Summer, Condensed And Bottled


Estée Lauder's Bronze Goddess Eau Fraîche Skinscent... Where do I begin? Let's start with the fact that I don't wear perfume. I understand that it's possible to wear a subtle, pleasant fragrance that delights those close enough to catch a whiff—I've been on the receiving end of a fragrant swoosh of hair, and have experienced a few crowded subway forced snuggle sessions with someone who at least smelled really nice. But those few times when a passerby wore too much, or the wrong cologne/body splash/perfume, were enough to make me vow not to be that person. Ever. It's terrible PR for the fragrance industry. Plus, perfume is an extra step in my routine that is already sometimes two hours too long because I have no concept of time. And it's so much pressure, this "signature scent." How do you know if you've chosen the right one? I went three entire months with terrible bangs, I'm not going to commit to an entire lifetime reeking of imperfection.

But for whatever reason I like the smell of sunscreen. Probably in the same way I like the scent of permanent markers and gasoline—it reminds me of my childhood. (I was on swim team, so every summer I'd be covered in sunblock and a coach would write my competition number on my arm with a huge permanent marker before meets. And I guess I just enjoy the smell of gasoline.) I'm obviously no fragrance expert, but I'd say that the Bronze Goddess perfume has strong top notes of Hawaiian Tropic Shimmer Effect, SPF 8 (which had me intrigued despite my longterm avoidance of perfumes), with delightful base notes of sugared coconut shreds and the sliced lime container from a bar on a yacht. Then the barely-there SPF fades into the crisp floral of an over-the-top surprise delivery bouquet from the new flower shop in Noho that only uses white flowers your friend was just talking about. After that comes the warm, juicy linger of a fragrance I can only describe as "hair freshly washed with Herbal Essences dried by the sun on a hot summer day." I heard that each bottle contains a small amount of essential oil derived from 1000 screenshots of Izabel Goulart's Instagram. Sometimes I find myself sniffing the last specs of the fragrance out of the collar of my shirt—half an hour of the workday lost to daydreams of me actually pulling off one of those cropped t-shirt bikinis they make now. Bronze Goddess is summer, condensed and bottled.

Whenever I wear it, the reaction is sudden, violent almost—I'm elated to have found a fragrance that not only doesn't silently disgust everyone around me, but seems to put them in a better mood. Someone in the office just now spat delighted profanity when I spritzed a little on my wrist—"Is that F*#@%ing BRONZE GODDESS?" followed by an euphoric groaning. Men come up to me at bars in numbers like never before, simply to discuss the way I smell. Okay, so this happened only three times—but in one night, at one bar. (If you're not impressed by that, then hello there, Izabel Goulart! Thrilled to have you as a reader.) This stuff might actually be too provoking to wear all the time. I've seen the grass on the other side, and it's almost exhausting smelling so nice.

—Annie Kreighbaum

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  • Eliza

    This sold me...I've never seen or smelled this, but just bought it from Nordstrom (it's 10% off there! and comes with a huge free gift for anyone who plans to do the same!). I looooove summery sunscreen smells and this one sounds right up my alley.

    • Gracias

      Just bought one-- thanks for the tip!!

    • ITG Annie

      changed the link to nordstrom! woohoo! <3

      • ikillplants

        I just bought this SOLELY based on your review. And I never do that--espesh with fragrance!!

    • laraste

      I just did the same thing, Eliza! It has all my favorite smells in one bottle.

  • Alyssa Gapske

    I need to smell this. I'm obsessed with Philosophy's Summer Grace too. I don't think it's available anymore though :(

    • rrr

      it's at sephora. just bought it. limited edition. body lotion and edp. go go go!!

      • Alyssa Gapske

        I'm going!!

    • Patoots

      I just saw some (it may have been lotion) at TJ Maxx. Don't give up finding it yet.

  • Marcela

    Hahahaha omg I feel the exactly same way about perfumes! it's so hard for me to find one that I like (didn't found it yet). I'm brazillian so I think i'm gonna try this one!! hahaha thanks for the tip annie!

  • Leanne Webber

    It's back!

    I remember loving this when it came out two years ago and I've been patiently awaiting its return.

    Definitely will have to snap this up!

  • Teckie

    Yes. Thank you for this, I just bought it online at Nordstrom thanks to a recommendation in the comments section. I am such a sucker for beach-y scents. Escada's Island Kiss is one of my favorites (I think it's discontinued... but it's amazing).

    And I stalk Iza Goulart regularly via Insta. I didn't realize it was possible to love and hate someone so much simultaneously.

  • Amy

    i bought the bronze goddess body oil a few years ago for these exact reasons. it reminded me of being young and on summer vacation with my parents. i wear it to bed sometimes in the winter so i can drift off while imagining i'm someplace warmer.

  • Eleri Roberts

    You're so right, this stuff is ah-mazing, just reading this post has made me vow to repurchase. x

  • kemacr5

    Dammit Annie stop making me spend all my money!

    • Putricaya

      i feel you! i'm like, dead broke right now, but willing to fast to purchase this scent.. damn that Annie

  • Vanessa Reyes

    I bought the body cream about 3 weeks ago and I love it! Tom Ford had collaborated with Estee Lauder a couple of years ago and this smells almost exactly like it. When it was discontinued I was disappointed but when I smelled this it was love all over again..Thank you Estee Lauder!

