Post by Anne-Marie
Youth-Dew by Joséphine Catapano for Estée Lauder 1953
Sometimes, a smear of Youth-Dew bath oil is all I need. Classic fragrances like this offer not just grandeur and glamour, but a sense of completeness. Symphonically rich, they unfurl their loveliness hour after hour and complete your day with a contented smile as they fade away.
Youth-Dew by Estée Lauder 1953
Youth-Dew by Joséphine Catapano
Photo Stolen Fragrantica
Fragrantica gives these featured accords:
Top: Aldehydes, orange, spices, peach, bergamot, narcissus, lavender
Heart: Cinnamon, cassia, orchid, jasmine, cloves, ylang-ylang, rose, lily-of-the-valley, spicy notes
Base: Tolu balsam, Peru balsam, amber, patchouli, musk, vanilla, oakmoss, vetiver, incense
At the jump you can read a lovely APJ review of Youth-Dew
What always intrigues me is the divided reputation that Youth-Dew has. ‘Putrid!’ some people cry. ‘Offensive!’ say others. ‘Nasty old lady!’.
I don’t mind if people dislike Youth-Dew. We can’t all be the same. But that ‘old lady’ tag that really annoys. It’s not just that some people are apparently unable to imagine a day when they, too, might be old. It also suggests that in western societies we harbour a deep-seated disdain – almost fear – of the elderly woman as a cultural figure. She’s a witch. She’s a harpy. She is a threat. She smells.
It’s ironic for a fragrance called ‘Youth-Dew’. Famously, it was released originally as a bath oil apparently in the hope that women who were tired of waiting for their menfolk to buy them perfume would happily buy a bathroom product for themselves. Within that innocent, bathroom-blue packaging lies a deep, dark scent of considerable allure if you can pull it off.
Photo Stolen WikiCommons
An early ad for Youth-Dew features a naked sylph of a woman about to step into a marble-edged bath, and we are encouraged to ‘Know the secret of the bath’. A later ad featured the divine Pauline Porizkova dressed for evening, and it proclaims Youth-Dew as ‘Simply the sexiest fragrance ever’.
Ads Stolen Fragrantica
Youth-Dew is so good it is not surprising that women have taken it as a signature scent. ‘Women still like to feel beautiful, pampered and loved, and that is what Youth-Dew is all about’, said Estee Lauder. She respected her customers, and for their loyalty gave them fragrances that were great value for money. A few dabs or sprays would last all day.
So, perhaps it’s inevitable after all that we associate Youth-Dew with older women. Although my mother’s signature scent was Yardley’s April Violets, in her late 50s she took up Youth-Dew with a passion. Dear reader, never were there two fragrances more different than April Violets and Youth-Dew, but Mum must have loved Youth-Dew because she went through several bottles of the oil before finally reverting to her old favourite.
Photo Stolen Wikipedia
Me, I’ve given away my bottle of the spray perfume because it’s just too opulent for daily use, and the bath oil will do me. A few drops in a hot running bath is the best form of winter stress relief I know, bar none.
Over to you. Worn any ‘old lady’ fragrances lately??
And keep spraying ‘til next time!