Well, this certainly was a long time coming, and a nice surprise to boot. Having loved the original ages ago, I was happy to see the new Norell New York at Neiman Marcus. But I did wonder: Why now, after all these years? Not sure how much name recognition it’s likely to get these days, save for those who recall the original scent, and fashionistas and those familiar with its namesake American designer Norman Norell. This new scent obviously is capitalizing on the name, but geared toward a younger crowd, fragrance-wise, because vintage-style juice it is not. This no-way, no-how, not in any form, resembles the spirit of the 1968-launched original. It doesn’t pack even a fraction of the punch of its predecessor, with its take-charge mix of spice, florals and crisp green.
But taken on its own, the new Norell is a lovely, soft whisper of scent, silky, modern and feminine. It’s the epitome of smooth, and well-blended almost to a fault, with one of the most linear developments I can recall sniffing in a while. In fact, I had difficulty parsing out many of the listed notes. I think I detect a hint of peony and perhaps pear; and later on, it eases into a bit of warmth and nuttiness (sandalwood and vetiver), joined by vanilla and musk. But no galbanum, jasmine or other note jumped out at me. Had I sniffed this blindly, I might have thought it had come from Stella McCartney’s stable of scents, or perhaps one of the recent offerings from Carven or Balenciaga. Of course, I am not the best at deconstructing a fragrance, and some of you may pick out more in this.
Per Fragrantica: Top notes are galbanum, bergamot, pear and mandarin orange; middle notes are jasmine, peony, orchid and gardenia; base notes are orris, vetiver, sandalwood, vanilla and musk.
And lest I forget, there is the bottle. One of the classiest I have seen in a while; it gets its silhouette from the original Norell bottle and takes it up a notch. I had to jump through about eleventy-jillion hoops to do so, but finally got my mitts on a mini of this. So refined and elegant, it makes me almost wish I could afford the Baccarat crystal version of it (at $1500 no less — yikes!).
The kind SA at Neiman’s where I sniffed this also made me a sample of the Norell New York body oil, and I have to say I was rather taken with it. Very silky and delicately scented, it would make a lovely après-bath treat to slather on all over. And I almost could get away with it at my fragrance-free office, so close to the skin does it wear.
What about you? Are there any perfumed body oils that you like? And did any of you wear the original Norell back in the day? I remember loving it in the late ‘70s and early ‘80s and feeling very bold and chic in it, almost as if it were sophisticated fragrant armor. I know it’s been reformulated at least once, maybe twice or more, but not sure.