Parfums de Nicolai Kiss Me Tender

We had to wait almost a week for that view in India, but when it finally showed up, every shivering, cold moment in Pelling was worth it.  That’s the Kangchenjunga Range in Sikkim rising up out of the mist-covered valleys and lower mountains.  Mount Khangchendzodnga is 28,000 feet.  Third highest mountain in the world.

Sikkim doesn’t feel like India much, it’s much more Tibetan/Nepali.  I fell in love with the people and the Thukpa (seriously delicious noodle soup).

What Sikkim has – well, all of India – is an overdose of cute.  The children are gorgeous and open and friendly, following you down the street, asking you where you’re going, where you’ve been, are you going to the Goompa, do you like Buddha or Shiva or Jesus, and would you like to go fishing with them tomorrow.  They’ll stop and pose for a picture as soon as they see you pull the camera out.  And if you give them any time at all on your Droid and show them how to zoom in and out on a picture, about ten little hands will be all over it.  They charmed me completely.

As we hiked, the children would run out to greet us or yell hello from a distance.  Sometimes we never saw them, just heard their voices in the air.

And we were walking through some of the most beautiful land I’ve seen.  Terraced mountains where they farm rice, millet.  Peaks that tower above you in the distance, lush, tropical, covered in prayer flags.  Tropical Himalayas.

Lakes that are so serene and peaceful the locals say they are so holy, the birds won’t even let a leaf stay on the water.  You think they’re exaggerating until you stand and look at it and can’t find a leaf anywhere, and the peace is palpable and becomes a part of you.

I’ve thought about a thousand ways to tell people about my trip to India, and however I tell it never seems big enough.  I will tell you about the details, but what stays with me is all of it – how every day is random and unique, the people embrace you in their lives.  Some things make you crazy and make you cry, but it is a country that is magical.  Yes, I even felt that way sleeping on my concrete bed in my concrete room with the very sketchy pillow case that I would put my head on without my sleeping bag between me and it.

What does that have to do with Parfum de Nicolai Kiss Me Tender?  It’s pretty magical as well, with an open innocence that invites you in.  Notes of Vanilla, aniseed, almond, fresh cut hay make it soft, interesting, enveloping.  The hay isn’t as strong in it as I would have liked – I am a hay bitch – but the overall feel of it is fluffy as well as rich.  If you’re not a fan of vanilla or anise/almond, you can just skip over this perfume completely.

And I haven’t forgotten the samples I need to draw for from before I left. I’ll get that done by next Tuesday, but I’d love to give out like three samples of the PdN Kiss Me Tender too. So just make a comment to be entered in the drawing!

  • Rowanhill says:

    I would love to be included to the draw for Kiss Me Tender.

  • lisa says:

    You had me at “Guerlain’ish almond/vanilla.” I would love to try Kiss Me Tender.

    Of all the regions in the world, the Sikkim/Nepal/Bhutan/Tibet area has the most beautiful children in the world. In every picture I see, their faces are so expressive, and yet serene. I loved your description of their curiosity and openness and innocence. Thank you for sharing those wonderful pictures. This area of the world is at the very top of my wishlist to see.

  • hongkongmom says:

    Ur descriptionwas exactly like a tender kiss! what a beautiful beautiful piece on India

  • Laura M says:

    Aaaaw, that picture of the little girl in the red leggings is the best. What a cutie! :x (She didn’t dress up for you, did she? She has some blue on top and red on bottom with stars? I guess there aren’t any stripes though!)
    Please enter me in the sample draw for KMT. Thanks!
    Laura M

  • Rosiegreen says:

    Lovely pictures from your trip. Thanks for sharing. I would love to try anything with almonds. One of my all time favorites.

  • Nancy says:

    I have never been to India and the only pix I’ve seen were all the usual spots but none with the ones you took that make the India I’ve seen so different.
    The children are cute — is right. So natural and not so posey like my grand kids and others with their taught cheesy little smiles.
    Please enter me in the draw. Almonds and vanilla get me every time.
    Thank you,

  • Beth says:

    Patty, thanks for giving us a view into your trip. It sounds amazing. My brother went for 3 weeks and said it forever changes you. Loved the pictures!!

    Oh, and I’d love to be entered in the drawing as well, anise & vanilla sound lovely!

  • Dante's Bra says:

    Oh, the kids are beautiful! Hope your travels were safe, joyous and fun!

