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  1. #1
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    mikeperez23's Avatar
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    Default My fragrance weekend in LA (Barneys, Neimans, Scent Bar & beyond!)

    So, I went to see the parents in LA this past weekend for four days, and I got to spend some quality time with the family and quality time fragrance shopping.

    I also got to meet another Basenoter, bront82, and do some fragrance shopping with him along with my husband - let me tell you: shopping with another fragrance freak is even more fun. I've realized it's one of my guilty pleasures in life.

    So...

    Barneys

    I've actually never been inside a Barney's before (well, we have a Barney's Co-Op in Miami Beach, but that doesn't count). The store in Beverly Hills is quite beautiful, something like 5 or 6 floors and the beauty / fragrance section is right on the ground floor...buffetted by those Frederic Malle glass tube spaceship looking things. I went with the sole intention of smelling the new Serge Lutens Five O'Clock Gingembre. Instant love. I knew it from the first spray. Spicy but transparent, a little nose tickle with the ginger...maybe mandarin too, or perhaps mandarin black tea to be more specific. Nice!! The very adorable SA gave me his full attention while I sampled Hinoki by CdG, Absinthe and Duro by Nasomotto, Comme des Garcons Eau de Cologne (not the Parfum, the actual Cologne which is pretty rare), Agrumi Amari di Sicilia by Bois 1920, Scent Sheer by Costume National and 100% Love. Can you say nose fatigue? I left with a healthy dose of FOCG by Serge on my left arm and a new appreciation for the Nasomotto's - MAN are they good or what!? Oh, I almost forgot - when I was leaving the actual Serge Lutens rep asked me if I wanted to smell some more of the line, so I smelled Douce Amere for the first time and really liked it. It's such a different interpretation of the absinthe note. I'm keeping my eye on DA.

    Neiman Marcus

    I went for the sole purpose of seeing all 12 of the Tom Ford Private Blends all together in the same store. OMG. The bottles (they had all twelve in large and small bottles lined up on top of the counter), I wanted to bow down and pray to them, they're so beautiful. They look like something in a temple. Well, a modern temple. I re-smelled Black Violet and this time I kind of was turned off by it (my wallet was happy about that). Ray smelled Purple Patchouli and liked it, but kind of cringed a little when I told him the price. Also all of the Neiman SA's totally left the three of us all by ourselves - which was fine with us. So it was nice not being hassled...although the poor young girl behind the Prada counter kept staring at us because we clearly knew our way around the fragrance counter. I wanted to smell the Marc Jacobs Pear Splash but it was (of course) the only one they didn't have a tester for. Smelled the new Jo Malone White Jasmine and Mint (nice, but nothing like Selection Verte by Creed...duh!) and one of the new YSL women's fragrances, Elle which was quite horrible. Blech!

    Scent Bar

    I smelled so many fragrances I can't even remember them all - so the high points I'll list: Acqua di Sale by Profumum is just as fantastic as nthny said it is (although the Zolo whatever it's called smells JUST like bathroom cleaner), Stoned by Solange is quite nice, but a little overpriced, Black Tie by Washington Tremlett is NICE (you were right Dimitri) but a little too close to No. 88 for me to buy right now - and a second sniffing of the Nasomotto's left my head spinning. I had only previously smelled Hindu Grass, which I liked a lot, but Duro and Absinthe are incredibly good. If you haven't tried the Nasomotto fragrances, please try them soon. Ultimately what won out for the day was Scent One: Hinoki by Comme des Garcons - the turpentine and wood note I couldn't get out of my head and although it's much more than I wanted to spend ($145 for the 1.7 oz little bottle), I think I chose the perfect scent for the upcoming spring/summer season.

    Santa Maria Novella

    At this point, I couldn't really smell anymore - but I still smelled two fragrances that I fell in love with, Eva (a peppery, unisex thing in an adorable houndstooth bottle) and Ginestra (green, hay, fougere-ish yet not stuffy). I ended up walking out with a 8 oz bottle of the Rose Water and some incredibly delicious lip balm that was also incredibly overpriced ($45).

