Tuberose Series Part 2: Estee Lauder Private Collection Tuberose Gardenia

This one gets a lot of love, for being warm and cheerful without running people out of the room (Fracas, anyone?), and for being a mainstream release that doesn’t suck up to the trendy taste for ditzy fruity-florals.

Perfume Review: Estee Lauder Private Collection Tuberose Gardenia eau de parfum
Date released: 2007        
Perfumer: Harry Frémont (Firmenich)
Sample provenance: manufacturer’s sample, probably from 2007, from swap

Subcategory: Gentle white floral with tuberose (and, duh, gardenia)

Since the Private Collection disappointment, the Beyond Paradise debacle and the vintage Knowing parfum tragedy, I’ve been wary of testing Estee Lauder scents. You may have been reading this blog long enough to know that I have difficulty with some note or ingredient common to the base of many Lauder fragrances. I still don’t know what it is; I’m not sure it would do me all that much good to pin it down. To sum up, I’ve found a number of Lauders really lovely for the first two hours, and then gotten sucker-punched by whatever-it-is in the base, so that I’m suddenly and extremely nauseated by this nameless, cloying Wrongness that I can’t even describe. It’s not sugary, vomitous, overtly chemical, sweaty, or overpoweringly loud, but it turns my stomach over.

So I approached ELPCTG with some trepidation. I sprayed it on a stray scrap of cotton from a sewing project, and when it got to six hours without causing me to carry the scrap out to the trashcan on the porch while cursing, I decided to try it on skin.

Notes for ELPCTG –
Top: Neroli, lilac, rosewood
Heart: Lily, tuberose, orange blossom, jasmine, gardenia
Base: Carnation, bourbon vanilla

Despite the alleged presence of a number of floral notes, PCTG is pretty much true to its name. It opens with creamy, luxuriant gardenia which lasts maybe forty-five minutes to an hour, rolling along with the tuberose, eventually fading to leave only the tuberose and a hint of lily. The white florals are soft and lovely, with a buttery, smooth texture. Heady for the first ten minutes, it does soften rather quickly to a scent polite enough to wear to church, as its sillage stays rather close to the body. I did wear it to church, and my daughter could smell the perfume from right next to me. My son, sitting on her other side, could not smell it. Four hours after my two-spritz application, there was no sillage at all, and I could only smell what was left (mostly tuberose, with a tiny hint of vanilla) by hoovering my inner arm.

A workplace test was less successful. I felt silly wearing it with black twill trousers and a pink sweater. Never mind that my sweater was fuzzy – I felt like Esther Williams, totally out of place at my desk.

There doesn’t seem to be much of a base here, and perhaps the simplicity of the base is what makes this fragrance wearable for me. Either the common Lauder base is not part of the formula, or the tuberose is enough to – like love – cover a multitude of sins.

Luca Turin is really smitten with gardenias, and this scent gets high marks in PTG. Here’s a portion of his review:
                     **** Real gardenia… gardenia is a reconstruction, and few fragrances actually achieve the flower smell that I rate as the most irresistible and impossibly pretty on earth. This beautiful creation… is one of them. The tuberose note in PCTG is very quiet, while the rest of the fragrance is an utterly lovely gardenia accord on a refined, radiant white-flowers background…

PCTG is indeed very lovely. It has a devoted following among perfume fans, and it’s a well-made, attractive scent. However, it does make me feel as though I should be wearing it with white gloves and, possibly, a pastel strapless gown. It feels like a fifties fragrance to me, very Donna Reed, and I doubt I’d wear it frequently. (And this from someone who’s happy wearing true vintage girlish fragrances like Sortilege and Je Reviens!)  I seem to be the only tuberose fan who wasn’t smitten with this one.  I admit that it could be the Curse of Lauder to my nose, although I did give it three good tests with an open mind. 

The Bottom Line :
Quality B+
Grab-scale score 5
Short description        Gardenia tuberose; pretty but feels dated.
Cost $$
Earns compliments: Yes
Scent presence Average (2 spritzes last 5-6 hours), mild sillage.
Review Report: Aromascope, Now Smell This, Bois de JasminPerfume-Smellin’ Things, Beauty Addict, Perfume Shrine

(See Tuberose Series 1 for any clarification on the Bottom Line criteria.)
Top image is the eau de parfum bottle, from The parfum bottle is far more gorgeous, with semi-precious stones.  However, I didn’t review the parfum.
Lower image is pua tuberose from victorey at flickr.


9 thoughts on “Tuberose Series Part 2: Estee Lauder Private Collection Tuberose Gardenia”

  1. This is my favourite of the EL PC trio, and I do find it very pretty and wearable – though I wouldn't want to douse myself in it. Would love the bejewelled bottle, but that is sadly too spendy.

  2. Flitter, that IS a gorgeous bottle the parfum comes in. Sigh.(We never buy for the bottle, do we? No. Never.)PCTG is very wearable. I might feel more charitable toward it if it were warmer, but perhaps not. It just didn't catch my heart. I didn't bother even sniffing the Jasmine White Moss or whatever it is, neither jasmine nor moss being favorites of mine.

  3. It was Jasmine White Moss that finally convinced me I am fundmentally not a mossy person, which rules out a whole swathe of vintagey chypre stuff, though I do like Cristalle. There's always an exception to every rule!

  4. Just clocked that Harry Fremont is the perfumer, a guy whose work I normally do not like – Gwen Stefani LAMB, some of the Harakuju Lovers etc. I am glad I didn't know that upfront as I might even have given this one a miss!

  5. Ooh… I love this stuff. I received a sample with something else (Youth Dew?) that I bought from EL and was instantly smitten. This was the fragrance that changed me from a white floral hater to a white floral lover. It is very ladylike, but I like to wear when I'm dressed casually as well. I think that it helps that I live in the South, so I don't feel as much like an imposter swanning about in a more elegant scent. I do wish that the gorgeous opening lasted longer – I usually give it a little spritz in my hair or on clothing to extend the gardenia phase.

  6. Cynthia, I was surprised that I found it too girly – I am usually very fond of simple prettiness (go see my review of Mariella Burani). I might feel differently about it when wearing it with a cotton dress, and perhaps warm weather would change my mind too. I love girly, I love big white florals, I love pearls and hats and gloves… I don't know why I didn't love PCTG.

  7. I'm so late to this party you'll probably never see my comment, but I generally avoid EL fragrances for just the very reason you've detailed…there's just something that emerges after about an hour that makes me feel a little ill, agitated even. You've made this sound so lovely and wearable (I'll just slip a string of pearls on with my sweater and jeans…that'll work) I think I'll track down a sample of this –maybe it will be an exception to my "just say no to EL" rule.

  8. Hey, Daisy – I thought I sent you a sample of this? Maybe not, since you don't like ELs – it could have been Jasmine White Moss. If you don't have it, I'll toss a sample in your box. And Mals, I would definitely say that it works better in the Spring/Summer – I haven't touched it since August.

  9. Daisy – this one's wearable. No "Gah, I just ate a hippo" feel at all.Cynthia, isn't it fun to be the enabler for once??

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