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Monday, February 20, 2006

Perfume Review: Parfums de Nicolai New York

New York is yet another example of an excellent fragrance that seems to be overlooked and under-discussed. This lack of appreciation is strange, given the fact that, as Luca Turin points out in Le Guide, New York represents “the first total and durable success of the modern unisex perfume”. In fact, Dr Turin goes as far as to call New York “un des grands parfums des vingt dernières années”, one of the grand perfumes of the last twenty years.

New York is an elegant, spicy, earthy scent that is guaranteed to appeal to those, who like me, like their citrus fragrances to have depth and a certain something indefinable that I like to call a kick, a twist, or a bite. Vetiver and thyme are apparent straightaway, the former earthy and green, the latter herbal and green, both très chic and coolly elegant. Then the citrus accord of bergamot and lemon kicks in, adding a fresh, bracing quality to the composition. After that- the best part- red-hot pimento spices up the blend; at that point the scent is so enjoyable to me, I want to bathe in it or drink it, or both. The olfactory miracles are not over yet, however, because in a little while cloves enter the scene, offering their own, subdued and chic, version of spiciness. New York dries down to a discreet yet warm blend of vetiver, oakmoss and amber, made interesting by a still-evident pepper accord and a slight hint of patchouli. If I had to find one (petty) thing to complain about regarding New York, it would be the name. To me, the scent evokes the landscape and the general spirit not of a big, busy city, but of relaxed, slow-paced life in an elegant villa somewhere in the Italian countryside.

New York is available at Bautyhabit, $79 for 100ml .

*Window View of Assisi Countryside is from


Blogger boisdejasmin said...

Glad to see New York getting a mention. It is among my favourite chypres, and you captured it really well. The entire Parfums de Nicolai line is quite exceptional, although the feminines are on the sweet side for me.

1:48 AM EST  
Blogger marlen said...

This was my first foray into PdN and I was absolutely floored the night I first tried this, to me, this was Shalimar pour Homme! Although I'm now more enchanted by Miller Harris Terre du Bois, this is still one of my favorite chypres!

4:53 AM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

I also think that the whole line is wonderful. I can't wait to try Cococabana, though I have a feeling that it is going to be especially sweet.

8:21 AM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

Terre de Bois sounds amazing. I must try and get better acquainted with the whole Miller Harris line. I've only tried a few of their scents.

8:24 AM EST  
Blogger Christina H. said...

Hmm,citrus with "bite".I think I like the sound of that!

9:19 AM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

The pepper here certainly has teeth. It bites. It's wonderful! :-)

9:27 AM EST  
Blogger Caitlin Shortell said...

New York is a favorite around my house. For all of its success as a unisex scent, on the other hand it never fails to remind me of the chic of a scent from the 30s or 40s. Especially the drydown. It is incomparably chic and energetic.

12:43 PM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

You summed it up perfectly. It is indeed chic and energetic!

1:16 PM EST  
Blogger katiedid said...

Heh. Only you could get away with saying "It bites," and have people to understand you mean it in a good way :)

I've always overlooked this line, and when I finally get around to sampling from it, I guess I know where to start now. Thanks M.

(btw, love your new choice of icons - yet another cool looking image you've chosen!)

1:51 PM EST  
Blogger Tania said...

One of the best modernizations of the chypre genre I've ever encountered. Thanks for doing your bit to publicize this one. I disagree that it doesn't fit New York, though: Having smelled it on a male friend who was standing outside of Balthazar with an espresso in his hand, I attest that its butch sophistication goes well with asphalt, exhaust, leather jackets, the orange-yellow glow of streetlights, and expensive coffee in a paper cup.

2:07 PM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

You are too kind, as always! You are the Queen of Images, and that's a fact.
I would highly recommend de Nicolai line. They have all sorts of scents for all sorts of tastes. I have an impression that Sacreblue is the most popular, but I think that New York is my favorite.

2:41 PM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

"Butch sophistication"!- that's a good one! :-)

2:43 PM EST  
Blogger NowSmellThis said...

One of my favorite lines, and I need to revisit New York soon. It was not among my early favorites. Thanks for the great review!

3:51 PM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

For some reason I thought you'd say you like this one :-) Somehow I thought it was your kind of scent :-)

4:32 PM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This really sounds good and may be we should carry it too...I didnt know so many people liked it!

1:08 PM EDT  
Blogger Sonny said...

Well now you can get it cheaper at

1:12 PM EDT  

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