Sniffapalooza – Saturday Report

As expected, Sniffapalooza in New York was a blast, even though the weather was craptastic (cold, blowy, rainy and inside-out-umbrella-ish) and I am still getting over a cold and sound all raspy.  Here’s a report of my personal highlights and helpful tidbits from Saturday –

For me, Bergdorf is the highlight of the day.  Those people really know their customer service, and the more time I spend shopping elsewhere, the more I admire their CS overall.  I spent a long time chatting with the wonderful Tom Crutchfield at Annick Goutal, I know some of y’all know him.  He’s full of great stories about Annick and working with the brand, and he really loves fragrance.  Anyhoo, he had literally unpacked his Mandragore Pourpre the day before the event, he was not expecting his shipment until November.  So they have it in, he can hook you up, they have the square and the round bottles.   So I soaked myself in it to see if I felt the same way as I did in my review, and … well, I do.   It’s a little darker and sweeter and missing the sharp-clawed top of the original.  But if that part gets on your nerves, hey – try this one.   I think my notes say $115 for 100ml.  I also wanted to tell you about the AG Noel room spray he’s got on preorder, he’s waiting for his shipment, it’s a seasonal LE thing.  No, it does not smell like potpourri or Christmassy – in fact, I can tell you what it smells like!  It smells exactly like the smell when you walk into a chiller at a high-end florist – sweet white flowers (think lilies, tuberose, freesia) with a little green and a slightly mentholated chill.  I thought it was lovely, I can’t wait to try that in a room.  I ordered one.  It’s $44 for 3.4 oz(!), and here’s Tom’s number – 212-872-2768.   Also btw he says he’s been told they’re going to stop shipping the Ambre Fetiche to the US due to poor sales, although that doesn’t pose much of a barrier to us determined folks in perfume-land.

The new Robert Piguet Futur is loads of fun as well, a retro-modern 60s scent that is green and woody, but still floral (ie not too green and woody for me).  The drydown on my card makes me think of something along the lines of Norell meets vintage Vent Vert, but softer.  This is a reintroduction and has been done (and I can only assume, reorchestrated) by Aurelien Guichard.  I’ve really liked most of the offerings of the line, and this is another worthy addition.  I’m bummed that I missed the sample handout of this one, my own fault, I’m going to try to get ahold of it and do a decent review.  Notes are bergamot, neroli “a green spring-like bouquet of violet and the sweet richness of jasmine and ylang,” vetiver, cedar and patchouli.  And, they had a bottle of the parfum, which smelled tremendous.

I spent a ton of time, as did everyone else, with the delightful, totally up-for-it Francis Kurkdjian, who … look, the dude did scented bubbles, you know he’s going to be fun, right?  So he was blowing those in the air over us and we were popping them, it was hilarious.  The hordes of crazed perfumistas did not faze him.  Now, the fragrances … there are seven, including two colognes, and I got to try them twice, Catherine and I snuck over there for a preview Friday night.  Here’s a link to FK’s interview with Sniffa, also Patty’s been reviewing them on here including yesterday.  I have samples, I’ll likely do a more comprehensive review when I’ve had time to reflect on them more, not surrounded by 150 other things.  They are interesting and worth smelling, they seem very unified as a line… oh, the bottles are cool, the caps are I think zinc?  They’re spotty-looking, so the bottles are spare and clean but also organic-looking.  Attractive.  So, there’s homme and femme for two EDP scents, to me the vibe of the line is a little herbal/aromatic.   My point being, these are not sweet, “perfume-y” scents.  I’m getting the feel that FK did exactly what he wanted, which is as it should be, no?  They’re all unisexy.  My two personal favorites?  Acqua Universalis, which was featured there as an EDT and apparently you can get it as a laundry detergent, how fabulous would that be?  I can’t even tell you why I thought it smelled so great (notes are bergamot, Sicilian lemon, lily of the valley, sweet orange and blond musky wood) but it did, and not like a conventional cologne.  My other favorite was Cologne Pour le Soir (notes of cashmere and leather) and OH MY GOD (insert moaning sounds here.)  It’s … it’s not uber-heavy.  Let me be clear here.  These are not, say, something with the weight of Caron.  They’re newer and cleaner smelling.   Having said that, ask Tom how long the group of us stood around and sniffed it on his wrist, I mean, it was a little embarrassing.  It’s a glove/book/belt leather, not some ol’ birchtar thang, but if you like a refined leather, hooboy.  THIS.  Tom said his boyfriend liked it!

