Collector’s Corner: Aliage Button Box

Yet another item appropriated from my mother when I was a child (she had excellent taste in perfume and perfume accessories). Aliage was introduced by Estee Lauder in 1972 as the world’s first sporty perfume, for the active woman. Its blend of citrus, florals, and spices such as nutmeg, vetiver and cedarwood was spunkier than the more refined florals, but didn’t try to outright seduce you like the spicy orientals. Ad campaigns showed the Aliage Woman in pants, sitting in the hatchback of her station wagon loaded with all sorts of equipment for a day of outdoor activities.

This solid perfume container, from the mid-70s, is in the shape of a button. It’s made of marbleized plastic to look like agate or jade, with silver-colored metal “thread” holding it to a silver-colored textured metal compact. The color of the solid perfume used to be green, but has become discolored with age. However, the fragrance is still very much present. Aliage is still available from Estee Lauder, although it has taken a back seat to the newer Estee Lauder fragrances of the 80s, 90s, and beyond, such as White Linen, Beautiful, and Knowing.

Inspired by my rediscovery of this solid perfume compact, I recently bought a bottle of Aliage. When I first spray it, it smells strongly of the aldehydes in the top notes, but when it dries down it turns into a smokey, woodsy green fragrance with a hint of sweetness. It may be an aquired taste, but I like it. It’s perfect for days when I don’t want an overly feminine fragrance that overwhelmes you with florals or vanilla. And it enables me to recapture my childhood.


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