The Party in Manhattan

The Party in Manhattan?  

No, this will not be an account, Woody Allen style, of confused and neurotic love bumblings in the Big Apple. Nor will it be a warts and all exposé of sexual shenanigans in your favourite scent store. Instead it’s a one-off three way perfume review from Patty, March and I. Hope you’re not too disappointed.

A seemingly hush-hush number, unless you’re Italian (seems like it’s everywhere there), this is one of those rarities stocked in Roja Dove’s Haute Parfumerie in Harrods, London. There’s a video out there somewhere with him talking about it. Anyway, here’s a bad translation of the PR puff:

New York, the 30s, a perfume and cosmetics store opens on Madison Avenue and launches a new perfume. A Perfume now reborn under the name “The Party”. In fact, a very exclusive party, which participates in worldwide entertainment and finance, art and dell’industra, celebrates the debut of a great Fragrance.”  (eh?)

The Party in Manhattan can begin.

The Party in Manhattan perfumeWe have created a fragrance of quality in “The Party”, belonging to that emotional and very glamorous world. The gentleman is well combed and elegant, caught lingering in the foyers of Broadway theatres, lifting your sets of suitcases and trunks of leather uphill on the walkways of yachts into Europe, at a bar in Manhattan where, mixed with the scent of Havana cigars, the heat of the drinks are a counterpoint to the thick snowfall that, as you could see from the windows, slowed down the traffic on Park Avenue …

And here’s some info from http://cosmeticsbusiness.com:

“Paulo Borgomanero, one of the men behind the success of Acqua di Parma, is bringing vintage scent The Party in Manhattan to the UK, and has high hopes for success.

After selling the Acqua di Parma brand to LVMH in 2007, Borgomanero wanted to pursue his dreams of relaunching a 1930s fragrance, inspired by the scent Galore, which had been very popular during that time.

He decided to call the scent The Party in Manhattan after the original scent was launched at a party in New York, attended by a plethora of socialites and Hollywood stars.

Says Borgomanero: “I launched The Party in Manhattan in my native Italy at the end of 2006 and it has been very successful. I really hope that success is replicated in the UK. It is a beautiful chypre scent that transcends generations and comes in beautiful bespoke packaging, evocative of the 1930s. I hope it will appeal to discerning customers who appreciate how special it is.”

The Party in Manhattan comes in a variety of sizes and 100ml retails at £295. It contains top notes of bergamot and sage, middle notes of jasmine and carnation and dries down to a base of ambergris and vetiver. Each scent comes in a handmade box, made with hand-rolled Venetian paper and can be lined in different coloured silk lining if required. Each scent has a solid brass stopper, which can be customised with diamonds, rubies and other precious stones on request.

It is being distributed through Harrods, Fortnum and Mason and Selfridges, by Hornvale, who are managing the distribution in the UK.”

So,  without any further ado, what did we think?

March: The Big Cheese and I share a home office, which is where the mail goes first when it arrives.  I´m constantly getting packages of bottles and decants, and the Cheese has a serious online used-book habit, so it´s hard to say which of us the mail carrier hates more. This week, though, it was probably me.  When my small vial of  The Party in Manhattan showed up you could smell it through its plastic wrapping, through the Tyvek envelope and across the room – and it had not leaked.  It´s just that embracing!  It was so embracing, in fact, that when I sprayed a tiny bit on my wrist the smell engulfed the office in a cloud of scent the likes of which we do not often see.  So much so that the Cheese, who has at this point a remarkably high tolerance for my nasty, acrid meth-lab-potency scents, leaned back and waved his arms in front of his face like he was warding off the Devil, and said the X-rated version of: “My goodness!  That is certainly some strong fragrance you have there, and if you wouldn´t mind terribly, perhaps you could take that particular scent somewhere else?”   Pluto, maybe.

Seriously, though — it´s not that bad.  I´m guessing this is in the style of one of those venerable scents from Guerlain that people would give their eyeteeth to smell.   Like Candide Effluve, I think it´s called, or the other one that smells like goat´s balls in the best possible way.  This is approximately what I thought Coty Chypre would smell like, only it doesn´t (Chypre smells sweeter than I expected, based on my one or two small vintage samples.)

