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, with zero longevity and sillage.

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 know exactly what got left out.

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.