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~ A 1972 Classic still on top form ~
A long time ago as far back as 1972, Estee Lauder came up with the idea of one of my favorite fragrances of all time. Alliage Sports Spray was created as THE very first sports style fragrance spray of its time and it was none other than Estee Lauder herself who had the insight and inspiration to come up with what I know and adore as Alliage Sport Spray. At the time the idea of women wanting something a little different was, well a little different and Alliage Sports Spray bucked the trends of the time by becoming a whole new concept in fragrance.
During that early 1970s period other fragrance houses were still promoting their fragrances as glamorous full blown affairs with over fussy advertising. This made Alliage Sport Spray stand out amongst what was up and coming and what was already established and available to buy. It wasn't considered that women would want or need a fragrance for a more active and exuberant life style until Alliage came along, as most women were obviously all off polishing their tiaras and ironing their ball gowns (well weren't we all?).
I have to say that being a great fan of the many beautiful fragrances that are available to buy, being in fact somewhat of a fragrance hoarder with a large collection of fragrances from which I pick a handful at a time to wear and enjoy, I feel that even to this day Alliage Sports Spray has to be a classic amongst classics. It is an unusual blend that is certainly not a full on crowd pleaser. It is very different to the myriad of floral, pink and pretty scents that have overwhelmed us all over the past decade or so. To me Alliage Sports Spray is such a wonderful unusual green and woody fragrance, that I feel it will never truly date and I can never imagine a time when I will fall out of love with it.
~ Ok, its fabulous now tell me how its presented? ~
Alliage as a fragrance has been packed in to 2 bottle styles in the time that I have been wearing it. I recall the cheaper looking version of the scent bottle to be a very simple tall rectangular clear glass bottle with the Alliage name down one side. I always thought this particular bottle style let the fragrance down a great deal, as the boring almost olive green plastic lid that sat on top of the bottle did nothing for the scent within. I feel that had I not come across the fragrance purely by chance one day and been asked if I would like a sample spray, I wouldn't have given Alliage a second glance with it looking so plain and dowdy.
The second style of bottle that I have bought is the one that contains the Alliage Sports Spray that I have in my collection at the moment. I feel this bottle is far more suited to this beautiful lush green scent and says much more about it then the other bottle ever could. The pure clear glass used to make up this bottle is still tall and upright, but has more of an almost square shaped yet still verging on rectangular looking base to it. The sides of the fragrance bottle have been softened on the corners, with no sharp edges to be seen and the horrible olive toned plastic lid is now a thing of the past.
~ The second bottle is a beauty!~
This second bottle is far more befitting of the elegant fragrance within and the finish is more in keeping with a high end fragrance product. The finishes used and trim details on the bottle are kept to the very minimum, with the only hint of colour being a lovely softened almost slightly polished looking silver toned top section, spray applicator and slim fitting lid. I feel this is much more becoming, much more alluring and much more touchy feely. When I come to spritz on some of the scent the bottle holds, I like the way the spray allows me to spitz on just the right amount of Alliage. The slighty weightier bottle means I am less likely to be able to knock the bottle over by accident and the over all look and feel is much more pleasing to the eye.
The box that my most recent Alliage Sport Spray came in is still in an olive green shade which in this case is something that reflects the green freshness of the fragrance itself. As I recall the boxes that my Alliage has come in have always been in this simple cross between a soft olive and a matt sage green and I have come to like them. The understated look is one that is classy and chic to my eyes, yet at the time of the conception of Alliage it must have been used to give the fragrance the active and invigorating appearance that Estee Lauder wanted it to have. The silver textured and toned detailing is very good and adds a certain panache to the box that gives it just a touch of glamour without it being like anything else.
~ Is it like anything else? ~
I have often wondered whether there was a fragrance that came up to the mark and was similar enough to Alliage Sports Spray for me to convert to its charms. There was a time when it became hard to get hold of and I searched high and low for something to replace it with. I found that Estee Lauder do have a fragrance within their collection which has some similarities to the green freshness I find in Alliage, the opening notes were more floral, yet I got a distinct hint at the fresh green hues that Alliage has in abundance.
I also feel that two of the Chanel fragrances, which are No19 with its green chypre fragrance and Cristalle au Vert with its lighter influences do remind me of Alliage and yet are nothing in comparison. I feel that both have a few similarities when you catch a brief glimpse of them, yet they are not as strong and vivacious as Alliage is. For one thing the No19 fragrance has a sharp green note that is also rather sour and can put some fragrance wearers off, although I find it settles well and gets better over time. Cristalle au Vert has plenty of promise and is a very lovely citrus based green and fresh fragrance which I have bought and worn. The price for me is rather high when compared to how much I might pay for a bottle of Alliage Sport Spray and as lovely as the fragrance is, it cannot truly compete with the lush green tang that Alliage has.
~ Whats is really like then? ~
If I may quote from the Estee Lauder site they say 'Alliage celebrates the new femininity which emerged in the early '70s'. They say that 'Women were surprised and thrilled by the fresh, cool Alliage fragrance and its exuberant, energetic feeling'. They also go on to say that Alliage was ' a revolutionary concept at the time, and an idea that's still relevant today'. Its rather a cliche perhaps, as the rest of the blurb goes on to talk about the aforementioned ball gowns we all went about in, prior to us getting our well manicured hands on Alliage and then rattles on about how an Alliage wearer might be more often found in her fishing boots or cycling all over the place with wild abandon!
