My first memories of Private Collection involve my cousin Anne-Marie, who always smelled incredibly feminine and pretty. As a young, naive nose I recall asking her what she was wearing and she announced, "Oh! It's Private Collection." I asked if I could try it, spritzed some from her bottle on my skin, quickly decided that it was only for Anne-Marie and swore to never wear it again. This event was quite possibly my first lesson in skin chemistry. At a ripe 12 or 13 years old, I was terribly disappointed I could not duplicate her scent.
Fast forward to last week when I along with Divina of Fragrance Bouquet decided to feature this fragrance for December's "Forget Me Not". I had not retested since that formidable day in my cousin's bedroom. And I fully expected to have the same reaction to the fragrance today that I did at twelve. How pleasantly surprised I am at this wonderfully sophisticated green floral which has entered the distinguished realm of "vintage" fragrances.
I have tested Private Collection three times in the past week and remarkably the scent morphs differently on my skin with every application. Like a chamelion, the scent becomes what I want it to be depending upon my mood, my attire and my plans for the day. It was slow to grow on me and turned up my nose with the first testing, probably due to my history with it. However, as I have studied the notes and how they interplay with one another, I truly appreciate the composition of the scent and my skin has befriended it.
The notes include citrus notes, green notes and hyacinth at the top, a heart of narcissus, rose, jasmine and pine landing on a base of oakmoss, cedar, amber and musk. The fragrance is slow to develop, increasing its charm and intrigue.
The picture painted with this lush chamelion fragrance, no matter how it develops from one application to the next, is that of a classy sophisticate - one who hosts elegant dinner parties, never leaves the house without wearing lipstick and boasts a large circle of friends and associates. Perhaps similar to Estée Lauder herself, the fragrance of her private collection begs to be the signature of an unforgettable woman, one with grace, beauty and style. I feel fortunate to have had the opportunity to revisit it.
(Not to be confused with the recent 2007 release of Private Collection Tuberose Gardenia, a much lighter and more floral fragrance that is uniquely beautiful in its own right, created by Estée's daughter Aerin.)