Rose Pivoine by Patricia de Nicolaï for Nicolai Parfumeur Créateur 1998

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Portia

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Hey there fumes,

Only twice in my life have I been engulfed by the scent of peonies. Once a friend who came for lunch brough them as a gift and told me that they only open if the house is filled with love. Needless to say they never opened but they did fill the house with their glorious scent. It was utterly heavenly.

The next time was in south Korea with Jin and a bunch of our mates. We had gone to visit Mummy and Pappa and across the road there was a bush with the most enormous magenta peonies covering it. The bush itself was easily taller than me and in the cool misty morning the scent travelled across to us. Like a zombie I was drawn across the road to get close to these exquisitely fragrant blooms, they were calling me and I could not resist.

So every time I smell even the cheapest, nastiest, ugliest peony scent recreation I am taken to one or both of those moments. Thankfully todays fragrance is all class.

Rose Pivoine by Nicolai Parfumeur Créateur 1998

Rose Pivoine by Patricia de Nicolaï

Rose Pivoine Nicolai Parfumeur Createur FragranticaFragrantica

Parfumo gives these featured accords:
Top: Red fruits, Roman chamomile
Heart: Rose absolute, Rose essence, Geranium
Base: Woods, Musk

Dry, sizzling opening leads to red fruity roses that are fresh and dewy, the change in the first 20 seconds is marked. I love the watery feel that comes through, it’s so pretty. This is the style of fragrance that has saturated the mid-price designer market. Patricia de Nicolai was doing it last century and doing it better than any of the imitators. There’s a fresh, velvet rose petal pressed against your cheek, you’re burying your nose into a blooming peony. There is also the powdery yet crisp snap of geranium leaves rubbed or crushed as you wander past the bush. All done in a transparent, aquatic style, very watercolour.

Rose Pivoine Nicolai Parfumeur Createur pink peonies PexelsPDI

I know some women who wear scents like this. I grew up with them and now they are Mums and business runners. Big glasses and beautiful pearly white toothed smiles (not the ultra white of American TV), well maintained and presented women with trophy cars/handbags/houses and a couple of kids at exclusive Sydney private schools. There’s something eternally casual about these women, even when they dress up for galas. They are not brittle social X-Rays but living, breathing women who work really hard on their businesses, families and relationships but can still cackle at a girls dinner or drinks at the club. This is their style, a very fragrant yet sheer, fresh and pretty scent that is absolutely luscious when you get caught up in a hug.

Flickr

Of this style I think Rose Pivoile a very well made version, it’s seamless, reeks of good ingredients and quite gorgeous.

BeautyHabit has $45/30ml and samples

Is there a peony fragrance that you like?
Portia xx

New York Intense by Patricia de Nicolai for Nicolai Parfumeur Createur 2014

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Anne-Marie

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Hi all!

Have you ever sold or given away a perfume, only to regret it later? I bet you have!

I once re-homed a 5ml decant of New York by Nicolai Parfumeur Createur. This was the original EDT version, not the Intense (EDP) which came out in 2014. I liked the citrusy and aromatic aspect, but something about the spices bothered me. It felt very dry and scratchy and, well, hot … like a spice market on a hot day. It was like the perfume was burning into my skin.

I had no regrets giving it away until about two years ago when, having smelled a lot of other fragrance in the meantime, I got curious. What did that stuff smell like again? I was a bit too lazy to act on this question, but I brooded on it all the same.

Finally I’ve had the chance to snap up a large decant, this time of the Intense.

New York Intense by Nicolai Parfumeur Createur 2014

New York Intense by Patricia de Nicolai

Fragrantica

Fragrantica gives these featured accords:
Bergamot, lemon, cloves, thyme, cinnamon, black pepper, pimento, oakmoss, vetiver, amber.

New York Intense arrived today and although I’ve only had it on a few hours, I’m delighted with the re-acquaintance. Citrus and herbaceous notes are as intriguing as ever, but the spices seem a bit less prominent, allowing the smooth ambery base to make itself felt. Maybe because of this, the fragrance seems less solidly masculine than I remember. A lot of Fragranctica readers detect oakmoss. Really? I don’t get any at all. But I’ll see how things go over more wearings. I definitely get a subtle whiff of vanilla, which I like. Also, the longevity is better.

PDI

This is how the Intense strikes me. I can’t do a direct comparison of the two versions but if you have, do comment.

For various reasons, good reasons, we prune our collections to share them, spray forward, or to create space and raise a few dollars for other stuff. Perhaps we keep a sample for reference, although I admit I’ve never been that organised.

