Cinnabar (1978) Eau de Parfum

Cinnabar (Eau de Parfum) by Estēe Lauder
Bottle Design: Ira Levy
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7.9 / 10     181 RatingsRatingsRatings
Cinnabar (Eau de Parfum) is a popular perfume by Estēe Lauder for women and was released in 1978. The scent is spicy-oriental. Projection and longevity are above-average. The production was apparently discontinued.

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Perfumer

Bernard Chant

Fragrance Notes

Top Notes Top NotesAldehydes, Orange, Peach, Spices, Bergamot
Heart Notes Heart NotesClove, Cinnamon, Rose, Jasmine, Iris, Ylang-ylang
Base Notes Base NotesPatchouli, Ambergris, Vetiver, Benzoin, Tolu balm, Vanilla, Frankincense

Ratings

Scent

7.9 (181 Ratings)

Longevity

9.0 (131 Ratings)

Sillage

8.6 (114 Ratings)

Bottle

5.8 (120 Ratings)
Submitted by Kankuro, last update on 10.04.2019
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Reviews

MasterLi

367 Reviews
MasterLi
MasterLi
Very helpful Review    4
Warm, spicy & gorgeous!
I've been wearing this one recently and I must say, it has certainly left an impression on me!

Cinnabar is a very unusual and beautiful fragrance. It is based around cinnamon and deep spices like benzoin, tolu balsam, amber & other resins. These are combined with slight floral notes of rose, lilly and carnation. This gives it a very deep, warm, spicy, slightly powdery smell. It reminds me of red dust. Shimmering red dust with powder and spice.

It is a very opulent perfume. People will notice you in some way or another. I don't think it's loud, but if oversprayed it will project at least 6 feet around you.

It is said that Estée Lauder launched this one to coincide with Yves Saint-Laurent Opium released within months of each other. Other sources say that YSL copied her in releasing Opium. However I find differences between them. This one has a higher concentration of cinnamon, whereas Opium has a whole blend of spices.

Overall, I think Cinnabar is a wonderful fragrance, and an example of a beautiful, warm, emotional type of perfumery which has an old, classic feel of class and sophistication. I imagine the woman wearing this to also be wearing fur and pearls and a hat. I don't imagine an old or middle aged woman either. For me this fragrance would suit anyone in their the late 20's and above. Of course it can also be worn by someone younger, but I think it has a "grown-up" kind of confidence to it which you need to have as well to pull it off. I wear this, and also the men's version Aramis JHL.
5.0 2.5 2.5 5.0/10
Sorceress

211 Reviews
Sorceress
Sorceress
Greatly helpful Review    7
Smells Better On A Strip Of Paper
This review is for the current formulation of Cinnabar by Estee Lauder, which is an important variable in a review for perfumes. Many times there can be a huge difference between a vintage and the present rendition of a fragrance. Without ranting and raving about the how's and why's of the perfume industry changing a scent, I'll describe my experience with the current rendition of Cinnabar, a perfume that I used to love.
I sprayed this on, expecting the wonderful spices and warmth to deliver its punch. I couldn't be more disappointed. What a synthetic, crass, harsh and linear opening I experienced.
The spices, cedar and mosses came strolling in, then quickly hid behind the trees, almost as if they were afraid to show themselves. I waited for the spices to show themselves. They did. In a casket. Everything else that I was waiting for, the incense, the cloves, the wonderful cinnamon and patchouli had died and was being readied for a burial. The funeral procession has begun, the woods have taken over, and all the richness and glory is being buried in the deep dark woods. But even the woods are dying.
Today's Cinnabar smells much better on a strip of paper or an article of clothing than on human skin. What has happened to the original? Well, we know. But I won't beat a dead horse. If you remember Cinnabar for a lush experience, look for the vintage. Do not bother with this unrefined new liquid.
It's no wonder the EL counter refuses to give out samples, citing this reason-"Cinnabar has been around for too many years for people to ask for a sample. They know what it smells like. We don't need to give out samples of a popular perfume. We only give out samples of our newest fragrance." I kid you not. I was told this by two EL counter SA's. Perhaps the accurate reason is that customers will try the new Cinnabar and be disappointed and refuse to purchase it. I sampled Cinnabar three times for this review.
I accidentally sprayed some on my sweater and that's where the better aroma of the perfume is evident. The spices intermingle ever so lightly with the other notes, but nowhere near the original of years gone by. What's on my skin is shallowness, a lack of depth in this Cinnabar that would make me hesitate to purchase any current stock.
1 Replies
10.0/10
Peaches

