This is a Wroot Review of White Linen perfume by Estee Lauder. My rating: 5 stars out of 5.
White Linen was sort of a maverick perfume when it first launched in 1978. I have distinct memories of this perfume in its early years, because my college roommate at the time wore only one perfume: White Linen. And it was nothing like the other popular perfumes at that time, which were heavily spiced florals and bold orientals.
White Linen was, and still is, crisp, clean, sharp and tingly, with only a hint of floral. The dry down becomes just a bit more floral with a tinge of woodsy notes emerging. The striking thing about Estee Lauder’s White Linen is the aldehydes, which give this perfume a distinctive sharp, “synthetic” and almost fizzy edge. This unique perfume lasts all day on me, and its sillage is big….I usually use two squirts and I’m good for the rest of the day.
Based on an interesting article by Bois de Jasmin, I understand that Estee Lauder launched the perfume White Linen as one part of a trio of perfumes, the other two perfumes being a green floral and a white floral.
The idea at the time was that you could layer all three perfumes together, if you wished. White Linen is the only one of the three perfumes that has stood the test of time, and remains financially successful. Clearly, this perfume can stand on its own, without the need for any other perfume to complement it.
One reason might be because Sophia Grojsman, considered by many as one of the greatest perfumers ever, created White Linen. As Bois de Jasmine says about White Linen, “True to its name, it is more a texture than it is a scent, and it may well be the pioneer of the ‘laundry musk’ category.” I think that’s so well put. Even today, I can remember how struck I was by the uniquely sharp and clean scent of my roommate’s White Linen when she spritzed it on her wrists every morning before heading to class.
Again, I quote Bois de Jasmine: “This is why, at a loss for words, only vague descriptors other than ‘sharp’ and ‘clean’ are offered. White Linen dazzles with aldehydes, notes that give lift and sparkle; it’s like staring into the sun.” Yes, there are florals in White Linen, such as rose and jasmine, but they’re almost hidden by the brilliant aldehyde notes. Woodsy and green notes are there too, but, again, the tingly aldehydes envelope them so that they are only a hint, almost a memory.
Based on the vintage print ads that I found for White Linen, the design of the bottle sold now is not the same design of the White Linen bottle originally launched by Estee Lauder.
While researching for this post, I learned that Estee Lauder had only one exclusive model for all of its ads from 1970 to 1985: Karen Graham. Ms. Graham, who is now in her 70s, was known as “The Estee Lauder Woman.”
According to Wikipedia, it was a deliberate marketing tactic of Estee Lauder for Graham never to be identified by name, because Ms. Lauder wanted all attention on the product and not on the model. As stated in Wikipedia, “Many people, unfamiliar with the fashion and modeling world, thought Graham was, in fact, Mrs. Lauder.”
My more modern two-ounce bottle measures just shy of five and a half inches tall. I really like the ergonomics of this White Linen bottle: it’s easy to hold, the cap comes off and on easily and quickly, and the bottle has a wide and stable base. When I’m rushing to get out the door for work in the morning, little details of convenience like that can make a difference.
As you can see from some of these photos, I’ve used up about half of my bottle of White Linen. That’s because this is my go-to perfume for the workweek. If they tried White Linen by Estee Lauder, I think that a lot of women would find White Linen becoming their signature workplace perfume, just as I have. The clean, almost sterile scent is tailored and conservative enough for just about any business setting imaginable.
Both the White Linen box and bottle are reserved and conservative, true to the suitability of the perfume itself.
That said, I don’t want to leave the impression that White Linen perfume by Estee Lauder is boring or unremarkable. Far from it. Several times, I’ve had women clients in the office where I work ask me what perfume I’m wearing, all the while commenting on how they like the “light” or “airy” or “clean” scent. I’ve made a point to ask if they thought it over-powering in any way, and they assured me that wasn’t the case at all.
Even after all these years, White Linen by Estee Lauder is unique, which is pretty amazing, considering all of the new perfumes that come out every single year. Are you thinking of giving yourself or someone special some perfume for their birthday or for a holiday gift? White Linen by Estee Lauder might be one to consider. I found a two-ounce bottle on Amazon currently priced at $41.52 with free shipping and at Target currently price at $41.99. To me, that’s a great value for such a long-lasting and wonderfully distinctive but practical perfume. I should note that Pure White Linen by Estee Lauder is a different perfume, which I have not tried, but which apparently has less of the distinctive aldehyde notes that suffuse the lovely White Linen perfume reviewed here.
My rating of White Linen perfume by Estee Lauder: 5 stars out of 5.