Estee Lauder Modern Muse: A New Launch I Love


It’s finally happened. A new fragrance has been launched that I love. There wasn’t even a free tote bag to bribe me with. My sample was free from the lovely lady at my local Estee Lauder concession. No obligation to write a nice review, but I will because I love it. (I may have accidentally agreed to a makeover in order to get the sample, however).

I do apologise if I have been sounding like a grumpy old lady when it comes to new launches of late. Muttering away about everything smelling the same and too much vanilla, and too much fruit, and then finally…a miracle! Estee Lauder Modern Muse has only a touch of citrus orange to its name. No red berries. No candy floss, no discernible vanilla, and no overloaded sugary Baby Angel finish.


For every person that thinks new launches are either a Britney or an Angel homage (i.e me), there are equally those who think many new launches are copies of the much revered Narciso Rodriguez For Her. Modern Muse could be accused of such. Indeed, there are many Fragrantica users who vote that it smells like NR for Her.

However, as much as I love fragrances in the style of NR for Her (SJP Lovely is a permafixture on my dressing table), I feel it would be unfair to simply label Modern Muse as a smellalike. It is in fact, only the base notes which hold any similarity to NR for Her.

Modern Muse opens with clean Petals, Jasmine (in spades) and Tuberose. It is a bouquet of a smell, prevented from being too cloying with a spritz of orange in there somewhere. The middle notes retain the Jasmine and Tuberose, but are now turning woodier as the Patchouli starts to gradually make its present felt.


The basenotes are a wonderful mix of Patchouli, Wood, Musk and Tuberose. It’s at this point that I feel it must be said that whilst the Musky Patchouli base has much in common with NR for Her, the flowers make Modern Muse, dare I say it, a cut above.

Impossibly feminine, with good longevity and arms’ length sillage, this is a great buy and an important launch.

Estee Lauder still remains, in my eyes, the best quality fragrance you can buy on the High Street. Among all the ubiquitous brands and newbies and celebuscents, Estee Lauder can still provide accessible classics such as Cinnabar, Youth Dew, Private Collection , Alliage, White Linen and Pleasures.  Modern Muse can stand alongside the EL greats without a blush.


9 thoughts on “Estee Lauder Modern Muse: A New Launch I Love”

  1. I heartily agree about the fantastic quality of the Estee Lauder range. They really are good things. And as Luca Turin points out, there are almost no other mainstream ‘department store’ perfume brands that have their entire historic range available on every counter (with the exception of my beloved Alliage, which you can only get in Selfridges for some strange reason). They still make the mahossive 80s shoulder pad monsters, the 70s sport fragrances and the 60s classics, with just as much care and attention as is paid to the rest of the range.

    Have you tried the absolutely beautiful Private Collection range? (Not the historic perfume.) There are three – Amber Ylang Ylang, Tuberose Gardenia and Jasmine White Moss – all are gorgeous and all smell beautiful and expensive. It sounds as if Modern Muse is taking a leaf from their book. What a good thing, too! I shall have to try this, it sounds like a very rare bird indeed if it is not a fruity floral vanilla. Huzzah!

    1. Yes, Estee Lauder is a trusty old friend and pretty much the only place you can still pick up top quality Old School on the High Street. I like the fact that they ignore current fashion and that they don’t discontinue stuff just because everyone else is doing something different at the time.

      The only Private Collection ones I have tried are the Tuberose and Gardenia (very good, but whoah there if you’re sharing a lift) and the Amber and Ylang Ylang which I tried recently but couldn’t get a good handle on as I had broken my rule of “one scent to one wrist and then go home”!.

  2. Heya!
    I have a sample of Modern Muse and am loving it too. It could have been launched by a niche company and people would have gone crazy and paid through the roof. Even the bottle with that modern Art Deco vibe is hefty and will look great on the dresser or in the vanity. The lasting power is excellent too. YAY! A well priced winner,
    Portia xx

    1. Hi Portia, always lovely to have a friend drop by! Yes I agree. This is really special and such a change from all the same old same old! I find it amazing that we can chat about the same perfume like this even though you are 12000 miles away!

  3. You know, face on (so to speak) it has a certain Princess Leia quality, don’t you think? Or am I thinking of Princess Amygdulla? You’d know, IScents, as I have heard about the Star Wars-ification of your home. 🙂

  4. Not to mention Estée (my signature scent) and Azurée!

    I totally agree, Estée Lauder is the most classy and consistent of all perfume houses, by far. Modern Muse is sumptuously sophisticated, feminine and beautiful. As with most Estée fragrances it smells effortlessly elegant. Possibly their best offering since…? Cinnabar? I can’t wait for it to be launched in the UK.

  5. Agree, this is one of the very few mainstream launches that I have liked for quite some time. I also like SJP Lovely (prefer it to NR for her), in fact if I was limited to standard department store brands (exclude Selfridges etc) I would probably pick the SJP, so it’s good to be able to add another one! I really enjoy the blog, a very fresh approach without the usual clichees and hype .

    1. Hello Alice and thank you so much fro dropping by and for your very kind words. I’m genuinely touched.

      I adore SJP Lovely and it’s an absolute steal at around £20 for 100ml (at least online). It was one of those perfumes that having smelled it once, I ordered it the very same day.

      You obviously have fantastic taste, just like me 🙂

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