Reviews of Youth Dew by Estée Lauder

    Find out more about Youth Dew by Estée Lauder in the Basenotes Fragrance Directory

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    babsbendix's avatar
    United States United States

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    At one point I was searching for a spicy rose scent by notes - cinnamon, rose, cloves, and amber were my search terms, I think. I was surprised that Youth Dew came up as one of the only things in that search result. And then it came up again when I searched for some combination of resin-y notes. I had long written off Youth Dew for a lurking bitterness, which I now think must be the civet, and I hadn't tried it again since probably the 80s. So I tested it on paper first, and the next day I couldn't believe how rich, warm, sweet, and smooth the drydown on paper was, just my sort of thing. I then tried it on my skin, and while to this day I don't really pick out rose, I get a wonderful floral accord that reminds me of jonquil more than the listed ylang - very similar to the floral accord in Tabu, my drugstore favorite. That accord and the patchouli combined do create a certain similarity between the two frags, though Tabu is less spicy and a little daytime cologne by comparison! I think Youth Dew must be in the top three or five most potent scents ever. I actually bought the bath oil because I was concerned about over application with the spray, and whether or not the oil is a new formulation - I don't know - it really radiates warmth like few things I've encountered.

    13 March, 2014

    ChellyBird's avatar
    United Kingdom United Kingdom

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    I love this, it was a present from my husband after the birth of our first child. it is quite heady.

    31st January, 2014

    Captain's avatar
    Canada Canada

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    This scent has a special place in my heart as it was my mom's signature. By the time she found it had been available for over 20 years! I think this perfume has framed my attitude and preferences around scents. To this day, the most satisfying are orientals - rich warm powdery balsams, with oak moss and spice. As a teen and young adult, I gravitated toward Obsession, the little sister to Youth Dew and Shalimar, Youth Dew's mom. :3 But, never Youth Dew itself, that was an unspoken forbidden as that was my mom, wasn't just her scent, it WAS her.

    I'm wearing it after years of avoiding. I tried and it was never me (but since my mom's death, I've always owned it), it irritated or didn't feel right. But, it's time, I'm wearing it and I love it. It's a balm rich spicy incense with bold rose, but not too much, the spices and balm are what shine. I'm always surprised the sandalwood isn't listed in the ingredients but that's what is in incense so it's there for sure.

    Gorgeous and strong, just like those who wear it with pride. I tend to wear it when I know I'm going to need a strong scent - around smokers or exhaust or just in certain situations where I need a boost.

    Now, a rant! :D To those saying this is a "old lady scent", how insulting for women of any age. It's a SEXY scent, not one I would equate with a senior's home, maybe lavender and lilacs for the not sexy crowd, if that's the implication. It might have classic elements, sure, but say so and what they are. Don't insult women because you can't think of something positive to say about a fragrance. Also, to imply older women aren't sexy or want to feel or be sexy is ageist and sexist and all around deplorable.

    06 December, 2013 (Last Edited: 30th March, 2014)

    SuzanneEnnazus's avatar

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    People always tell me I smell nice.

    I bought the Youth Dew bath oil, not really thinking it would still smell on my skin ages after, but surprisingly people tell me I smell great and ask what I'm wearing. They're surprised it's only bath oil and not a perfume.

    Pros: Long lasting and very unique.
    Cons: I'm told it's old fashioned, but it isn't more old then Channel No 5. "

    09 September, 2013

    justbeq's avatar
    United States United States

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    Youth Dew and a Root Beer Float

    When I was a little girl my dad would always get these root beer candies shaped like little barrels. And sometimes he would share them with me. Youth-Dew reminds me of that candy and that candy reminds me of my father.

    I know what you’re thinking, "really, root beer?!" Yep, root beer! The balsams, the clove, the cinnamon and spices, the cassia…all ingredients in, you got it, root beer. I love a good root beer and I’m very picky with my root beer thanks to my dad.

    This is definitely a huge power-fume, a little goes a long way. If I’m not careful it can quickly lead to a headache from hell. The first time I sprayed this in a department store, I found myself in the restroom trying to scrub it off to no avail and thinking, "oh God, what have I done!"

