Estee Lauder’s Private Collection (1973)

© Victor Wong
© Victor Wong

It is my goal to smell all the 5-star perfumes reviewed by Luca Turin. I don’t worship him, but there are so many perfumes out there and compared to the small number of 5-star perfumes reviewed by him, I believe the goal is totally attainable and fun.

One of the 5-star perfumes that I least paid attention to was Estee Lauder’s “Private Collection”. I didn’t know why, I just never felt like I had to smell it ASAP like Fracas or Mitsouko. May be the review was short and unexciting to read (actually reviewed by his wife Tania Sanchez).

Over the year I had casually walked by a few Estee Lauder counters in various department stores, and never saw a bottle of “Private Collection”. I saw, however, some of its flankers like “Private Collection Tuberose Gardenia”.

Then one weekday after work, I walked into an almost empty department store where all the sales person were standing still like wax statues but with eyes following you as you passed by them, I suddenly turned around and asked a sales lady, “Do you have Estee Lauder’s Private Collection?” She came alive and said, “Oh yes!!! You are the one who bought a bottle of Youth Dew from me (three months ago)? I remember you!!” Then she bent down and dug through the bottom-most drawer behind the counter and showed me a fossilized box. “I don’t have a sample bottle on the counter because no one buys it and everyone steals it.”

I bought it without really smelling it because she was so kind and nice (and didn’t let me test-spray it). Anyway, I sprayed a few times on my skin when I reached home… it’s Genie Grandma again! She spun around the room a few times and said, “I have been imprisoned in this bottle for 40 years, and whoever released me I shall gift her notes of oak moss, cedar, patchouli, coriander, all the nice scents a modern woman will ever need! Wait, what are you?” I immediately closed the bottle cap. It’s a dangerous perfume.