    Throw me in for the PdN, I’m very curious!

  • helenviolette says:

    Enter Me!

  • Lara says:

    Fellow hay bitch here. Would love to be entered in the draw. Thanks!

  • sunnlitt says:

    Thanks for the lovely pictures. They are breathtaking.
    I’d love to be in on the draw, thanks.

  • Joe says:

    Patty, your trip sounds amazing! True story: I once wanted to be an India scholar, but I still haven’t made it there! It’s high on the list. I myself just returned from ten days in Japan, which has some magic and some craziness of its own.

    I’d love to be in the draw; vanilla/anise/almond/hay sounds great to me in every way.

  • zeram1 says:

    What a treat for us to be able to follow your trip. Have a safe/great time. Please enter me in the draw as well.

  • florentina says:

    Welcome back Patty!

    WoW! What breathtaking pictures! And the children…Thankyou for sharing your experience!
    India and its magic and spices beckon…

    I hope your sleep schedule flips back soon!
    I love hay and would be grateful to be entered in the draw if not too late…

  • Sue says:

    Thank you for letting us live vicariously through your voyage! India sounds magical!

    Please enter me in the draw. I’d love to see if Kiss Me Tender at all similar to Apres L’Ondee. :)

  • pam says:

    Yes, please enter me in the draw.

    More importantly, I have been waiting to hear about your trip. It sounds absolutely amazing. Please give us some more writing about it. I have some students who have been to India, and they really didn’t like it, but they were only in Mumbai. (And they are quite young.)

  • pyramus says:

    Almond, not so much, but I am a mad fan of anise and vanilla, so this sounds kind of like me.

    Beautiful pictures. India is one of those places that I am pretty sure I am never going to visit (watching The Amazing Race is as close as I’m likely to come), but it sure looks lovely.

  • AnnieA says:

    What are other people’s favourite hay fragrances?

    • Joe says:

      Hey Annie: I think my fave is PG Felanilla. You’d think Santa Maria Novella Fieno (Hay) would fill the bill — and it’s quite nice — but it’s not the end-all IMO.

  • Lavanya says:

    Lovely pictures,Patty!! I’ve always wanted to visit North-east India- it is supposed to be beautiful- especially Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh. I am visiting family in India this month- so your pictures just increased my excitement..:) [Though I’ll be in the South]

    Oh- and please enter me in the draw..anise is a tricky note for me- it isn’t my favorite note but I have loved perfumes with that note (e.g Aimez Moi)

  • Elisa says:

    Vanilla + anise + almonds sounds very Annick Menardo, whom I’m quite into lately. Please enter me in the sample draw!

  • olivia says:

    your pictures are lovely and the trip sounds magical.

  • DinaC says:

    What beautiful photos! Your trip sounds like such a blessing, Patty. I think travel, at its best, draws us closer to the rest of humanity while broadening our horizons. India, Nepal and Tibet shared their magic with you…looking forward to your stories when you spread the magic our way! :-)

    I enjoy the PdN scents that I’ve sniffed, so I’d love a chance to sniff this one, too. Thanks.

  • rednails says:

    Gorgeous pictures. Gorgeous children. I shouldn’t ask if they sell them somewhere…

    Please enter me in the drawing, thanks.

  • jirish says:

    Lovely photos. Thanks for sharing the experience with us. India is definitely on my bucket list, but I have a hard time narrowing it down to specific areas — it’s a big country! Hope your tummy is feeling better.

  • maidenbliss says:

    Photos are simply amazing–what an incredible experience. Hay bitch is too cool!
    This is place I need to visit. My heart is enchanted by everything you experienced.

  • Amy K says:

    Beautiful! India always looks so colorful in pictures and movies. I’d love to see it for myself someday.

    Please enter me in the sample draw. I’ve been wearing a lot of Sacrebleu lately, but I’m not really familiar with the rest of the PdN line.

  • ELise says:

    Love ur photos! Would luv to sample!

  • violetnoir says:

    Gorgeous photos, Patty. India will stay with you for many years to come. Aren’t the people amazingly endearing?

    Please enter me in the draw.


  • fleurdelys says:

    What a trip – certainly hope to travel there someday. Please enter me in the Kiss me Tender drawing, as I love anise, almond, and hay notes.

  • jen says:

    I love those pictures and your writing. Hay bitch and hay ho must now be worked into my conversation today. :)

  • Scentred says:

    I so want to go. Thank you for sharing& please enter me.

