“I never knew I was a 'nose,'” Estée would say humbly, but in 1953 she discovered a blend of rose, jasmine, vetiver and patchouli that would bring her olfactory fame. She called it Youth-Dew. It wasn’t a perfume, but a bath oil that doubled as a fragrance—just the type of thing a woman could buy for herself without “giving tiresome hints to her husband,” and could wear without waiting for a special occasion.
It took the industry by storm, as did the advertisement, which depicted the risqué, though tastefully blurred, profile of a nude woman. Estée would later sell Youth-Dew by the gallon to fans like Gloria Swanson, Dolores Del Rio, and Joan Crawford, who claimed the intoxicating aroma helped her snare her fourth husband.