I don’t think I’ve ever had any terrible regrets, just a small sense of loss occasionally. After all, there’s a good chance that the lost one will find its way back to you if it is meant to be, as it was in this case for me.

WikiCommons

Further reading: Australian Perfume Junkies
LuckyScent has $62/30ml
Surrender To Chance has samples from $5/ml

So what about you? Have you managed to reclaim some gems you had let go? How did it work out?
Until next time everyone, keep spritzing!
Anne-Marie

New York by Patricia de Nicolai for Parfums de Nicolai 1989

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Post by Portia

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Hi there Cool kids,

Back in 2014 my mate Tara reviewed New York by Parfums de Nicolai for Olfactoria’s Travels and I said I would try and find a bit of it because her review made me think it was right up my alley. Then I completely forgot about it. Now looking through my stockpile I rediscovered a sample sent to me at some time by someone, um sorry I’ve forgotten who but thank you. So I decided to spritz it yesterday, now I’m wearing it again….

New York by Parfums de Nicolai 1989

New York by Patricia de Nicolai

New York Nicolai Parfumeur FragranticaPhoto Stolen Fragrantica

Fragrantica gives these featured accords:
Top: Bergamot, amalfi lemon, cloves, lavender, green notes
Heart: Thyme, cinnamon, pepper, paprika, patchouli, cedar
Base: Amber, vanilla, leather

Tara mentions that New York is a masculine Shalimar, well you may know that I adore Shalimar and it’s my favourite scent of all time. I have spent the last couple of days searching for the similarities and differences, then getting so lost in the fragrance that I need to reapply so I can do the comparisons. It’s been fun.

So the open is fresh and bracing but the lavender takes me far away from Shalimar. It feels very old school cologne but drier and more biting. The citrus is lovely, sweet and fleshy and pretty photo realistic. All together I find the opening an exemplary riff on an old trope. Not a big departure but enough to make New York interesting.

New York Nicolai Demuth_Charles_Incense_of_a_New_Church WikipediaPhoto Stolen Wikipedia

As we settle into New York’s heart the spices remind me that a chypre is supposed to be created without flowers, because the island of Cypress is a place of evergreen shrubs & trees and citrus groves (is New York a chypre, if you substituted leather for oakmoss it could be included). My skin maintains lavender and citrus right through the spicy heart. It’s SO good, so beautifully balanced and blended. I love the smooth and unfussy growth, the slow and stately speed that different accords appear and fade, the hints of a bygone era of beautiful fragrances.

Deep into the heart I notice the pepper, the pepper seems to be casually chatting with the woods. No fireworks, they just stood out the front to make sure I noticed them. Base comes extremely late, it’s at least an hour before the warmth of amber/vanilla even shows its face over the leather and heart (it smells quite vetiverish to me too). Like Shalimar? Not at all. New York is pure old fashioned cologne/chypre and I really enjoyed it.

New York Nicolai Woofer forme-masculine FlickrPhoto Stolen Flickr

Further reading: Olfactoria’s Travels and Scented Hound
Neroli Budapest has 11,400Ft (US$40)/30ml and posts worldwide
Surrender To Chance has New York Intense samples from $5/ml

Are any of your fragrance favourite old style? Do the masculine leaning frags bring you happy memories or remind you of sexy men?
Portia xxx

 

Vanille Tonka by Parfums de Nicolai: LIVE Video Sniff

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Post by Portia

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Hey Hey Crew,

I’m about to jump on a plane with Jin for our 2016 European Adventure. 10 cities in 5 weeks! It’s come around so freaking quickly and now it’s really happening!
WOO HOO!

Vanille Tonka by Parfums de Nicolai

Vanille Tonka: LIVE Video Sniff

Vanille Tonka Nicolai Parfumeur Createur FragranticaFragrantica

Fragrantica gives these featured accords:
Top: Basil, lemon, mandarin oils
Heart: Carnation, orange blossom absolute, pepper oil, cinnamon oil
Base: Incense, vanilla absolutes, Tonka bean

Scotty and I on the back verandah being fools with a super great fragrance. So good, one of the yummy ones.

Weekend in Normandy by Patricia di Nicolai for Nicolai Parfumeur Createur 2009

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Post by Anne-Marie

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A word about name changes and formula tweaks: according to Fragrantica, Nicolai released a fragrance called ‘Weekend in Deauville’ in 2009 as a limited release, but re-released it in 2011, apparently just named ‘Weekend’, with some additional fruity notes (apple?). Now it’s ‘Weekend in Normandy’.

