Back in the day, Estee Lauder (the woman) would run into department stores and break a bottle of Youth Dew on the floor and women would apparently come flocking to the counter to buy it. This scent is an oriental spicy fragrance. Top notes are aldehydes, orange, spices, peach and bergamot; middle notes are cinnamon, cassia, orchid, jasmine, cloves, ylang-ylang and rose; base notes are tolu balsam, peru balsam, amber, patchouli, musk, vanilla, oakmoss, vetiver and incense.
This one gets a 3-lippie rating from me, not because it's mediocre, but because it is a marvelous classic (5 lippies for craftsmanship) yet I cannot wear it (0 lippies for wearability).
On the right body chemistry, Youth-Dew is a drop-dead sexy Oriental with a lovely juxtaposition of warm, unctuous spices and a cool, loamy patchouli/powder finish. (The bath oil version is the way to go; the spray is just too much screeching aldehyde.) My grandmother--who could rock leather pants and angora sweaters in her 60s--wore the YD oil and it was a glorious experience to smell it on her.
However, the jasmine is what ruins this composition on my skin. Jasmine always goes fecal on me. It's why I can't wear Opium, either. When I apply Youth-Dew, I feel like I am wading toward its potential glory through a river of... well, you know. And I never get there, I just keep wading through the... yeah. I will say that trying to make YD work on me is what inspired me to start wearing patchouli again, because that's the closest approximation of what I love about YD minus the jasmine.
If you've been put off by "granny" associations, do give this classic a try with an open mind. If it works for you, it will unlock your sexuality like no one's business. Rowr!
I recently acquired a large unopened gift set of Youth Dew at auction. I remembered Youth Dew as a lovely warm sweet oriental scent that I had worn years ago while living in Cleveland. Why Cleveland? Well, the Winters are long and quite cold in this windy Lake Erie coastal city and Youth Dew is a perfect cold weather scent.
In one word, this scent is exquisite. Warm and earthy, vibrant, bewitching. Just a light dab of the bath oil (the original formulation was bath oil which doubled as perfume, please see below) gives one a lovely full but not overbearing scent. Adding a little body lotion and powder both tones down and evens out the scent.
The beauty of bergamot and tart neroli orange dances with spicy gardenia on first spritz. Aaahhhh....beauty in a bottle. Bewitching jasmine combined with the mysteriously oriental clove at the heart of this unique potion. Then comes the rich base notes of balsams, amber and oakmoss in a supporting roll.
This is the forerunner and flagship perfume to such followers as Opium (Which Estee Lauder referred to as "Youth Dew with tassles"), Christian Dior's Addict and Oscar de la Renta. Predated in the oriental catagory only by Shalimar (launched in 1925) but much more heady and rich.
Opulent like a fine gem, classic, elegant and regal. One thinks of Cleopatra, ancient Egypt, and even the great Czarinas of Russia when the aroma of Youth Dew nobly wafts across a room.
Very rich. Just a little will do. Dab a little of the original bath oil on pulse points. Or spray the EDT into the air and walk through. Monster sillage, just one application lasts all day.
I highly recommend this classic perfume to any lover of fine oriental scents.
From the LA Times at the time of Estee Lauder's death:
Lauder revolutionized the American fragrance industry in the late 1940s with her creation of Youth Dew, a sweet, sensual bath oil formulated so it could double as a perfume. In those years, most fine perfumes were expensive French imports, packed in jewel-like bottles, sealed with wax, ribbons and gold mesh wire. Middle-class women considered it extravagant and self-indulgent to buy such items for themselves. They waited to receive perfume as gifts, and then used the precious fluid only on special occasions.
Deciding to change all that, Lauder developed an inexpensive bath oil ($8.50), with a twist-off cap and a warm, heady scent that clung to the skin for hours. Women bought millions of bottles of the stuff and soon learned to enjoy wearing scent on an everyday basis. They became eager customers for the Youth Dew colognes and perfumes subsequently marketed by Lauder and others who copied her. The American fragrance industry benefited from Lauder's coup.
I absolutely LOVE this perfume. I have been using it since I was a teenager and I remember my mother wearing it so it brings back lots of memories. My 20 year old daughter now wears it and it is one of her favourite perfumes. I always use this on special occasions and my night time fragrance. It is a heavy perfume and would not suit a lot of people.
Love it love it love it. You either love or hate this scent. It is is a very heavy scent, and just one spray is sufficient. Youth dew is very oriental and I love to wrap myself in the warmth of the fragrance, especially in autumn and winter.
If you like Chaner no. 5 and Clinique's Aromatics you might like to give it a try.
Ever since I bought Coco EDP several months ago, I’ve been searching for another spicy Oriental to add to my collection. After reading countless polarizing reviews of Youth Dew here on MUA, Basenotes & Fragrantica, my interest in this notorious love/hate classic was definitely piqued. But seeing as to how I’ve never been a fan of Estee Lauder, I just couldn’t rouse myself to go to their counter to test the EDP (besides, my perfume tastes have always leaned towards the French houses, ever since I was a teenager). However, after browsing perfumer Michael Edwards’ Fragrance Directory website (http://www.fragrancedirectory.info/usadirectory/Index.aspx - VERY helpful site for fragrance fanatics, by the way) & seeing Youth Dew listed in the same fragrance family as my beloved Coco, Opium & Cinnabar among others (Edwards classifies them as ‘Classical Soft Oriental’), I knew right then that I HAD to buy this perfume.
