digging (into) vintage: Estée Lauder Aliage, 1972

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alliage

Perfumer Bernard Chant.

At first glance, Aliage, one of the Estée Lauder line’s inexpensive mainstays might be considered simply ‘cheap and cheerful.’ The functional, non-stylized bottle isn’t exactly sexy. The advertising has focused on tennis whites and demure county-club pursuits. Don’t believe it, though. The ‘cheap and cheerful’ bit is pure camouflage. The innocent smiling superficiality encourages not digging any further.

But I say dig.

I’ve heard people lament the loss of a more heavily oakmoss-laden earlier version of Aliage, but I don’t miss Miss Moss. Aliage has a cool quality that implies poise as much as temperature. In cooler weather, Aliage feels forest-like, a bit moist. In my dry southern California heat, it keeps its cool longer and more comfortably than any other perfume I’ve tried. Not blending with your skin is Aliage’s smart trick for remaining cool through drydown. It works as an accent and draws the nose’s attention away from the skins’s warmth. It stays invigorating, not so much tart as a bit sharp.

This is one of the few fragrances I wear to work as an RN in a hospital. It has wonderful endurance, but after the topnotes, mild sillage. I think it just reads as quality grooming products to those around me.

So, the price dilemma. In this case a happy one. Aliage is available at the department stores that flog the latest haphazardly brewed perfumes for 3-4 times the price. It is an appealing perfume with a name-droppable pedigree (Bernard Chant) and a smart alternative to the perfume du jour that the SAs are aiming at you. Bravo to Estée Lauder for maintaining its heritage products with such care.

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