Another Day to Walk and Sniff in NYC
by, 2nd May 2011 at 01:56 PM (3898 Views)
Saturday, April 30th was a "perfect storm"-- glorious weather, the 2011 Guerlain Muguet released, and the Sniffapalooza event, with vendors prepared. We did not join the Sniffa group but did our own thing.
My husband, teenaged daughter and I took an early train into NYC Saturday with an itinerary in hand that enabled us to visit a number of stores on foot before they closed at 6 or 7 p.m.
We started at Saks. I made a beeline for Guerlain, eager to test Muguet. The rectangular splash bottle was offered, but the friendly and helpful Crystal generously filled my small sample atomizer so that I could use it to spray the scent on instead.
At first impression it smelled similar to Aqua Allegoria Lilia Bella in that there was a hint of lilac. But that is where the similarity ends. Muguet has a much smoother opening, and soon develops a mild, pleasantly dirty note (jasmine?) that lasts through the drydown. Sillage was low to moderate but it wafted up pleasantly for a couple of hours before becoming a skin scent. I could still smell it on my clothes in the evening after returning home.
The price tag was a stiff $580; the 10% discount was not enough to bring this into an affordable range for me. There were only 4 bottles left by the time I got to the store; now they are gone. The label was disappointing-- a paper sticker, not nearly as pretty as the illustrations of the bottle. But the fragrance did not disappoint. I am happy to have finally smelled it on skin. That alone would have made my trip worthwhile.
We visited other counters at Saks: at Hermès I chatted with Cynthia, who sprayed Un Jardin Sur Le Toit on my hand. I was surprised at how much I liked it-- I did not expect to, based on what I had read of it. At Penhaligon's I was disappointed not to find Fitzrovia, but Josie allowed us to decant small samples of the newer Anthology scents Zizonia (unisex, pleasantly woody) and Jubilee (too sweet for my taste.) I was assisted by Ted Levine at Armani, Khalid at Bond No. 9, and Christine at Jo Malone, where I smelled and got a decanted sample of the limited edition Sakura Cherry Blossom.
Everyone at Saks was very helpful; I want to go back and spend more time there.
By then we had an appetite, so we walked over to St. Andrews, a Scottish restaurant on W46th between 6th and 7th Avenues, where we enjoyed haggis, fried oysters, and a delectable sticky pudding that I will have to try making at home! (Yum!)
At Prada, Bruce allowed me to decant a bit of Infusion de Rose to test at home.
At Henri Bendel, Sergio demonstrated Bendel's own eau de toilette fragrances (http://www.henribendel.com/shop/perf...rances-lotions) Wild Fig is a good alternative to Premier Figuier-- has a bit of coconut in it. Rose Oud is also worth testing.
At the L'Artisan boutique upstairs, my husband treated me to an early Mother's Day gift-- a 50ml bottle of the 2007 Iris Pallida, a limited release selling at $115. (If you want one, call fast-- they don't have many bottles.) We obtained a few more samples and then went over to chat with the Lubin representative, William, who had his display set up in anticipation of the imminent arrival of the Sniffapalooza crowd. He gave us samples and his email address. I liked a number of the Lubin ones at first sniff. I would have spent time with the Caron reps, but we were already late leaving Bendel and decided Caron could wait for another trip.
From there we visited the Krigler boutique at the Plaza Hotel before the Sniffa crowd would be shutting the boutique down for 3 hours. The charming and unflappable Naoko gave us a rapid but complete sniff tour of the 19 fragrances. I bought 2 samples of Manhattan Rose (no surprise there) and truly enjoyed sniffing that on my arm for the rest of the day.
My daughter and husband then visited FAO Schwarz while I darted back half a block to Mont Blanc, and then it was on to Barney's where we sniffed/got samples or sprayed blotters with some Lutens, CDG, Rosine, and Byredo fragrances we were unfamiliar with. I was especially pleased with CDG Jaisalmer. Each counter has its own policies on sampling. My husband got decanted samples (in our own atomizers) of Byredo and Lutens, but as to the others, all I could do was spray small watercolor paper blotters I had brought and place them in heavy-duty small zippered pill bags (from Walmart) that I had brought for the purpose. They had no carded Malle samples, and we were refused even decanted samples of Malle, despite the fact that I have bought both Malle and Diptyque at Barneys. One SA averred that if everyone wanted samples, they would sell no bottles! Unenlightened, is all I will say.
At the Hermès boutique, Andreea gave us a few Hermessence samples that we wished to test further. We admired the gorgeous scarves and adorable plush horses.
At the Creed boutique we chatted with Rodney and Luis and smelled Spice & Woods, Royal Ceylon, Sublime Vanille (a vanilla I actually like, with similarities to Jour de Fête) and Windsor (lovely, dry gardenia.) They are expecting a very limited Feuille Verte reissue this summer. In July they will be getting Original Cologne and White Flowers, and sometime in the fall, Jardins d'Amalfi.
Unexpectedly passing Bond No. 9, we stopped in, as my daughter had by now that she loved Chinatown, which she'd sprayed on her arm at Saks, and wanted a sample for further testing. The helpful Jennifer Colón gave her, and us, some samples. We loved their rose-decorated car parked out in front!
With a last gasp, we staggered into Frédéric Malle where the expressive and informative sales associate (whose name I failed to ask) guided our exploration of Carnal Flower, Portrait of a Lady, Noir Epices and Cologne Bigarade. We used the scent chambers to get better impressions. No carded samples were available but she graciously decanted a ml or so of those scents into our own atomizers for further testing at home. I am actually thinking of buying Carnal Flower-- I, who could never wear tuberose before-- too sweet! But Carnal Flower is not overly sweet.
After a rest in Central Park, we grabbed a bus ride back to the terminal.
All in all a fantastic day!
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