11 Reviews
Peaches
Peaches
Greatly helpful Review    8
Queen of spice
Cinnabar is the Queen of my winter fragrance collection. This is a very warm, even hot oriental spicy perfume. It is deep, rich, dark, and mysterious. Opium pales in comparison though I love them both. This fragrance evokes images of bitter cold winter days, sitting by a fireplace and drinking wasil. It is frequently the one I wore for Christmas eve. One whiff of this on a cold day could warm you to your bones. This fragrance is very strong and over spraying it makes me nauseated so my bottle usually last years. There is also something very sexy about this but I found it too overwhelming for up close romantic encounters. Cinnabar is the kind of perfume that fills a room and people can smell it from a distance. During Winter when gift sets come out they have dusting powder available. I bought the dusting powder and wear that for daytime or romance.
1 Replies
10.0 10.0 10.0/10
EvaK

30 Reviews
EvaK
EvaK
Greatly helpful Review    10
A 50-megaton Nuclear Bomb
So they say Cinnabar is a heavy hitter. A powerhouse perfume. I have to disagree strongly on this. Cinnabar is not a heavy hitter at all. Cinnabar is a bloody nuclear bomb of at least 50 megatons! This is far beyond powerhouse. Cinnabar ought to be caged and locked up excactly like Hannibal Lecter was in The Silence of the Lambs... with a hotline to the fire deptartment within reach. Cinnabar might very well self-ignite.

In case I didn't make it clear yet: I love it. I am literally blown away, Cinnabar knocked my socks off and took my breath away in more than one sense. This is one strong motherf....! By default I don't belive in one-spritz-wonders, not on my skin. I have a couple of two-spritz-wonders, but I never expected to meet anything that would exceed that.
I give in. Cinnabar is definitely a one-spritz-wonder. I took one (1) spritz and found myself in a fog so thick I could barely navigate - for hours. 12 hours later it behaves like normal perfumes do an hour after 5 spritzes. I don't know how they did it, but this potion is out of the ordinary in every aspect.

So how does it smell like..? To me, note-moron as I am, it's a very, very spicy, hot, animalic, dirty-classy powerhouse perfume. Dramatic, mysterious, smouldering. A come-hither fragrance? Umm, yes.. a "come-hither if you dare" kind of thing maybe.

So, Cinnabar... the name evokes associations to the mysterious east, spice markets, velvety night skies, mosques, Aladdin's treasures, slave girls dancing with covered faces.
But is this what Cinnabar is really like? In the drydown, yes. Absolutely. In the drydown the aggressive, bold, shouting sensuality softens to unspoken promises, mystery, and a strange anticipation of something to happen.

Once upon a time I went through a couple of bottles of Opium. I haven't smelled Opium since sometime in the 80'ies, but Cinnabar reminds me very much of it. I'm pretty sure Cinnabar kicks more ass than Opium did though. Correct me if I'm wrong. In my opinion it's in the vein of Knowing too. Until now I've considered Knowing to be the mother of all powerhouses. Now I'm not so sure... Their statements differ quite a lot. To put the comparison very short: If I was an executive and was going to fire my entire board and scare the shit out of them, I'd wear Knowing. If I wanted to fire my entire board and make them come back for more, I'd wear Cinnabar.

Clove, cinnamon, patchouli, incense. What more can you ask for? This is a Grand Dame, not to be messed with - yet not overly formal, perhaps overly sensual. A Femme Fatale beyond imagination.

A masterpiece. Period.
7 Replies
LiliumLibido

51 Reviews
LiliumLibido
LiliumLibido
Very helpful Review    5
Deep spice
Everytime I put on Cinnabar, I can feel the cooling effect if spice on my skin: Many people disagree, but because of this, I love Cinnabar in the dead of a swealtering summer. Applied with a super light hand, it never fails: I'm always told I smell so fresh and clean, lol.

But I wear it during winter as well, usually under my clothing: it warms gently on my skin and the resulting scent is always better (fuller, a little sweeter, softer) than if I wear it on exposed skin.

A full spray of Cinnabar is always overkill, for me, but in light dose, it has replaced the now defunct Opium, which was mercilessly disfigured by the IFRA. With enough time to allow for the drydown to take place, I can detect a mouthwatering juiciness, in this scent, it's sunny, bright and warm.

While the composition relies on floral essences to carry the softness throughout, the combination of frankincense and patchouli in the base shrouds the fragrance with foreign mystery, it gives it an exotic angle that darkens and deepens the scent while keeping it airy and giving it unbeatable sillage.
1 Replies
jtd

484 Reviews
jtd
jtd
Helpful Review    5
dense
Spicy, resinous amber perfumes are a feel-good genre in perfumery. The individual components (vanilla, benzoin, labdanum…) are like prefab bases and can single-handedly provide the blueprint for an Oriental perfume. The risk is the kitchen-sink syndrome.