Also there were the new Van Cleefs, which I didn’t pay as much attention to because they gave us a sample set and I know I can sniff them here.   I also sniffed the Boisé Torride at Guerlain and while I can’t exactly say that I gave it a huge chance, it didn’t make much of an impression one way or another, except to make me giggle at the name.  I guess I was hoping for, you know, more wood.  (Why oh why won’t someone do me a fragrance called Morning Wood? in French, of course – what is that, Bois de Matin?   I’d buy it.)  Oh, and they have the new Acqua di Parma Magnolia Nobile, and I thought it was awfully pretty (I could see a decant), but it doesn’t smell a ton like actual magnolia.

In the Someone Else’s Fault category – Edward Bess was there, he’s the sweet young guy with his own lipstick line and a couple other products (blush and eyeshadow?)  I want to call him cute as a button but it doesn’t sound very respectful and I have nothing but respect for the business acumen and drive that got him a counter in BG.  His lipsticks are lip-colored and very nicely done, nothing radical just good basic colors, I bought a lippie and a gloss.  I bet he can’t buy a drink in a bar without being carded.  I talked to him and his gals for quite some time about marketing and yadda yadda, he was loads of fun.  He tested and developed the colors on his mom and sisters, how sweet is that?

I skipped the Sniffa lunch so I could indulge my favorite thing, which is eating lunch in the BG café on the beauty level.  If you have not done that, you need to.  Seriously, tea sandwiches, deviled eggs and chopped salads the size of your head?  And strong coffee?  And great people-watching?  What’s not to love?  Also right this second BG is having a multi-floored show of Chanel vintage.  Check out the accessories in the Chanel boutique on 1, the vintage clothes in the store’s exterior display windows, and the dresses upstairs (floor 6, maybe?)

Takashimaya offered us cupcakes, mango tea, and Keiko Mecheri, who was there very helpfully explaining her scents and matching people up with new favorites.  They have the Ineke line, and I tried Field Notes from Paris, but need to sniff further, it made me think of L’Artisan Navigateur a little (coffee and spices.)  They still have the Fragonards but seem to have gotten rid of The Different Company.  I’m still mad at them, I confess, for moving their beauty floor down from the top floor, which I think worked better as a space.  The cool think about Tak is I see lines there I never see anywhere else, but their selection is so small now that I couldn’t get excited about anything new on this particular visit.

Bendel has jammed their entire fragrance department into one of those back alcoves, the one on the left.  No, seriously.  I wish you could have seen 120+ of us trying to wedge ourselves into a place that would probably feel claustrophobic once you had more than ten bodies.  So I only lingered in there long enough to hork down some black and white cookies alongside Chaya (yes, in case you are worried – between that and the cupcakes at Tak I did get my daily dose of sugar.)  I managed to sniff Etat Libre’s new Fat Electrician, which is mostly vetiver, and sure it smelled nice but I am not the queen of vetiver, so I can’t make some dazzling pronouncement about it.  I answered a friend’s question honestly while standing there – for as much as I liked a couple of the Etats when I reviewed them, somehow I never felt moved to pursue it further, I don’t wear samps or have decants of any of them.  Just not my thing somehow.

