Estée Lauder : White Linen

Created by : Sophia Grojsman

Date : 1978

Genre : Aldehydic floral

Concentration : eau de parfum

I went to the store and tried White Linen several times before I decided to buy it.  I found White Linen very hard to love, even like, at first sniff.  Eventually, I purchased a bottle because I needed an example of an overly aldehydic floral for a perfume conference I was giving.  On a scent strip White Linen repelled me, particularly during the first 30 minutes, but when I wore it to the office the following day, I liked it.

My previous Estée Lauder purchase was the sublime Private Collection Tuberose Gardenia and so the bar was very high but I found that as an everyday fragrance, White Linen is perfect if you like soapy white florals sparkling with aldehydes.  To describe what aldehydes do to a perfume, Jacques Polge, Chanel’s nose, describes it best… “les aldéhydes concourent à brouiller les pistes.”  In English, aldehydes blur the notes which is why Chanel No. 5, although made up of rose, jasmine and ylang-ylang smells like no one particular flower.  In the case of White Linen, with its overdose of aldehydes, the floral notes of rose, jasmine, lilac, orris, lily of the valley and ylang-ylang are totally unrecognizable… but you do get an impression of a blurred white floral bouquet.

In addition, you get a big white soapy note, Ivory soap to be exact, which lasts throughout the day… up until the laundry musk drydown.  This is not my favourite finale but White Linen’s musk is not too bad… however check out Dane’s review from Peredepierre for a different take on the drydown.  There may be something that I’m missing.

You know… I can’t help but be impressed with Estée Lauder’s mission to provide women and men with luxurious perfume at everyday prices which would explain why Estée Lauder is over-represented in my collection.  I think White Linen would be particularly fun during the summer and I see no reason why men can’t wear it… especially with that ultra-clean Ivory note… which if you believe the early advertisements, is great for depression.

This one may be not be in my current top ten… but I bet it moves up as the days get longer and the weather warms up.  Try this one.  At this price, it would be a shame to miss out… just don’t judge it on the first 30 minutes.


Top image : Anna Pavlova in The Dying Swan (1905)

Bottom image : Vintage advertisement for Ivory Soap

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