New Perfume Review Aerin Cedar Violet- Escape to the Mountains


As we enter the last week of the dog days of summer I turn to one of my favorite summer ingredients for succor. Regular readers will know what it is. I have an odd craving for a big cedar-centric fragrance the hotter things get. What is nice is I usually get a new one to enjoy just at the right time. This year’s version is Aerin Cedar Violet.

Aerin Lauder

Aerin Lauder has found her groove at this brand named after her. Over the last four years I have been appreciative of the work it took to get there. Each successive release is a new mainstream take on a floral ingredient. This has become another line I have become comfortable recommending because while it might not do as much as others, what it does is good. One of the amusing things about Cedar Violet is that the floral isn’t the one on the bottle but gardenia. She collaborates with perfumer Clement Gavarry.

Clement Gavarry

It begins with the silvery green of violet leaf. It is matched with the freshness of muguet. This is a summery type of top accord that eschews citrus for a more verdant alternative. The cedar comes next. What makes me enjoy cedar in the warmer weather is first its cleanliness. In the good ones there is also a raw green woody thread which runs through it. This is what happens here as the top notes and the cedar all align on a green axis. This is where gardenia appears and attaches its green underpinning to the same continuum. This concludes with an austere sandalwood spiced up with amber.

Cedar Violet has 10-12 hour longevity and average sillage.

In the press materials Ms. Lauder said this was inspired by the Adirondack Mountains. On the days I wore this I came to realize that hiking among the trees is just as much a summery scent as anything inspired by the beach. For the reminder of this year’s dog days if I need to escape to the mountains, Cedar Violet is here.

Disclosure: This review is based on a sample provided by Nordstrom.

Mark Behnke

New Perfume Review Aerin Mediterranean Honeysuckle in Bloom- Small Changes, More Enjoyment

One of the things which continues to surprise me is how much small changes can alter my feeling about a fragrance. Where this usually appears to me is when I get a flanker where there have small changes all of which form a more pleasing perfume. It reminds me how just the right amount of the right ingredient can change my judgement. Aerin Mediterranean Honeysuckle in Bloom is a flanker I like much better than the original.

Aerin Lauder

Aerin Lauder has overseen the creative direction of her line since its inception in 2013. It took a few years to find a more defined aesthetic. Since 2017 Ms. Lauder has found a space in the masstige market for her particular style of floral fragrances. The original Mediterranean Honeysuckle was one of those early releases which hadn’t quite gelled into a fully realized creative direction. Its biggest flaw was an omnipresent base of ambrox and musk which obliterated the florals. The other issue I had with it was there was more gardenia than honeysuckle when the florals weren’t getting stepped on. Honorine Blanc-Hattab was the perfumer back then as well as on this flanker. All the things I didn’t care for have been changed for the better in this new composition.

Honorine Blanc-Hattab

Both perfumes share the identical top accord. Which works because it is a good one. The brightness of grapefruit is given a fruity green veneer through blackcurrant buds. This is the scent of a sunny day in the Mediterranean. The floral heart is dominated by honeysuckle this time around. Mme Blanc-Hattab uses complementary amounts of tuberose and gardenia to add depth and definition. With the top accord it feels like a trellis covered with the floral vines in the sunlight. This is all because the honeysuckle doesn’t push back as forcefully as the gardenia did in the original. I braced myself for another ambrox onslaught because it was listed as an ingredient. I got something way more interesting. One of the transparent jasmine synthetics is paired with honey. It is a subtly animalic contrast to the florals while this jasmine creates an expansiveness. The ambrox is in a much lesser amount and adds in its dry woody effect pleasurably.

Mediterranean Honeysuckle in Bloom has 8-10 hour longevity and average sillage.

This is another example of the current style continuing at Aerin. It is one I hope has an appreciative audience at this point because I think they’ve worked to refine it to this. Once again, I find small moves can have big impacts on what I enjoy.

Disclosure: This review is based on a sample supplied by Sephora.