  • LindaB says:

    Beautiful photos and a lovely description of your trip. Your writing conveyed serenity and beauty. Glad it was a wonderful time, Patty!

    Please enter me in the draw…I’m an “anise bitch”. :)>-

  • Rappleyea says:

    I was having a horrible morning at work and stopped for a quick cup of tea with the Posse. Thank you Patty, for you have salvaged this day. Beautiful prose and pictures.

  • Style Spy says:

    Welcome home! It does sound magical, I’m thinking India may be showing up on the list now. And however did you stop yourself from kidnapping one of those children? Oh, those cheeks!!

    I don’t need a sample of KMT, I’m already in love with it. I was with Shelley at the seminar, and was also one of the people who at first went, “Meh,” and later went, “Oooooooh…” I’m happy to see it getting some love, it’s such a pretty thing. I love M. de Nicolai’s hand with gourmand-y notes, she’s so deft. It must be her Guerlain blood. The opening breath of a spritz of KMT is such an amazing, dead-on rendering of a bunch of fresh-cut stems – it makes me smile every time.

  • Dana says:

    Those kids are adorable! Glad you are safely back and that your trip was magical. I love vanilla, anise, and not sure about the hay, but am very curious. Please include me in the draw. Thanks.

  • Junebug says:

    Love being an armchair traveler through your wonderful photos and description of your trip. Going to think calm thoughts through my day. Thank you.
    Please enter me in the drawing for the Kiss Me Tender. Sounds pretty.

  • Samantha says:

    Your trip sounds amazing and so does the perfume,I love almond and hay notes. Though, I’m with Cheryl on the name..ick. I’d love to be entered in the draw, please.

  • Tara says:


    I have always wanted to travel to India. Your pictures are killing me!!! India seems to be a country that is so different from here (US), yet similar and so very beautiful. Thank you for sharing.

    You don’t need to enter me in the drawing as I have already received a sample from the very generous Denyse. I too enjoyed Kiss Me Tender. It is a very happy and hopeful fragrance.

  • Cheryl says:

    Those photos are beautiful. It makes me we live in such beauty where we are but can’t see it? Or is our society so much about stuff other than beauty we have erased its possibility? Sorry for the early morning ramble. The perfume sounds great..don’t love the name..but the notes are appealing…please enter my name as well.

  • k-scott says:

    It sounds like your trip was magnificent Patty! I am looking forward to my Christmas trip to England (the Cotswolds and London) but doubt that it will be as exotic and scenic as your trip was!

    Please enter me in the draw :)

  • Suzy Q says:

    Thanks for the beautiful pictures. And yes, enter me in the draw. Thank you.

  • Fernando says:

    I can certainly see how nothing you can say seems “big enough” to capture India. I’m an unrepentant homebody, so I’ll probably never see it myself. It’s good to see the photos!

  • Tiara says:

    While all of the photos are lovely, I am especially drawn to the last one. The arch framing the view…very cool!

    Yes, please enter me in the drawing and welcome back!

  • Shelley says:

    It brings me a certain kind of happy whenever I hear someone has had a (happy) transformative experience. This was a lovely something to come upon as part of the start of my day, photos and words.

    I’m a HayHo and PdN Fangirl myself, but keep me out of the drawing, as I had a lovely little experience of my own and got to see her lead a seminar on the history of perfume. And was fortunate enough to walk away with a sample of Kiss Me Tender, which I thought at first was too simple, too sweet (though it isn’t really sweet), not enough depth. I was wrong. It grew on me. Now my decision is do I want more/how much? :)

    Welcome home.

  • Connie says:

    Welcome back, Patty! What beautiful photos and lovely commentary. Everyone I know who has gone to India comes back with the same sense of calm and mentions it has changed them. There are magical places in the world. I have been lucky enough to travel to some of them but I’ve always hesitated about India. Not anymore … I just need a travel partner or two. :-)

    I also love PdN so please enter me in the draw! Thank you!

  • Marsi says:

    Dang. Those photos are unreal.

    Please enter me in the draw. The notes sound so much better than the name …!

  • Melissa says:

    Thanks for a great post Patty. I’m not sure how I missed trying this PdN, so please enter me in the drawing.

