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Fragrances - Estee Lauder - Private Collection



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rated 3.7(77 reviews)

  • Average Rating: 3.7
  • 66% would buy again
  • Package Quality: 3.6
  • Price: $$$

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rated 4 of 5 on 10/18/2014 11:15:00 PM More reviews by Aimbl

Age: 44-55 Skin: Combination, Olive, Not Sure Hair: Brunette, Other, Other Eyes: Brown

PINE. Not the bottle in the picture above, but an older vintage frosted glass with plastic stopper (I have a mini). Beautiful unsweetened, but not bitter, pine fragrance that is a floral chypre whose rose patchouli accords are evident in the dry down. Wonderful, easy to wear compared to vintage azuree or aliage; NOT musty or bitter mossy like some vintage chypres. Although it has honeysuckle in its top notes, this is not like a modern sweet honeysuckle scent. Rather it's a subtle floral sweet undercurrent to something deep, forest, elemental, yet uplifting.

This is what I wish Lutens Filles de Aiguilles was, and sadly I have a full 50 ml of FdA.

Suitable for either gender and most seasons, weather and occasions. Also very reasonably priced. I would recommend the vintage bottles of relatively light amber colored liquid (slightly darker than the liquid in the bottle pictured, but not nut brown at all)

Agree with zeynepd below - transporting! Magical!

2 out of 2 people found this review helpful. Did you? Yes No

rated 5 of 5 top reviewer on 10/4/2013 2:03:00 PM More reviews by zeynepd

Age: 30-35 Skin: Combination, Fair-Medium, Not Sure Hair: Red, Other, Other Eyes: Hazel

I'm in love. I didn't expect to be but I am. Ever since my interest was peaked by the green and bitter top notes of Boadicea Delicate, which lovely MUAers in the fragrance forum suggested could be galbanum, I have been trying to sample fragrances with a similar vibe.

Still, my encounter with Private Collection was purely accidental. I was in a department store to look for an eye creme and something pushed me to try the lonely bottle on the EL counter. For some reason unbeknownst even to myself, I had this this bias that this could smell pungent, so despite my habit I sprayed with caution.

Then I was in love. Transfixed. Transported... you know, that special feeling when a fragrance alters your entire mood, changes the stream of consciousness in your mind and you feel you have experienced something significant.

Private Collection opens with dense but transparent, wet and very lush notes on my skin. It's dark, bitter and delicious in a rare way. I don't notice any pine in it other than for a brief moment when I smell something like that pine scented stuff you sometimes get to pour on hot stones in a sauna. Other than that, this is a wild, shadow, rainy garden left on its own in a secret corner. I find it brooding, inspiring, thoughtful. The heart is a continuation of the green notes which lose their bitterness a little bit, perhaps replaced by some floral notes. The drydown is my least favourite part because the perfume mellows considerably, revealing soft, ambery powder on my skin.

When I think of other fragrances with a similar kind of green, bitter vibe, I immediate think of Chanel No.19 but that one is much sharper, brighter, thinner and at the same time edgier with tumultuous animalic notes during certain phases on my skin. Private Collection is softer, rounder, as seamless as other fragrances from the Private Collection even though it has ten times more character. As for No.19, I always feel that I need to dress up for it, be more prim than I really am. Nothing like that with Private Collection. I feel that the more I wear it, the more I will find space for it in my life.

Definitely worth a bottle and I feel that I'll buy this one over and over.

11 out of 11 people found this review helpful. Did you? Yes No

rated 3 of 5 top reviewer on 8/10/2013 3:31:00 PM More reviews by sillage

Age: Unknown Skin: Normal, Fair, Cool Hair: Brunette, Straight, Medium Eyes: Brown

In the mid-80's, receptionist Dot at the company I worked for used to wear Cinnabar. That was her holy grail, and we were used to the considerable clout of her perfume in our small office space. She liked perfumes that were "mysterious" and hated Shalimar, which she thought smelled like vanilla flavoring, she said. Cinnabar being her favorite, we liked it, but it's quite strong for daily office use. Fortunately, her reception area was separate from the other offices.