Mark Behnke

New Perfume Review Aerin Ambrette de Noir- Vanilla in a Blanket

I spend a lot of time under a blanket at Colognoisseur HQ in the winter. It has always had an interesting effect on the perfume I am wearing. As my body heat gets trapped, I tend to add my own natural musk as a new base note. It is not always a good combo. When it does work it is with sweet or resinous notes. When I received my sample of Aerin Ambrette de Noir I was reminded of the nights I was wearing a vanilla-centric fragrance under my blanket.

Aerin Lauder

Ambrette de Noir is part of the Premier Collection where creative director Aerin Lauder features a special keynote. Working with perfumer Olivier Cresp she does use the botanical musk of ambrette seeds. But Ambrette de Noir is equally a warm vanilla to go along with that.

Olivier Cresp

Ambrette de Noir gets right down to business. There is a fleeting floral opening which lasts as long as it takes to read this. The ingredient list says it is orange blossom. It doesn’t make much of an impression. What does is the vanilla. This is that rich slightly boozy vanilla which is given some warmth through tonka bean. This is where the ambrette seeds impart their lovely muskiness. I really appreciate the way ambrette can stay on the less dirty side of animalic musk while still being there. M. Cresp uses it as a warm skin musk. I’ve mentioned a blanket it is also like the musk given off when you take your sweater off. Once they are together this is a classic comfort accord. My only quibble is that ambrox crashes the party later causing some of the delicacy of the vanilla-ambrette to get lost under its relentless woodiness.

Ambrette de Noir has 10-12 hour longevity and average sillage.

I like that if I want to experience my scent of vanilla in a blanket. I don’t have to wait for a cold night and a vanilla perfume anymore.

Disclosure: This review is based on a sample provided by Neiman-Marcus.

Mark Behnke

New Perfume Review Aerin Rose Cocoa- A Lighter Shade of Gourmand

The recent trend of transparent floral gourmands has had me wondering. Could a perfume which takes some of the traditionally less transparent ingredients find a way to offer a lighter fragrance experience. Secondarily would I miss the extra depth lost to the airiness. Turns out Aerin Rose Cocoa helps answer some of these thoughts.

Aerin Lauder

Rose Cocoa is the Holiday release for 2019. When it comes to seasonal releases gourmands have long been staples. They have been spice-laden sweet concoctions which tread the line of being almost too sweet. Transparent was not going to be an adjective for these types of fragrances. Which is a reason I was interested to see how Aerin Lauder navigated her first gourmand perfume for a brand which has become one of the best at getting the transparency right.

Olivier Cresp

Ms. Lauder chose to collaborate with perfumer Olivier Cresp. They wanted to have the heart of this perfume be what was in the name; rose and chocolate. There are a couple of paths that can be taken. You can coat the floral in a thick chocolate shell eventually overwhelming it. Or the path taken in Rose Cocoa which is to imagine a rose dusted with a healthy dose of powdered cocoa. This gives both ingredients some space to shine.

It opens on an airy spice accord of cinnamon and orange. This is a common Holiday perfume top accord. M. Cresp makes it much lighter than I usually experience. It has the effect of enhancing the citrus over the spice. The converse is usually the case. The title notes come forward quickly as a spicy rose finds itself coated in dry cocoa powder. This creates an arid floral gourmand heart accord. To keep it from being too dry M. Cresp rehydrates it with iris and vanilla. Judicious amounts of both to retain the opacity but to keep it from being sharply desiccated. It ends on a woody amber base of long-lasting synthetics.

Rose Cocoa has 14-16 hour longevity and average sillage.

One of the reasons I have been enjoying the transparent floral gourmands is I sometimes don’t want to be coated in a foodie accord. Every once in a while, I would like to have it be a lighter shade of gourmand. Rose Cocoa does that for me.

Disclosure: This review is based on a sample provided by Nordstrom.

Mark Behnke

New Perfume review Aerin Limone di Sicilia- Deep Lemon

One of my favorite drinks during the summer is lemonade. At its heart it is simple: water, sugar, and lemons. Nothing wrong with that version. Except that the chemist in me couldn’t resist tinkering with it. Honey was substituted for the sugar that added a more syrup-like sweetness. I make lavender water by steeping some lavender buds in water. Finally I add some basil for some herbal bite. These are the ingredients for basil lavender lemonade at Chez Colognoisseur. It takes something simple and adds more depth. The same is true about Aerin Limone di Sicilia.

