When it comes to classic Estée Lauder perfumes, popular lore states that the original Private Collection was Mrs. Lauder's personal fragrance. However, it's the 1968 Estée that is her namesake and defined by the company as "The Signature Scent". Estée is probably also the first Lauder perfume to spawn a flanker, as Estée Super (aka Estée Super Cologne) was released only a year later, in 1969. From what I was able to gather, Estée Super is simply a lower concentration of the original and they have exactly the same note and marketing story. Estée Lauder perfume are often vague about the real concentration, especially on older bottles such as the one I have. This "super Cologne" is most likely somewhere between an EDT and an EDP, though its strength is pretty nuclear (I've smelled vintage Estée and it was somewhere between a supernova and the Big Bang).
Estee is a warm aldehydic floral perfume with a green and decidedly mossy dry-down (told you, my bottle is pre-IFRA). The husband claims that it "smells vintage", which is his way of complaining about aldheydes in perfume. I think that while it does have that obvious 70s vibe (that I love), it also smells like a warm spring day, hope and leisure. The floral notes are abstract, but I do smell a hefty dose of muguet (I'm probably hypernosmic to the aromachemical used to create it), a rosy heart and a dry and powdery iris.
Estée dries down as a classic chypre into a cloud of green oakmoss and wood. It's a tad soapy, especially when my skin is very warm, and smells very ladylike and well-dressed. It's perfumy, for sure, and will delight lovers of this particular style, while some might find it dated. I adore Estée Super and think it's superior to the most recent EDT versions of Chamade or Goutal's Grand Amour (the higher concentrations are otherworldly and irreplaceable, though).
Both Estée and Estée Super are still in production ($44, 2oz) and can be found in the back of Estee Lauder counters and on esteelauder.com.
Notes: aldehyde complex, raspberry, peach, citrus oil, muguet, rose, jasmine, carnation, ylang-ylang, honey, orris, cedarwood, musk, sandalwood, styrax, moss.
Photos of Mrs. Lauder via W Magazine and Vogue.fr