Parfums de Nicolai

As promised, I’m reviewing a couple of Parfums de Nicolai today, a perfume house truly deserving of more love.   I’m getting a little distracted by the Montale Cuir d’Arabie thing sitting over on a corner of my hand, but I’ll just keep ignoring that bit of… well, more on Wednesday when it’s up in the Fourplay.

Balle de Match —   Incense and citrus.  The top is the tartest grapefruit I can remember smelling.  Mouth-scrunching tart perfection underpinned with a beautiful, understated incense. It never truly loses that tartness of the citrus through the drydown, which is pretty rare for but a few perfumes, the lasting power is very nice, and it is utterly charming, balanced between the incense and the tart. Surprising that someone could pull this off, it’s a tricky balance on me, sometimes almost veering off into a bad direction.  Thinking this doesn’t work on everyone, but glad it’s working for me! 

Cococabana — Notes of coconut, bitter oranges, ylang-ylang, tuberose, cedar wood and palm. Given the notes, and how much I despise coconut and island tropical fruity scents in general, this really doesn’t work for me personally.  However, out of the islandy scents I’ve smelled and hated, which is most of them, this really isn’t that bad.  Those that like island fragrances and don’t mind coconut will find a lot to like here.  If it didn’t have the coconut, the palm and cedar in the base would make it work, adding enough to the ylang and tuberose so it wasn’t completely over the top with white lushness.  If you don’t care for coconut, this isn’t going to work for you, and you can join me over on the “no” side. The Coconut fades, but true hatahs will smell it down to the last drop.  I don’t think it’s one of the best things they’ve done, but it’s nice for what it is.

Number one — the first fragrance from the line, has notes of Egyptian jasmine, Indian tuberose, orange blossom absolute, cassis, rose, iris. It’s all floral, and mostly white, but just saying that really doesn’t describe it well enough.  It’s not a white floral like Marc Jacobs, which I find to be too much most of the time — it is understated and classy with a casual elegance that would work for day or night. Don’t make the mistake I did of spritzing some Montale Oud Cuir d’Arabie over the top of it, thinking that could liven things up.  Mis-take.  Oh, wait, but the brakes on that dis!!!!!!!!   The Number One/Arabie is getting really interesting as we go along.   Kind of like when Secretariat won the Kentucky Derby and had that floral blanket put on in the winner’s circle, but they subbed jasmine and tuberose for the roses.  Hey, don’t scoff, it’s a great contrast.

What’s your favorite Parfums de Nicolai? And a PSA for a deserving series that is coming back this fall. They have Friday Night Lights out on DVD for $19.  Truly the best series  I’ve seen on regular TV, and if you missed it last year, you can catch up on DVD and join the rest of us that are begging for this Little Show that Could to make it this season.

38 Comments

  1. Number One is very pretty. I hadn’t tried it for a while, so I went to put some on when I read your review. It’s prettily dignified, delicate. I especially like the orange blossom in it. I’ll have to let Louise know in the morning how long it lasted. How does one choose among white florals? 😕

    Drat. I’ll have to add Balle de Match to my to-try list. I wonder how long THAT one would last.

    My favorite PdN is Sacrebleu. But I keep saying that. :d

  2. My favourite PdN at the moment is the Havane room spray. Can’t get enough of that thing. Otherwise, it’s Balle de Match and New York – I should really spend some more time with Baladin etc, which I don’t know at all. I didn’t like Nicolai pour Homme much…

    • So maybe you know. There are several of the pdn’s that you can’t get in the U.S.? Why do you suppose they do that? Balle de Match, baladin, fig tea, and a few others are at FiF, but they don’t carry here at all. Rosine does that too, and it’s just a mystery on how they determine that.

      havane room spray, so what’s that like, or did you review it before and I’m not remembering?

      • I think March mentioned it in her London blog entry. It’s a delicious sweet tobacco and spices scent. OMG worthy.

  3. Please don’t hate me. Please! Last Saturday I took a daytrip to Paris (not my fault it’s close enough for that) to meet up with a MUA friend from the States (and one from Paris). Completely idiotic thing to do, and not exactly for free either, but there you are: I did it, and it was fun, and the girls were lovely, sweet and charming. Among others, we visited PdN, and I found a big fat lemming there: Balkis. Smells like going berry-picking: green and dry at first, with the barest hint of raspberry, but then sun-warmed raspberry takes over, gets sweeter and riper and more mouth-watering by the millisecond and ends up as a raspberry millefeuille with powdered sugar over it, caramelized in those nifty grill stripes…. I sprayed it on mid-afternoon, and it was still gorgeous next morning. And I don’t usually do sweet. My favourite, hyper-elegant, Cary-Grantesque (or Gene Tierney-esque) New York came home with me, by the way – Ms de Nicolai offers her scents in 20, 50 and 100 ml, and the 30 ml is affordable even if you’ve just splurged insanely on a trip. Oh, and I got to know Odalisque, a sensual lily of the valley. Such things exist.
    Went to Montale’s as well: cool and clean, like a zen pharmacy, but you get drunk on aoud and roses there. Absolutely sozzled. I NEED me some Montales!!!! Ah well, maybe next year….

    • Good thing you’r such a sweetie, or that whole “day trip to paris” thing would have me insane with jealousy. 🙂

      Balkis is gorgeous, I totally agree, and your description is perfect.

      On their website, they have a coming soon section that seems to indicate some high end stuff they m ight be doing. Did they say anything about that or that Secrete Jardin thing?

      Odalisque is one of the best Lotv I’ve run across.

