Azurée, Estee Lauder's late-sixties chypre/floral animalic, is a complex beauty. At first sniff, it sends your olfactory brain off into multiple directions at once rather than staying in one fragrance category.
Top notes: Aldehydes, bergamot, artemesia, gardenia
Heart notes: Jasmine, geranium, cyclamen, orris, ylang-ylang,
Base notes: Leather, patchouli, oakmoss, musk, amber
Bracingly citrusy and herbal (bergamot/artemesia), vaguely tropical and candied (the sweetness and lushness from the gardenia/amber), Azurée ends with a a bone-dry, bitter-green leather accord that is Bandit-like (yet softer) in its elegance and austerity.
One of the most intriguing aspects about Azurée for me is that although the forals are flanked on either side by dry notes, there's a rich, momentary gourmand quality to the scent because of the sweet amber and perhaps how it combines with gardenia and ylang-ylang. For a brief second in the midst of these florals-in-the-desert, a beguiling and fleeting Oriental quality wafts into the perfume, as if Azurée had tucked a piece of caramel candy into its otherwise dry floral pocket. The hint of sweetness rounds out the florals and dry woodsy leather, making Azurée momentarily an olfactory puzzle.
Azurée makes me think of a suntanned woman on vacation in the sixties, in a deep blue floor-length maxi, kohl-rimmed eyes and frosty lipstick. (See Lauren Hutton in '69 above.) She's stepping out onto the deck of her hotel balcony, the hot wind joining her perfumed, suntanned skin, her dressed cinched with a leather belt to give her some edge. Because of the way its notes seem conspicuously separate and dissonant at the beginning (only to marry together gorgeously in the end), Azurée is like a color-blocked Mod dress or Twiggy's makeup, to your right.
One of the wonderful things about writing about perfume has been having the chance to converse with other perfume-lovers. In exchanges with readers in the comments section of Yesterday's Perfume, or in personal emails with perfume bloggers, and even through meetings in person (I'm talkin' to you Lucy, Leah and Rita), I have had the pleasure of bonding with some smart and creative people who indeed stop to smell the roses (and the amber, patchouli and civet).
Azuree was sent to me by Wendy from the perfume blog, Qwendy: Shoes, Cake, and Perfume. She'd been raving about it for a while and we finally did some perfume swaps. (Here's her great post on '70s scents and Estee Lauder scents in particular.) I am in debt to her for introducing me to this perfume, which I otherwise probably wouldn't have gotten to for a while. It's on my list of favorites now and I'm so happy to have a chance to review it. Thanks, Wendy! It's perfume friends like you that keep me blogging!