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21 Feb 2014

Estee Lauder #modernmuse

If you like Narcisco Rodriguez or Sarah Jessica Parker's Lovely, then I think you would love Estee Lauder's Modern Muse.

This fragrance has been getting a lot of traction lately. Arizona Muse, the face of the perfume, has been plastered over ad campaign space.

I was introduced to it a few weeks ago over dinner with Karyn Khoury, the Senior Vice President of Fragrance Development for Estee Lauder. She gave a beautiful presentation, telling us about the story of Modern Muse and it went something like this...

a) It is a scent designed to reflect the dynamic nature of modern life.

b)  In order to do this Modern Muse has an innovative dual impression structure featuring Sparkling Jasmine Accord and Woods accord (Patchouli, Amber Wood, Musk). This allows a woman to connect with the fragrance in her own way with some focussing on the white florals and others the warm, rich woodiness.

b) Duality is also part of the packaging. In colour, two contrasting shades of blush pink and deep navy blue and in shape a strong, tall glass bottle with soft rounded sides.

It was a lovely event - they had me at the table setting :) - and after a few weeks of wear I have reached a conclusion...

So first of all, the marketing concept is an appealing one. I love the idea of a fragrance that celebrates women and every element of the campaign harnesses onto that warm, fuzzy idea of supporting the sisterhood. If you look at the #modernmuse hashtag on Twitter you will see stories from consumers, stating who they think is their muse in life - and it's almost always a woman. That kind of sentiment would easily push a bottle into my hands.

Aesthetically I also love Modern Muse. The colour combination and the addition of a bow, inspired by the iconic bow on Estee Lauder's first fragrance, Youth Dew, is a charming touch.

But fragrance wise what do I think?

I mentioned the dupes at the beginning of this post - Narcisco Rodriquez and SJP's Lovely - and this really reminds me of those, albeit a lighter, more subtle version. When I spray this I get the burst of patchouli and white florals but the dry down is more on the Jasmine side. I have no issue with this because Jasmine is one of my very favourite notes. Perhaps because of the way it reacts on me, and whispers as a scent, I would describe this as an ideal day perfume.

This isn't a bad thing at all. Flowerbomb/Angel/Black Orchid et al are the type of fragrances that scream and when you are in close proximity to others (travelling to work/in the office etc.)  it can come across as almost aggressive. Modern Muse, just like Calvin Klein Beauty, is one of those more subtle, understated perfumes that would not offend anyone but would still make you feel confident and "dressed".

I do wonder how others experience this though. The aforementioned duality that defines it might mean that some get a stronger, woodier take and have a totally different impression. That might explain the love/hate reviews that I have come across online and with that kind of polarised opinion this is definitely one to try in store. Let me know how you get on :)

See more information about Modern Muse on the Facebook page and on the official website


  1. Just beautiful xxx


  2. I love the bottle, but the fragrance is not for me :(

  3. This sounds like something I would like - I especially like the name Modern Muse! but for now I'm still totally besotted with the Elie Saab scent you recommended!
    Hugs xoxo

  4. I'll pass. After the first sentence... similar to SJP Lovely (I hate, such a strong word but I really do, that perfume) it was a definite no no. But your photos and words are so calming and lovely that I read this post till the last word... Just love your writing!

  5. Beautiful photos Laura, especially the 3rd one down! I'm not too sure if this perfume would be for me, but it does sound nice :) xx


  6. SJP's Lovely, Narcisco Rodriguez & Flowerbomb are some of my favourite fragrances so this sounds right up my street! It is funny how they can translate differently on everyone though, I'll have to try this out when I can xx

    Kat from Blushing Rose Beauty | Tiny Flutters - Mummy & Baby

  7. Your pictures look gorgeous!

    Hayley xo | Sailor Stories

  8. I'm curious to know which part of the dual fragrance I pick up most, the woody or the floral?!! Will see if I can at least get a tester of this one x That looks like one very classy dinner, Estee Lauder hosted!!

  9. I received a sample of this and the woodier notes definitely come through the strongest for me and although I don't mind strong scents, I found this to be too saturated for my liking. I think it smells like a classic Estee Lauder perfume - that is to say if I smelled this without knowing what it was, I could immediately guess it was made by Estee Lauder haha. In that sense, I do not find it entirely "modern" as it reminds me of a very mature scent that would be worn by a very mature lady. But then again the notes in this are not what I typically gravitate towards in any fragrance - besides jasmine which I find to be overpowered in this - so if you love those strong notes of patchouli and woods, I suspect this is right up your alley.

  10. I have had a sample of this sitting on my vanity for month.
    Un wanting to take it out of the cute blush packaging I think it's about time I do.

    Love post beautiful pictures :)

  11. Estee Lauder is my complete weakness! I bought my mum a whole set for Christmas, and then a week later I bought myself one too! AND then bought a set of 4 miniature perfumes including Modern Muse :-) But I have to admit, Estee Lauder doesn't immediately make me think of modern, I think of classy ladies and 50s film stars, like Marilyn and her Coco Chanel :-)

    I've just written a post on the Men in Chick Flicks, (definite picture of Ryan Gosling included)