Then one day I went to her desk and waited until she completed a phone call. Dot smelled *awesome* that day!! Wow, she wasn't wearing Cinnabar -- she was wearing something SOFT and sensual, and skin-musky -- something that just made me want to come closer and inhale deeply. I HAD to know what she was wearing, it was fabulous. So when she completed her phone call, I asked what perfume she was wearing, and she said it was something her boyfriend bought for her -- EL Private Collection.

I bought myself a large bottle and used almost the whole thing -- I loved it. I was once walking around the high school track for exercise, and the guy walking/running behind me said (as he passed me) that he really enjoyed running behind the wonderful scent of my perfume. All was good -- Private Collection was a big hit.

Then I smelled it on my mother, and it did NOT smell good on her. I had to ask her what she had on, I didn't even recognize it. Apparently, she had smelled it on me and had bought herself a bottle, and on her, it wasn't smooth at all -- it was scratchy -- like hay or dried grass -- it just didn't come together into the soft, smooth, delicious scent that I had thought it was. And that put me off the scent -- my perception was altered (or corrected?) after smelling it on my mother, and I stopped wearing Private Collection. I keep a small bottle on hand, just for old times sake.

I have read that it was actually Estee's own perfume, and that Grace Kelly once smelled it and fell in love with it, so Estee gave her some. So Grace Kelly actually wore it. I never see it for sale any more -- has it been discontinued? This is a green scent -- in the same family as Chanel #19, Chanel Sycomore.

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rated 5 of 5 top reviewer on 6/15/2013 11:18:00 PM More reviews by Melloney

Age: 36-43 Skin: Combination, Medium, Not Sure Hair: Other, Other, Other Eyes: Other

When I was a child in the 70s and 80s Estee lauder was the epitome of class and also wealth . To say you used Estee Lauder Private Collection and Estee Lauder make up, meant you were definitely privileged and that you had taste. I was in awe of all those who owned precious Private Collection as I was in awe of those who used Joy and Youth Dew, Opium etc. These were great great scents.

Private Collection is an absolute beauty - even today - a green floral classic and bone structure to match . Opens with a gorgeous deep green note that lifts your spirit before opening up into a dusky floral heart. It reminds somewhat of Vol de Nuit extrait by Guerlain with the sensual mossy slightly bitter green character .

Truly is a great fragrance. I cannot stand it that people call this an old lady or grandma fragrance. The women ( and men perhaps ?? ) who have known this beauty and worn it for years, knew something good when they smelt it. That meant they have good noses and great classic taste. I love Private Collection and the price is very reasonable for a bottle of greatness.

7 out of 7 people found this review helpful. Did you? Yes No

rated 5 of 5 on 11/4/2012 10:44:00 AM More reviews by Petal73

Age: 36-43 Skin: Normal, Fair, Neutral Hair: Blond, Other, Medium Eyes: Blue

Love this fragrance. I have worn it since I was 20 (off and on). I did however get a strange look from a person selling fragrance in the Duty Free shop at an airport for buying it for myself, apparently I was too young for it, she wanted to sell a new more youthful scent which I have never liked and has since been discontinued... I get many compliments from random strangers whenever I wear this scent, and I love how it smells. I guess it just suits my chemistry :-)

3 out of 3 people found this review helpful. Did you? Yes No

rated 5 of 5 on 5/6/2012 1:49:00 AM More reviews by plsthink2ice

Age: 36-43 Skin: Sensitive, Tan, Not Sure Hair: Brown, Other, Other Eyes: Brown

One word "Heavinly" , this is how heaven would smell like to me .. sillage is outstanding too , i can smell myself even the next day ! what more could any one ask for more in a perfume . Only downside is it is expensive 1.7 ounnce is for 55 USD or even 60 depending on where you get it from.. If I find this on sale any time I would stoke up , yet throughout the last 20 years I never did!