    I waited a very long while before giving it another go, a small dose this time. And Magic! Or should I say Root Beer!

    08 September, 2013

    yrogergmc's avatar

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    Try first; a very love-or-hate scent.

    Youth Dew was the first perfume that completely kidnapped my senses and made me feel like I was in a magic world where everything smelled fantastic. I feel HAPPY when I wear this. Not only does it remind me of my grandmother, who had great taste in perfumes and particularly liked Estee Lauder, but it reminds me of places I've worn it, and the happy memories I had there. Youth Dew is my all-time favorite fragrance, and I love it so much that I often risk offense by really putting it on heavily. It's already a "heavy" scent, but I just love it so much! I like it even with a light touch, but I like it better when it emanates strongly. Because it isn't like some newer, floral-fruity scents, some people find it too strong for anything. Sadly, this is not office-friendly, although you might be able to get away with wearing it around the winter holidays. I love this so much that there are hardly words to adequately describe it. I know in my head that some people really dislike this scent - and if you put a lot on, they will tell you so - but in my heart, I can't imagine how anyone could dislike this beauty. One of the all-time great perfumes. Try it first, and if you like it, get the strongest concentration you can find. I use this perfume to judge whether a man is compatible with me. If he doesn't like this scent, I know better than to ask him out. Any other perfume might be negotiable, but this one is NOT. It's my must-have.

    Pros: Classic, sensual, good sillage, complex, rich, wonderful
    Cons: No matter how much you love it, be aware that some people hate it. Not office-friendly!"

    28 August, 2013

    nowwown's avatar

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    YouthDew is my new "old" favorite!

    Well, at 54 years old, I've come full circle. My Mom, who is now in her late 70's, always wore YouthDew. I remember it as a ubiquitous scent from the 1970's when I was growing up.

    My original signature scent was Charlie and I doused myself with that...then Jovan Musk, Love's Fresh Lemon, etc. I loved strong, signature perfumes even as a young girl.

    Today I wear Flowerbomb, Giorgio Armani Code, Manifesto and Humanity regularly. I recently bought my first bottle of YouthDew and just love it. I actually have been mixing it with other scents to tone it down a little and have received numerous compliments from men, from women, from young people, from elderly people. "Wow, you smell great!" is what I'm hearing all day, even 5-8 hours after I've sprayed 3-4 times on pulse points. I've been mixing it because I live in North Carolina and it's just so hot and humid here, I'm afraid I'll overpower everyone with such a strong signature scent during the day.

    But I find myself all day catching whiffs of my concoction and just loving it. It actually makes me smile a lot because it reminds me of my younger self and younger Mom.

    Pros: Long lasting, lingering scent that even I as the wearer enjoy
    Cons: Heavy scent for summer"

    09 August, 2013

    casism's avatar
    United Kingdom United Kingdom

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    If you love it, it keeps reminding you why

    I've come back to this one recently, after previously writing it off as too much.

    Truth be told, it's hard to have a neutral opinion on YD - it's too strong and significant, worn by so many women from the post-war years onwards, that everybody has a granny-auntie-mum memory of it, and this doesn't necessarily make it 'old' either.

    So first, the scent - it's famously a mostly-basenote smell, accounting for its strength and longevity. I notice the aldehydes at its top for only about a second, and get some rose in the heart notes, but it's mainly a petrol-oakmoss-resin-animalic creature to me.

    For some reason, YD makes me think of New York from the 50s through to the 70s - a city full of independent women with character, sauntering along with trench coat and cigarettes. In a similar way, Youth Dew is direct, meaningful, but unpretentious (I got mine for $60!). People will remember you with this, and it's the kind of perfume that puts songs and memories in your head.

    Pros: Deep, rich, memorable, relatively cheap
    Cons: Can be too strong on some people"

    14 July, 2013

    marie2013's avatar

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    Youth Dew smells like dirty diapers on me. Period. The only time it doesn't smell like dirty diapers is when it smells like dirty diapers but only because it smells like dirty diapers because it smells like dirty diapers. Period.