Then we were supposed to do a couple more things, but … did I mention how craptastic the weather was?  And I was getting sniffed out?  And so an anonymous partner-in-crime and I ducked into the ginormous theatre that is in the side of BG, directly across from The Plaza, and watched Coco Before Chanel, which – let me tell you – was a damn fine way to finish up a day of sniffing.  It’s probably a good thing that nobody was sitting right next to me, because I am sure I was wafting some pretty intense sillage at that point, including from a frag or two that are not new at all but that I’d somehow overlooked and now love, reviews to follow soonish.  A great time was had, if not by all, then certainly by me, even on a blustery day that feels more like February than October.

Oh, and PS — I got several compliments on my understated stormy blue-gray mani, for the two gals who asked me to put it in the post, it’s Barielle’s Slate of Affairs from the All Lacquered Up collection, I got mine from

Anyone have any questions or comments, fire away!

  • Hi there! Sounds like you had tons of fun (and might I add an excellent manicure, by the looks of it!) Now I’m jealis!! Wish I could have joined you this time but something tells me the students wouldn’t be too happy.

    • March says:

      It was a lot of fun, although a very long day — well TWO days for lots of other folks, I skipped the second for my own nefarious purposes. But you are right. I hope to meet you some time, that would be really fun as well. 🙂

  • Karen A says:

    Hi March! Thanks for posting this wonderful recap. I always love reading the recaps, since I experience Sniffapalooza from the inside out 🙂

    • March says:

      The blog is really losing its mind, the comments aren’t loading properly!

      Of course the correct thing is THANK YOU VERY MUCH for continuing to pull this together. I had a wonderful time in spite of being a bit under the weather, and I know Sarah got what she needed out of it. Thanks again.

  • Liza says:

    Ooh I’m so jealous!! Sounds like you had a blast at Sniffa! I really should get more organised and get myself there for the next one 🙂

    I know what you mean about the placement of the fragrance section, at David Jones they moved it one counter back from the entrance (space now taken up by MAC) so now instead of a fragrance wall running the length of the beauty section, it’s like 2/3 – but they have more lines on sale so now all a bit crammed! Having said all that, DJs is the best place in Adelaide for niche (or what I call niche anyway i.e. not yet bought by Estee Lauder LOL) and yesterday I bought myself a bottle of Honey & The Moon by Tokyo Milk … bliss!

    • March says:

      Those Tokyo Milk scents sound like a lot of fun, I’m glad you are enjoying them. That’s a long way to travel for sniffa!

      • Liza says:

        Thanks March! I’ve got Song in D Minor down to buy next.

        It IS a looooooooong way, but what can I say – got to scratch the itch! 😡

  • Fiordiligi says:

    Finally I’ve managed to read this; it wouldn’t load all day.

    So I looked around and I noticed there wasn’t a chair…. (can’t miss a Beatles opportunity).

    I had been planning to make the trip to NY but unfortunately finances (as in: lack thereof) got in the way; I’m happy to live vicariously through you. I think I want one of Francis K’s bracelet thingies and I am ashamed to say I haven’t yet been over to Horrids to sample the Futur (which is not in Roja Dove’s but in the Beauty Apothecary, rather strangely). I also want an Edward Bess lippie, please.

    Sad to hear of the shrinking of perfumeries/dedicated areas in NY shops.

    Glad you had such fun and got to see Coco. Audrey is perfect, isn’t she, but I’ve seen so many versions of her story I feel I can do a singalonga…..

    • March says:

      I’m so sorry, I didn’t know we were having loading problems. :-w Thanks for perservering.

      Those bracelets are cute but wow I think they’re $200 and they’re just little leather things.

      I love Audrey so much. I think she’s a great actress.

  • Catherine says:

    It was such a delightful weekend–and great hanging out with you and the other perfumistas. All in all, I think I’m most excited by my Van Cleef sample packs. The Muguet made me swoon! And there’s a vanilla I could wear–who would have thought! After sniffing FK Cologne Pour le Soir on Tom, I realized how more beautiful it could be–so maybe I’ll have to wait until my skin butches up. But truth be told, the best part of the weekend–and the week before–for me was being made up by Edward Bess. I’m such a fan. I’m already plotting the next purchases… including that red gloss I skipped out on… (And regarding the nude look from EB–two thumbs up from my boyfriend–he thinks it’s beautiful!)

