I had my first bottle of Estee Lauder Beautiful for my 18th birthday, bought for me by my father. I don’t know how he chose it. He and Mum had been divorced for eight years by then, so I’m pretty sure it wasn’t her idea. It was 1988 and the adverts on the TV and in magazines portrayed the beautiful Paulina Porizkova as a bride. Certainly there is something very bridal about this many flowers in one place.
Beautiful pretty much uses so many floral notes that there are none left for anyone else. Back then I noticed Roses. These days I notice the Tuberose and the Jasmine more powerfully than any other notes. In fact I’d go as far as to say that it doesn’t do to break Beautiful down into individual notes. The cacophony of different flowers almost produces a new hybrid flower, which, if it existed in real life, you would only ever need one in a bouquet, and nothing else. That would be plenty, believe me.
My taste has changed since I was 18, which was 25 years ago. These days I don’t like my scents so sweet. However the creamy, loud, sweet flowers of Beautiful will always hold a place in my heart as it is the first proper bottle of perfume I ever owned. I will never forget the thrill of seeing the pink and gold box when I took off the wrapping paper.
The notes include an eclectic range: Amber, Sandalwood, Rose, Carnation, Tuberose, Narcissus, Lilac, Bergamot, Jasmine, Geranium, Marigold…If you saw the notes written down and had never smelled Beautiful, you imagination would be thoroughly confused by all the contradictions.
Creamy flowers, loud and proud, with a warm, sandy finish. It’s not everyone’s cup of tea, but to me, it speaks of the idealised glamour I aspired to when I was 18, when even my spectacles were rose tinted.