Friday, June 15, 2012

Estee Lauder- Aliage

Last month I finally found a wonderful Estee Lauder SA with whom I can talk makeup and fragrance without feeling like a freak (and who didn't try to spray me to death with the latest summer spawn of Pleasures). We were discussing the classic Lauder perfumes and I enjoyed the way she described Aliage as an elegant, confident and very womanly. It's not that I disagree with her, but my, how things change! When Estee Lauder launched Aliage in 1972, it was marketed as a "sport fragrance", and as you can see above, the entire 1970s campaign was built around outdoorsy casualness. What we now call "young, clean and fresh" and expect it to smell like fruit and noxious chemicals.

Lauder's Aliage is a grassy green chypre in the familiar 1970s style (Scherrer, Silences, Coriandre and many more). What I'm reviewing here is the recent juice, not vintage, and it's still surprisingly oakmossy, even though it lacks some bite and the development of the fragrance is an almost introverted one and not very Estee Lauder-like.

The opening of Aliage is bracing and cool with green citrus and a hint of spice. There's some remnants of galbanum that I wish were more prominent, or maybe I just compare all 1970s green chypres to Chanel No. 19. This is not No. 19, of course, as Aliage warms up just a little and has a certain soft roundness that is lacking from Chanel, for better and for worse. It's more easy-going, I'd say, even if I don't really subscribe to Tanya Sanchez's assessment of No. 19 as a dominatrix in the boardroom. Aliage is more friendly in its quiet way, though it is very crisp and ladylike.

Incense doesn't appear in any official list of notes for Aliage, but I think there's a shadow of that somewhere in the woodier part of this fragrance. Older breakdowns mention pine needles and the two can sometimes enhance each other, so maybe that's what I'm smelling. In any case, there's a green theme running throughout Aliage's wear, changing from the freshest just-cut grass to the deeper forest hues. It's lovely and if sprayed enough lasts all day without being too obnoxious. And best of all: Aliage is still in production and readily available, even after all these years (go hug your Lauder rep).

Aliage by Estee Lauder ($42, 1.7oz) is available at the counters (you might have to ask for the tester as the display is usually crowded with current bestsellers) and from

Aliage ads (1973-1979) via

Notes: citrus,  jasmine, nutmeg, rose, artemisia, oakmoss, vetiver, cedarwood.


  1. When I saw that you wrote a review of Aliage, I wanted to reach through my computer & hug you. It's my favorite EL scent. I always get compliments when I wear it.

  2. I always wanted to like this, but it does not suit me at all.

  3. I adore Aliage, my nana wore it for years, I loved the way she smelled (sometimes I would sneak a bit). Aliage reminds me of my childhood summer days spent at the pool and playing tennis on Long Island, the smell of sea grass and birch trees. I will cry the day I run out of my current bottles-which have lots more galbanum, herbs and vetiver. I have a vintage bottle from the late 70′s and another from the late 80's; they have much more personality.

  4. I`m a huge fan of Aliage!! Love, love, love...

  5. This is an amazing scent. Some years ago I bought its masculine version, Aramis Devin, without having tried Aliage (it is not that easy to find, unlike the myriad of Pleasures flankers) and when I finally got to Aliage I realized how stupid I was. Aliage is so much better and still perfectly wearable by men.

  6. Wow, I just bought this. The SA said there was no tester because the perfume sells too fast & they don't like to have testers out when they're low on the product (I bought the last one).

    If Lauder's going to mess with this, I wish they'd take the top notes of Private Collection and incorporate them into a longer lasting fragrance. PC's open is the perfect green.

  7. Oh, nice review! I need to sample more of these older Lauder fragrances. And where did you find this helpful, knowledgeable SA who wasn't just pushing the latest Pleasures spin-off?!

  8. love love love the advertisements!

  9. One of the models was Lynn Brooks. Lynn was featured on TV as Lauder spokesperson. She also modeled for Charlie and other major cosmetics and fragrance companies in the late 70s and 80s.


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