It´s incredibly elegant, and in an unmarked vial I´d have guessed vintage Guerlain or Caron.  It could absolutely sit next to Jicky and Mitsouko, in the extrait.  I am weighing here … it is not intensely animalic.  I mean, I don´t get the laugh-out-loud filthiness of something like Mona di Orio´s Nuit Noire.  I´d put it at Jicky level.   As far as I know the skank horn´s being blown by the vetiver, oakmoss, patch and ambergris, plus some random musks, but not civet, and the jasmine is discreetly indolic, so you don´t get the full unwashed panty (fecal/urine-y).   I think it´s very sexy, but only if you find Jicky and Mitsouko sexy.  There´s also a note of cigarette smoke that adds an interesting, conversely “modern” feel, as if you´re smelling a recreation of a room at a party and all the scents therein, including the wood paneling, the flowers wilting in a vase, and the sweat of drunken people in formal clothing that does not get washed after every wearing.  Given the reaction of the Cheese, the mailman and my children, who acted like the unwashed hordes had just ridden into the room, I suspect I am anosmic to at least some of the musks.  Maybe it´s a lot filthier than I am giving it credit for.

Lee: At first, I did think those decadent Depression babes had left a stack of their unwashed panties in the package Patty posted me. If I say Bal a Versailles extrait you’ll get the drift. Ripe, indolic, faintly scatological in its rich texture, it certainly has the classic nod to the unwashed fullness, the rounded ripeness, the Frenchy pourriture of scents from an earlier era. It’s floral and dirty. (And, as an aside, what is this I keep hearing from the Republican convention about ‘we’re not France’ or ‘we don’t want to be like Europe’. Is this just reported in the UK, or do you hear all that over there too? I thought the French-bashing had faded away…). But then, it becomes leaner, angular, a Mitsouko without the peach, an austere and otherworldly chypre of impossible elegance. A cut glass beauty, oh too young, in a long cocktail dress, cigaretter in filter holder, wan, sardonic smile, a world of smoke surrounding her, drifting impossibly away as the cocktail music (yellow cocktail music, just as in The Great Gatsby) merges with the laughter of a rapidly drunker crowd, increasing your blurred myopia. Like you dreamed it.

Is The Party in Manhattan worth all that money? I haven’t seen the packaging in the flesh, so I can’t say, but it’s one hell of a cleverly blended chypre with the opening stink of an alley cat, and the luxurious purr of a Persian to follow. It’s furry.

Patty: Should I have sent this through through the mail without an XXX on the outer wrapper?  Being alone when I first opened this and spritzed it on, I can’t account for how anyone else reacted, but my reaction was laughter.

The perfumer charged with making this must have screamed with joy when given the sketch and the latitude to make this filty, dirty, skanky, magnificently beautiful creation. It does go on just like Mick’s hotel room the morning after a Stones concert.  The drydown exudes elegance and luxury, while never completely losing that little bit of the very real underside of life behind the carefully made-up face.  You do have to grit your teeth a little for about 10-15 minutes on the open, but just do it, you’ll feel great in a while as the floral bouquet opens and takes away the most lethal qualities of the open.

I can speak to the packaging of The Party in Manhattan, it really is that elegant.  A heavy bottle with a heavy cap and a gorgeous little box to nestle into.  I can’t answer the “is it worth it” question either. For me, it’s one of the most fascinating things I’ve smelled in a good, long while.  I’ve smelled the old Candide Effluve and Bouquet Faunes and other Guerlain skank monsters. They were pretenders to the throne that The Party in Manhattan now occupies.

(Chrysler building image by Jim Buckels)

The Party in Manhattan full bottle is available only in Italy.  The Party in Manhattan sample and decants are available at Surrender to Chance

37 Comments

  1. Oh my – I feel a little faint! What a marvelous idea, resurrecting that KABOOM style of Thirties perfume. I cannot wait to try it! I feel my bad girl side trying to get out right now!

    • It really was brilliant to do, and it feels cool to actually smell something that could have been introduced 100 years ago wen it was fresh and new.

  2. Huge, huge, *hugs and kisses* to all of you! Patty, you get extra kisses for getting this and making it available to sample in the US. Harrods?? Roja Dove?? I will have this by my birthday, for certain (which is in November–a good thing, given the price)! Although…I suppose I should take myself over to TPC first, LOL.

