Can there be a fragrance "fit for every woman in every season and at every moment"? A long, long time ago, this held true through the notion of the "signature scent", the olfactory equivalent of a calling card. During the 1990s - smack in the middle of which Pleasures was launched by American champion of the cosmetics counter, Estee Lauder - this notion had fallen sideways in favor of the cash-bringing concept of a "fragrance wardrobe".
|photo by Edward Steichen via|
Much as the hereby contradicting brief therefore foretold of a foible in capturing "the moment", the commercial success of Pleasures was cemented in reinforced concrete. And even the scent somewhat hints at the smell of concrete itself. But let me explain.
A fragrance for every season and every moment, for every woman, is by definition somewhat inoffensive, crowd pleasing, middle of the road. No big ripples, no histrionics, but no soft whisper either; it should be recognizably shared, coveted as the mark of the Aristotelean kalos kagathos. Alberto Morillas is the perfumers' equivalent of kalos kagathos, in the very best sense. Or maybe he's just got the touch of Midas, everything he touches turns to gold; there's that, too.
Pleasures owes its immaculate sheen to a preponderance of aldehydes, those frothy, citrusy, soapy materials handed down from mother's and grandmother's perfume, soaked into copious amounts of musk for clean starchiness that recalls the smell of wet concrete after the rain. It's Morillas's Spanish background (with a hand from Annie Byzantian) that is the rock-bed on which the double notion of clean yet piquant rests, and which forms the reigning glory of Pleasures. The rising peppery warmth (highlighted on an already warm skin) thanks to the unusual but tiny addition of the mesmerizing and pricey karo-karounde extract and the soft pink pepper (i.e. baie rose) add to the more prim aspects to create something that is beyond scrubbed clean, it's handsome.
You can also read about one of the print advertisements of Pleasures seen through an Art History lens on this link.