    Coco Before Chanel…. I’m hunting for strands of pearls!

    And three cheers for Tom! He’s divine.

    • March says:

      I’m wearing my pearls right now! Stay tuned for wacky blog post! I had SO much fun hanging out with you … lots of grist for the mill, for sure. Thanks ever so much. I’m wearing my EB lippie/gloss today btw and it’s gorgeous. Not too brown at all, what was I thinking?!?

  • Lavanya says:

    OMG- everything sounds wonderful!!! That Pour Le Soir sounds like a must try.
    Oh and I have been loving Slate of Affairs too. It met and exceeded my expectations..:)

  • Musette says:


    I SO wish I’d been there. Wearing a couple of P de Nicolais to keep me on keel today – this review helped, too!!!.

    xo >-)

  • violetnoir says:

    What a great mani-color, March. It’s beautiful!

    Futur, huh? I had not thought much about that one, but now I will have to read more about it.

    Looking forward to your “futur” reviews! :d


    • March says:

      It’s a really cool color, although it’s darker IMO than that photo, closer to U Concrete Me… as you well know, sniffing with a bunch of like minded people is always so much fun.

  • Amy says:

    I dug my futur sample out of my enormous bag of goodies from Sniffa – this is the EDP sample. I put it on my unscented wrist and it is a nice, white floral. It harkens me back a little to White Linen. I do notice that it is fading fast. Some ladies like that fade – me, I want you to smell me from afar! Which is why I fell in love with FK Lumiere Noire – not to mention how cute is FK himself? Telling us about his scents in his sexy little French accent?! I didn’t splurge on the $200 scented leather bracelet he sells, although it was very sweet and supposedly the fregrance lasts one year. Day One Sniffapolooza was great, Day Two….meh.

    • March says:

      He could have been reciting the phone book and it would have sounded wonderful. And we were joking about the bracelets, a companion wasn’t sure initially that they cost anything… we were swapping stories of stepping up for something we thought was free and then finding out it wasn’t.

      I am a Day One girl. Also to be fair, Day 2 would have been really terrible in that weather. I was still in NY for my own nefarious purposes and ended up taking the early bus because I couldn’t deal with the weather.

      • PRE says:

        I spent some time with FK the week before Sniffa with my 8 year old daughter; the three of us and the bubbles. He told her stories and played with her. We had a blast. I took some pictures and showed them to my 13 year whose reaction was something to the tune of “hmmm, he’s a perfumer? How old is he? He’s….pretty cute!” Uh Yeah!

  • Shelley says:

    Thanks for the report! Have to put my fingers in my ears about Futur until at least November…but did you say Norell meets Vent Vert? I mean, the mere idea of reminiscent of…with its own thang going on…oh, boy. Srsly, as my kids say.

    Would have been worth half the price of admission just to see y’all poking your noses into the bubbles. 🙂 Hey, but wait…*I* would have been sticking my nose in the air, too… 😉

    Enjoy your time at the National Gallery! Watch out…there’s a passel of 8th graders from this neck of the woods wandering about DC. (No, not a one of them is mine. But a teacher pal is there with ’em.)

    • March says:

      Weeeelll, early reports up there are complaining that it’s not sticking around properly on the skin, which would bum me out for the parfum, which I think was relatively spendy.

      I love the NGA so much I can’t tell you. The whole experience, which today also includes some stunning weather. Going to be in the mid-70s, bright sun.

      • Shelley says:

        I’ve been out now as well, and our weather is gorgeous, too!

        And it seems it took gorgeous weather…or two extra cuppas…first time I went through the comments I was all fuzzy and mrmbling about the perfumista in-jokes, wishing I knew more about the French language and wood and all.

