Foodie Sunday : Lunch at Bergdorfs and a Rendezvous with A Vagabond Prince!
By Beth Schreibman Gehring
Hello everyone! It's been such a long time since I've been here and I've missed you all so much! Happy New Year! 2013 is gone and I fervently hope that 2014 brings you everything that your heart desires and more. I spent the day before New Years eve in New York City, doing as I always do, wandering from store to store , sniffing away blissfully and deciding just how much to put myself into debt before I leave. I began my journey at Bergdorfs which is always a problem for my wallet! So be it….Christmas comes but once a year!
Alas, something was off that day and I couldn't for the life of me figure out what it was. I walked from counter to counter and was seduced by multiple ambers , ouds, figs and woods but I just couldn't commit to one of them. I even got a chance to try the almost mythological proportioned Muguet by Guerlain that comes out only once year. I loved it but still there was no spark, no instant chemistry that said, "go ahead, you know you want to!" I figured that I must be coming down with something as that could be the only excuse for my indecisiveness!
I went to find Jim who was seated in the café just waiting for me and enjoying a melon cooler. Actually he was on his third, that's how long he waited for me. He's so patient, such a good man. We had a wonderful lunch of sweet pea soup , wild mushrooms and truffles on puff pastry and a delightful crab and lobster salad. I kept smelling my arm, but I have to say that it was the first time ever that I've left Bergdorfs without a purchase. Anyone who knows me will tell you that this is almost unheard of. I was scattering my ashes on the 7th floor of Bergdorfs long before the movie of the same name was even a twinkle in the producers eye. Yes, everyone in my family knows that I'm serious and if they don't honor my wishes there will be hell to pay. I leave it to them to figure out all of the details!
We left and went to the Apple store and then we decided that Jim would wander over to Club Macanudo for a cigar and a drink , while I continued to hunt down a new perfume . We kissed and parted with a promise to meet later for a drink and off I went. I went back to Bergdorfs , still nothing. I wandered through Tiffany's and then headed to Henri Bendel. I pushed through the crowds , no easy feat that day and managed to wend my way up to the mezzanine level where I discovered that the perfume section had been completely moved since the last time I'd been there. I sniffed through all of the usual suspects and then my eyes alighted onto a bottle I'd never seen before. It was beautiful, dark black glass and Russian gilding , a very fanciful design that was seductive and whimsical at the same time. I was of course completely intrigued by the name of the fragrance which was "The Enchanted Forest", but even more so by the perfumer, a mysterious and wonderful man who called himself The Vagabond Prince.
I picked up the bottle, sprayed bit onto my arm and took a deep sniff. My head started reeling and so did my heart which I believe literally jumped and skipped a beat or two. I was breathless and instantly smitten. The Enchanted Forest is at once one of the most unexpected and extraordinary perfumes that I've ever smelled and actually I would say that it is one of the perfumes that I've always wanted to smell, that I've been waiting lifetimes to be created. I know that is quite a dramatic statement , but it's true.
From the initial blast of blast of blackcurrant to the softness of balsam and the brightness of pink pepper the whole effect is of a forest primeval; an untouched place that centuries ago would have been a home to the most lustful and pagan of gatherings or a flowery mead where unicorns and nymphs would abound. The Enchanted Forest is sexy , romantic and thoroughly elegant; although there's all of that playful juicy cassis at the opening it dries down to a sweet amber and totally sexy musk. I sprayed a little more on, grabbed a brochure and ran out the door all the way down 57th street to Park Avenue and then sprinted across to 64th street not even stopping at the Georg Jensen store…another first for me !
I ran into Club Macanudo and found Jim ensconced in a leather wing chair happily smoking a cigar and enjoying a Bloody Mary. He looked up, surprised to see me so soon and I stuck my arm under his nose. He grinned and said.."I guess you've found it…what a delicious perfume, did you buy it?" to which I replied "absolutely not…at least not until you've smelled it " , which is my secret code for "I love it and think that it would be utterly romantic if YOU bought it for me!" Some perfumes are just like that and this one is no exception.
Waiting for him to finish his cigar, I had a delightful Mojito of my own and opened the brochure. Two things popped out at me.The first was that this perfume had been created by the remarkable Bertrand Duchaufour which came as absolutely no surprise to me because I had the same emotional response to The Enchanted Forest as I had to my other favorite of his , Eau d' Italie's Jardin du Poete, both of them being fragrances that immediately grabbed me and dragged me nose first into a mythical garden from another place and time.
The second surprise was that The Vagabond Prince was the result of a long held dream by Elena and Zoran Knezevic of Fragrantica to produce a wonderful and world class perfume of their own. The artwork on the bottle and the beautiful blue, gilded box was created by Elena and the effect with the black glass flacon is absolutely magical! Brava Bellisima!
We finished our drinks and we walked arm in arm back to Bendels where he bought me the present of a bottle of this wonderful perfume. I haven't stopped wearing it since my return. You can order a sample of it at www.thevagabondprince.com but I promise that a sample will not be enough. You will fall head over heels into the glamoury that is The Enchanted Forest and you'll never want to wander out. You'll get lost in the dream, but you won't care. It's that bewitching...