Pleasures (Estée Lauder)

If you have an opportunity to visit Japan, as I do, consider your fragrance choice carefully, and only pack one. The Japanese aren't keen on scents that act like anything more than an extension of soap. Loud fragrances are taken as insults, and should be avoided at all costs. If given a choice between an eau de cologne and an EDT, go with the cologne. It'll pay off because Japanese people like fragrance, but only when tuned to very low volumes.

I'll be bringing Eau Sauvage with me to Osaka in December, which is cheating a little because technically it's an EDT, but of course it's a light variant on the cologne theme, so it'll work fine. Another possibility is Pleasures by Estée Lauder, which is an essay on soapy "clean" aldehydes and floral notes. Pleasures is also an EDT, but again it resembles a cologne. Its bright, fresh, snowy character is anything but offensive, and delicate enough to pass muster at a crowded sushi bar. I think it's a good scent, but this sort of nineties translucent-floral style never seems complete to me. It tends to smell like something very important got left out. In most cases I'm not sure what that "something" is, but in this case, I am.

Pleasures is basically Intuition without the warmth. It is decidedly "cleaner" in feel than Intuition, completely unisex, and boasts a limited but garrulous array of green florals, including honeysuckle, geranium, freesia, and tuberose. The tuberose is dialed back to the extreme, lending the construct just a touch of earthiness. The geranium, on the other hand, stands in for violet leaf and/or iris in cooling down the composition. I think they would've been better off using either of the other two ingredients instead; Pleasures smells a little too fresh and clean and lacks any real definition in its greenery. The whole thing dries down to a slightly-sour musk. It's okay, but I'd go with Intuition instead - even though it's a touch louder, it's still quiet enough, and has a certain je ne sais quoi that puts it in another league of soapy Lauder perfumes altogether.


  1. Hello, Bryan, I am so excited about your imminent trip to Japan!

    One of my fondest memories is of my trip to Japan a few years ago. I started out in Hiroshima and then traveled (solo!) to Nagasaki and Kyuushu and then back to Tokyo. It was such a wonderful experience.

    I love the Japanese language (I have, let us say "survival" skills...), the food is fantastic, and the Japanese are very big on excellent sencha tea and... baths! I'm a bath fanatic, so basically I'm the perfect candidate for expatriation to that wonderful land!

    The bathing ritual may have something to do with their perfume preferences. What do you think? (-;

    1. Thank you! You are braver than I am, I couldn't go without anyone, it's just too far. I feel very lucky to know a wonderful woman there who will meet me at the airport. It sounds like you hate the journey of a lifetime. Hope you got great pics!

      Japanese is a lovely language. Very musical in its own way. Difficult, though. Trying to learn, and not making much headway. Just saying "thank you" is ten syllables.

      I agree, I think the bathing culture there contributes significantly to their views on personal fragrance. I did not realize until I met my girlfriend that Japan holds baths in such high esteem. I assumed they favored showers, which was silly of me. I've been informed that a good bath is essential to life! I could get used to that ;)

    2. sorry, meant to say "had" the journey of a lifetime.


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