In the not-too-distant past, mass market designers used to include a healthy selection of solid fragrances in their collections, often as part of a gift set or limited holiday edition. Today, most designers have abandoned the solid perfume format, with the exception of Estée Lauder, who continues to include solid fragrances as part of their holiday line. Each year, half a dozen or so beautifully designed and oh-so-expensive solid fragrance compacts are released by the brand as limited editions, usually in its newly released/most popular fragrances.
Lauder is an established brand known for catering to women of a certain age, and while I’m definitely in that demographic and have owned some of their classics like Azurée, Beautiful, Pleasures and Youth Dew over the years, there is no Lauder fragrance I like enough to merit the $250-$300 retail price of one of these holiday compacts. That being said, if you or a loved one are partial to a particular (new-ish, like Beautiful and after) Lauder scent, a solid in one of those bedazzled compacts would be a lovely and romantic way to mark a birthday or anniversary.
As with most precious and limited-edition collectibles, there’s also a healthy secondary market for the Lauder solid compacts, in any condition. I recently acquired a used Cinnabar compact from the 1980s, which I purchased only because it looks like my cat, Vinny. (The compact is still half full and strongly scented, though I don’t care for Cinnabar. Also, I’m disinclined to use a second-hand scent of unknown provenance from 30+ years ago. Eww.)
While browsing perfumes on Nordstrom in January, I came across a new and different-looking solid perfume in the Lauder section: Aerin Rose de Grasse Joyful Bloom. The fragrance wasn’t holiday-themed and wasn’t marked as a limited edition. The sleek gold nugget packaging reminded me a bit of Glossier’s You solid–modern and minimalist, with none of the crystals or colorful enamel that distinguish the Lauder holiday solids.
I knew the Aerin line–a subset of the brand launched in 2012–focused on more modern compositions and was aimed at a younger demographic. Rose de Grasse is one of its most popular scents. However, I had never smelled the original or this new flanker, Joyful Bloom, and while the $70 price point is easier on the pocketbook than Lauder’s annual holiday solids, that’s still more than I’ll spend on a blind buy. I first tracked down a spray sample of Joyful Bloom EDP and enjoyed it enough that I decided to splurge on the 2 g solid. (And yes, in the solid fragrance market, $70 is a splurge.)
My fragrance arrived in less than a week and the photos on the Nordstrom website did not do justice to the final product. A lovely pink and white box housed the weighty brass nugget and a cream-colored suedette pouch was included for travel. The lid of the compact swivels sideways to open and close, and the size of the pan within is perfect for swirling a fingertip. It’s a substantial chunk of a container that shines on a dresser top and is satisfying to hold in the hand. (Bonus: I also received two free full-size lipsticks, a full-size mascara and a cute cosmetics bag with my purchase. Lauder still offers some of the best gifts with purchase in the cosmetics industry.)
There are already quite a few reviews out there of Rose de Grasse Joyful Bloom, so I’ll say just a few quick words about the scent itself. It’s a pretty, fairly conventional floral amber scent, with top notes of Italian bergamot, blackcurrant bud, geranium leaf; middle notes of Indian rose bourboniana, rose centifolia grasse, pink pepper and base notes of Turkish rose infusion, benzoin siam and Australian sandalwood (per the official Aerin website). That’s a lot of rose notes on paper and if you dislike roses, you may not enjoy this one, but the rose is definitely just one facet of the fragrance. It covers different ground than the other rose-based solids in my collection, such as Diptyque L’ombre Dans L’eau or Givenchy Irresistible. Joyful Bloom’s opening is sharp and citrusy, and the pink pepper and woody base notes give the scent a warm and spicy character. The roses hint at romance, but it’s also clean and pleasant for daytime/office. Overall, Joyful Bloom is a subdued and tasteful fragrance that will be wearable for many occasions.
The Solid goes on a little softer than the spray EDP, which is to be expected. The EDP begins as loud and crisp, whereas the Solid, upon application, smells like the EDP about 15 minutes after spraying. The scents follow a similar track for the first hour or so, but the Solid grows much softer and woodier at a faster pace. An hour later, the EDP is still peppery rose, but the Solid has become a warm woody-amber fragrance with only traces of rose.
Joyful Bloom EDP is not especially long-lasting on my skin–noticeable for about four to five hours, which is somewhat disappointing since a 1.7 oz. EDP retails for $205. (For that many bucks, I expect some bang!) Joyful Bloom Solid is largely a skin scent after the first hour, but those warm base notes are still present at the five-hour mark. I had the best results when I layered the two–a couple swipes of the Solid, topped with a couple spritzes from my EDP sample. This pushed the longevity to eight hours and extended the middle phase of the fragrance evolution for several hours.
Nice, though a bit soft on its own, the Joyful Bloom Solid would be perfect to toss in a bag for a mid-day touch up, after the morning’s spritzes of the EDP have faded. It would also layer beautifully with the original Aerin Rose de Grasse and Rose de Grasse Pour Filles scents, as well as the brand’s Rose Soap, Foam Bath and Hand and Body Cream.
(Or with any other fragrances you might like to layer. I’m already thinking how nice this one will be paired with a warm vanilla scent, or something more mysterious like an oud or patchouli fragrance…)
Overall, the Joyful Bloom Solid is a pleasure to wear, if a bit quiet, and at $70 is a more accessible price point than the EDP ($205 to $280). The scent as a whole seems to best express itself when layered and I’ll use it alongside my spray sample while it lasts. I noticed Aerin offers travel sizes of many of its EDPs and I hope they’ll eventually give us a traveler of Joyful Bloom, too, at their more affordable travel-size price of $35.
In the meantime, the Joyful Bloom Solid is available for purchase at Nordstrom, on the Aerin official website and wherever Estée Lauder cosmetics are sold.
All prices as of this date of publication. All images by me. All links ’cause I love.
You must be logged in to post a comment.