Monday, June 2, 2008

Bronze Goddess vs. Azuree Soleil

Summer is officially here and thoughts almost atavistically veer towards the beach: the expanse of white sand resembling minuscule crystals of sugar, whiffs of fresh ocean spray brought by the gentle, cool breeze and bodies sprawled on straw mats anointing themselves with the most exquisite fragrant potions: things that have a primitive call in them perhaps. If this is the ideal utopia you have been dreaming of, there is a fragrance to accompany it well enough and it is easily had at your local department store for a change.

It's Bronze Goddess, the Estée Lauder scent that substituted the much loved limited edition Azurée Soleil ~the latter art-directed by Tom Ford and then discontinued because the contract with Tom Ford had expired. In true business savvy mode Lauder didn't let an uber-successful formula languish, but giving it a new dress in the form of bronze packaging, a new name in the manner worthy of a mythological genesis and an imperceptible twist in the list of notes, salvaged it for the legions of fans who demanded more, more, more! And a makeup line followed, predictably.

Regular readers of Perfume Shrine might be raising an eyebrow by now, wondering what possessed me to review a scent that is not the typical fare for us and so late after it officially launched too. But I came across a tester at Sephora and I cannot deny that unlike other scents which evoke the atmosphere of the beach in sugared tones of tropical fruits such as mango and coconut or going the ubiquitous way of armfuls -strike that out: read chokefuls- of tiare (tahitian gardenia), Bronze Goddess is quite subtle, dries down soft and inviting and never veers into the too sweet; a major accomplishment in view of it containing the usual suspects.

But notes rarely say the whole story: Bronze Goddess really is a good skin-scent, what perfumephiles call a fragrance that evokes the smell of skin, not perfume. Truthfully, I do wish actual sunscreens came in such delightful fragrances, much like the legendary classic Chaldée by Jean Patou with its candied orange blossom note, which was initially conceived as a tanning oil and aromatized sun products for a whole generation of people in the 1930s.

The question is how Bronze Goddess and Azurée Soleil compare: if having one already justifies getting both or if one has dearly loved but can't replenish the older one, should they get the new one instead. The answer is they are so remarkably close that only if one is persnickety and extremely tuned into the slightest of differences should they worry about this matter. Azurée Soleil is a little sparser, simpler, highlighting a "clean" vetiver accord over white flowers that stays poised for a long time. Bronze Goddess goes through the motions with a slightly more refreshing citrusy start that fans out into soft woody notes before kissing skin with a floral, milky touch of tropical gardenia, a bit of coconut and white flowers ending on a whiff of caramel redolent of tonka beans and skin baked in the sun. Both have a slightly spicy tone like nutmeg that is not referenced in the notes, yet contributes to the warm body and sun dunes evocation.

Of course the definitive beach scent is an elusive thing and the most unique fragrance I have smelled which manages to catch almost every aspect of the experience is an indie, natural perfume called Fairchild, but it's not what most people would easily find. Still, if you do have the chance it's highly sample-worthy. Two more which capture the beach well are Aqua Motu by Comptoir Sud Pacifique and Rem by Reminiscence. For a similar "skin baked by the sun" accord, I highly recommend L by Lolita Lempicka, already reviewed here, as well as Aquasun by Lancaster which will be featured on Perfume Shrine shortly.

Estee Lauder Bronze Goddess is available at department stores in 100 ml Eau Fraiche Skinscent, 100 ml Body Oil and 200 ml Luminous/Shimmer Body Lotion and the official Lauder site says it's a Limited Edition. Azurée Soleil is found easily via Ebay.

Notes for Bronze Goddess: Sicilian bergamot,mandarin, lemon, tiare milk, orange flower buds, jasmine, creamy magnolia petals, lavender, myrrh, amber, sandalwood, vetiver, caramel and coconut cream.
Notes for Azurée Soleil: tiare (tahitian gardenia), orange blossom, jasmine, magnolia petals, myrrh, bergamot, mandarin, amber, sandalwood, vetiver, caramel and coconut cream.