    Marshall's

    The day before, I waded my way through Marshalls and scored a bottle of Booster by Lacoste (wow! the menthol is just right...not too medicinal and yet still bracing - thanks for the rec fredericktoo) and Blush by Marc Jacobs (faded white floral...thanks for the tip, The Cure, if you're reading this). I passed up and didn't buy some really cheap bottles of Youth Dew by Estee Lauder and Violet Splash by Marc Jacobs also. But at that point I was running out of $.

    A fun time was had by all, and I hope to terrorize the fragrance spots in LA many more times in the future. I'm actually grateful I don't live there - I'd be broke!
    Last edited by mikeperez23; 10th April 2008 at 03:47 AM.

  2. #2

    Default Re: My fragrance weekend in LA (Barneys, Neimans, Scent Bar & beyond!)

    Jealous!
    --------------------------------------
    well.... what did you buy?

    forgot to ask

    cheers,
    ryan
    Last edited by usqview; 10th April 2008 at 03:38 AM. Reason: Automerged Doublepost

  3. #3

    Default Re: My fragrance weekend in LA (Barneys, Neimans, Scent Bar & beyond!)

    Now you have to come to NYC and be set loose at Aedes and Bergrdorf Goodman. Sounds like you had a great time in Bev Hills. The NM SA's are good at being told to stay 100 feet back.

  4. #4

    Default Re: My fragrance weekend in LA (Barneys, Neimans, Scent Bar & beyond!)

    Ruggles and Mike if you go to Aedes and Bergdorf, I wanna be there!! Sniffages are so great aren't they!? Honestly, if you had lined up all those fragrances and said, "which one did I choose?" I would have most likely guessed Hinoki. I wish I'd have sampled it in the US when I was there... that and the Nasomattos are the next samples i'll be ordering. Thanks for the fun read!
    Last edited by nthny; 10th April 2008 at 03:53 AM.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: My fragrance weekend in LA (Barneys, Neimans, Scent Bar & beyond!)

    Quote Originally Posted by nthny View Post
    Ruggles and Mike if you go to Aedes and Bergdorf, I wanna be there!! I think part of your message got cut off or something, or am I wrong?
    Deal!

    Yes, I hit the Submit button too soon...I fixed it!

  6. #6
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    Default Re: My fragrance weekend in LA (Barneys, Neimans, Scent Bar & beyond!)

    Quote Originally Posted by mikeperez23 View Post
    So, I went to see the parents in LA this past weekend for four days, and I got to spend some quality time with the family and quality time fragrance shopping.

    I also got to meet another Basenoter, bront82, and do some fragrance shopping with him along with my husband - let me tell you: shopping with another fragrance freak is even more fun. I've realized it's one of my guilty pleasures in life.

    ...
    Holy cow, Batman! You guys had yourselves quite a little scent orgy, didn't you? Hope your nose heals quickly!

    I wish Neiman's here in San Francisco had all the Tom Ford Private Blends, but nooooo...
    Last edited by JaimeB; 10th April 2008 at 04:27 AM.
    Yr good bud,

    JaimeB

    "Why spend life seeking that which does not satisfy? Why remain a slave, when freedom waits? Let your life shine; illumine the world with your truth!"

    My Wardrobe
    My Reviews

    Fiat justitia ruat cćlum.

    Let justice be done, even if the sky should fall.

    Lucius Calpurnius Piso Caesoninus

    Qui nihil potest sperare, desperet nihil.
    Let him who can hope for nothing despair of nothing.

    —Seneca

  7. #7

    Default Re: My fragrance weekend in LA (Barneys, Neimans, Scent Bar & beyond!)