      The Montales make me crazy, too many, then some that you love disappear, it’s just crazy making, but I do love a bunch of their scents!

      • I did sniff the Jardin Secrete in London-I wasn’t bowled over, but ‘member I’m not really a flower girl. I’ll be anxious to hear other’s impressions.

      • Oh, I didn’t know about that – the only new one I sniffed (with moderate interest, not really being a floral girl) was Quai des Fleurs, which was very summery and nice, like a flower market in summer. Nice for a floral.

    • Hello, Dinazad. Balkis is indeed pretty–a fruity floral worth making and buying. I’m like you at a shop with a surfeit of choices. I get overwhelmed. I must run home and do research!

  4. I like so many of hers. Vanille Tonka, Vie de Chateau and Eau d’Ete are probably the most favorite.

    • I haven’t spent much time with Vanille Tonka, I keep thinking it’s not me, but I should spend more time with it. Chateau and eau d’ete are indeed wonderful!

  5. Vie de chateau remains at the top of my favorite PdN’s (even after gassing out my office mate). I also really like Figue Tea (Hi, Maria!-thanks for both those great Tauer reviews-awaiting their releases), and am curious how VT will be in cooler weather-it’s nice now, but seems like it’ll suit sweaters better.

    Dinazad…must buy Montales…at the shop. A lot cheaper than anywhere else, and they’ll custom increase the oils in any scent if you’ve got eater skin like mine. I loved the SA, Pierre (not senior). Next trip?

    • Hi, Louise, the lovely Number One I put on last night started to fade on me quickly, I thought, even though it’s supposed to be long-lasting for the normal people. [-(

      I’m glad you still like Vie de Chateau even after your unfortunate co-worker experience. I find it’s much stronger sprayed, so I think eventually I’ll decant it and dab it.

      My head is reeling at the thought of Montales with amped up oils.

  6. Patty, I would have predicted Balle de Match – to me it smells sorta like a tarter Eva, and I know you like that sort of scent.

    I’ve been slowly eating my decant of Balkis Light while it’s still warm, and I like the Fig-Tea and Maharanih.

    BTW it’s not that the Fig-Tea is so especially brilliant or cutting edge. It’s a summer tea comfort scent. What’s so cool about it is it seems like one of those nice things that’s gonna last maybe 20 minutes, only it sticks around all day. Anything that can survive on Maria and Louise has some sticking power!;)

    Woman, cannot BELIEVE you’re trying those on with Arabie, that’s not an even fight!

    • Yeah, love it

      Oh, I get the Fig Tea love, then. Well, I’m a sucker for fig and tea, so one that lasts and is nice will be a winner.

      Heh. Number One, believe it or not, prevailed. I know! It was a lethal combination for a while, then it was really quite lovely, and then the white florals smothered the Mongolian Horde.

      • The big secret for the PdN’s for me is in the longevity…in comes these soft, gentle scents…some then explode on me, others behave, one is brilliant (vie) … but all are lovely, very wearable, and last very well.

  7. The only PdN I’ve been tempted by is the Figue Tea, and now more so after reading the posts above. Was seriously craving a sample as a potential hot humid NYC in summer scent but hmm, think I’ve missed the boat on the season. Perhaps for next summer ….

  8. Definitely on my next trip! But I’ll do my decision-making research back home so I won’t be overwhelmed again!

  9. Good morning!

    Love Balkis and New York (a men’s fragrance – but I wear it).

    J.

    • Agree on New York. it’s one I’m not sure I’d wear that much, it’s not quite me, but I admire it greatly.

  10. I adore Balle de Match. Also Fig Tea, Eau Exotique, Eau d’Ete, Balkis Light, Vie de Chateau, and probably forgetting something. Great line.

  11. I can’t speak of a favorite as such, because I do not have one I’m afraid. There is a good amount of admiration there, yes, but no love. There’s too much fruit in the whole line for me to be swept off my feet 🙁

    • yeah, there’s some fruit, and i normally don’t like much fruit in lines, so I’m surprised how well many of these work from the fruit aspect, but i can see how they would not work for everyone at all.

    • Luckyscent and Beautyhabit have some, but a lot of the others are just at FiF, and I’m not sure why some aren’t available in the U.s. You might ask Franco next time you are in ScentBar why not all of them are available here.

  12. Duh, Tom You work on the internet, it’s called a Google search!

  13. My computer has crashed, so I am writing you briefly on another one. My favorite PdNs are Vanille Tonka, Maharadjah, and Baladin.

    PS I THOUGHT I saved everything important on my computer before it crashed, but apparently a bunch of it didn’t come through (at least on the CD; there’s a memory stick at home that I hope did better). The computer guy says he can save everything, so here’s hoping!!:((

    • Oh, no!!!!:(( I’m crossing my finger for your hard drive, I hope it is rescued safe and sound!!!

  14. Hey beautiful!

    My favorite PdN fragrance is Sacre Bleue!, followed by Maharinih, a fragrance I thought would get “mo’ love,” but I guess that’s what happens with this line.

    Also, Sacre Bleue! Legere is wonderful, too. It’s the lighter version of the original, but unlike most lighter versions, this one is light without being “clean,” retaining all the best parts of the original in a sheer, enveloping veil of lovely.

    Hugs and love!

    • I’m still undecided on Maharinih. i like it, just not sure if it’s love or me or both or neither. I need to spend some qualilty alone time with it.

      Okay, where is Legere at? I don’t remember seeing that one anywhere!

      • Ah, the Legeres!

        Well honey, you just need to mosey on over the Pond to Paris and check out those lighter versions in the boutique. 😡

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