    Don't buy it. Spend 15 more dollars and buy the Beautiful or White Linen. Youth Dew is heinous on me, whether is be a single "dab" or just one spray.

    Pros: Longevity
    Cons: STINKS!

    31st May, 2013

    scents664's avatar

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    My husband bought this for me last Christmas, along with Cinnabar (which I love in the colder months). I really didn't have the heart to tell him that I hated this perfume. To me it just smells like nasty old lady perfume that you can't get away from. Recently I got the courage to tell him it didn't react well with my chemistry (I didn't want to hurt his feelings, as he picked it out for me, so I did the old "it's not you, it's me" thing), which actually worked to my advantage, because he didn't mind a bit when I gave it away (thank GOD that horrid stuff is gone!)

    10th May, 2013

    Ziala's avatar

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    About fifteen years ago a lady passed me on the street and I caught a whiff of her perfume. I had to ask her what it was. It was Youth dew perfume. I was lucky enough a while later to be able to buy my first bottle of Youth Dew Perfume. I did try it on in the store first and I walked away to let the scent settle and I loved it. I kept inhaling it over and over. To this day I still absolutely love this fragrance. I recently bought the perfumed body crème and it is identical to the perfume and the crème is nice to wear too and softens my skin.

    I love the different notes and at the end of the day the patchouli is prominent on me and I love it.

    Sears had a promotion for free Estee Lauder products with my purchase. This is my second such promotion, and I am thrilled with the free products and make up bag. The products are not tiny sample sizes and I was able to chose either light or dark for the make up products, nice to have a choice.

    I use to up until the last year use Tabu as my favourite perfume, I love the Youth Dew but Tabu was much more affordable for me. Well Tabu over the years changed their ingredients from natural to synthetic, so the scent was just slightly different but still recognizable as Tabu. Well it is now impossible to find even during the holidays. So Youth Dew is now the one I own, and the crème goes much further than the perfume and is ten dollars less, so I am a happy, happy lady.

    I only like Tabu and Youth Dew, and in the old days, Tigress and one other one I cannot remember right now. I am not a fan of sweet perfumes and many if not most of them are sweet and many of them smell similar, none have tempted me to buy them.

    21st April, 2013

    catsnharps's avatar

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    Some years ago I was visiting friends my Mom's age and took a squirt of the bottle of Youth Dew I found in the bathroom. it had a wonderfully spicy fragrance reminiscent of the perfumes my Mom wore. I liked it instantly and bought myself some. Youth Dew could almost be a unisex scent. It's very pungent and a little goes a long way. it is very long lasting, too and has become one of my favorite perfumes..

    14 February, 2013

    MysticGoose's avatar
    United States United States

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    I like it. I didn't when I was a kid; it was too intense for me. But it is spicy and rich. It doesn't seem to sweet to me. I am lucky because my mom and grandmothers never wore it. Where I live no one wears it. So its completely novel. It is sophisticated and confident. If the spray overpowers at first, try to find the perfume on ebay or try the bath oil. This seems expensive and complex but is very affordable compared to Guerlain for example. I think of it as a winter scent more than summer but not necessarily an evening scent. A bit like L'Heure Blue by Guerlain.

    13 February, 2013

    softstarlight's avatar
    Australia Australia

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    Have always Loved this, warm, spicy, luxurious - I think it's a classic :)

    19 January, 2013

    ojaddicte's avatar
    Canada Canada

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    The other day I was walking past the EL counter, and decided to take a whiff of Youth Dew. I was expecting to be hit over the head by something repugnant, but was pleasantly surprised by the incense wafting out of the bottle. I passed on trying it on skin that day. Today I found myself back at the EL counter for the express purpose of testing YD on my skin. Wow. On me, I get a deep incenscey fragrance that reminds me of what Opium smelled like when it was initially released. (I'm in my 40's... My Mom wore Opium when I was little and it was fabulous on her.) I saw my Mom after that trip to the mall and she asked me if I was wearing pre-reformulation Opium. She was stunned to learn that I was wearing EL Youth Dew. It is spicy, warm and what I love most, full of incense. My skin has a tendency to devour scent, but that doesn't appear to be a problem with YD. It is still lingering on my skin 7 hours after a single modest spray to my wrist. I definitely see a FB in my future.

