Youth Dew

Every few years, I go in search of a new fragrance, spraying scents onto those little cardboard squares provided by department stores.

This year was no different. I kept coming back to a classic, one that I wore in the years after my mother died, one that evoked the best memories of her.

It inspired a re-blog.


If you recognize this image, then someone in your life was a fan of Estee Lauder’s Youth Dew.

It was a small, purse sized dispenser of the company’s initial offering.Youth Dew

It was my mother’s favorite.

Estee Lauder was founded by Josephine Esther Mentzer Lauter (1908-2004), a lady from Queens, New York. ( I always thought she was French ? )

Before she entered the scene in the early 1950’s, it was said that perfume was meant to be given as a gift, most often from a man, and properly used on Sunday’s, holidays and special occasions.

With the advent of her products, woman were introduced to the concept of fragrance as every day wear.

Her signature fragrance was originally marketed as a bath oil.


Crystal Candle. Youth Dew.

In 1978, the Christmas season just after our mother’s cancer diagnosis, my younger sister and I found this elegant, overpriced crystal candle at Macy’s.

We knew it was a luxury she would never afford herself.

We didn’t even hesitate. She cried when she opened it.

We all did.

Every time I walk near someone wearing that very recognizable perfume, I smile.

For Mom.

Today, November 29th, was her birthday. Smiling still.

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76 Responses to Youth Dew

  1. Happy Birthday to your mom, Van and hugs for you! ❤
    Diana xo

  2. Nurse Kelly says:

    So funny she was from Queens! What a beautiful tribute to your mom – such a lovely thing to remember her by. xo

  3. Beautiful post, Van. I’m glad the smell of the perfume brings back happy memories. My own mother stuck to the “special occasions only” use of scents. If I could go back in time, I would see that she had an unlimited supply of luxurious bath oils and bubble bath, and the time in which to enjoy those baths.

  4. dyane says:

    What a beautiful post in tribute to your Mom! I’m so glad you gave her that precious gift, and that you continue to get reminders of her when you smell “Youth Dew” (I remember that perfume – I had samples of it!) XO

  5. dyane says:

    p.s. My great-grandmother, who lived in the Bronx, was named Esther. She was Jewish. I’m not sure about Estee Lauder’s heritage, but many famous, successful Jewish people who grew up in NY changed their names. My Mom’s teen friend was Ralph Lauren’s brother Jerry – their original last name? Lifshitz!

    • She was indeed Jewish, and quite the businesswoman. ☺ Lifshitz ?? Lauren was a bit of a simplification. ☺ It seems lots of famous people have masked their ethnicity over the years.

  6. LaVagabonde says:

    A lovely tribute, Van. It’s said that smells bring back memories more than any other sense.

    • I believe that one, Julie. My dad was a cigar smoker. I always pause at the memory if there’s one in the area. Food smells really work for me too. Chocolate chip cookies baking, turkey roasting, etc. Thanks. ☺

  7. A beautiful tribute Van! I love the perfume so cool!

  8. Scent is an amazing jolt to the memory, I find. Smells and music probably surprise me with memories more than other sensory triggers. What’s lovely is when a trigger that initially makes us feel sad becomes, over time, a prompt for warm memories of a long dead loved one. Funnily enough, some Estée Lauder scents make me think of my Gran.

  9. Sue Vincent says:

    Fragrances matter, they do identify so many moments and people.

  10. C.E.Robinson says:

    Van, Happy Birthday to your Mom. I have similar memories of my Mom’s fragrances and face creams! Makes me smile too! Chryssa

  11. Lovely post, Van. Happy Birthday to you mom. ❤

  12. amommasview says:

    Big hug for you and I know what scents can do. My mom always used the same perfume. An Estée Lauder one too. She only used it though when they went out what I never liked. Or when they had guests. To this day the scent of this perfume makes me think of her but also gets me a bit upset. I guess it’s because she was usually leaving when she was wearing it.
    I decided because of that to wear my favorite perfume every now and then at home just because. So the kids never get that tight feeling when they smell the scent…

