Estée Lauder Honeysuckle Splash is another forgotten launch in the Lauder stable, much like Celadon and Pavillon, this time conceived by Aerin Lauder (the grand-daughter of Estée) and launched in 2000 with a mock vintage look. Although totally modern in literal terms, the bottle is a retro pastel pistachio green, as if reborn from the Technicolor 1950s, exactly similar to the one designed for Youth Dew, Aerin's grandmother's classic, designed 46 years previously. The name alone is full of promise: how wonderful would it be to be able to splash on one's self that delectable but elusive essence that fresh honeysuckle vines exude when you walk by on a warm, late spring evening?
The fragrance contrary to that dreamy picture was merely posing as an ancillary product to the main attraction, that season's makeup collection, code-named "Playful". Oh marketing of feeble faith!
The delightful blend of Honeysuckle Splash is deeply floral with the nectarous quality that honeysuckle is famed for (to the point that children in Europe sometimes suckle on the flowers) and a more lasting impression than other lovely honeysuckle fragrances in the market, such as Annick Goutal's Chevrefeuille and L'Erbolario's Caprifoglio. In Lauder's take, Honeysuckle Splash, the pink and white flower with the honeyed petals is allied to the dependable note of orange blossom for extending the white flower note and further accented with citrusy notes of mandarin, the smooth elegance of neroli and the romanticism of white rose. The slight suntan oil impression lurking in the back hints at the presence of ylang ylang and maybe a smidgeon of sweet vanilla. The irresistible elevation of the fragrance into the truly worthwhile however is accounted to the richness of the orange blossom note and the neroli essence, with what seems like a spattering of linden as well, which opens the bouquet and makes Honeysuckle Splash poised between clean and subtly intimate, with a realistic nuance of lush, waxy, honeyed petals; a very flattering reference to a woman who wants to be flirted by a man like a flower by a probing bumble-bee. Typically for a Lauder it had potent sillage and great lasting power.
Even though many young women are hesitant to give in to floral fragrances in the idea that it makes them look either more mature than they want or somewhat old-fashioned, Honeysuckle Splash has enough contemporary sensibility to not alienate its natural demographic. It's a mystery why Honeysuckle Splash was discontinued shortly after its release; unless it was a limited edition to begin with, though I don't recall this being mentioned at the time. Like one woman put it: "I haven't heard of any plans to bring this product back but if they ever do I will be first in line to stock up". It was around a period where another series of fragrances was issued (this time a definite limited edition thing), called Pleasures in the Garden. But for that another post, another day.