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rated 5 of 5 on 1/14/2012 3:15:00 PM More reviews by redwill0w

Age: 56 & Over Skin: Dry, Other, Not Sure Hair: Red, Other, Other Eyes: Brown

I wore Private Collection every day throughout most of my 20s. I kept myself in this fragrance when I barely had money for food, such was it's lush and heavenly appeal. Men I didn't know would follow me, sniffing the air. That was not always a good thing! But it was a gorgeous scent.

When I had my baby, either my chemistry changed or the formula did, in some significant way, and I no longer felt it was as beautiful to wear; gradually I abandoned my beloved Private Collection for other fragrances.

Recently I decided to try it again, and purchased (online, without visiting a counter) my first bottle in decades. Here is what I find: I can wear this and enjoy it, but I can only spritz once, very lightly, around my solar plexus. I used to practically bathe in the stuff, but my sensitivity to scent has grown so since then that I cannot have it on my skin any closer to my nose than there. It is as buzzy and golden as I recall, though I distinguish less orange blossom than I remember (and I love orange blossom). Nevertheless, in this milder dose, it is interesting, complex, less green than golden on me, and beautiful. It's also much more assertive and longer-lasting per spritz than I recall. I can't imagine spritzing behind each ear, on wrists, cleavage, etc., or misting into the air and walking through it the way I used to - I think I'd pass out, and so would everyone with whom I came into contact.

7 out of 8 people found this review helpful. Did you? Yes No

rated 1 of 5 on 5/1/2011 9:59:00 AM More reviews by dmoyer

Age: 44-55 Skin: Combination, Fair-Medium, Not Sure Hair: Blond, Other, Other Eyes: Blue

Again goodness for department store testers. I have been looking for a honeysuckle fragrance after walking in the woods during springtime and when doing research this popped up. The only thing I could smell was burning log, no honeysuckle. Any ideas for honeysuckle? Oh and why do scents that you detest linger all day?!

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rated 5 of 5 top reviewer on 1/15/2011 7:20:00 PM More reviews by prettykitty1

Age: 36-43 Skin: Combination, Other, Not Sure Hair: Brunette, Straight, Medium Eyes: Other

Imagine that you uprooted a bushel's worth of assorted weeds from a sprawling garden and ran them through an industrial-sized blender-- leaves, stems, twigs, roots, and all, with lots of damp earth and worms still clinging to them. The end result would smell intensely vegetal and green, no? And yet Private Collection is so much more than a big green smoothie. It feels very sophisticated, chic, and urbane, like something a wealthy, upper-class woman would wear in the city (though she does have a second home in the country, complete with the aforementioned garden, which she pays someone else to weed because she has the money for hired help).


As a girly-girl, an introvert, and a couch potato, I feel downright uncomfortable in scents that are masculine, attention-getting, or sporty. Not surprisingly, for a while I tried very hard to like Chanel No. 19, the reigning queen of intellectual, non-sporty green fragrances for women who are confident (or just want to feel that way). However, its austere, icy, business-like personality was too much for me. But somehow, Private Collection is just right-- a green scent that manages to feel confident and smart, without going so far as to be downright intimidating the way No. 19 can be.


As with any fragrance that bespeaks intense sophistication, wealth, and intelligence, Private Collection has aspirational appeal. If I like it, or if I identify with it, it's not because I represent all its good qualities-- it's because I aspire to have them some day. So I think everyone should own a decant or bottle of Private Collection as a fragrant reminder of what it means to be at one's hypothetical best: self-assured, in control, and rich in resources, whether they be material or intellectual.


My tiny bottle of Private Collection came from an antique store, so I don't know whether it's the original or modern formula. I just know it's incredibly good.

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rated 2 of 5 top reviewer on 12/13/2010 3:09:00 PM More reviews by dioraddict84

Age: 25-29 Skin: Combination, Fair-Medium, Neutral Hair: Brown, Wavy, Coarse Eyes: Blue

Top Notes

* Honeysuckle
* Jasmine
* Citrus


Middle Notes

* Orange Flower
* Ylang-Ylang
* Coriander


Base Notes

* Sandalwood
* Patchouli

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