When I'm in a Youth-Dew mood-- as I was today, a frigid Midwestern winter's day in need of something warming and spicy-- nothing else will do. This is the most complicated fragrance I own, and I've owned it continuously for the past 20 years. An uncompromising, vintage Oriental, downright filthy on the wrong skin chemistry, incendiary and irresistible on the right one. Like funky red wines and bitter dark chocolate, you must be into this sort of thing to enjoy it. Be prepared for a seamless, glorious, dizzying journey through spiced cola topnotes to deeply blooming roses and lilies to a thoroughly dry finish of loamy patchouli and woods. Be prepared, in short, to be walking talking sex on a stick. (Sophisticated and brainy sex, that is. Youth Dew has nothing in common with the candied body sprays that aim to turn grown women into scented dolls.)
When I was younger, I could only use the soap or powder; even the bath oil, judiciously dabbed, felt thick and heavy. Now I seem to have grown into Youth-Dew and can even swing a couple sprays of the EDP from that adorable blue rubberized bottle. It smells freakin' GREAT on me, probably the best fragrance of any I own. At the same time, the ol' Y-D demands full commitment to a full day of wear, and it doesn't make sense on me unless I at least wear red lipstick and pearls and do something with my hair. So I don't wear it daily or even close to that, although I'd love to pull off the glamour more often. But I do keep the bottles of EDP and bath oil on my dresser, and sniff at them fondly.
I love Youth Dew for its uncompromising presence. The strongest of spicy orientals, it's not tempered by tons of fruit or vanilla. Rather, it's all clovey heat and medicinal balsams. Launched in 1953, it's still around because it's good. Not another "me too" fragrance, it's not for everyone, but that's why I like it.
So here I am, at the Estee Lauder counter, snooping around the fragrances. I spot the Youth Dew, which is one of the perfumes I had wanted to test, and along comes the SA. "Ah....Youth Dew", she says. "Ms. Lauder created this decades ago, and it is one of the most popular." Yes, yes, I know this, but I have to be polite. I smile and know I'm in for the sales pitch now. She asks me to walk around to where the perfumes are stocked where she goes on to deliver her sales pitch. I spray Youth Dew on.
Years ago, as a young woman, one of my aunts used Youth Dew, and would give me her bottles when I would visit her. So I had a growing collection of perfume of semi-used bottles of high-end fragrances from my wonderful Aunt Marie. She would give me them just because she was generous and liked to share. Because the next week I would see her, she'd have new bottles of the same stuff. She just liked to give me her perfumes. Aunt Marie was a wonderful, caring, sharing and strong person with everyone. She taught me many things in life and that included humor, too.
I remember finding Youth Dew a very heavy perfume, that I would only use at night, and very sparingly on pulse points. It was a mysterious scent, and back then I didn't know a note from a name. All I did know was that I loved this rubber-coated bottle, I thought it was kitschy and Youth Dew was unlike any other I had every smelled.
Thick, rich, spicy, cloying in its presentation, the aldehydes kick at the beginning, vanilla, musk, amber, the mosses with the woods and the patchouli (I'm a patchouli junkie)...what more could I ask for? Oh this baby was special, no doubt about it. I would wear it only on special occasions, too, because I would think it was too grown-up for me at that time. Once I was married with children, it became a frag I could wear, but not necessarily around the little ones, it's too strong.
So I listen to her sales pitch about the gift sets for Christmas, some time goes by, and I re-smell my arm. Oh no! Where did the Youth Dew go? Where is my beloved memory scent? This Youth Dew is too light, and I'm trying to really get a handle on its notes but I can't smell much at all.
I don't know if it's the reformulation or if the tester bottle was off, but on that particular day Youth Dew did not deliver its promise of a spicy Oriental. I will go to another Lauder counter and re-test this potion, because I really want to see if the perfume standards have changed this beauty that much.
I miss my original Youth Dew.
Top Notes: Aldehydes, Orange, Spices, Peach, Bergamot, Narcissus, Lavender.
Middle Notes: Cinnamon, Cassia, Orchid, Jasmine, Cloves, Ylang-Ylang, Rose, Lily-Of-The-Valley, Spicy Notes.
Base Notes: Tolu Balsam, Peru Balsam, Amber, Patchouli, Musk, Vanilla, Oakmoss, Vetiver, Incense.
This is what immediately comes to mind when I think of those horribly strong, dated fragrances. My mum had this fragrance when I was growing up, and she had the mentality that because it was Estee Lauder "it must be the very best perfume if it is made by Estee Lauder" despite how bad it smelled (just like how some people think that any Louis Vuitton bag is amazing, even if it is the most hideously ugly bag ever, just because it is made by LV.) Later on in life she admitted to me that she tried to like it, believing that EL couldn't go wrong, but secretly she thought it was as bad as I did!