        Now I’m getting it. And I’m going to avoid mentioning the nationality of DH (Norwegian), Beatles lyrics, or any thread that would show how I can hook back into what y’all got going on up there. b-)

  • sweetlife says:

    Waving at you from NYC, March! Will have to return to Bergdorf’s for the bubbles. Somehow I managed to sniff all the Kurkdijan’s yesterday without seeing them at all. I LOVE that idea.

  • Melissa says:

    Sounds like a great time! I wish I had gone just for the Francis Kurkdjian line and bubble experience. Of all the Sniffas to miss, I had to choose this one?

    • March says:

      It was so much fun. But I have decent samps of the FKs I’m seeing you soonish, right? You can try them. Although damn I wish I had Futur for you to try, it seems like you.

      Did you ever try the La Prairie Silver? I see Helg got the same thing I did…

      • Melissa says:

        Yes, I did try the Silver, despite the best attempts of the SA at Neimans to drive me away from the display. I liked it a lot, but I was so annoyed by Ms. Velociraptor that I couldn’t really savor the experience and give it a fair try. Even Louise couldn’t successfully body-block her. I’m in awe.

  • Lee says:

    Like Christine, I’ve always enjoyed the forests in the morning more than at night…

    Sounds like fun, though you’re a braver woman than me. Crowds seem to bring out my hermit-crab tendencies more and more – I’d’ve been using the cinema as my found shell from mid-morning onwards…

    • March says:

      It was less crowded this year, which was nice (still plenty of folks). The only time I had to beat a hasty retreat was that insane nook in Bendel before I got trampled. 🙂

  • aubrey says:

    Gah! Reading these sniffa reports has me so jealous (but also so thankful that everyone keeps posting them)

  • Christine says:

    Well….for crying out loud….I’ve nothing but sleazy thoughts after reading this post. ;)Morning Wood, it’s my favorite kind!;)

  • Rappleyea says:

    Sounds like a fantastic time! I am so jealous as I haven’t been back to New York in several years now. Can’t wait for all of the “official” reviews! I agree about BG’s – they are great! Unfortunately I live in a town where the “big” department store is a Macy’s. Thank God for the internet, TPC, etc.

    • March says:

      It really is a riot, and well worth doing if you can orchestrate it. And I know, has anything been better for perfumers than the internet?

  • Silviafunkly says:

    Ohhhh, those Sniffas sound so much fun… may be one day…

    Futur is sold here at Harrods and the parfum is indeed special, way better than the EDP. Shame about the lasting power, it was totally gone on my skin in less than a couple of hours.

    As to FK, he is due to appear in Liberty tomorrow, let’s hope he’s still got some bubbles left for us.<:-p (the closest emoticon I could find...)

    • March says:

      Wait, the PARFUM only lasted a couple hours? Or the EdP? I’m still kicking myself, I assumed there’d be a sample in the bag, but there wasn’t. I stood there and talked to Joe Garces the Piguet guy (he’s a riot) for half an hour, I’m sure he could have hooked me up.

      I am sure FK will bring the bubbles!

      • Silviafunkly says:

        I tried Futur parfum on skin and the lasting power was disappointing but may be it was just me. I dabbed it on with the bottle glass top so was applied quite sparingly. The parfum had a lot more depth and complexity than the EDP, it felt deep emerald green.

        I also tried Fracas in parfum for the first time and it’s simply wonderful.

        Now I want them all in parfum concentration, including Bandit. $-)

      • carter says:

        Sounds like he might have been willing to hook you up with more than just perfume ;))

  • hongkongmom says:

    oooh i want to go on a sniffa!!!!:((

  • carmencanada says:

    I’ve worn Cologne pour le Soir a couple of times and I’m not getting much leather. More like benzoin/violets/orange blossom.
    Sounds like you had a hoot!

    • March says:

      It’s fun being with that many crazy perfumistas…. admittedly there’s a little powder on me (it reminds me somewhat of Cuir de Lancome) but still leathery. Pretty.

