On Sunday, I had the wonderful opportunity to take another ‘fumehead from out of town (hello my dear Kenny!) around NYC on my grand perfume shopping tour.
(A John McCracken piece at MoMA called "The Absolutely Naked Fragrance)
In the span of about three and a half hours, we hit up seven - yes, seven! - stores, covering most of the fragrance bases. I thought that it would be nice to offer you all a small NYC shopping guide. I wish that everyone could come visit me and have me act as tour guide, but maybe this post will make you feel as if you’re in NYC with me!
Now, I’m going to split this up into two sections: today will cover my favorite stops along Fifth Avenue. In a day or two, I’ll do my favorite downtown spots. I am admittedly biased, so I’m only focusing on the three stores that I prefer to go to. I’ll make a list of honorable mentions that are perfume-centric, but are places I just choose not to visit.
Joey’s Perfume Shopping Tour: Fifth Avenue
First stop is - ALWAYS! - Bergdorf Goodman. I make everyone meet me here due to its central location and the fact that the store’s beauty level carries all of the perfumed big-shots one can think of, save for Dior. For Dior, I recommend actually visiting the Dior boutique on 57th between Fifth and Madison; their staff is hospitable and eager to let customers explore the fragrances.
At Bergdorf, there are five essential stops that must be made (besides at Le Metier de Beaute and Edward Bess!):
- The Chanel counter for the Les Exclusifs - I need a full-bottle of Coromandel ASAP.
- The Guerlain counter. I shouldn't have to even explain why this is a necessary stop. Ask for Peggy, and play. You will not be sorry...but you will be broke!
- The By Kilian counter, because I find that the Bergdorf sales associates who man the Kilian counter are much nicer and more generous with their time, knowledge, and samples than at other By Kilian counters in the city - look for Samina on the weekends and Eva during the week.
- The Annick Goutal counter, because the display is just gorgeous!
- The JAR room: This is a serious experience that I don’t want to spoil for anyone. All I can say is that you will find at least one JAR fragrance to fall in love with, and your wallet will suffer a coronary when you hear the price tag on these fragrances. Also, don’t try on the jewelry. You will only suffer more.
- An honorable mention to the Diptyque room on the seventh floor. It’s beautifully organized, but not my favorite place to purchase Diptyque.
While at Bergdorf this Sunday, Kenny and I sniffed numerous - at least fifteen - fragrances. Some highlights include: By Kilian Beyond Love (this might be my next Kilian), By Kilian Straight to Heaven (which is exactly where Kenny went after smelling it), Van Cleef and Arpels’ Midnight in Paris EDT (Kenny, send me a decant of the EDP please!), Annick Goutal Mon Parfum Cheri, Par Camille (this confused Kenny; I have a FB and will be reviewing it soon!), and Guerlain Sous le Vent (this managed to distract me from Iris Ganache, so I know this is good).
Walking south along Fifth Avenue, the next stop is Henri Bendel, whose perfume floor is manned by the hilarious and very sweet Albert. Albert reigns supreme over Bendel’s incredible assortment of niche fragrances. Every single line carried here is worth a sniff, and here are some of the gems hidden amongst the displays:
- Aftelier Perfumes - Yes! Mandy’s indelible creations are available here. Sniff Cepes et Tuberose and try to pretend like your life hasn’t changed for the better.
- Etat Libre d’Orange, whose crazy concoctions make me giggle. I am hoping someone buys me the coffret - or at least a bottle of Jasmin et Cigarettes.
- Nasomatto, because everyone needs to smell Duro and Black Afghano (Albert and I had a serious laugh over Kenny’s instant love of Black Afghano. Kenny, I’m sorry, but you need it!).
- Histoires de Parfums - I fell head over heels for 1740, Marquis de Sade, and purchased the small bottle immediately. Albert wasn’t surprised, and neither was Kenny. A review will come, I promise. For now, read Sheila’s!
- Hype Noses, the BEST candles ever. All of them are extremely edible.
Of course, Albert showed Kenny and me a ton of scents that were new to us. Some of the highlights include: the Blood Concepts fragrances (I really enjoyed O, which surprised me), Jouany Marrakech and St. Barthelemy (Kenny and I both preferred Marrakech), and Nez a Nez Immortelle Marilyn (perfect, plastic, and it needs to be mine immediately).
The last stop along Fifth Avenue is Saks Fifth Avenue. Saks is included only because they carry Cartier and Thierry Mugler. I needed Kenny to smell the new Cartier fragrance, L'Heure Convoitée II. We both agreed that it’s fantastic - but the price point is not! Also, Saks carries Thierry Mugler, and I had somehow yet to sniff the Mugler “Taste of Fragrance” collection. We smelled all four of the fragrances, and pretty much agreed that Taste of Fragrance Womanity is much better than the original (more fig = so much more balanced), and that Taste of Fragrance Alien is just delicious (mmm, salted caramel!).
Now, that’s it for our tour along Fifth Avenue! Moving off of Fifth Avenue and onto Madison Avenue offers more perfume options, such as the aforementioned Dior boutique, the Caron boutique, Barneys NY (whose perfume counters are lovely, but I just choose to not frequent Barneys), the Malle boutique, and the Creed boutique. I’ve yet the visit the Caron, Malle, and Creed boutiques, but I will soon!
Stay tuned for the next installment of my shopping tour! I’ll be taking you all south of 14th Street. Let me know what you think in the comments; have you sniffed any of the fragrances Kenny and I tried this weekend?