The description of this fragrance sounds interesting, and I might have purchased this based on a written description. However, the strength of this fragrance is overpowering to the extreme. It is very spicy, and it is this lingering spiciness which makes it unwearable. It develops into such a strange combination of notes that I can't even identify one of them, but a reviewer below was pretty spot on with the curry description. It is a complex scent and doesn't suit everyone, and only a small amount is needed. Wearing too much can be sickening not only for the wearer (if it turns like it did for me) but also for those around you.
There is something about these fragrances created years ago (like Youth Dew and Shalimar) which have immense staying power but have such a dramatic reaction in people. This is not something I would buy again. I am glad I tried a sample (and it brought back happy memories of growing up) but this is not for me. From the Estee Lauder website: "Top Notes: Rose, Jonquil, Lavender. Middle Notes: Jasmine, Muguet, Spices. Base Notes: Moss, Vetiver, Patchouli"
I'm in the camp that finds this one of the most retched smells imaginable. But I too take issue with the comments equating "old lady" and "awful." People say a perfume smells like old lady, obviously implying that is a strong negative. It is ageist, and it makes me wonder what these ladies think they are going to be if they are fortunate enough not to die young??? We are all future old ladies. BUT STILL...I admit that the image YD has always brought to mind for me is that of a very old woman with a walker and swollen ankles. I'm just being honest and readily accept any flames that may provoke. The age association is possibly due to the fact that this perfume has been around forever and is, in fact, favored by lots of elderly women. But let me be clear: That is not what makes this retched! There are a number of so-called "old lady" scents that I adore. But this is a special kind of hideous. So, thumbs down to this stinker, and thumbs down to mean ageist remarks.
To those saying this is a "old lady scent", how insulting for women of any age. It's a SEXY scent, not one I would equate with a senior's home, maybe lavender and lilacs for the not sexy crowd, if that's the implication.
We seriously need to rethink how we review scents. Saying something is a little old lady scent is insulting and lazy. It might have classic elements, sure, but say so and what they are. Don't insult women because you can't think of something positive to say about a fragrance. Also, to imply older women aren't sexy or want to feel or be sexy is just the insult to injury.
Now! Onto the review! Youth Dew (yes, it's a stupid name) was developed in 1953, it's a spicy, woody, sandalwood amber, with rose being the main flower I detect. It has the classic patchouli, oak moss, vetiver combo so it's not a modern scent at all which makes it incredibly unique and gorgeous imo. It's also extremely strong in sillage and by no means expensive which is awesome.
That said, I can't wear it, which is sad because I bet it would last on my skin. I just can't get perfumes to last, my body eats them up. Too much rose in this though, which I can't tolerate. My mom used to wear it though so I have a bottle on my dresser in her memory and I spray it in the air but not on my body. She was a vibrant, sexy gorgeous woman.
This is good on dry cold surfaces. Moisture, oil and temperature turns it into a chicken curry takeaway! where the actual youth dew is supposed to be found - i cannot fathom, unless it means being spiced up, baked, put into the ground and be reborn from the ashes! The comment about the tulip bulbs in the soil is spot-on, and I mean it in a good way: there's everything one could take from the earth in this fragrance - all the spices and elements that have ever been harvested and mined. It is bountiful, awakening and energizing, but for me this turns into plain curry halfway through the drydown. I am still convinced that it takes a special skin chemistry to pull this one off and I am absolutely sure that on the right skin it can be gorgeous: give it a try, on the skin - not on the clothes or paper! I will use my sample on the pillows and duvets before putting the bed linen on and see what happens! I give it 3 lippies for originality of composition: you just don't forget easily something like that!
Update: nope, doesn't work on fabric: it is only barely there, 0 sillage, maybe 0,1 if I press both nostrils flat and deep into the pillow case. ah well...
Assotiated city: Bombay
Associated persona: Ghandi!!
i know fragrance is subjective and what one person may love another may hate. I feel Youth Dew is a wonderful full bodied warm heady concoction it makes me feel all warm and snuggly each time i catch a whiff throughout the day. I must add it is powerful stuff and must be worn cautiously and not to douse oneself in it as that will cause many to duck and dodge you. All in all Estee Lauder knew her stuff and I for one am hooked on YD i will always wear this magnificent scent no matter what.
Someone I know had an overbearing teacher who wore this. The students called it "the scent of fear" because they could smell her coming down the hall lol! I think it may be ok if used sparingly and not "layered" like lasagna. Perfume is such a personal thing that I don't think people in the next zip code should be able to smell it. I like perfume but this stuff makes me gag.
This is the ipidemy of old lady stench. I sold fragrance for years and not one single man said he enjoyed it. Only rich little old ladies with fur coats would purchase this. When you're trapped in a small space with some old woman, and you can't figure out what that smell is, it smells musty and sophisticated, yet sucks all the air out of your lungs, you can bet its Youth Dew.