Estée Lauder : Knowing

Created by : Elie Roger

Date : 1988

Genre : Rose chypre

Concentration : eau de parfum

The hardest perfume reviews to write are those when I either love or hate the perfume.  At the opposite ends of the spectrum, words are scarce.  Describing shades of grey is easy compared to describing to someone what white or black is like.  With Knowing, it’s the same… because I love it.

Knowing is unapologetically perfume… a dramatic shock-and-awe rose chypre that was the last of its breed, coming out in 1988 just before the 90s fad of less-is-more hit the perfume counters.  Its opaque and powerful mossy base is as good as chypres get but the patchouli is fairly strong here so if you don’t like patchouli, test it before buying it.  What I love particularly about Knowing is the dark red rose heart that counterbalances the mossy base and its nostalgic quality that channels old school perfumery.

When I wear Estée Lauder’s Knowing, I think of a woman who Diana Vreeland said was as “common as mud” except when she was on stage… Maria Callas.  I mean, could you imagine la diva as the vindictive, monstrous Médée wearing a lighter-than-air skin scent as she poisons a rival and then murders her own two children?  It couldn’t happen, I tell you.  Never.

Knowing is a great example of Estée Lauder’s marketing strategy of offering luxury at an everyday price.  The only thing you have to worry about this fragrance is when to wear it.  Because of its presence, Knowing is best worn outdoors or if you’re going to a large space, say, a museum where you’ll be moving around.  If you want to wear it to work or for an evening, go light… a little goes a long way.  As for sillage and longevity, Knowing scores perfect tens.

Collectors should own Knowing because it’s an excellent example of a late-80s rose chypre which doesn’t seem to have been tampered with.  Perfumistas should own it simply because it’s wonderful.  As for everybody else, buy and wear Knowing the next time you decide to poison someone.  It will be perfect for the occasion.

Image : Maria Callas as Medea


Leave a comment


  1. FiveoaksBouquet

     /  November 20, 2011

    Normand, is it too late to comment on this review? Just found it reading reviews. The drama is right on! A lady at the bus stop smelled fabulous. I asked her what her scent was. This was it and the next day I bought it. Reading reviews and ratings on the internet afterward, with the exception of two or three people, the lowest rating seems to be four stars out of five. Yet there’s not too much buzz about Knowing. Looking forward to exploring this scent. You’re right about the dynamism. It fairly crackles!

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