Monday, December 12, 2011
It’s now time to complete my little guide to perfume shopping in NYC! My first installment took us along Fifth Avenue; my darling Kenny and I wore out our noses at Bergdorf Goodman, Henri Bendel, and Saks Fifth Avenue. Sounds like a full day, doesn’t it? It does - but I still had four (!) more places to drag Kenny. This required a train ride downtown to the West Village, and later on some eastbound walking. We purchased Kenny a MetroCard, and off we went to our first stop.
(picture borrowed from NYMag.com)
Every fragonerd must pay his or her respects to the veritable shrine of niche perfumery, Aedes de Venustas, located on the lovely Christopher Street in the West Village. Aedes is a boudoir filled with luxe and hard-to-find niche lines; also, the two cutest dogs in the world live there, so pet them if you get a chance! Kenny and I went straight to the Malle display, both of us agreeing that Musc Ravageur is an essential fragrance to own (although I’m not much of a Malle fan beyond Musc Ravageur!). We poured over every nook and cranny of the store, sniffing everything we could get our hands on. I wanted to bring the Serge Lutens cabinet home with me!
Some of the highlights of our sniffing include: Amouage Gold Woman (I have this and love it; Kenny was wide-eyed over it), Serge Lutens Chergui (a holy grail fragrance for the both of us), L’Artisan Dzing (I need this!) and Tea for Two (Kenny said I need it), and Diptyque Tam Dao (a favorite of mine that I think Kenny needed to sniff; he enjoyed it).
After Aedes, Kenny and I took a gelato and cookie break, and then walked over to MiN New York. MiN is a new store in the East Village, an atelier and apothecary combined. The layout of the store is wonderful and the selection of products made me gasp. I saw Spanish apothecary products my grandmother used on me as a child, and Kenny nearly fainted over the Frapin fragrances. I ran straight to the Miller Harris display, and the two of us squealed over the Keiko Mecheri table. I cannot stress this enough: MiN New York is an absolutely necessary stop for any fragrance enthusiast. Any place where I can buy Amouage, By Kilian, metal bunny paperweights, and get a cup of coffee all at once is a slice of heaven on earth!
Some of the highlights of our sniffing include: Frapin 1270 (Kenny instantly bought a bottle!), Penhaligon’s Amaranthine (I have a decant of this! I need to dig it up and review it), Keiko Mecheri Cuir Cordoba (I love this, and I knew Kenny would too - see Nathan's review here), and Carner Barcelona Tardes (Birgit’s review piqued my curiosity, and both Kenny and I agreed that it was the best of the line).
After MiN, I dragged Kenny around the corner and across the street to the Santa Maria Novella/LAFCO store. The Santa Maria Novella store is great if you’re one of those crazy people who likes to buy your friends housewarming presents, and stuffs their closets and dressers with potpourri. The store is a veritable Candyland for those who like all aspects of their life to be scented. I own their potpourri, their soaps, their skincare...I can go on and on. I also love gifting people with LAFCO candles. I can’t help it! I wanted Kenny to sniff the SMN colognes, and we also had a random woman follow us from MiN to SMN and I was able to help direct her to some lovely home fragrances to give as Christmas gifts! I really need to start charging people for my help.
Some of the highlights of our sniffing include: SMN Calycanthus (see my review here; I need to get a bottle ASAP!), SMN Carnation (I didn’t like this as much as I thought I would), and SMN Vetiver (Kenny preferred Calycanthus; I thought the Vetiver was OK).
Our final stop of the afternoon was at Le Labo, as there was no way I was sending Kenny back to New Jersey without a stop at one of my favorite stores! It’s silly to even include a ‘highlights’ section, as there isn’t a Le Labo fragrance that I don’t like. Rose 31 is a holy grail fragrance for me, as is Santal 33. We both drooled over the Olfactorium, and I decided that I need to buy a bottle of Labdanum 18 as soon as I can. Kenny also pointed out the laundry detergent (oh, to have all of my clothes smell of Rose 31!), and we swooned over the candles.
With our time at Le Labo complete, it was time to take Kenny back to Penn Station and for me to go home! I hope you enjoyed this guide to NYC shopping! I plan on, in the future, elaborating on some of these shops and writing about other stores we didn’t get to visit last weekend! Let me know in the comments what you think about this.
Tuesday, December 6, 2011
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?