Weekend in Normandy by Nicolai Parfumeur Createur 2009

Weekend in Normandy by Patricia di Nicolai

This was going to be a very brief review. ‘I went to Paris. I bought Nicolai’s Weekend in Normandy. I loved it in the shop. At home, I hated it. How could that have happened? Gloom. The end.’ What’s in this stuff?

 Week End Nicolai Parfumeur Createur FragranticaPhoto Stolen Fragrantica

Fragrantica gives these featured accords:
Top: Tarragon, mint, basil
Heart: Jasmine, ylang-ylang, galbanum, cardamom, lily-of-the-valley, apple, calone
Base: Musk, cedar, leather

Standing in the Nicolai boutique on the Rue des Archives, I clearly smelled the herbs in the top. I really did, all three of them. It was like being back home in my own garden in summer. Tarragon, mint and basil are my favourite herbs of all. Back home though, all I could smell was calone. Now I’m a calone-hater from way back when it first started stink out fragrance floors in the 1990s. I can smell it in teeny amounts, such as Nicolai’s Fig-Tea, which I reviewed in these pages a short while ago. I know it can work, especially in fruity fragrances such as Badgley Mischka, where it balances out the syrupy-sweet notes very nicely. In Fig-Tea I occasionally get a whiff of salt, which is an aspect of calone I do appreciate and which cuts through the denser, fruity accord in Fig-Tea. If anyone can use calone to its best advantage, surely Patricial di Nicolai can

Week End Nicolai Parfumeur Createur Beige abstract See-Ming Lee FlickrPhoto Stolen Flickr

But the calone is too much for me in Weekend in Normandy, matched as it is with so many other fresh, green notes. (If there’s any ylang-ylang in there – then my ol’ man’s a dustman.) So the question is– why was I not repulsed at first sniff? I don’t know, I just don’t know. Was I over excited to be there (it was fulfillment of a dream), over-eager to find a fragrance to love and treasure as a souvenir? Maybe. The only thing that gives hope is that when I reluctantly brought out my bottle tonight to take a dutiful spritz for this review, I again got those herbal notes – quite lovely.

It did not take long for the Calone Monster to come stomping in to trample all through the herb garden. But I’ve also noticed this time that worn at some distance from my nose – at the back of my neck for instance – the fragrance loses some of its aggressiveness, and becomes almost pleasant. It’s faint praise I know. Almost like saying ‘If someone at the end of my street wears it, I’m quite fine!’

Week End Nicolai Parfumeur Createur Beige girl StockSnap pixabayPhoto Stolen Pixabay

Further reading: Bois de Jasmin and Perfume Posse
Parfum1 has $45/30ml
Surrender To Chance have samples starting at $4/ml

Has anyone else had weird about-turn experiences like this with a fragrance? Please share.

And now I can’t stand it any longer. Bye for now, I’m off to the shower.

Fig-tea by Patricia de Nicolai for Nicolai Parfumeur Createur 2007

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Post by Anne-Marie

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Love at first sniff: Fig-tea by Patricia de Nicolai for Nicolai Parfumeur Createur 2007

Do you trust love at first sight? Or sniff? On the whole, I don’t. Still, when I smelled Fig-tea in a Nicolai boutique in Paris recently, there was no question that it was coming home with me.

Fig-tea by Nicolai Parfumeur Createur 2007

Fig-tea by Patricia de Nicolai

Fig Tea Nicolai Parfumeur Createur FragranticaPhoto Stolen Fragrantica

Fragrantica gives these featured accords:
Top: Fig, osmanthus, artemisia
Heart: Mate, coriander, jasmine
Base: Guaiac wood, amber

When I was a kid we had an apricot tree in the backyard, and after a swim in the pool I would gorge myself on ripe apricots, water still dripping off me and apricot juice running all over my fingers. This was what I remembered when I first sniffed Fig-tea. I could see, smell and taste apricots so clearly I think I must have laughed with delight, right in front of the (very dishy) young male SA in the Nicolai boutique. He was amused, in typically cool Parisian style, but really I was paying him no attention. It was apricots, sunshine, and the kind of happiness you are still too young to treasure because life has so far delivered no stings.

Fig Tea Nicolai Parfumeur Createur swimming Alberto P. Veiga FlickrPhoto Stolen Flickr

Osmanthus is known for its apricot facet, so it must be is osmanthus that delivers me this powerful memory of apricots ripening in the sun. I’m probably the wrong person to review this fragrance because I smell no fig at all in Fig-Tea. Most people do, but not me. I know what fig smells like as fresh fruit and in perfume, but here I just don’t get it. So don’t ask me if the fig is nuanced with creamy coconut, leaves, earth, or just the fruit. I wouldn’t know.

