Private Collection Tuberose Gardenia is the brainchild of Aerin Lauder, Estee Lauder's granddaughter and the Creative Director of the Estee Lauder line. It borrows its name from Private Collection, the 1973 release that was said to be based on a scent that Estee Lauder originally created for her own use. The new fragrance features neroli, lilac, rosewood, tuberose, gardenia, orange flower, jasmine, white lily, carnation and vanilla bourbon.
Private Collection Tuberose Gardenia opens sweet and bright, and seems to move rapidly from the mild touch of citrus in the opening into the white floral notes in the heart. The lilac softens the more exuberant floral notes in the early stages, but it is lush and full-bodied almost from the start, and it is almost linear after the first 20 minutes or so have passed. The tuberose and gardenia are the main players — you will catch glimpses of the other notes, especially the jasmine, but it starts out smelling like mostly tuberose and gardenia and hours later, it still does. The base is milky-creamy woods with a touch of vanilla, and is neither heady nor overly sweet.
It is a very soft fragrance, not in the sense of being light or close to the skin (it actually has excellent sillage), but in that all the raw, exotic edges of the tuberose and gardenia have been polished down and smoothed over. So while it is full-bodied, it has none of the edginess of Frederic Malle Carnal Flower or the sparkling playfulness of Robert Piguet Fracas, and I don't find it as sexy as either of those fragrances. Still, it is simply beautiful, and beautifully done. The lasting power for the Eau de Parfum is excellent.
Estee Lauder is positioning Private Collection Tuberose Gardenia somewhere between niche and mainstream. It will be available only in limited distribution (Saks, Neiman Marcus, Bergdorf Goodman, Holt Renfrew) but the pricing (see below) is not quite as ambitious as it might have been.
Estee Lauder Private Collection Tuberose Gardenia launches in August, and will be available in Eau de Parfum 30 or 75 ml ($65 or $120, see picture above left), Parfum, 30 ml, in bottle with a "gem-encrusted gold cap inspired by a Josef Hoffmann brooch" ($300, picture above, right), Solid Perfume ($175, picture below, right), and Body Creme in 200 ml ($75).