*{For reasons of clarity, please note that I am NOT refering to the old, classic Lauder fragrance named Azurée (1969) which is a leathery chypre}.
Pic of Bronze Goddess courtesy of Lauder, of Azuree Soleil of Ebay, of Halle Berry of Yahoo movies.


  1. Anonymous14:29

    how do these all compare to bobby brown -beach-?

  2. I actually wrote a review of Azuree Soleil (man I love the packaging for it) and you know what it reminds me of in the best way? Thai green curry, I know that sounds insane but the mixing of the vetiver with coconut and a rather cool gardenia really reminds me of Thai green curry.

  3. They all smell marvellous.

    I'd add , for beachy- Ava-Luxe Venus Sands- very indolic, while having that seductive skin-only- better scent.

    For pure pleasure- CSP's Vetyver Haiti; can't beat it with a stick.

  4. Just want to second your mention of Fairchild--it's drydown is the most beautiful, natural ocean scent I've ever smelled.

    You've got me wanting to go test Bronze Goddess. I liked Azuree Soleil quite a bit, but never invested in a bottle.

  5. Diane,

    I seem to recall that BB Beach was simpler and more tan-oil than those, last time I checked. Personally I prefer AS and BG to Beach.

  6. Jen,

    Thai green curry, indeed! That's a great comparison, which compels me to go actually buy some Thai green curry -like now!!

  7. I,

    I should probably test -at least- Venus Sands: your description sounds terrific! (love indolic)

  8. M,

    isn't it? It's very unique! It does smell of the sea.

    I think you should go and have a spray of BG at the store and see for yourself. Same thing happened to me with AS: never grabbed a bottle and then it was too late.
    Funny we should be liking it, but there you have it!

  9. I thought these two smelled very similar too. I get too much of an oily (and rancid at that)scent out of both of the ELs.

  10. Oily yes, rancid hmmm....I wonder if they go bad after a while? They very well could, for all we know!!

    I have this hesitation with anything which has an oily base, to be completely honest with you. (Have also heard tales of Narciso Musk for Her parfum, which is silicone-based, going scentless after some time: luckily this hasn't happened to mine, but I live in fear)

  11. You know, these oddly tempt me... Azurée Soleil didn't draw me in when I smelled it in a duty free shop, but Bronze Goddess would've almost been an impulse buy if I hadn't tested it during the snowiest, coldest Easter holiday in Canadian history! Must remedy...

  12. Dear D,

    I know: these two sound like nothing we usually prefer ourselves. But why are we prejudiced, sometimes, I ask myself? ;-) (OK, I think I know why, this is rhetorical, but let's assume the market isn't full of trash!)
    Indeed it smells much more "normal" when the weather is good. Beach scents is a difficult category (so many smell off and heavy and juvenile) so anything that veers in the right direction is commentable.

  13. Anonymous11:08

    Last week I tried Bronze Goddess together with my 11 year old daughter. She liked it much better than be, reminded her immediately of sun lotion and coconut, and she found it very nice. Those scents I like better in those lotions than in perfume, even if the smell in isolation is very pleasant!
    The parallel to thai green curry is striking, but again, that is not something I would have liked on my skin, however deliciously to eat :)

  14. Dear S,

    thank you for the most interesting comment!
    Thai green curry is definitely to be pursued as a comparison experiment: will report back :-P

    I think since the fragrance also comes in a fragrant Oil (apart from Eau Fraiche), it might be a very nice gift to your daughter which you could borrow, perhaps, when you go on vacation ;-)
    {am I actually suggesting borrowing from a kid? am I? I have done so with husbands and boyfriends, but I seem to be unstoppable...oh dear!}

  15. Anonymous17:44

    :) A very nice idea that you propose! Borrowing from a kid, well, it is possible when the need is large (although easier to borrow from a man..)

  16. My influence is clearly morally corruptive...oh well!



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