    18 November, 2012 (Last Edited: 19 November, 2012)

    ynde's avatar
    Australia Australia

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    My mum has been wearing this ever since I was little, and I've always loved it on her. On other women that wear this, it seems strong and incredibly spicy, but on my mum there has always been a sweet undertone. She started wearing it when she turned 20, so for my 20th birthday she bought me a bottle too. I love it! It's a little bit of home whenever I'm away or feeling nostalgic. And luckily enough for me, it's quite sweet and warm on my skin too. My first 'classic' and truly 'grown up' perfume, and definitely more me than any other I've tried. I can see myself wearing this for the rest of my life - please don't ever discontinue, Estée Lauder!

    07 November, 2012

    hagertygal's avatar

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    First off, let me say, I am far from being 90 years old. I am 35. And I LOVE Youth Dew, it is my signature scent, along with Azuree. For years, I spent a fortune on different perfumes. Most of them are not even around anymore and have been discontinued. So YD interested me. After all, it's been around nearly 60 years and still even has gift sets at the holidays. So something has to be working in it's favor and I refuse to believe it is the 80+ granny market spending their retirement savings.

    If you smell YD right from the bottle, yes, you will recoil in horror. Too may folks associate this with old lady scent, I think in part becuase so many older folks drench themselves in it. Please, only two sprays is enough and will last you all day and into the next.

    I bought YD (and it is still just $34) and tried it on. After 15 minutes, I was in love with it's powdery amber and spicyness. I went to bed and by the next morning, I was still smelling it. Strangely, it DOES have a cola smell to it, it reminds me of the cola flavored Bottlecaps candy. But it also has an ambery, cinnamony spice.

    This scent is perfect for cooler months, like fall and winter. And surprisingly, I get more compliments on this perfume than I have ever gotten from wearing the 100 plus scents I tried in the past. I find that younger men in their 20s and 30s ask me most often. My male coworker says he loves to stand next to me just to get a whiff.

    I really wish women would try this. Unfortunately, all folks want is instant gratification. They want fruity and flowery top notes and want to be instantly sold. I have had many perfumes that let me down once I got them, simply because the top notes that roped me in were lost after an hour and left me with a drydown of nothing. Not so from YD! It is the drydown that keeps me hooked.

    Funny story......when I first met my now husband......we had no phone numbers for eachother, he simply knew where I worked and would come in for lunch everyday. He kept asking me out. After about a month or so, I stopped by the bar he said he went to after work but he was not there. I stayed for a bit, talking to hs friends. I left and later the next day, he stopped in to say he knew instantly that I had gone looking for him. He knew, because he had missed me by five minutes, yet when he entered the bar, he immediately smelled the trail of my perfume. It was YD! We have been married ever since.

    I find YD hold up to storage well, too. Seems my hubby gives me this any chance he can get. I always say thank you. He doesn't seem to realize I have about ten bottles now. I recently opened a new one, from five years ago. It still smells exactly as it should. My Christmas wish list? Nothing but YD bath oil.

    18 September, 2012

    Berlynnvintage's avatar
    Canada Canada

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    I really like this perfume. It wasn't at all what I expected; the spicy notes, cloves and patchouli stand out the most on me which conjur thoughts of days spent making christmas cakes and gingerbread. I don't really smell any specific age with this perfume, other than I could see it more being worn by an adult than a teen. It's woody and spicy and on first application it could easily be unisex, but then it dries and its feminine all the way. This could easily become one of my favourites!

    05 September, 2012

    exciter76's avatar
    United States United States

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    I have a very old bottle of this. It might be older than some of you, dear young members of Basenotes. It’s old. Saying it aloud, it sounds like a putrid bottle of an already hideous fragrance. I promise you, it is better today than it was when I first acquired it.