  • karin says:

    I dream of a life of travel. Love it. I’m certain India transformed you in a way you never imagined. Seeing photos and reading stories just doesn’t equal the experience of going yourself. Not easy to go outside our comfort zone, but I commend you for risking it all and JUST DOING IT!!!! Thanks, Patty, for the inspiration.

    I’ve been contemplating buying Kiss Me Tender unsniffed! I love Nicolai. And anything under $100 is the new free, right? Thanks for the draw!

    • Patty says:

      I could happily travel 3-4 months out of the year if my budget and dogs would let me, It is harder to go outside of your comfort zone, but once you do it, the fear of going somewhere that seems exotic or far different from what you’re used to goes away. You just have to be willing to live as they live, if you really want to see that place. If you stay in the fancy hotel outside of town, you’ll sleep a lot better, but you’ll be a spectator traveller.

      So, yeah, it was transformative. I heard some saying a while back that if you take something with you to India that you don’t know what to do with or don’t want, India has a way of fiing it for you. It’s like it knows how to undo chains that bind anchors to you. Anchors you may or may not want in your life, but that you definitely need to have unbound. India floats.

  • Isa says:


    The beautiful photos and all the things you have told us have moved me. How I would love to see that peaceful lake! I’m needing lots of peace in my life these days.

    Please, enter me in the draw. The perfume sounds charming.

    • Patty says:

      Lake Khecoperi (sp?) is that amazing.There’s a little dock going down to the lake, lined with prayer wheels on both sides that you spin as you walk down and back. I sat there for so long, and I think I could have sat there all day, just watching the ducks and the prayer flags on that still, still water.

      In Sikkim, there’s so much poverty, but it’s peaceful poverty. I don’t know how else to say that. It’s a people that are content with the life they have and seem to love where they are, even with so little. i’m sure it’s not that idyllic in reality, but they just ooze contentment.

  • dremybluz says:

    Welcome back. Have missed your awesome posts. please enter me in the draw.

  • loverdoll78264 says:

    Seems you are having some really enjoyable travels . . . . pease enter me too. . . .G

  • Fiordiligi says:

    Beautiful photos and writing, Patty. Thank you so much for sharing.

    The PdN sounds lovely, although I’m not usually as much of a fan of her work as I should be, given that she is a Guerlain descendant!

  • Sherri M. says:

    Patty, I also wanted to say welcome back! Beautiful photos, and such sweet children! Hope you’re feeling better and readjusting, esp. now w/ the holidays upon us. I don’t know how you do all you Take care of yourself, young lady! (I already have a sample of KMT so no need to enter for draw.)

    • Patty says:

      Oh, thanks! My sleep is screwed up, my stomach is almost back on American food, but a little crabby. I can’t even think about the holidays yet, even though I need to!!!

  • Louise says:

    Oh, Patty, what a wonderful post!

    Thank you for sharing this adventure with us-and beautiful pictures. I think I’ve added India finally to my bucket list.

    The PdN sounds lovely.

    • Patty says:

      Louse, I’m shocked you haven’t been. India is completely a country for you to see. You just have to go with it and relax into the pollution in the cities and the smell and other shortcomings. But once you just breathe past those small things, you will fall in love. The hiking in Sikkim is to die for. You pass through small villages of a few houses, get to chat with the people, visit monasteries, lakes, waterfalls. If you like trekking at altitude, heading out of Yuksom on a 7-day or more trek is highly recommended. We didn’t do it, not enough time, but it’s something I think I need to go back and do eventually.

      I saw so little of India, even though we saw so much. I think anyone who falls in love with it just keeps going back every couple of years until they’ve seen most of it.

  • rosarita says:

    Oooooh, such gorgeous photos, thanks!

    I love PdN and have been dying to try this one. Almond done right is amazing. :x

  • No need to enter me in the draw, sweet Patty – I’m already set up — but thanks for illuminating my morning with that glimpse into the wonders you experienced.

  • dinazad says:

    Serious PdN lover here – I’d love to be entered in the draw. And I’m looking forward to reading more about your trip!

  • Alice C says:

    I enjoyed your post*…

  • Alice C says:

    I enjoyed your the about your trip! Your pictures are beautiful! Please enter me in the drawing…I’d love to try the Kiss Me Tender. :-)

  • What wonderful memories you created! The photos are wonderful. And I’m a PdN bitch, so sign me up!

