Estée Lauder Beyond Paradise Men, 2004

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Perfumer Calice Becker

High art/low art. Pop culture/classical art. My expectations of an episode of Dancing With the Stars, a December Nutcracker and A Merce Cunningham retrospective will be different. It’s not just art versus entertainment. It has to do with the intention implicit to the work, the meaning surrounding the creation and performance of the work, the history of the forms, my history in relationship to it. Yadda, yadda, yadda.

But must I succumb to the context of the expectation of the work? The boy and girl Beyond Paradises are meant to capture a wide audience and are exceptionally well designed, uninteresting fragrances. They are the dead center between functional products and mass market fine fragrance. They smell panel-tested to lifelessness with the goal of allowing wearers to smell like slightly more sophisticated versions of the functional products that surround them. The Beyond Paradises are the personal applications of a lingua franca of “good smells”. They imply freshness, indoor environments, moderation, cleanliness. I suppose they hint at godliness.

Beyond Paradise Man is lit from all sides and casts no shadow. Its attractiveness lies in it not having any identifiable unattractiveness. It is symmetrical. It gives a vague pleasure and bears no relation to actual desire. It is inhuman and suggests that beyond paradise is life carefully devoid of any dynamic qualities.

A great office scent.

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