    • I never thought about that, Sandra, the perfume meant they were going out, or someone special was coming. So interesting. So true for many. The fact that Youth Dew was first sold as bath oil was what made the difference for my mom. But, for sure, she didn’t use it every day. I tend to wear fragrance daily just as a treat to myself. ☺☺ Thanks for such an enlightening comment. ❤️ 💛

  13. megdekorne says:

    So very beautiful Van ….scent lingers in our memories and I often think opens our hearts to the divine …lovely post for your dear mom ….hugs and love , megxxx

  14. Hi Van,
    I’m new to WordPress.
    I saw this post of yours and I had to say something to you.
    From 2006 to 2009, in between a major career change, I worked as a beauty consultant for two major lines, Lancome & Estee Lauder.
    I also just read your December birthdays post.
    Happy Birthday.
    In my years with Estee Lauder, then in fine jewelry, right next to woman’s fragrances, I have sold HUNDREDS of bottles of Youth Dew.
    Mostly in the month of December, for the holidays.
    I heard a precious story with each bottle I sold.
    Everytime someone asked for Youth Dew, I slowed down and waited for the story.
    It’s been years since I worked in retail.
    Thank you for yet another heartwarming story.
    I’m sorry you lost your mom so young.

    • What a lovely comment, thank you so much for sharing your experience. I’m delighted to know that strangers would offer their personal stories when buying the fragrance. We all have them. Welcome to WP ! You’ll be right at home here. ❤️ 💛 💙 💜

  15. My favorite part about working in retail was the precious stories.
    People tend to share their most intimate stories with strangers.
    It was a pleasure to be that stranger.
    Much love

  16. Beautiful post! Lovely way to remember your mom- there is a rose perfume, I forget from where- but whenever I smell it I think of my grandmother. Incidentally I lived in Queens for awhile several years ago too! *Hugs*

  17. Erika Kind says:

    That was a lovely post with beautiful and loving memories, Van. 💖

  18. I’m glad you reblogged this, Van. I had not seen it. Scents are so very powerful to evoke memories.
    Once I posted a sort of challenge, a request for comments really, along with a picture. I was doing a series about the five senses. With the picture I asked “What do you smell?” It drew some very strong responses. I’m glad this one is a sweet memory for you. Mega hugs.

  19. Jim says:

    nice post. 🙂

  20. Sawsan says:

    This was a very limited edition bottle.

    • I didn’t know that, Sawsan. It seems they were everywhere for a while ? Thanks. 💝

      • Sawsan says:

        The regular bottle is different. It’s what you see everywhere all year long.
        This one in your photo was made either for Christmas or mother’s day.
        Estee Lauder does special limited edition perfume bottles and powder cases for special times of the year.
        This one is very beautiful. I did not see it in the time I worked for them.

      • I suspect it was for Christmas, and purchased by our dad. We didn’t have the $$ to gift her that kind of stuff for Mother’s Day. I remember that you had them on your resume, S. 💓

  21. You share some wonderful family stories that elicit all types of different emotions. I’ll bet she is looking down and smiling with you!

  22. lbeth1950 says:

    I always use the same perfume.

  23. We know the power of smell on memory. But it’s also on history. Lovely post.

  24. Aww! This is a sweet and beautiful tribute. There’s certainly power in smell and as I read this I recall those old classics my parents used for years and years. I love this post 🙂

    • There are a few of those older fragrances that are still popular..this one, Chanel No. 5, etc…it gets personal, each one evokes memories of important people in my life. Same for men’s signature colognes. 💕

  25. Bun Karyudo says:

    That was a very touching post. The crystal candle looks very beautiful in the photograph. I’m glad you were both able to give your mother such a wonderful gift all those years ago. Exquisite though it was, I’m sure it meant more to her as a symbol of your and your sister’s affection for her.

  26. joey says:

    That’s sweet. Youth Dew remains a recognizable scent to me, the smell of grandma’s friends, hm? A classic. My mother’s mother wore Estee, always the powder. Anxious Mom sprinkled a bit in her Christmas card for me last month, since her grandma wore it, too. It was sweet. Smell is so evocative for memory.
    I have a friend, the one I call Beauty Queen, who has shared with me the 411 on Estee Lauder. Filed under Things I Don’t Need To Know, heh.

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