    • Patty says:

      PdN is just one of my favorite lines. I swear, if she’d go get fancy bottles, they’d be on everyone’s short list for niche must-haves from just a smell vantage point. I defy anyone to not find at least one PdN to love

  • Tamara*J says:

    The air is full of spices……

    Your pictures and words are beautiful, what a amazing thing to carry around with you…don’t you just want to bottle it up and spray THAT on a dreary afternoon?
    I wish I could travel like that..
    as it is I’ll thank you for sharing.

    P.S.I don’t need to be in the draw, I love KmT and want a FB of it.
    It’s exactly how it sounds….it’s perfect.

    • Patty says:

      The weird thing is, nobody, including me, would have guessed that India would be a country I’d love. I’m into comfort, fluffy pillows and plush mattresses. I’m not fond of cowshit everywhere. But the colors and the life are hard to not be sucked into. It’s better than drugs. And the spices. It’s a fully textured country – smell, people, visual, diversity. And somehow it all works together to be bigger than the sum of its parts.

  • Janet says:

    Welcome home! Your trip sounds wonderful. Please tell us more and share you pictures, they are beautiful.

    I love the PdN line.

  • Irina says:

    beautiful photos
    India is addicting, indeed
    thanks for the draw

  • Mina J says:

    The list of notes makes me swoon. Please enter me in the draw for the Parfums de Nicolai Kiss Me Tender, thank you!

  • Ann N. says:

    Dear Patty, thank you so much for sharing your amazing photos and the lovely accompanying post. Truly beautiful! So glad that you had an awe-inspiring journey. Hope you are feeling much, much better. Thank you, too, for the draw.

    • Patty says:

      hi, Ann! I am feeling beter, thank you! I still am having sleep problems, can’t get my days and nights flipped back, even with Ambien help.

  • HemlockSillage says:

    Those are amazing photos. So lovely. Thank you for sharing them. I don’t need a sample of the Kiss Me Tender, but it is fun to hear your take on it. I *always* wish the hay note was stronger, too. Be well.

    • Patty says:

      Oh, thanks! Those are just a couple, I have tons I need to upload to Facebook and other places. I keep thinking I should have taken more when I think about places we saw, and I can’t find a picture for it.

  • Daniele says:

    PdN is a line that never seems to get as much love as (I think) it deserves, but having said that, I’ve never tried Kiss Me Tender.

    Those photos are beautiful, and I love the whole idea of “tropical Himalayas”.

    • Patty says:

      Agree. I love almost everything PdN or admire it.

      The term tropical Himalayas cracked me up, but it was the only thing I could think of that fit.

  • Geordan1244 says:

    Oh dear. I want to go. Badly…

    But, since I won’t be doing that anytime soon, I’d love to be in the draw for Kiss Me Tender! :)
    Thanks for such lovely word-pictures.


    • Patty says:

      The nicest thing about India? It’s cheap.
      The plane ticket is the biggest expense. Once you get that, get a train ticket to Goa or Rishikesh or Tamil Nadu, where you can get a room for $4 a night and easily stay for like 100-200 a month, and that includes food.

      I think I’m going back next fall for a month, maybe an ashram or just two weeks in Goa and two weeks in Tamil or — I don’t know, but it will be a teensy budget to do it.

  • Todd T says:

    Great article, one country I will visit before I leave this earth. I sent Kiss me Tender as a gift to a friend. She loves it! I won’t call her a hay bitch, she is not one. But a hay lover for sure! I bought it blind, so I wouldn’t mind to try it myself.

  • March says:

    Don’t need the Kiss Me Tender but wanted to say I missed you and those photos are gorgeous. >:d<

  • Madea says:

    I love the phrase ‘hay bitch’ and will use it many different times tomorrow and see what other contexts it fits. If you don’t hear from me for a while, assume I chose poorly.


  • melanie says:

    thanks for reminding me of the reasons I love to travel. Last May I went to Lima, Cuzco, and Machu Pichu in Peru. It was one of the best weeks of my life. I know many thousands of people visit MP every year, but it was magical and special for me and worth every minute required to get there on all the various forms of transportation. the stone masonry, the llamas walking through the ruins, the mountains, the moon rising over the Andes as we drove back to Cuzco… dozens of memories.

    • Patty says:

      I know, isn’t it wonderful? I can take all the pictures, but mostly they just bring up all the pictures I couldn’t take, because what I saw was too big to fit in my view finder, and then I remember the experience of being there. I do love to travel, but I’m also very happy to be home!!!