    I got it when I was eighteen (you can probably figure out my age based on my user name, and thus, can extrapolate an age of the bottle); my grandmother gave it to my mother and my mother passed it off to me. When I was in my teens I obsessed on having random bottles of perfume—whether or not I liked the perfume was completely irrelevant. This was one of those bottles. I hated the stuff when I was eighteen but I told my grandmother I loved it. I got in the habit of wearing it whenever I went to visit her and in that time my relationship with Youth Dew progressed from disgust to mellow indifference. Skip ahead about ten years to a forgotten bottle that has sat in cold, dark abandon. Many J’adore and Coco bottles later I’d forgotten about it. Strange, considering it is an unforgettable fragrance.

    This is going to sound contradictory but it stinks. I love it but it does reek of something mentholated and heavily medicated—I’ll bet the balsam and various greens are to blame for this. Yet, there is something soothing in that muscle relaxant cream scent. It’s strong and for many, it’s hard to stomach. Luckily, as the years have passed, my aged bottle has lost much of its medicated smell and mellowed to a deep, dark, decadently spiced amber.

    Think of this fragrance as a vintage article of clothing—maybe a fuzzy carnation pink cardigan—from the 1950s. It takes a certain kind of man or woman to pull this off. It can be worn with irony or it can be worn with sincerity, in homage to a time passed. I rather fancy myself wearing it with a mix of irony and sincerity. Many comparisons have been made between YD and the spicy orientals of the 1970s and I’d say YD is the forerunner for these perfumes. It is in a class of its own but the similarities are definitely there. This fragrance unfurls ever so slowly, taking measured steps from first spray to last embers of sillage. And, oh, is this ever the sillage bomb!

    I refuse to defend Youth Dew’s honor. It’s been around nearly sixty years and needs no words from me to protect its prestigious/infamous name. I do believe everyone should try it at least once, for history’s sake. If you acquire a taste for it, well, so much the better.

    19 July, 2012

    Beehles's avatar
    United States United States

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    People seem to have really strong feelings about this scent one way or the other. Me, I love it on both me and on my mother, who is also a fragrance afficianado. People have said they think this scent smell "old lady" or "old fashioned". I guess it depends on body chemistry and on the personality of the person who is wearing it. It fits me and mom, to a "T".

    I am in my mid-thirties and on me, Youth Dew smells beautiful, warm and sexy whereas other popular fragrances like Mugler's Angel smell awful (like rancid fruit). Like I said- body chemistry. I know what works for me and I don't pay attention to trends or image. What smells good, smells good even if it was first popularized in the 1950s and to some people it smells dated. On me I think it doesn't- it smell re-invented with my own personal style and flair. So what if it IS my mom's signature smells beautiful on me too!

    On me Youth Dew is spicy and sweet with an underlying base of vanilla, amber and patchouli. It melts into my skin so I smell like delicious vanilla and cinnamon all day long. A note of caution bottle is a vintage one from the early 80's gifted to me by mom from her private stash. Don't buy the modern version. It's nothing like the older bottles. Many are still available on eBay for a very reasonable price.

    12 May, 2012

    JackTwist's avatar
    United States United States

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    YOUTH DEW – Lauder – 1952 [light oriental]

    An unfortunate name for any scent, this caused a revolution in the marketing of perfume, being based on oil rather than alcohol, and originally released as an “after bath cologne.”

    This serves as my every day oriental. It is round, warm and enveloping, emphasizing cinnamon. It strongly resembles TABU, but without the cloying effect the latter can evoke with its simple formula of Patchouli, Carnation, Oakmoss and Vanilla. It was worn by both Gloria Swanson and Joan Crawford.

    Top Notes: Orange, Bergamot, Peach, Spice
    Middle Notes: Clove, Cinnamon, Cassia, Rose, Ylang Ylang, Jasmine, Orchid, Carnation
    Base Notes: Frankincense, Amber, Vanilla, Oakmoss, Musk, Patchouli, Vetiver, Tolu, Benzoin, Peru Balsam

    01st May, 2012

    Vaporesque's avatar
    United States United States

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    I was hoping to like this because of the oh so cute bottle. I tried it via a store tester during three separate shopping trips to accommodate for different stress/hormone profiles. I eventually broke out in a rash on all three occasions. I still have not pinpointed the offending ingredient(s), but will permanently move it to my bottle-only wish list.