    Great job! The way you phrased everything, I felt like I was right there with you guys. I'm glad you had a great time.
    Two roads diverged in a yellow wood, and sorry I could not travel both and be one traveler, long I stood and looked down one as far as I could to where it bent in the undergrowth; Then took the other, as just as fair, ...... I shall be telling this with a sigh somewhere ages and ages hence: Two roads diverged in a wood, and I -- I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference. - Robert Frost

  8. #8

    Default Re: My fragrance weekend in LA (Barneys, Neimans, Scent Bar & beyond!)

    Aw- I wish I'd known you were coming!

  9. #9

    Default Re: My fragrance weekend in LA (Barneys, Neimans, Scent Bar & beyond!)

    Yeah Barney's in Beverly Hills is an awesome place...So much to choose from. I'm planning on going back there soon. Neiman's is really awesome as well...I remember spraying as much as I wanted of their most expensive Clive Christian, without the SA caring at all : )

  10. #10

    Default Re: My fragrance weekend in LA (Barneys, Neimans, Scent Bar & beyond!)

    As long as a NM SA senses you're not carrying a Black Amex, you're an untouchable. Praise the Lord for commissioned SA's!
    Last edited by Kevin Guyer; 10th April 2008 at 05:50 AM.

  11. #11

    Default Re: My fragrance weekend in LA (Barneys, Neimans, Scent Bar & beyond!)

    Sounds like it was a lot of fun! Bront82 should add his impressions.

  12. #12

    Default Re: My fragrance weekend in LA (Barneys, Neimans, Scent Bar & beyond!)

    Mike is fabulous ... that's all I really have to say. But I'm sure most of you already knew that. He's one hell a guy, as is his extremely patient husband, who put up with our incessant fragrance chat and marathon smell sessions. I'm spoiled, and forget that, living in LA, pretty much anything can be smelled here. I can walk to ScentBar, Fred Segal or Santa Maria Novella. Barney's, Neimans and Saks are just around the corner, as are dozens of boutiques. But getting to show Mike around was fun. It was kind of like taking a kid to F.A.O. for the first time.

    Like he said, shopping with another enthusiast is about as good as it gets. When you go with a friend, he or she might enjoy smelling this or that, but a BN'er has drive. They know what's out there, what's in there, and what needs to be smelled. Mike came loaded with a new take on scents that I had passed on, or not heard of before. He also has what can only be described as a nearly inexhaustible nose! I met up with him on the ground floor of Barney's, where he was already deep in Lutens and Malles. When I go shopping, I don't wear fragrance, and I choose my scents carefully, as I know I only get a limited number of smells. Mike smelled easily and clearly 3 or 4 times the number of scents I did ... and probably better than I did. You know that point in the day when your head starts to go a little ... I hate that! Luckily, I put it off until nearly the end of our shopping spree, which I somehow escaped unscathed! Mike, did however, turn me on to Acqua Viva, a gorgeous summer lemon explosion priced neatly above the $200 mark.

    Other new scents for me were Iris Nobile by Acqua di Parma, which was nowhere near what I had imagined or hoped it would be. I get on these little kicks, and iris is the flavor of the month. Though Iris Nobile takes its name from the iris, it gets most its flavor from a much sweeter and varied bouquet that read to me very much like honeysuckle. Needless to say, I was disappointed, especially when this cloying little mother (which is nowhere in the unisex territory mind you) started to get old.

    When we arrived at Scent Bar I was excited by the new Costume National 21, but again was a bit let down. I was hoping for soft creaminess, but what I got was a variation on whats a bit of a tired theme. You smell one Costume National, you've pretty much smelled them all. Yes, its softer, the package is yet another color (I think we're up to 5 now?), but its the same old song. Poor me! However, I did get quite a noseful of Musk by Renee, musk being January's flavor of the month, it was a little overdue. This was really a nice balance between the new and the old for me. New being scents like MR by Malle and old being scents like Jovan and Kiehls. What starts off soft and sweet (new), settles into the more animalic scents of old. I found this to be a lovely transition, and I particularly love the bottles, which at 30ml and $55 a pop seem quite reasonable.

