I was prepared to like Estée Lauder's new Pleasures Bloom fragrance. I really was. I had loved Pleasures Jasmine Violet Splash, a spritzer incarnation of Pleasures that was introduced about a year ago. One of my friends loved it too, and the bottle was huge, so I was able to share frequently. I assumed Bloom might be similar.
Estée Lauder describes Pleasures Bloom as fruity, luscious, vibrant, and playful. I would describe it as a floral-fruit blend with a gratuitous addition of patchouli and vanilla. Why perfumers consider patchouli a mandatory addition to fragrances these days is beyond me. To me, it screams "department store," cheap, and a few unmentionables. To them, it whispers "feminine."
The original Pleasures fruity-floral scent is said to be have been "updated" to be contemporary and playful, vibrant and carefree. Seriously, those are the adjectives the Estée Lauder Company uses. Here's how Karyn Khoury, Senior Vice President for Corporate Fragrance Development Worldwide, describes Pleasures Bloom.
We wanted to take the timeless core concept of pleasures - the enjoyment of life's simple pleasures as the balance to a life that is often over connected and overextended - and express it with a new level of animation and vibrancy that reflects the world we live in today. The concept...is less about tranquil calmness and more about adding energy, animation, and color to life.
The fragrance opens on a "fresh and playful, fruity blend" of grapefruit, raspberry, and a violet flower made to feel more modern thanks to a juicy note of lychee. I think modern means one can't have a pure floral anymore. The heart of the perfume is radiant and feminine with notes of dewy pink peony, elegant rose, intoxicating jasmine, and the intrigue of green lily. Up to this point, we are cooking! The base notes are "warm and enveloping," resting on "soft, shimmering" musk, patchouli, and creamy vanilla. What they ended up with is a mishmash of notes that jars me. Even the bag in which I brought home my samples (generously provided by an Estée Lauder representative) stinks with that contemporary note of stale perfume that characterizes so many fragrances. I'm reminded of the worst perfumes of all time - those that could clear an elevator.
The advertising features the gorgeous model Hillary Rhonda relaxing in the summery atmosphere of a field of wild flowers. That will probably sell a few bottles.
Should Pleasures Bloom be just what you're looking for, you can purchase the Eau de Parfum spray for $52 or $74 at Estée Lauder counters or the Web site.
Let me know what you think!
Photos courtesy of Estée Lauder