I can honestly say that having worn Alliage Sport Spray for a good number of years I fall into neither of the two cliches and I rather doubt that many of the fellow devotees of this wonderful scent do either! What I like about Alliage is the way it changes over time as I wear it and yet remains true to itself. I love the fresh green notes that sparkle all over Alliage like diamonds in mossy green grass. The cool green tones are enhanced with a citrus blend which adds a tangy lightness to what is a very powerful fragrance. I enjoy that lovely fresh citrus top note when I first spray Alliage on to my skin as it leaps up and causes a stir. I feel it gives a boost to my senses and is as energetic and exuberant as Estee Lauder wanted it to be.
~ Top, middle and base notes! ~
Amongst the top notes there are some interesting combinations including exotic jasmine and of course that delightful citrusy sharpness I mentioned. I feel that had I not been told there was jasmine in Alliage I would never have guessed it, because it has never crossed my mind that its been there all this time. The mid notes have a touch of rose and a hefty dose of armoise which comes from the artemesia vulguris plant. This adds a herbaceous green note to Alliage that when combined with nutmeg gives the whole fragrance a spiced and slightly warmer feel as it progresses on your skin. I feel it might have been overly cool without that.
The power house behind Alliage has to be the pungent triple base notes of oak moss, vetiver and cedarwood. They allow the fragrance to continue on your skin for the whole day, yet still allow the sharp green woodland textures and tangy citrus notes to shine through the whole time. Vetiver is an interesting plant oil which has echoes of citrus yet also reflects a similar scent to patchouli at the same time. I had once thought that patchouli was almost certain to have been in the Alliage fragrance as it feels like it has a patchouli infusion running through it, I now recognise the fragrance of the vetiver oil and enjoy it very much. The oak moss within Alliage is found in many chypre (citrus top notes, floral mid notes and green mossy base tones) and green fougere style fragrances (think cool green woodland moss with a citrus hint), it gives Alliage its woody deep tones that offer balance and tone to the whole blend and finish it off nicely.
~ How much, how long, sum it up ~
When I last purchased a bottle of Alliage Sports Spray I was delighted with the cost of it. I had to trek to the wonderful Harrods department store to buy it though, as it is now only sold from the Estee Lauder website or from the lauded perfume halls of Harrods of London. This makes Alliage a Harrods exclusive scent and you might think it has a price tag to match. As Alliage seems to only come in a 50ml bottle now, I was fully expecting the price to have gone up and rival the similar sized Chanel EDPs and EDTs. I am more than pleased to state that buying Alliage does not break the bank or your heart when you part with your pennies to buy it! My 50ml bottle of glorious Alliage Sport Spray cost me just, yes just... £32 and it came with the added bonus of Harrods loyalty card points too!
I feel that when I compare this to the other fragrances I have mentioned, as being similar but not as long lasting or as unique as Alliage, my Alliage Sports Spray wins easily on price. Its is more than 50% cheaper than the Chanel fragrances which can be around the £65 to £85 mark and yet it lasts equally as long if not a little longer on my skin. For a fragrance that you can honestly spray on in the morning and leave to its own devices all day, without the need to spray on a little more this is fantastic value. Couple that with the unique long lasting mossy green woodland fragrance that Alliage gives you and you are on to a winner.
~ Who will it suit? ~
Over all I would say that Alliage is not for the faint hearted or for the girly girls of the perfume buying world. Alliage is a fragrance that is far different from the modern sweet florals that abound in perfume halls around the world as it could be. It has a very strong perfume, almost verging on being a unisex fragrance with its deep and sharp green mossy tones. Its also very unique and very different to most of what is new and fresh today, which is part of its charm. I don't feel Alliage will appeal to every nose, as it does have a very sharp side to it, which mellows a little with wear and it won't perhaps suit a younger woman, who may not feel confident enough to show it off to its full potential. I feel Alliage is very much a beautiful tangy green woodland blend with mossy influences that you will either love or hate and to allow it to work its magic you need to enjoy the way it works on your skin.
~ Hurry up, tell me how you rate it? ~
I feel Alliage hasn't dated at all, because it hasn't had to compete with anything else and I like it as much as I did many years ago. I would certainly say that it has lots of character and needs to be worn by a woman who likes to stand out from the crowd. As mentioned Alliage Sports Spray is amongst my most favoured fragrances and I do rate it highly. My head may have been turned a little by the lovely floral chypre tones of Miss Dior, which offers a comparative yet lighter feel in a more floral, feminine and wearable way. However Alliage always seems to hold its own and outshine even Miss Dior on many occasions.
I may perhaps be a little biased about the fragrance, however having worn it for a good number of years I know how good it is, how long it lasts, how fresh and green it smells and how much it has to offer. As I have never found anything that compares as closely, or is as well priced and reasonable to buy, I feel that Alliage offers wonderful value and equally good longevity when on your skin.
In summary I feel that Alliage has so much to offer in a world full of pink and fluffy scents, that I cannot rate it with anything less than 5 stars. To sample Alliage you may have to travel as far as the Harrods fragrance halls, as it is now an exclusive fragrance only available to buy in the Harrods store. Although its worth a trek to gaze upon the Egyptian themed walls that surround the escalators within the impressively large Harrods department store, to many a visit to Harrods can seem a little over rated, Alliage on the other hand certainly shouldn't be!