    Scentbar is an amazing local ... it has such a varied inventory of serious, quality lines. Any one who visits can only be impressed. You could go every day for a week and still have things you want to smell. This also seems to be the case as the store looked exceptionally full. I've been going for a couple years now and it looks as though they've almost filled up their little shoe box of a space. Good for them ... I don't think anybody does it better. But sometimes, you kind do a double take at the prices.

    Acqua Viva had me wishing I didn't have to live on a budget. Anybody want to marry an avid collector and support his seemingly endless habit? PM for details. The other winner, I almost forgot, was Duro by Nasomatto. I'm a sucker for a good leather, and this is a good leather. Mike mentioned a certain member (who shall remain nameless) who would love nothing more than to be pinned down by someone wearing this baby - it was almost enough to have me invest in a bottle! Its a seriously sexy scent. If you get the chance these two are wonderful. And I have Mike to thank for both of them.

    What was so wonderful about the afternoon was that Mike is not only a great resource and a great nose, he's a great guy! We had had dinner on Friday night, which was so much fun that we got together again. I plan on making a habit of it, and I hope he does too!

    Anybody else who heads out this way, feel free to drop me a line, I'd be happy to show you sites!
    Last edited by bront82; 10th April 2008 at 07:08 AM.
    Oh please, if everyone around here is going to start telling the truth, I'm going to bed. - The House of Yes

  13. #13

    Default Re: My fragrance weekend in LA (Barneys, Neimans, Scent Bar & beyond!)

    Great read bront82 and Mike, good stuff, the both of you. Travel Log + Fragrance seems so natural and relate-able, especially to Basenoters.

  14. #14

    Default Re: My fragrance weekend in LA (Barneys, Neimans, Scent Bar & beyond!)

    "I'm a sucker for a good leather, and this is a good leather. Mike mentioned a certain member (who shall remain nameless) who would love nothing more than to be pinned down by someone wearing this baby - it was almost enough to have me invest in a bottle!"

    Um, I am so clearly not up on the juicy bits of BN gossip.

    If someone could just PM me a libretto, that would be great.

    Thanks!

  15. #15

    Default Re: My fragrance weekend in LA (Barneys, Neimans, Scent Bar & beyond!)

    Mike, awesome story. It's a blast to be able to make contact with so many fragrances that we've heard of on here. I had my first Barney's experience in Chicago over Easter. Everything was great about it. I need to smell the Nasomotto's again too.
    Your nostrils, which will dilate immesurably in unspeakable contentment, in motionless ecstasy, will ask nothing better for space, for they will be full of fragrance, as if perfumes and incense; for they will be glutted with complete happiness, like angels who dwell in the peace and magnificence of pleasent heaven.
    (From Maldoror by Comte de Lautreamont)

  16. #16
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    Default Re: My fragrance weekend in LA (Barneys, Neimans, Scent Bar & beyond!)

    Thanks everyone - yes, it was fun.

    JaimeB, my nose heals very quickly. (wink)
    Thanks TwoRoads - glad I could recreate the experience for you.
    tmp00 - I will drop you a line next time I'm in LA, I forgot you were there (and I also forgot to check out the new Le Labo boutique!!).
    Yes leor77 and Ruggles - the SA's at this particular Neimans just kind of 'hovered' behind the counters, like we were some kind of fascinating hologram - two SA's I swear stood and watched us silent for about 5 minutes while we terrorized the buffet of Tom Ford scents and then kind of took a step back when we walked up to them asking about the tester for the Marc Jacobs Pear. I felt like my face was painted blue. WTF?
    bront82 - you are too kind, thanks B. It was fun, wasn't it kiddo? I'm currently taking applications here in Miami for a suitable candidate to marry you off to, to support your collecting habits. The interview process could take a while...
    chrisw - we should have been keeping notes on pieces of paper, I am certain there's about ten or so fragrances I smelled that I am sure I can't remember! You know how it is.
    T. Rex esq - Get thee to a bottle of Duro quick my boy - it's the shizzle. Not sure if it has libretto seducing properties, though..?
    jickyman - yes I'm sold on Barneys for sure. The SA who was helping me was also incredibly cute and adorable too...so it made it easy to spend an hour chatting him up and him running me back and forth between counters and testers. And yes, please resmell the Nasomottos - actually that day, Duro was sold out at Barney's due to the high demand. Good stuff!
    Last edited by mikeperez23; 10th April 2008 at 03:22 PM.