Aerin Lauder

Limone di Sicilia is the fifth fragrance in the Premiere Collection meant to highlight a specific ingredient. It has been one of the quiet triumphs of the Aerin line. The same creative team of creative director Aerin Lauder and perfumer Honorine Blanc returns from last year’s Eclat de Vert. I really liked the way that perfume captured the lazy days of summer sitting under a tree. Limone di Sicilia is the lemonade waiting on the porch when I come home.

Honorine Blanc

One of the things that Mme Blanc does with her bright lemon keynote is to do what I did with my lemonade. She makes it deeper, floral, and more herbal.

That lemon is like a ball of sunlight right away. Mme Blanc banks some of the intensity by using baie rose to provide an herbal counterweight. Muguet provides a green clean floral contrast in the early going as well. Jasmine becomes the main floral partner to the lemon. This is clean mostly indole-free jasmine which adds lift to the lemon. The final bit of bite comes with the use of oakmoss supported by the dry woodiness of Ambrox.

Limone di Sicilia has 10-12 hour longevity and average sillage.

Just as Eclat de Vert did last summer Limone di Sicilia also provides an ideal dog days style of citrus perfume. It succeeds because the creative team took their lemon into some deeper places.

Disclosure; this review is based on a sample provided by Aerin.

Mark Behnke

New Perfume Review Aerin Eclat de Vert- Summer Siesta

As August begins we are right in the middle of the period of summer called the “dog days”. They have been called that because of the rise of the dog star, Sirius, not because canines are in charge. Although here in Poodlesville the canines are always in charge. The Greeks associated the rising of one of the brightest stars in the sky with the hottest days of summer. This is also the part of summer where things seem to slow to a crawl. Even in my free time I just want to find a shady place to snooze. I also need a fragrance which also wants to take it easy; Aerin Eclat de Vert was what I look for in that.

Aerin Lauder

I was not the biggest fan of Aerin Lauder’s eponymous line when it first came out in 2013. For the first few years there was too much, too fast coming. I felt that if there was just a little more time taken there could have been something I would have appreciated more. I figured I wasn’t the desired audience and moved on. Until the beginning of last year when I tried Linen Rose. It impressed me with a fully realized beachy rose. Hibiscus Palm was another winner for me earlier this year. I had enjoyed both of those so much I looked forward to Eclat de Vert.

Honorine Blanc

Eclat de Vert is based on Ms. Lauder’s memories of summers in the south of France. It is funny because it is also reminiscent of my memories of childhood summers in the south of Florida. What seems to be common to both experiences is that moment when the green leaves and grass have overtaken the flowers as the predominant scent. Perfumer Honorine Blanc captures this.

That sense of green opens with a gauzy veil of galbanum underneath which lemon shimmers with shaded sunlight. A set of green ingredients form a leafy accord while the galbanum takes a more prominent position. A set of florals provide backing vocals instead of focal point as jasmine, magnolia, rose and iris form the quartet. Magnolia sings a little louder than the others providing a smooth creamy contrast to the building green. Vetiver provides the green grounding in the base to which mastic adds a terpene-like edgier green at the end.

Eclat de Vert has 8-10 hour longevity and average sillage.

Eclat de Vert reminded me of those early days of August. School is still a few weeks away and I was happy to sit under a tree and let the sun shine through the canopy as my eyelids drooped. When I breathed in, Eclat de Vert is very close to what I smelled.

Disclosure: This review was based on a sample provided by Nordstrom.

Mark Behnke

New Perfume Review Aerin Hibiscus Palm- Winter Break

The end of January is the cruelest time of year for me. I’ve recovered from the Holidays but now face weeks of grey cold blah-ness before spring takes hold. Those who can, take a winter break to an island to shuck the coats and slip on the swimming gear. I’ve done it a few times in my life and it is rejuvenating giving me just enough to make it through the final weeks until spring. For those of more modest means one of the beautiful things about fragrance is you can use the right perfume to take a mental winter break. One of the latest to do this is Aerin Hibiscus Palm.

