One of the things I did during my first year of blogging was going back to some of my oldest perfume loves, bottles that have been in my collection since the late 80s or early 90s and that I keep wearing to this day. Lauren, the 1978 Ralph Lauren fragrance, was one of them. I've been wearing it quite often lately. Probably because I managed to replenish my supply with quite a bit of vintage juice, mostly in parfum, so I don't feel the loss of every precious drop I use. Lauren fans know that while L'Oreal owns the perfume license of the brand and keeps producing both Lauren and Safari, they're nothing like what we remember.
As a 1978 perfume, Lauren has been probably reformulated more than once. I'm not even sure that my very first bottle, an eau de cologne from 1991, was identical to the original formula. All I know is that it was so very good. Wearing (vintage) Lauren now in my 40s feels as satisfying as ever, and it's still age appropriate. I know that the fragrance was a standard among preppy high school girls in the eighties, an obvious contrast to the grownup world of Opium, Poison, and Giorgio, as well as to the common Sand & Sable or Ex`cla-ma`tion (*shudder*).
More than anything, Lauren is a wonderful green floral with a slightly bitter twist. The tagetes (marigold) note is as addictive here as it is in Niki de Saint Phalle, but Lauren is more tender. The wood and oakmoss are smooth and elegant without fussyness; unlike the newer perfumes released under the Lauren name, this fragrance was a true representation of the brand the way it was perceived back then (you know, before Ralph Lauren outsourced production of the Olympic uniform to China).
Lauren is also an interesting perfume. The floral notes have a backbone and aren't too girly (as a matter of fact, I'm pretty sure a guy can wear it easily). It's loaded with wood and moss, but this isn't a dark or heavy perfume, even in extrait, where the base is even richer. Speaking of the extrait de parfum, even the top notes there are rounder, fuller, and more satisfying. That's where the pineapple shines- it's more aromatic than juicy, slightly mouthwatering and works wonderfully with the greenery that follows.
While smelling the current version of Lauren is a depressing experience, it's not that hard to find older bottles (skip anything that says EDT-- that's an indication of newer juice). That's probably the result of the perfume's mega popularity in previous decades, so yard sales and thrift stores are an excellent source.