    • Elizabeth

      Yes, it smells EXACTLY like the Tom Ford collaboration! He had the best bronzer in a gold compact, I wish it wasn't discontinued!

  • Putricaya

    Why, Annie, why, do you have to make me want to buy everything you write about???? :'(((

  • Sara Scott

    This is actually the Tom Ford Co-lab that came out in 2007 under a different name. It's been my summer go-to since then!

  • Laura

    Oh yes, I am so excited for my yearly bottle.

  • Calin

    This is the first time a review has ever made me immediately buy the thing. I guess I'm particularly vulnerable because I have been rationing my last drops of perfume for a couple weeks now, but damn.

  • Donna

    Just bought one!

  • rel_redhead

    Normally I don't buy perfume without smelling it in person first but I just couldn't resist the thought of this. It sounds like what I've been looking for forever but have been unable to find. And I have a weird (and incongruous, considering most of my wardrobe) love for Lilly Pulitzer, so I'm excited about the Nordstrom free gift.

  • sr

    you convinced me, just got one;)

  • Jennifer Monforton

    Anything with a sunscreen-like scent is totally up my alley and the packaging is lovely. Great review! xo

  • Lina

    Annie I trust you with everything beauty, Almost enough to order this without actually smelling it myself.

  • Addison Cain

    I'm a big fan of Bobbi Brown Beach, but it's more chemical/coppertone smelling. I could definitely get behind something sweeter like this (or Ralph Lauren Rocks in the orange bottle... a high school favorite).

  • Victorious_me

    every summer i love my shit and decide i need like 9 summer scents and they all basically smell the same. i've already re-stocked my supply of Datura Noir by Serge Lutens, would i be being dumb and redundant if i bought this stuff too?

    the bottle is solid gold though! how am i supposed to resist that?!

    • Ona_in_Barcelona

      Lady, you know they're different, and you know you need both! Bronze Goddess by day, Datura Noir by night, oh la la.

  • Sukanya

    I just went to Nordstroms on my lunch break to get this. I can't say I love the look of the bottle but it smells like summer, happiness and the beach. Who can resist that? I got the free gift from Nordstroms/Estee Lauder. That was kind meh except for the facial moisturizer and the night serum.

  • Daniel Martin

    Very nice post. I personally think this is amazing and if you are looking for branded on discount SHOPCHAKRA is the best option for you.

  • Andrea Kempfer de Vos

    Update: So I bought this online after having only read this review and never smelling it. Just arrived and exceeds expectations (which I didn't think was possible). My coworker and I are drooling. Can't wait to wear it all summer.

  • bahamamama

    I've worn every incarnation of Bronze Goddess since EL debuted it over nine years ago. I've spent a few summers on Maui and with a few spritzes I am so back there that it's almost a violent rush of euphoria.

  • Helen

    I bought this fragrance after one smell. Amaze-fest. Seriously, it's light and deliciously smells of everything summer. You will not regret this purchase.

  • Ally

    Ralph Lauren Rocks was so surprisingly good! I always got compliments when I wore it. I bought an older bottle from a site online and while it was reminiscent, it just wasn't the same. Alas...

  • Eira IR

    I've been intrigued by this perfume for a long time now, I think this will make me actually go out and buy it. I love the way you write, Annie!

  • ilianavillafan

    i just got this in the mail and maybe there's something wrong with me but it smells like gardenias on an old lady...considering everyones high praise (and i mean high praise not only here but other places) is there something going on that im not in on?? i want to love it but wtf

  • ff

    well, i do everything you

    • ff

      it REPULSED me. Summer? No. It is more like an old lady on a carnival cruise. It's a strange floral when it dries from the offensive spicy -ish. I wanted to like it soooo badly and it probably just dries weird on me

      • ilianavillafan

        i wouldn't go as far as to say it was repulsive but its definitely not the a long shot

  • Lyla

    There needs to be a petition to bring back Ralph Lauren Rocks. I have yet to find a perfume as good as that one. I'm not a perfume person but that stuff smelled amazing.

  • deepo

    Bought, got. Might be a teeny gardenia scent (as I sniff myself), but as fragrance enthusiasts know, it's all about the dry down which is now turning a little spicy. I actually had a tinge of regret when I first sprayed it (although it looks fab on my dresser with my other bottles). But I like it now and wish I was on a beach with a tropical drink staring at a blue sea. It doesn't last long but then neither does summer. Besides, the Nordstrom GWP was pretty sweet. Worth the purchase for a fun package to open while waiting for spring in NYC.

  • eyeroll888

    Got it last night. Surprised myself by buying a fragrance without testing it first, but after the review I thought what the heck as I’ve been looking for a summer scent. Bronze Goddess delivers that easy, breezy, tropical-drink-in-hand feeling I’ve been looking for. After about ten minutes, the coconut and lime show up a little more. On me, it’s subtle
    and bright. And the Lauder GWP didn’t hurt either.


Estée Lauder
Bronze Goddess Eau Fraiche Skinscent