A number of notes combine to prevent the apricot – so prominent for me – from becoming too syrupy-sweet: mate tea, coriander, and … ahem … calone. Do you hate calone? Yes, me too. Calone is not listed as a note in Fig-tea and you might not smell it at all. I can detect it in parts per billion and I do smell it in Fig-tea. But it’s subtle. It pulls the fragrance in a refreshing direction and after its opening few minutes, Fig-Tea is brisk and cool, slightly salty, and skews unisex.

For reference, Carthusia puts out a fig-tea fragrance named Io Capri. Here I do smell fig quite clearly, rather tart, and accompanied by notes of citrus, tea, mint and eucalyptus. ‘Seaweed’ in the base contributes a briny accent not unlike the calone in Fig-Tea. But Io Capri is rough, outdoorsy and a little strident compared to the walled-garden Parisian refinement of Nicolai’s Fig-tea.

Fig Tea Nicolai Parfumeur Createur France_Cotes_d_Armor_Roche_Jagu_ja WikipediaPhoto Stolen Wikipedia

Fig-tea was released by Nicolai as an Eau Fraiche but these days is listed as an EDT. Sillage is moderate, but longevity on me is about five hours, at least. Although a warm weather fragrance, at the height of summer I still expect to reach for the invigorating freshness of Io Capri.
Figs, apricots, tea, tangy breezes and sweet memories. It’s amazing what will come out of a perfume bottle.

Further reading: Best Things In Beauty and This Side Of Perfume
Luckyscent has $130/100ml and samples

What’s brightening up your life right now?

Until next time, keep spritzing!
Anne-Marie xx

Kiss Me Tender by Patricia de Nicolai for Parfums de Nicolai 2010

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Post by Poodle

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Loves me, loves me not

I’d been curious to try Kiss Me Tender for so long. I almost made a blind buy. It seemed so promising.

Kiss Me Tender by Patricia de Nicolai for Parfums de Nicolai 2010

Kiss Me Tender Parfums de Nicolai FragranticaPhoto Stolen Fragrantica

Fragrantica gives these featured accords:
Top: Orange blossom, bitter almonds, star anise
Heart: Heliotrope, cloves, cinnamon, ylang-ylang, spices, fresh hay, jasmine
Base: Opoponax, musk, vanilla, wood notes

The first time I tried it there was tons of ylang-ylang (more than you’re thinking) and a touch of spice. There was something retro about it as well but in a good way. When I was a kid my mom had given me some perfume nips to play with. They were these little glass-like tubes that were fused shut on the ends. In order to get the perfume out you had to snap off the end of the tube. Not something any of today’s overprotective parents would let a child play with but I had no incidents with them. Anyway, there was a ylang-ylang one and that’s what this reminded me of. That was my favorite along with the carnation. It was rich, creamy, sweet, and just a little spicy. It was soft and comfortable. When I smelled Kiss me Tender it was wonderful and I wanted a bottle then and there but I didn’t buy one.

Kiss Me Tender Parfums de Nicolai Klimt Der_Kuss WikiCommonsPhoto Stolen WikiCommons

The next time I tried it it was different. This time there was still ylang-ylang but there was some serious sweetness as well. It was shot through with a note of green (the fresh hay?) which was an unusual contrast to the sugar. It seemed more bitter to me than green actually. Perhaps it was my mood but that day it set my teeth on edge. Lurking within this confectionary cloud I could smell some spice, clove and cinnamon to be exact, adding to the gourmand experience I was having. As the sugar subsided I was again brought back to my childhood with an odd Play-Doh note which drifted in and out. Where was all this hiding the first time I tried it? I didn’t dislike it but I wasn’t loving it like the first time. It wasn’t a good day for that much sweetness and any wrist huffing made my tummy turn a bit. On another day I might have liked it. Looking at other reviews lots of folks do.

Kiss Me Tender Parfums de Nicolai Dog Kiss Mike Baird FlickrPhoto Stolen Flickr

I know I will probably have a different experience if I try it again but there’s no third try because what little I had is gone. Will I buy a bottle now? Not likely without another sampling. I’m just not sure why it worked so well one day and the next was so cloying to me.

Further reading: Grain de Musc and Perfume Shrine
Parfum1 has $150/100ml
Surrender To Chance has samples starting at $4/ml

Anyway, have you ever loved a perfume one day and then had a complete reversal the next time you wore it? Did you ever fall in love with it again?

Poodle XXX

Elvis Presley – Love Me Tender (Lyrics)