Dazzling Gold Eau de Parfum (Estée Lauder)

Dazzling Gold debuted in 1998 alongside Dazzling Silver, its fragrant fraternal twin. Both perfumes commence with a squeaky-clean helional mirror-shine, but only Silver stays the course-- remaining cold and unearthly to the end, its alien charm powered by an unsettling vanilla-milk heart note. Granted an essentially identical synthetic start, Gold stumbles over its choice of a balmy tropical destination. Grafted onto that aggressive metallic opening, its J'Adoresque banana-tinged floral amber seems woefully incongruous, cheap without concealment or relief.

Overall, the impression Dazzling Gold offers is that of a concept second-guessed. I suspect that the perfumer nailed it with Dazzling Silver but then received mixed messages from some Doubting Thomas of a corporate creative director, who bade her return to the lab for a fresh round of tinkering and tweaking. Or was it the other way around? Did Gold come first, making Silver the vastly improved redux? All I know is that the world only needed one Dazzling fragrance-- and now both have been discontinued, a fact apparently greeted by inequal levels of dismay by consumers, who knew the better bet all along.

Given that Silver was a far superior fragrance, one can speculate that it might have survived more easily on its own, unencumbered by the dead weight of its tragic sibling. Indeed, when one compares the two, it's difficult not to give audience to the thought that Gold brought the value of Silver down.

Scent Elements: Passionflower, fig, orchid, lily, plumeria (frangipani), sandalwood, vanilla