    A fantastic review, all of you. March: Not as skanky as Nuit de Noire? As I just think Nuit Noire is sweet sexiness (although my hubby calls it “mature” or “flowers dying, but hot”), this just might not knock me over with vavoom. Lee: “furry” did you say? Oh, OH, you’ve instantly nudged my impressions toward vintage Diors. I’ll admit, however, Bal a Versailles simply struck me as…sweet…and that was vintage, so I would hope it’s dirtier than that. And Patty: I can wait 15 minutes. But I almost cannot wait to feel that packaging.

    Thanks so much, you all!

    • You know, I thought it was as skanky as Nuit de Noire, but in a different way. Definitely not barnyard like L’air de Rien, though.

    • Like you, I just find Nuit Noire really lovely. To me it’s sweet and sandalwoody. I don’t understand why people think it’s filthy.

      I guess I just like stinky things. Don’t suppose you’re a blue cheese fan too, are you?

  3. Great, now I have to go out and buy this skanky little monster. Just when I think it’s safe to go back to the counter! I love you guys and I hope you keep posting these.
    So, what is the floral heart like? Is it too much carnation? Heavy heavy or rich and buttery? I love me my flowers and skank just drives me batty…in the good way.
    Love you babes..all three.:x

    • Not carnationy at all. Not a heavy rich either, like the Amouages, etc., buttery is the closest, but not really that either. Velvet with claws.

  4. Damn. I had heard little of this and paid it no mind for some reason, then this. It sounds like everything. It sounds like perfection. Just when I was trying not to want anything. Or limit my wanting. It’s pricey, eh? We can’t get this in the States, right? Awww damn, I want it.

    • Ridiculously pricey, but Marcel at Harrod’s is a joy to e-mail with and will fix you right up on shipping it. 🙂

  5. I would so much rather have a review from you three than anything involving Woddy Allen or a menage a trois. Or whatever.

    This sounds SO awesome!!! Must. Sample.

  6. MdO Nuit Noire, Bal a Versailles extrait, CB’s Musk – they have *nothing* on this in terms of skank. At least not on my skin. I adore all of those and am a huge fan of skank. But not of wet skank. Wet, untreated sewage mixed w/ blood is what I get from this for the first 20 minutes. NOT good. At all. But then it changed. It was like I had to go through some sort of test, burn off bad karma or something before I could get to the wonder that it ultimately is. DH, however, felt that it was still unpleasant on my skin after an hour and a half. This is one of the very few scents he’s ever vigorously objected to (Theo Fennell is one of the others – my skin brings out *powerful* skank notes w/ that one). My solution for those scents is to just wear them during the day when he’s not around. I think I’d also avoid wearing this on days I meet w/ clients.

    • Snooping over here (catching up on comments from Weds.) — see, I do think I must be anosmic! Really, the Cheese was gagging. And Patty and Lee obviously think it’s pretty ripe. But Diva, who seems to share some of my musk anosmia, shrugged her shoulders. On me this is less forceful than, say, Yatagan. And I have the *same* problem with Theo Fennell, it is all armpit on me. And not in a *good* way. :”>

  7. I spent yesterday with some dear local perfume lovers at a small little “collector’s” shop, and the most frequent comment was “it’s soooo skanky” :)-always in a good way. I blame you all for feeding my stink-love.

    But this Party sounds like it tops all known skank, for those poopy, sweaty 20 opening minutes. Must try 😮 The price does frighten me, but I can’t imagine a full bottle of this delightful toxin would ever be necessary. And while I just averred two days ago that pretty bottles don’t move me, my lord, the packaging on this one is stunning!

    So nice to have all three of you back at play together 😡

  8. Whoa,nelly.

    Now see, just when everyone is declaring the end of everything something like this comes along. (Albeit at an impossible price point. But still. It is In The World.) Y’all make me cheerful for the future this morning.

    More threeways!

  9. Now I’m really curious to sniff this after reading your fantastically well-written, thoroughly enjoyable reviews. But I wonder what it will smell like to me, because I thinkk I, too, may be anosmic to musk. The other day I commented on a fragrance that smelled pretty much like nothing on me, only to read Tania Sanchez’s review a couple of days later in which she said it contained an “eye-crossingly powerful” musk

    The packaging does look gorgeous

  10. Lee: how about we leave it at “The French are great artists, and have a beautiful and fascinating language.” Those are their most admirable qualities (along with their educational system, but that’s my political belief, not a widely-acknowledged fact) so we’ll be polite and stop there.

