and coconut, and liking it, is something to giggle about.

    Love the simple EL bottles with the retro colors.

    • March says:

      Oh, I LOATHED that one! I gave it to someone … did I give it to you? Ginger Coconut, IIRC, and it was like sticking your head in a curry bowl. One of those instances where a food I love didn’t translate into something I wanted to wear. :”>

      The bottle’s very simple, and I like it too.

      Hey, if you come back — how’s the move working out? Also, did Sara email you? I am so pathetic, I just gave her her samps, she was thrilled and was going to contact you.

      • Sariah says:

        LOL, yes you did give it to me, with that fun swap you did a while back. And I like it, but have to agree it’s not something I’m going to wear often. All settled in and good thanks, yep Sarah emailed – thanks for passing to samps on to her.

  • Louise says:

    MMM, more ginger. Though I seriously doubt that Roger would spend any time on/with me at all. Another ginger that works for me (at times) is Susanne Lang’s Red Ginger (I think you were there, March, when I found it at Art and Flowers). Nice warm mix of the ginger, mixed spice, a touch of flower. Even lasts a bit for me. But still, I am awaiting the Serge, hoping it pleases me 😉

    I have the Azuree Soleil from last summer-and it’s a lovely summer kick. My son loved it-and he rarely notes what I wear. I’ll make sure it visits you soon, doll. 🙂

    • Maria says:

      Louise, thanks. I was interested in what you had to say about ginger. I do love ginger.

      • Louise says:

        How’s the writing coming? Thinking warm thoughts…@};-

        • Maria says:

          Hi! The writing is coming along okay. I’m too superstitious to say any more than that. *makes some sort of sign to avert evil eye*

      • March says:

        Ginger Ciao is nice, too. That’s probably the only Yosh I wish I owned, but I’m too cheap to buy it. :d

    • March says:

      That was a nice ginger! I’d forgotten.

      Yeah, Roger would probably be a low performer on your skin, even if he brought Gallet along. 😉

      Yeah, when we get together, can you bring the AS? Then we can both compare it to the new one.

  • Lee says:

    I know as much about EL as Matt knows about cooking, i.e. nada.

    That Gingembre is available in my local chemists. I like it, though it doesn’t make my nose quiver.

    • March says:

      Well, hon, your exquisite nose is calibrated at a much higher, more Malle and Lutens-esque, level of performance. Whereas I can chill with JLo and find something that appeals. 😉

    • Musette says:

      I was going to go all ‘oooh, serendipity’ and all that, as I just tried the R&G yesterday – then I remembered Thurs was Spritzapalooza and that was the whole point ( OT but…..I can’t wait to tell you how Delrae’s Bois de Paradis was received by my peeps…)

      I tried the R&G Gingembre yesterday on a whim, whilst sniffing at the Lily of theValley options. I found it to be warm and kind of spicy but not very interesting, just sort of like a gingersnap without the ‘snap’! However, it may be that I just need to get acquainted with ginger or I don’t know what the hell I’m doing.

      I wish I’d remembered Bronze Goddess but I ran out of Macy’s/MF like a scalded cat – their SAs are aggressive in a really unpleasant way – and I had appointments at Saks and Barneys (with a quick stop at Nordstrom’s to sample the Caron boutique but that is on another post)…..dang, on the BG. I’m looking forward to checking it out next trip. It sounds like a warm, breezy summer fragrance (love the white sundress/sandles image – thanks!!!)

      Btw – also OT but don’t know where else to post this – my darling Douglas at Barney’s walked me through every single Serge and every single F. Malle in the joint! Wow! Pow! Kazamm! and all that. Those scents, even at the end of a long Spritzapalooza….well…I have never experienced anything like them!

      I came back with a large shopping bag of samples and NO IDEA what is going to work -but I suppose, if I weren’t so ladylike I would say STOKED most definitely describes my perfume mood right now!

      • March says:

        No, you know what you’re looking for! It snaps on me, but it’s a pretty light perfume, and maybe it doesn’t snap on YOU.

        You are killing me with your descriptions of various scents in the stores in Chicago. Seriously, our perfumage here just sucks. Why do we not have those items? What is the deal?

        Dude, I am stoked for you too! And happy you got samps, because then you can take them on a leisurely test drive at home and decide what you really love…

        • Musette says:

          It took Chicago 30 years (minimum) to get to this phase. I used to have to go to NY and LA for clothes and fragrance, now I can shop in Chicago and have a good time (or ‘could’ since I now have little need for cutting-edge fashion. Foundries and couture don’t mix very well:(( Chicago is still a bit behind the curve because the population hasn’t changed all that much, yet – most of the really cutting-edge stuff is bought by tourists!

          zzzzzzzz – wake up! Sociology class is in session!!:d

          But Da Mare is dragging Chicago, kicking and screaming, into world-class status. Hence Barneys NEW store, which is opening in about a year – it’s going to rival NY, size-wise.:((:((:((:d

          • Musette says:

            ummm….not sure where all those bawling emoticons came from – perhaps I am sobbing with joy?

          • March says:

            I think our emoticons are on some weird mission of self-discovery, or on strike or something.

            And am giggling at your Chicago comments. People I have met there seem so salt of the earth, and yet here they are, open to new clothing and fragrance experiences … I did wonder how much was the city pushing a development agenda.

            Every time I see the words Marshall Fields, though, I tear up.

  • tmp00 says:

    Ball busting leathery chypre?

    Patty, if you hate it I’ll take it off your hands… :d

  • mharvey816 says:

    Hey March, you can get the regular EL Azuree at the Leesburg VA EL outlet store. I saw it there as recently as last weekend. And yes, definitely b**l-busting.

  • Tigs / Erin says:

    I lurv the original Azuree (shout out to Angela!) and like and own the Azuree Soleil – darn, I didn’t know you were looking for it, should have sent you a sample. They’re so comically different that you can sort of see why the SAs are now hiding the original, as if to apologize about the name connection. (Although, I have never actually been to a Estee Lauder counter where they will admit to having Azuree at all.) The Azuree has what Angela very accurately describes as a brown sugar note that kind of tempers the screaming chypre. I don’t get a lot of leather from it, I must say, just lots of herbs and sunshine. I hope Patty will love it. The AS in the body oil totally worked for me, but it’s a completely different working, sort of fun and girly and more literal than the original.

    • March says:

      My general experience has been that they *stock* Private Collection around here, but never have a tester, so I didn’t even smell it until one of my trips to New York. Azuree they deny the existence of. You have to dig for it on the EL website (“other fragrances”, one click behind the main fragrance page) but it’s on there. Given various descriptions I’ve read, and the fact that Angela likes it, I predict it’ll be a hit with Patty. We’ll see.