Think of what's sensuous to you. Now think of what's sensuous to Amy Winehouse, Paris Hilton, and Angelina Jolie. They're all wildly different, I'd imagine, and they're as diverse as they are personal. So Sensuous ($39.50–$69.50), the new fragrance from Estee Lauder, is aptly named; it's not going to turn everyone on in the same way, but it gives everyone something to think about.
The fragrance notes are woody, spicy, and floral — which could make for an olfactory mess. It doesn't, though; instead, it's a harmonious blend of smells. Sensuous is a surprisingly complex perfume that takes more risks than you might expect from a mass launch. It starts out with a burst of sweet florals but soon dries down to a honeyed, warm, and woodsy scent that lasts for hours. It feels like more of a winter scent than a summer one to me, but, well, it's not like Sensuous won't be around in November.
The weakness of Sensuous isn't its bottle, which is a little plain but still perfectly pretty. It's the dreaded "old lady" potential. This perfume stands out from the sea of fruity florals by being a little more nuanced, a little more intellectual than your average peach-raspberry smashup. That's a plus, but it takes a woman, not a girl, to appreciate this. Which means, inevitably, that someone will say it's too old-lady. I think it trends a little close, honestly, and while I can appreciate Sensuous, I don't absolutely have to have it. But it is refreshingly different and worth exploring, so I'd sniff it out if I were you.