Aerin Lauder has done an admirable job of accepting the role of Estee Lauder’s granddaughter but making her line a coherent collection focused on lightly weighted floral constructs. Her co-creative director Karyn Khoury and Ms. Lauder have made the brand a reliable source of these types of perfume since the launch in 2013. Hibiscus Palm fits right in with that.

Aerin Lauder

When you visit the tropics, the flowers scent the air, but the island breezes tend to keep them from forming an overwhelming cloud. Hibiscus Palm is one of those island breezes carrying the smell of the flowers to you as you sip your favorite drink on the beach or poolside.

In the opening the breeze brings the hibiscus along with ylang-ylang. Hibiscus can be slight when used as a perfume ingredient which allows the ylang-ylang to support it while also adding to the tropical aesthetic. More recognizable florals like jasmine and gardenia begin to become noticeable. What I really liked about these early moments was the use of ginger to provide a sharp contrast to all the floral gymnastics. It provides the right amount of counterpoint. As you become used to the flowers a nice sun-warmed skin musk accord is used with vanilla tinted with coconut milk to give that tropical drink vibe.

Hibiscus Palm has 8-10 hour longevity and average sillage.

If you’re finding yourself in need of a winter break but can’t get on a plane; head to the fragrance counter and let Hibiscus Palm get you there instead.

Disclosure: This review is based on a sample provided by Nordstrom.

Mark Behnke

New Perfume Review Aerin Linen Rose- Hamptons Rose

It is difficult being the second act to a legend. When it comes to American beauty brands Estee Lauder is one of the great All-American success stories. From the foundation of the brand in the 1950’s into the business juggernaut it is currently she has defined beauty for over sixty years. One great aspect of that rise is fragrance was not relegated to being a bit player. It was a critical piece of the overall empire as it grew. There was a time when it looked like there was not going to be a next generation Lauder to carry on because she had two sons. Her younger son Ronald Lauder would provide the genetics when his oldest daughter Aerin would join the company where she is currently the Style and Image Director. In 2013 Aerin Lauder would follow her grandmother into the fragrance part of the business with her own brand called simply Aerin.

Aerin Lauder

The Aerin perfumes have been, by design, a collection of mostly light-hearted floral perfumes. There are a few exceptions but it is flowers which are the inspiration. Even then the flower most represented is rose. One of the first set of spring roses I received samples of for 2017 were the three new releases; Bamboo Rose, Garden Rose, and Linen Rose. If I have an overarching impression is these are nice high quality versions of simple floral constructs. Ms. Lauder has been working with Karyn Khoury as co-creative directors and they have worked well together with a coherent vision which has been consistent throughout the previous releases. What will always make a difference for me even in a fragrance which is not original is when it sets off a scent memory for me. When I got to Linen Rose it reminded me of the summers I spent on Shelter Island, NY which is why I enjoyed it so much. I came to find out when I got to the press materials Ms. Lauder was inspired by her rose garden in the Hamptons just a ferry ride away from Shelter Island.

Richard Herpin

I have come to like the rose perfumes which have a seaside theme of which Linen Rose is. If it is done well, as it is here, it captures the salt spray, the grass growing in the dunes, and the rose overriding it all. Working with perfumer Richard Herpin this is exactly what Linen Rose delivers.

Mr. Herpin opens on a citrus mixture of lemon leaves and orange all of which is inflated on a bubble of Hedione. One of the things which drew me to Linen Rose was Mr. Herpin dispenses with the typical suite of oceanic notes. He employs coconut water and vetiver to create the dunes and waves milieu. This is subtle and Mr. Herpin uses the Hedione as the expansive element along with those two notes. It works quite well as an alternative. The roses come in on this and they are there in all their typically powdery and spicy nature. It all heads down to a warm amber, vanilla, and benzoin finish.

Linen Rose has 10-12 hour longevity and moderate sillage.

Ms. Lauder is admirably creating her own version of the Estee Lauder legacy with this line of perfumes. I suspect that before too long there will be something special from this team. Linen Rose is maybe the first harbinger of that.

Disclosure: this review was based on a sample provided by Aerin.

Mark Behnke