    03 March, 2012

    Zut's avatar

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    When a beauty cream saleslady attempts to turn a cheap bath oil it into a "perfume" just to make a few bucks Youth Dew is what you get. Totally revolting. I do believe this could have been a very interesting fragrance in spite of everything. All the elements were there. If a competent perfumer had taken the time to make a more balanced composition, the results could have been very interesting. However, this dark juice is so strong, unrefined and cloying one would think it was meant for people with virtually no sense of smell. Back in the early 80's, a fellow employee used to wear it. Everything she touched reeked of Youth Dew. We all complained about it and eventually, she had to give it up. She switched to Sketch by Molinard (which has been discontinued, unfortunately). Sketch shared some notes with YD but it was a much more balanced and subtle composition.

    20th October, 2011

    LadyDragonFire's avatar

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    This is a really nice perfume and anyone who completely dismisses it and/or calls it an "old lady scent" just because it was made in the 1950's is doing this fragrance a great injustice. Fortunately, I can see that most people here agree with me.
    Youth Dew smells mostly like burning incense with some exotic spices and citrus thrown in. It's a bit heavy and strong when I first spray it on, but it mellows out a bit when it begins to dry down. It's definitely a really nice perfume to wear in colder weather because it gives a strong impression of being warm and enveloping (to me anyway.) I am seriously thinking about buying a bottle of this for the winter.
    I also feel compelled to say that I have no idea why this perfume was only rated four stars in the "A-Z Guide to Perfume." To me, this is easily a five star fragrance. If you haven't tried Youth Dew yet you really should.

    19 September, 2011

    Darvant's avatar
    Italy Italy

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    A respectful classic potpourri, luxurious in its important notes of citrus, neroli, rose, cloves , cinnamon, patchouli and amber. As said enough natural, incensey, spicy/rough, decadent and retro to deserve a certain level of respect. Decidedly soaring in the air because of aldehydes. Witness of a left over era. It lacks of uniqueness anyway.
    P.s I tested it again recently together with Cinnabar and Knowing. Have to say that Youth Dew is high and aristocratic, an almost forbidding juice with its indolic blend of exotic spices, mellow fruits, aldehydes, hesperides, floral notes and patchouli. This fragrance is an ode to the cinnamon/ylang-ylang exotic combo in my opinion. The vintage mellifluence is deliciously stuffy, spicy and decadent. The intensity is complex and multifaceted, the spicy fruitiness is almost salty in intensity, the general exoticism is evocative of left over ages mastered around by the olfactory trails from Diva, Mitsouko, Cinnabar, Beautiful, Opium, First, Aromatics Elixir and other giants.

    24 August, 2011 (Last Edited: 10th November, 2012)

    blood-orange's avatar
    Australia Australia

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    From a younger person's perspective, I guess it might come as a bit of a shock when I admit that I actually love this fragrance.

    Old lady? I think not. As a 19 year old girl I would not feel ashamed by wearing this scent.

    Youth-Dew is sophisticated, elegant, warm, inviting and in some ways strangely sexy. While I'm not a fan of fragrances containing aldehydes, I do love it when the powdery quality of the aldehydes are blended with spices. This blend gives this fragrance such a rich and feminine quality.

    I have heard some people describe this fragrance as smelling similar to incense or exotic merchandise stores. I may just have to agree with that statement, however personally I love those smells, I find them to be quite soothing.

    Where this scent goes wrong is when it is applied too heavily. Two or three sprays are certainly enough, any more and even I would be cringing at the thought of Youth-Dew.

    04 June, 2011

    jtd's avatar
    United States United States

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    Be careful wearing a perfume made almost entirely of basenotes. A little bergamot can hardly be heard behind the heavy amber/vanillic /spice stage curtain. Likewise, a bit of aldehyde can’t lift the 400 pound gorilla. Dense and proud, sister Youth Dew.

    This stuff must have been a spectacular accessory in the good-girl/bad-girl, loud-subtext barbarity of the mid 20th century.

