I received my first bottle of it when I was in high school? college? (It as a long time ago!) as a Christmas gift from my mother. I don't know why she thought it would be a good gift for me, but I was grateful. Youth-Dew was complex and elegant, very unlike the light sharp florals that were considered, back in my day, suitable for girls. Over the course of a year or two I used that bottle up and got more. Sometimes I bought it, and sometimes I found it under the Christmas tree.
As time went on I discovered more perfumes that I like (in particular, my obsessions with jasmine and rose) but I never lost my taste for Youth-Dew. Sometimes I'll smell a new perfume and have an immediate WANT WANT WANT reaction--this used to confuse me until I figured out these perfumes all reminded me of it.
Last month I realized that my current supply (a small spray bottle suitable for slipping into purse or train case) was not going to make it much longer and I needed to plan for a replacement. I was straining the web to see if I could find a deal on it when I ran across a blog that did perfume reviews. Naturally I had to see what it said about my true love! "Classic fragrance blah blah blah Lauder's marketing brilliance blah blah blah fragrance notes rose spices patchouli...."
You need to understand here that I hate patchouli with a large, irrational hatred. No, I'm serious: I think that marijuana needs to stay criminalized because it's a gateway drug to patchouli use. And I work at a natural foods co-op, which means I'm forced to work with people who think it's The Best Smell Ever. None of them, I will point out, can explain to me why one would want to smell like a pile of fresh autumn leaves that was lightly moistened with rainwater and then locked up in a attic closet for 50 years. I'm very bitter about this.
Since I hate patchouli and love Youth-Dew, I decided there had to be a mistake. Going to the Estee Lauder website I located their page for Youth-Dew. Top Notes: Rose, Jonquil, Lavender. Middle Notes: Jasmine, Muguet, Spices. Base Notes: Moss, Vetiver, Patchouli.
After I got over my sense of cosmic betrayal, I decided to approach this news rationally. Just this once. It was only one note out of nine. More than nine, if once considers the plural spices. And in the hands of a skilled perfumer, maybe patchouli could serve a useful purpose in a blend. There isn't the slightest hint of attic in Youth-Dew, so maybe it's ok in perfumes where I don't actually have to smell it. (This leaves out anything most of my co-workers are likely to wear, but there's little I can do about that. And no, I wasn't kidding about being bitter. I'm like the only person in the kitchen who hasn't destroyed their sense of smell with cigarette smoke and I have to work with people who buy patchouli-scented shower gel. You'd be bitter too.)
So I decided that I wasn't going to argue with one of the century's great perfumers over her choice of scent notes. And I got myself a big new bottle of Youth Dew--I'm wearing some now. I can't smell it at the moment; my sinusitis flared up last week and temporarily shut off my sense of smell. (It's weird--I didn't think it was possible to wear Youth-Dew and not smell it. If you've ever worn it you know what I'm taking about here.) Still, it makes me happy--and that is what perfume is for, right?