In Ancient Greece the Horae were worshipped as the deities of the four seasons, and Theros was widely regarded as the spirit of summer. As a personification of nature, Theros and her three sisters swirled in an eternal dance that brought change in the natural world, and cycled the all-important harvest. For a nation that depended on a bountiful crop, summer was an important time indeed for the Greeks. A lot has changed since these sisters were glorified as supreme beings, but summer remains a portion of the year to look forward to in modern times. Children are set free of their duties at school, many weary office workers travel abroad on holiday, and the soil enjoys sunshine-soaked days and rainy nights that result in glorious blooms and a welcome change of scenery. Capitalizing on this annual cause for celebration, in 2008 cosmetics pioneer company Estée Lauder released the “smell of summer” fragrance Bronze Goddess, closely following a Tom Ford collaboration that saw a body oil by the name of Azuree Soleil Eau Fraiche Skinscent with a near identical aroma. This fragrance has grown such a following in the few years since it was released that it definitely deserves a spot in my new Legendary Scents series.
Born to Jewish European immigrants in 1908 (or 1906, depending on the source), Estée Lauder (born Josephine Esther Mentzer) started out selling her chemist uncle’s facial creams at salons in New York. In 1930 she married a Mr. Lauter, and in 1946 they formed the official Estée Lauder Companies. The very next year she began to make it big-time when her $800 order for Saks Fifth Avenue (approximately $8,600 today), produced in an old restaurant kitchen, sold out in two days flat, and she became famous for her original “gift with purchase” and cosmetic samples concepts. She founded the global brands Clinique and Aramis, and in 1985 wrote an autobiography by the title of “Estée: A Success Story.” When she went public in 1995, her business was valued at $2 billion. She passed in 2004, leaving sons Leonard and Ronald to manage the company’s many brands, including MAC Cosmetics, Jo Malone, Bobbi Brown, La Mer, and many more.
The bottle I’m sharing with you today comes from FragranceNet.com, which is my favourite site to shop beauty and fragrance. Even though some eBay and Amazon sellers are putting up bottles of this stuff for up to $300 (!), on FragranceNet.com you always get big discounts on genuine products. Make sure to wait for the extra 25% off coupon that comes out several times a month to get this 3.4 fl oz bottle for just $54.74* – that’s less than what similar items were going for at the official Estée Lauder Companies warehouse sale this winter.
Each year Bronze Goddess gets re-released in time for summer in a slightly different version, and this is the one from 2008 that started it all. Bronze Goddess Eau Fraîche Skinscent comes in a classy, elegant, and totally bohemian glass bottle. The label on the front facet reminds me of the shining sun disc, and the golden colours of the juice and cap make me think of luxuriating on the beach someplace exotic and relaxing, draped in soft flowing fabrics with clean sand between my toes. That same year and every one since the release was accompanied by a limited-edition makeup range with bronzers in iconic tortoiseshell casing, also available on FragranceNet.com ($42.74 with coupon*). The perfume’s top notes include juicy lime from the bar and a generous dose of sunscreen on tan skin, with mandarin orange juice and crushed mint. In the heart there is a symphony of gentle floral notes including magnolia and jasmine, and soft and sexy vanilla makes up the base. If you inhale deeply, you can imagine the rolling waves of the ocean crashing onto each other in a race to the shore, and the feeling of the sun on your bare shoulders. It is a rather soft fragrance, and it would serve one well to reapply as often as you would sunscreen.
Verdict: There is a reason this fragrance does so well each time it is released, and it is because it is simply delectable. Maybe people expect Lauder’s fragrances to smell “old” just because her company is, and even though Youth-Dew ($35.99*) and White Linen ($49.99*) are of a different era, the majority of the line is really rather contemporary. Modern Muse Le Rouge ($106.99*) for example, released last year, is represented by the “epitome of now” Kendall Jenner. Bronze Goddess goes to show that some things, such as feeling like a deity when you apply your perfume, are timeless and universal. This is definitely one Legendary Scent.
*Prices true at time of writing.
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