    15 April, 2011 (Last Edited: 14 July, 2012)

    lady love's avatar
    lady love
    Argentina Argentina

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    Opium smell very similar to Youth Dew(Edp 2010)..

    Overall both Fragrances smell practically the same. On the one hand there's Opium placing more emphasis on Citruses,Coconut and Pepper notes, and in the other hand Balsam notes, vetiver, patchouli and Ylang Ylang shine more on Youth Dew. I think Opium is more shiny , intense and Youth Dew more gloomy, mysterious. Both Fragances are amazingly well done.

    Spices are present but not in a intense way. Is not overwhelming if you aply just a little. Anyway i think Opium outshine Youth dew.

    28 January, 2011

    danielabeatriz's avatar
    Brazil Brazil

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    I couldn't live without it in my collection - is chic, has a vintage feel and develops beautifully in mys skin - once you go through the aldeidic start it leaves a warm, spicy, velvety feel, with a lot of flowers. A keeper, for sure.

    14 January, 2011

    Odile's avatar

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    Repulsed upon first encounter, I have nevertheless maintained a strange flirtation with Youth Dew over the years that has finally morphed into something resembling fascination and respect. Sometimes my feelings border on like, certainly not love, but at least no longer utter revulsion. I remember sniffing the bottle at an Estee Lauder counter very early on in my first experimentations with fragrance. It hit me wrong in every way imaginable – the old-fashioned design of the bottle, the weird and borderline offensive name, the dank darkness of the juice and the far-too-complex –for- a- teenager’s- appreciation odor were just too much. As a young girl I simply thought the vile juice was marketed to little old ladies who actually must want to smell like little old ladies. I lacked the imagination or the grace to conjure up a time in history when this must have smelled new & exciting, possibly even *sexy*? Then, (and still now to varying degrees), the complete package of impressions fills me with an unexplainable sadness, the way that vintage trinkets in an antique store or old lace stained brown by the passage of time makes me sad. Ghosts of another time. Upon my first several encounters I personified Youth Dew as Miss Havisham - with her dead flowers and mouldering cake and tattered wedding dress - desperately clinging to something long gone that will never be again. A tragic spinster of a perfume.

    And yet. . . and yet I can’t seem to leave well enough alone. I revisit and retry. I followed every board’s recommendation and got the bath oil and it indeed has a unique beauty all its own. It has grown on me, needled at me. I am nearly addicted to the cola-like notes and sometimes greedily inhale from my bottle, but I am rarely able to wear it and enjoy it without a hefty dose of self-consciousness and a modicum of regret. This smells anachronistic on me in a way that other, far older classics don’t strike me such as Shalimar, Mitsouko, or Habanita. It feels at odds with my personality & sense of self. This strikes me as far older than something introduced in the 1950s, closer in feel to ancient ceremonial spices. Despite my ambivalence however, I somehow find myself with a large collection of YD products including the EDP, bath oil, dusting powder and soap. Something about it intrigues me. As mentioned, the bath oil is the way to go – you can dab in nice discrete amounts – the sillage is soft but goes on forever. If you love this fragrance you are lucky indeed as it’s one of the best bargains around.

    I can’t deny the comparisons to Opium & the similarities, however in my mind they are yin and yang to one another – Opium is smoldering heat and YD is coolly chaste. The “sex” in Opium is hot and passionate - tantric. In YD, it’s more like sexuality that has been suppressed, denied. Like unsullied, sad-eyed convent dwellers covering up their natural, female smells with the more “innocent” scents of powder and soap. Something about it unnerves me – a primal dark sensuality lurking below an artificial virtuousness.

    This is not to say I don’t like it as a perfume, it just that it seems to invoke a melancholy that while sometimes can be solemnly lovely, is more often a mood killer. Somehow the vibrancy and animalic heat in Opium make it feel more contemporary, easier to spend the day with. I do hope my relationship with YD continues to evolve & predict that the bath oil will always be a part of my collection. Though I don’t enjoy wearing it often, I concede that it is an extraordinary scent, and sometimes a guilty pleasure I wear for myself when I’m by myself and don’t have to worry about the statement it makes.

    21st December, 2010

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