    Now back to this skank monster-as a product of the age of cleanliness and freshness, I’ve got to admit-this sounds terrifying. However, as a student, after two weeks in classes, I’m already nauseous from the fruity-floral BBW crap that girls spray on to mask their “I just rolled out of bed and went for a run” odor, so maybe true funk would be a welcome change of pace. (I don’t mention the young men because I haven’t smelled an abundance of cologne on campus, odd as that may seem.)

  11. Oooh, maybe this will spark a trend towards the skanky? Although, if it decides to trickle down into the department store end of things we’ll probably regret it; think of how bad cheap fruity/florals smell, now imagine a cheap skank! b-(

    I’m beginning to think I’m also missing some of the musks, but the ones I CAN smell seem to burn off pretty quickly on me–I feel like I’m doubly cursed. Must be why I associate MKK with ballet: to me it’s the smell of powdery, clean, yet beautiful exertion. I get no skank from it at all when I put it on, and my SO doesn’t smell it either. That being said, I’m eagerly looking forward to trying this’un. It’s not just calling my name, it’s screaming into the mic with the speakers turned up to 11.

  12. My, my. I need fan myself, guys…and go for it! It’s definitely on my next sample order.

    Hugs to all of you lovely, skanky, fragrant party people!

  13. WWD did an article about it, so I assume it’s coming to the US? Seems so odd for something by the people from AdP, doesn’t it — totally different aesthetic.

  14. I’m afraid, very afraid! But how can I resist something that’s described by so many bodily secretions/functions? Isn’t it funny how as you “mature” as a perfume lover it’s the stink that makes you crazy? My husband hasn’t got that quite yet. He loves the perfumes that are unmistakably feminine & pretty like L’air du Temps & Chanel #5. But I’ve grown to LOVE the ones that offend my nostrils a little as well as the ones that give me a tiny gag reflex. I think it’s because those are the ones that are the most challenging to appreciate & almost never disappoint in the later stages. God I love perfume! Ain’t nuthin better!!! And I’m lovin the box. It looks like a vintage throw-back. Bet we don’t see this at the local USA malls any time soon.

  15. Ah, the beautiful skank monster that has been calling my name since mid-August. Animalic/indolic notes seem to be appearing with increasing frequency in most of my purchases. Either my husband is anosmic to these notes or his nose is truly sophisticated for a guy who is only interested in fragrances insofar as they make me happy. Well, maybe a little more interested-he truly seems to like the scents that I wear, often telling me that I always smell nice. Even ouds haven’t caused him to recoil!

  16. A bit late to the party (excuse the pun), but I love this so much that I have to comment. I discovered it in Italy about a year ago and if it wasn’t for the price, I’d have bought a FB on the spot. I was surprised it had gone past the international radar for so long, thanks for reviewing this.
    Dirty yet extremely classy, at times has a strong resemblance to Jubilation 25 (Donanicola spotted this one). This is serious skunk quality in my books.
    :)>-

  17. Holy Moly! I just received my samp of this (PIM). Wow. Talk about unwashed panties! I have to agree this is indeed FILTHY (I bet anyone to try to differ) I’m also getting clove and cumin from it. I’m not sure I should have tried this one out at the office for my first sniffing (even with one small dab of it). I feel like I should be a lesbian flapper smoking with a long cigarette holder at a speakeasy. I imagine that back then unwashed clothing and twice a week bathing was completely acceptable, provided you did wear rich perfume as well. Naughty. This is beautiful but I’m seriously not sure how others will react. I don’t think I will EVER wear this one to the office, maybe only for my boyfriend and of course myself. It definitely transports. Put on some deep red lipstick, light some candles, fix a glass of scotch or brandy and play some old crackly records. And of course the long cigarette holder. Ridiculously SEXy.

  18. Oh, and thanks to The Perfumed Court for the opportunity to try this! I feel very lucky:)

  19. Forgot to say that yes, it does calm down and soften after a while (not that I wanted it to /:)

Comments are closed.