Beautiful Eau de Toilette (Estée Lauder)

I never liked the ad campaigns for Beautiful. They tend to feature brides and grooms and flower girls, their Photoshopped faces illuminated by heavenly sunbeams streaming through lace curtains. For some reason, this green floral from 1986 is pegged by its creators as a "wedding floral", a dubious call made before anyone else can make that determination for themselves. That's unfortunate, because when I think of wedding florals, I think of unwearably-synthetic white floral bouquets, indoles piled a mile high, with the requisite screechiness and rubbery drydowns - the original Sung, for example. There's this western idea that a bride must wear floral bouquets, mostly of tuberose, rose, jasmine, and ylang, lest her maidenhood be sullied by (gasp!) - harsh citrus, masculine woods, prostitute-grade ethyl maltol - all before the cad-in-waiting can get his mitts on her. It would be refreshing to read that a girl wore Bois du Portugal or Giorgio, or some trashy boudoir water to her wedding, instead of all that frilly-frop crap. Perhaps she'll wear something like that to mine, whenever that is.

Beautiful's aroma chemicals are nicely blended in an abstract interpretation of potted greenery. As it dries down, the headiness of its white-floral intro subsides a bit, and a cool shimmer of muguet and orange blossom emerges, exuding decidedly greener airs. I enjoy the heart stage the most, as it's the greenest part. Eventually a gentle sandalwood and vetiver base asserts itself, and supports Beautiful's rich sweetness with load-bearing authority. The sandalwood is some sort of reconstruction, perhaps using Ambroxan, but it's hard to tell with all the residual floral notes. True to Lauder form, this one exhibits the wonders of a synthetic green-floral done right, but it does feel rather stodgy. Ladies, it's certainly okay to wear this on the big day, but only because weddings are about love and commitment, two serious topics that aren't fully addressed by the sexy-trashy attitudes of Paris and LouLou. For a shotgun wedding, I'd go with those two instead. Hey, if you HAVE to get hitched, you might as well have fun consummating it. Beautiful is many things, but fun it ain't.

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