Since so many had raved about the bath oil being the original 1953 formula & thus far superior to the EDP, I decided to take the plunge & bought the 30ml bottle un-sniffed from a local discounted perfume website a couple of months ago (the oil is not available at the counters in my country). Well, NO regrets WHATSOEVER. The oil may be a little more expensive than even the smallest bottle of the EDP, but boy, it is TOTALLY worth it. Absolutely DIVINE spicy vanilla Oriental. Starts out bright & a tad soapy (EL lists the top notes as rose, lavender & jonquil – I DO get the rose & lavender, but I have no idea what the jonquil flower smells like), then proceeds to a floral/spicy heart where cinnamon, cloves & jasmine dominate, before settling down to the piece-de-resistance: a mossy/resinous/amber-y/vanillic base sooo dreamy & scrumptious, you will have a hard time trying to pry your nose off your wrists.
As for it having a retro feel… well, the turquoise color of the box it comes in is about the only reference to the 1950s, as far as I can see. From the opaque, brown-black color of the juice to the equally rich, dark nature of the scent, the bath oil doesn’t spell out ‘vintage’ so much as ‘ancient’. Indeed, it smells more like the kind of perfume that women of royalty in ancient Egypt or Babylon might have scented themselves with. I truly feel sexy, mysterious & powerful like Cleopatra herself whenever I wear this.
My only complaint is the relatively short shelf life of the bath oil: 2 years once opened compared to normal perfumes that can be kept for years & years without going rancid if stored properly. I really LOATHE the thought of having to pour this precious elixir into my bath water & watch it disappear down the drain…(*sob*). But there is NO WAY I’ll be able to finish the whole bottle on time if used solely as a perfume (heck, even a 30ml EDP/EDT SPRAY takes me an eternity to use up), so I really don’t have a choice, do I? (*sigh*). I also disagree with criticisms that the EDP bottle looks outdated. In this age of corporate greed & commercialization, where SO many gorgeous, iconic perfume bottles have been mutilated & cheapened in the name of cost & profit (think Shalimar’s unbelievably ugly, Batman logo-ish new EDP & EDT bottles, to name one sacrilegious example), I salute Estee Lauder for honoring the memory of their late founder & the company’s first perfume which she lovingly created for women everywhere by retaining the classic packaging… the hour glass-shaped ribbed bottle with the bow & gold screw top is elegant & pretty & perfectly matches the dark, heavenly nectar it contains. Now, if only they would market the bath oil in the same bottle instead of the current plain, rectangular one, I would be a VERY happy camper… LOL.
To lovers of rich, old-world Orientals, you definitely can’t go wrong with the bath oil. It is, without a doubt, one of the true hidden gems of classic perfumery.
The official notes from Estee Lauder:
Top : Rose, Jonquil, Lavender.
Middle : Jasmine, Muguet, Spices.
Base : Moss, Vetiver, Patchouli.
The notes from Fragrantica:
Top : Aldehydes, Orange, Spices, Peach, Bergamot.
Middle : Cinnamon, Cassia, Orchid, Jasmine, Cloves, Ylang-Ylang,
Base : Tolu Balsam, Peru Balsam, Amber, Patchouli, Musk, Vanilla,
Oakmoss, Vetiver, Incense.
Absolutely Magical and Mysterious. Use just the tiniest bit of the bath oil as perfume.
My mother was a hairdresser, and when anyone wore this scent in her chair, it would cause her an almost bronchial reaction. Horrid scent that smells vaguely of bug spray. And, it's been around forever. Why??
I have never tried this perfume myself and never will. I am writing because I cannot put into words how obscene the smell of this is. I am a dental assistant and had a patient the other day who was wearing this. It is the worst smelling perfume. EVER. I asked her what she was wearing so I'd know to never ever go near it again. I actually think she thought I was asking as a compliment but I tried to not for it to seem that way without being rude. The dentist and I double masked it was so offensive. We did a 1.5 hour procedure on her and by the time we were done, I was literally sick to my stomach and we both had headaches. The smell lingered in the office the whole day, we even had to open a window for a few minutes. I'm sure it wouldn't have been so bad if she hadn't had so much on, but it's still not a very pleasant smell IMO.
I have tried to like Youth Dew but always detect a very strong amonia smell in it!. This perfume would probably suit a lady of 'very' mature years... but younger women who want to smell fresh and sexy should steer WELL clear of this perfume ......
A lady of a certain age (more mature) walked passed me yesterday wearing this and she smelled absolutely beautiful..... I asked what she was wearing and her reply was Youth Dew !!!
This is obviously one of those perfumes that smells brilliant on the right person.......
They could do with relaunching it (with some trendy advertising) as Im begining to think that this classic perfume doesnt deserve the 'dated' negative reviews that we give it ........