Youth Dew by Estée Lauder was the very first fragrance she produced and it became an instant hit when it was introduced to American women as a bath oil in 1953.  During World War II perfume had been expensive and difficult to obtain. As a result, most American women were not used to wearing scents every day. They did, however, enjoy bath oil. Estée Lauder used a clever marketing ploy by creating an extremely concentrated bath oil which she said should be applied to the skin after a bath. So by marketing it as both a bath oil and a perfume she eliminated the guilt factor that many women would have had if they thought they were buying a perfume.

When it came to marketing her fragrance Estée Lauder also took a leaf from legendary perfumer François Coty’s book.  Coty had famously said, “Give a woman the best product you can make, market it in the perfect bottle, beautiful in its simplicity yet impeccable in taste, ask a reasonable price for it, and you will witness the birth of a business the size of which the world has never seen.”

Unlike many of the expensive sealed French perfumes of the time, Youth Dew came with a new screw-top cap so that when women handled it in the stores they were able to smell it.  Another great marketing ploy by the visionary Estée Lauder.

Best described as a spicy oriental, Youth Dew has a fresh and slightly aldehydic opening with orange, bergamot and peachy notes. The drama goes on in its heart where ylang ylang, jasmine and orchid intermingle with a spicy carnation note which is enhanced by cinnamon. The rich base contains tolu balsam, peru balsam, vanilla, incense and oakmoss, which are wrapped in sensual and earthy patchouli.

Youth Dew is a love it or hate it scent and it’s very long-lasting. I initially really hated it and never in a million years thought I’d ever like it. I recently gave it a second chance and either I’ve changed or it’s been changed because I really loved it. That said, it’s not a perfume I’d wear. I wish I could wear it but it’s just too big and overpowering.  I mean it’s so strong it literally firehoses everything out of the room.  I compromise by spritzing  it just once or twice on a warm cozy blanket during the colder weather and really enjoy it that way.

Youth Dew isn’t a youthful scent however so don’t be deceived by the name. This fragrance reminds reminds me a little of Clinique’s Aromatics Elixir but sweeter and spicier. I’ve heard that more men are buying this now than women which certainly doesn’t surprise me.

If you’re someone who isn’t easily intimidated by large and in charge scents and also like the idea of vintage scents then you definitely should give this a go. You can find it in different body products including anti-perspirant which is something I’m actually considering springing for once I run out of  Donna Karan Cashmere Mist.