Cinnabar's topnotes juxtapose a bright, aldehyde/bergamot accord against a boozy amber mix, a trick learned from Youth Dew. The segue from citrus to sweet brings out the matte, rubbery side of amber, but it doesn't jibe well with the vanillic undercurrent and the custard doesn't quite settle. Despite aldehydic jazz hands the topnotes don't have nearly enough torque to dig the spices out of the trenches. Little light escapes the cinnamon/clove event horizon and wearing Cinnabar gives me olfactory claustrophobia. It's a quick journey from the topnotes to the perfume’s next and only other phase, drydown, which lasts from the 30 minute mark until about 24 hours later. Cinnabar does grow less dense as the half-lives pass but it never becomes any less opaque.

Cinnabar might have cribbed some tricks from Auntie Youth Dew, but it should have studied history more closely. The pairing of citrus/aromatics and balsams was the compositional coup of the 1920s. Shalimar and Habanita steered the pairing toward leather and Nuit de Noel and Bois des Isles went the cozy fur-coat route but they all share a similar design concept.

The perfumes of the 1970s and the 1920s had a lot in common. Aldeyhydic florals were chic as hell and bitter chypres were all the rage, but the voluptuous orientals were the shit. Cinnabar and its exact contemporaries Yves Saint Laurent Opium and Lancome Magie Noire reinvented animalsim via spice and opened the door to a new style of oriental perfume that Chanel put on the map with Coco, Bois Noir and Egoiste.

The identity of the perfumer of Cinnabar is not 100% certain, but rumor has it that it was Bernard Chant. For the life of me I can't imagine that the perfumer of Cabochard and Aromatics Elixir didn't know how to square the bergamot/amber circle. If he is in fact Cinnabar's author, I have to imagine that the fault lies in reformulation. Chant was just too good to be credited with the murky version of the perfume available today.

The proof will be in the pudding. I've just found an unopened bottle of the original Cinnabar ("Soft Youth Dew") on ebay and it's en route. It'll go head-to-head with a pristine bottle of YSL Opium that I recently found. More to follow.

from scenthurdle.com
Coutureguru

223 Reviews
Coutureguru
Coutureguru
Very helpful Review    7
Spice me nice ...
STILL STUNNING!!! I'm not entirely convinced that Cinnabar has been reformulated, and if it has it's been done very sympathetically. I remember vividly playing around at my grandmother's dressing table as a young boy and being absolutely entranced by the oriental magic of Cinnabar!!

My nose has always been keen, so much so that my favorite party trick is to stick it in someone's neck, take a deep sniff and tell them what they are wearing. This was a lot more easily managed when Lauder fragrances were "individual" and special, like Cinnabar, Private Collection, Beautiful ...!
Most of their latest efforts "smell like" some other newly foisted-upon-humanity-rubbish-made-by-accountants-posing-as-parfumeurs that was released last Tuesday and will be forgotten by this coming Sunday. OH!! Silly me ... they have a marketing term for that type of ploy. It's called a "Limited Edition" ... BAH!!!

Cinnabar retains all the glory of it's past IMHO. It still comes out of the bottle slightly oily and could stop the charge of a bull elephant at 200 paces if not treated with respect. I wear this in lieu of JHL. It's pretty much the same ... just a little more flamboyant which suits me fine! Brilliantly complex, comfortably reliable ... Thanks Mrs. Lauder, rest with the angels!!
10.0 7.5 6.0/10
Missk

1165 Reviews
Missk
Missk
Very helpful Review    5
A fine example of a heavy hitter from the 80's
Cinnabar is one of those strong, bold and spicy orientals that emerged along with YSL's Opium and Chanel's Coco way back in the 80's. At the time they were all the rage, however these days they've fallen out of fashion and tend to get labelled as 'old lady' scents.

I have a great appreciation for these sillage monsters. They may have been made long before I was born, however I find them incredibly hypnotising.

Cinnabar at first spray is incredibly strong, like a fierce punch to the face. I thought my nose was going to fall off as I felt my eyes water with its strength.

As the scent settled, I began to find the resemblance to Opium. I expected this fragrance to have a stronger cinnamon note, however I do believe Cinnabar was named after a mercury ore, so perhaps it is not supposed to be primarily cinnamon.

The scent is very complex and rich, which is both a pleasing and disappointing quality in my opinion. In a way there is too much going on in this fragrance's composition with particular notes clashing with one another. For this reason, I tend to prefer Youth-Dew over Cinnabar as my spicy oriental choice.

Cinnabar has a rather exotic charm, it's what I imagine an ancient Chinese temple to smell like. The touch of incense in the base, gives Cinnabar that slightly religious feel.

While I would never term a fragrance 'old lady', I must say that Cinnabar is for a more mature crowd. I just can't imagine a woman under the age of 30 wearing this, especially since soft ambers and fruity florals dominate this age group these days.
7.5 10.0 10.0 7.0/10
Lola82

362 Reviews
Lola82
Lola82
1
Cinnabar
This is in my Opinion a lighter
less pungent version of Giorgio Of Beverly Hills Red. the opening starts
with Delectable spices oranges jasmine
orange blossom and it dries down to a
variety of woods this is good warm
scent for a cold day.

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