One Thousand Scents

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Kissing Cousins: Estee Lauder Cinnabar, Part 2

Since I compared Cinnabar to Yves Saint Laurent's Opium, and since Opium is pretty clearly related to, if not derived from, Youth-Dew, I suppose I had better compare the two Lauder scents, no?

It won't take long. They're both dark, spicy floral orientals, and they have a lot in common. However, Youth-Dew (a name that, whatever the merits of the scent, has not aged well) starts out more acidic, with a lemon-bergamot top that seems to me wildly, and unpleasantly, at odds with what follows; Cinnabar also has a citric top, but it segues more quickly into the floral-oriental heart. Youth-Dew is more insistently resinous, more serious; Cinnabar is considerably more accessible.

The fact is, though, that all three scents have enough in common that if you love one of them, you will probably not turn up your nose at the other two. They're not interchangeable, but they're very similar--not just from the same basic family (there are lots and lots of spicy orientals out there), but blood relations.

In a pathetically transparent attempt to give this some appearance of rigour, I've made a chart (which, as ever, you can click on to enlarge).

Very technical! I couldn't figure out how to change the colours to something a little more sensible, but it's all there.

As you can see, Opium is both spicier and sexier than the other two, where Cinnabar is flowerier and generally nicer than the rest (less odd, less aggressive), with Youth-Dew taking honours for being more peculiar (the top note just doesn't fit) and also more heavily laden with oriental base notes. These are not just my opinions: this is science!

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