Patricia de Nicolaï is the founder of Parfums de Nicolaï and its master perfumer. As if that weren't enough, she is also President of Osmothèque, the world's only perfume archive and an international research institution dedicated to preserving the history of perfumery. In 2008 she was also honored with the French Legion of Honor award.
The Guerlain perfumery family is still very much alive, even though the Guerlain brand has long been taken over by the fragrance eater LVMH. And what does Patricia de Nicolaï have to do with the Guerlain tradition? She was born into it with blood ties. Patricia is a true Guerlain family member by her mother's side. She is the great-granddaughter of Pierre Guerlain who, together with his brother Jacques, led the Guerlain company successfully as chief perfume designer at the beginning of the 20th century. She is the niece of Jean-Paul Guerlain, the last member of the Guerlain family to take on the role of the master perfumer in the Guerlain house. Patricia de Nicolaï refused to have any connection with LVMH and founded her own perfume business in 1989 together with her husband Jean-Louis Michau. She took a bold risk by creating, signing, and selling her own perfumes. It was quite a challenge because the era of "Parfums d'Auteur" - or "niche perfumes" if you will - had not yet begun. The position of master perfumer was also seen primarily as a male role. The couple's goal was creative freedom and quality and their creations should never be dominated by marketing guidelines. This was also the past philosophy of the Guerlain family in running their perfume business.
Paris is not New York and vice versa. However, both are very intense in their own way and both live after hours. When I first heard about Parfums de Nicolaï from New York Intense, I immediately recalled the Statue of Liberty standing in the middle of the Hudson. A brushstroke of French art and design as part of the New York image. The statue is beautiful, eye-catching, loud, and supposedly smelly because of the Hudson River. So it is this perfume by Nicolaï, although probably more nose-catching than eye-catching.
Patricia created this fragrance as an homage to "the city that never sleeps", a metropolis that has always fascinated her. According to Patricia, New York Intense is her intoxicating oriental signature.
The scent opens with a citrus burst. In the midst of bergamot and lemon one encounters an impressive "Citronnier" petitgrain heavy note. Traditionally, petitgrain was distilled from the unripe bitter orange fruits. Today branches and leaves are bound to be used more often. It smells heavenly! It's green, sparkling, and with a distinctive orange blossom accent. It's a bit like neroli, but maybe a bit bitter and greener.
The perfume body is almost all about black pepper. It gives you a touch of warmth, but also surprisingly fresh and woody. It harmonizes wonderfully with the citrus notes. The presence of a strong clove note ensures a comfortable feeling and prepares the nose for what is still to come.
The base is mainly a very earthy oakmoss, but it is framed by vanilla, frankincense, and balsamic oriental notes. Light notes of musk, civet, and castoreum, horn round off this bouquet with a carnal and seductive note.
Start spreading the news: New York Intense
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Opening: 8.5 ( green and sparkling citrus with a bit of herbs to blend with pepper and cloves)
DryDown: 8.5 (an oriental feeling, with oakmoss framed by vanilla, frankincense, and balms)
Longevity: 8.0 (3 sprays can last up to 8 hours)
Sillage: 8.0 (up to 6 feet, and 2 hours of projection with 3 sprays)
Exclusivity: 8.0 (similar vibes, almost family ties with Bois du Portugal
and Lalique pour Homme Lion Eau de Parfum
, although a bit more seductive)
Portability: 9.5 (Not perfect, but close to. You may use it in any type of weather)
Versatility: 9.0 (Above average for a lot of heterogeneous situations. Perfect for the office)
Praise: 8.0 (It will gain you a lot of respect but not effusive cheers)
Quality: 9.5 (high-quality ingredients, solid bottle, good atomizer)
Presentation: 8.0 (the traditional Nicolai bottle design)
Price: 6.0 (Top quality for a price; 100 ml 165 € in various retailers)
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Overall grade: 8.27 / 10.00
- between 7 and 8 = above average;
- between 8 and 9 = recommended;
- greater than 9 = don't miss it;
Opinion: A bottle filled with class.
Don't buy it blindly. It's too expensive so give it a try first.
Music: Frank Sinatra - New York, New York