Estee Lauder's "Sensuous" Actually Lives Up to Its Name

There are smells — as I’m sure Pig Pen from the Peanuts Comic Strip would agree — that you are unlikely to forget.

Most smells make you want to block your nose completely and wish you had a cold. No amount of spritzing yourself with good ol’ fashioned Charlie or even a Glade house scent will keep your immediate air smelling pretty, because when Pig Pen hits you, he hits you hard. You feel as though your nostrils have been assaulted by some sort of olfactory hippopotamus. You feel violated, vulnerable as Alice in Wonderland and depressed at the thought of these beauty sinners who feel that strutting outside the house without even so much as deodorant or a clean shirt is allowable in sweaty weather.

So the debut of Estee Lauder’s Sensuous was welcomed with particularly grateful open arms this summer. Launched by a glitzy quartet of models/ actresses Liz Hurley, Gwyneth Paltrow, Carolyn Murphy and Hillary Rhoda in Bloomingdales, NYC last week, the scent features these four spokespeople for the first time together.

Not that that should matter to the scent itself (what does it know whether it has four or four hundred faces on its bottle?) but the Estee Lauder people felt they had to make some sort of a sacred splash, and splash they did.

Sensuous is a combination of the sweet and sultry (like Glenda and Elphaba in Wicked) with woodsy notes. Karyn Khoury, the perfumer who developed it, wanted to fill a gap in Estee Lauder’s perfume coffers by reinventing “woods” for women. Top notes are ghost lily accord, magnolia, and jasmine petals; core notes are molten woods and amber; and base notes are sandalwood, black pepper, juicy mandarin pulp and honey.

The scent is actually more appealing than I thought it would be because it wasn’t too sweet. It will bring Pig Pen down, no matter what the social situation may be.

Buy the Eau de Parfum for $69.50 at Estee Lauder counters now.