  • Scent Hive says:

    Bois de Matin…that’s priceless!=))


  • ggs says:

    Francis Kurkdjian sounds like one of the highlights of this year’s Sniffa! I was supposed to be there, but I didn’t want to bring my flu germs to share with ya’ll….:( I’m enjoying reading your thoughts (and Carol at WAFT) and other reviews of the weekend getting posted. I hear the gift bags at the lunch were excellent though, sounds like you missed more samples to haul home!

    Bendel’s shrunk the fragrance section? Fail. Assuming that they reduced the # of fragrances they have too? They used to have a good variety.

    And how cute is that Edward Bess! I KNOW! I met him at BG’s in ’08. He cut me out of the sniffa crowd, got me to try his lipstick, and wham _must_buy_from_him_.

    Slate of Affairs is a great color. Love blues. FYI to perfumista’s who like nail polish too_- there is a np collectors/fan meet-up next Sat. in NYC. The Scrangie and ALA blogs & MUA nail board have the registration link. There will be guest speakers, gift bags, etc, a la Sniffa.

    • March says:

      Boy looks like he’s, what, 16? Although I know he’s older… and that was great fun talking to him about his approach, how he got that first counter in the hall, etc. I appreciate anyone with that kind of drive, and it’s fun to learn new things about retail.

      I can’t TELL if Bendel shrunk the fragrance list, because it was too f’ing crowded! [-( But I think they did — I didn’t see the Aftelier, for instance. I think their setup is stupid, but they didn’t ask me, did they? It’s basically three enormous shelves now, so a bunch of stuff is at foot-level. Whose brilliant idea was that? I used to really like their table displays.

      I know, I missed the goodie bags, but I got plenty of swag in the morning… FK was charming and engaged and (again) did not seem overwhelmed by the admittedly high energy in the room.

      • Francesca says:

        I really dislike the “new” (though not so new anymore) Bendel’s. The one on 57th was such an Aladdin’s cave.

        • March says:

          I didn’t mind the last version, but this is ridiculous. I can only assume from the way they treated it that fragrance isn’t providing them with much retail income?

    • March says:

      PS Feel better soon! I was just getting over being sick, and my roomie was sick…

  • Francesca says:

    That’s it, first thing I do once my back is better is go play in Bergdorf’s. Gotta try those FKs! and look into the Edward Bess lipsticks.

  • carter says:

    Well now I’m glad I didn’t try to catch up with you because you were sitting in the dark in Paris and *not* at that new pharmacy whats-its-name in the Plaza, which is what I was shooting for

    Verrry interested in the parfum concentration of Futur, and thanks for the feedback on the Edward Bess lippies. I thought he had more shades, though. Also Pour le Soir sounds lovely — leather without birch tar is always worth a sniff 3:-o

    • carter says:

      Make that the new perfumery at the Plaza, not the new pharmacy.

    • March says:

      BTW FOLKS I’ll be gone for a couple hours this morning with my dad, going to see an exhibit at the National Gallery … sigh. The life I lead… I have to say, the smell of the Krigler parfums in that gallery was too much, I think they’d sprayed? Which is why we left, we were getting a terrible headache. No criticism of them, i think it was overload at that point.

      Definitely check out the Futur, that’s not ordinarily my sort of thing but I thought it was stunning.

      • March says:

        PS Edward Bess — he’s on the “your best lip” train — I’m guessing maybe 12 shades? A couple brights but most of them YLBB to my eye.

      • carter says:

        Did you spot the huge flat screen tv in the Oak Bar? I have been depressed for weeks about it. I hate what’s happening to that place, in general. It’s mostly residential now, and at night the entire building is dark — nobody home, and most definitely not Eloise. Makes me very sad to see it.

        • March says:

          God, it’s so depressing in there. Trying not to sound all bitchy — it’s like a Residence Inn or something, that back part could be any crummy underground mall. Where is the life? And you’re right the residences suck the life out of it.