  17. #17

    Default Re: My fragrance weekend in LA (Barneys, Neimans, Scent Bar & beyond!)

    " Acqua Viva had me wishing I didn't have to live on a budget"

    you and me both

    And I'm glad you did like Booster Mike, cause I'd be happy to get something this good from aedes or Luckyscent.

    Let me guess. The Booster was $15.00?

  18. #18

    Default Re: My fragrance weekend in LA (Barneys, Neimans, Scent Bar & beyond!)

    Well Jealous here.
    I'm glad you had a great time

  19. #19
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    Default Re: My fragrance weekend in LA (Barneys, Neimans, Scent Bar & beyond!)

    Yes fredericktoo - $15 for the Booster. IMO, the best Lacoste scent in the entire line.
    Thanks Vivek.

    One thing I totally forgot to post about: I tried the new Incense Rose. I didn't like it. I know, I know...I love Andy's stuff and I found the Incense Extreme nice and transparent-ish, but the Incense Rose really didn't smell rose prominent to me at all! Mind you I might have been experiencing nose fatigue, but it just smelled extremely resinous and incensey to me. I walked into Scent Bar half expecting to be wowed by the IR and was quickly disappointed.

    However Andy (since he was at Scent Bar the weekend before) left samples of a 'new' Rose fragrance that he's working on, and the girl at Scent Bar gave me one. I haven't smelled it yet (i've smelled so many 'mod's' of Andy's stuff at this point...I'm a little burnt out on them...) but I will sample and report back one of these days. For now I'm giving my new bottles my full attention.

  20. #20

    Default Re: My fragrance weekend in LA (Barneys, Neimans, Scent Bar & beyond!)

    Thank you both, Mike and Bront82! It's almost like having met you in person shortly afterwards. Hay and Pot Pourri are my next targets for SMN if and when when I travel south. I will gratefully add your recommendations of Rose Water and Ginestre to my list. I hadn't heard about Ginestre before, but you described it with just the right three words, Mike. I hadn't planned to buy anything this weekend, but as we may enter some shop anyway to refresh our memotry of the green goodness of Envy (women), I might as well try Booster too! I only had one Lacoste in my life, the Original perhaps? Lemony freshness and a gift this came in a green plastic bottle. I normally connect that kind of packaging to shower gels and other gym bag equipment. Menthol freshness this summer would be something new, and if done well - why not? MMM and Nitram said interesting things in their reviews also!
    In spite of the Dollar exchange, you guys pay still much less for French products than we have to in Europe. Booster will be more like $50 than $15, I bet!
    Last edited by narcus; 11th April 2008 at 10:10 AM.
    'Il mondo dei profumi č un universo senza limiti: una fraganza puo rievocare sensazioni, luoghi, persone o ancora condurre in uno spazio di nuove dimensioni emozionali' L. V.

  21. #21
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    Default Re: My fragrance weekend in LA (Barneys, Neimans, Scent Bar & beyond!)

    You're welcome Narcus - I sniffed the bottle tops of Hay and Potpourrri (tvlampboy always raves about it) but I didn't really get a good impression of either. Oh and I guess I should mention, I think Ginestre to be specific features a Scottish broom note - but to my nose, it smells like hay.

    Yes, Lacoste is one of those brands (like Hugo Boss...or Mont Blanc for that matter) that I don't like any of the scents. So, Booster is like a diamond in the rough. I might even go as far as saying that Booster features a mint note almost as nice as Feuille Verte by Creed. My skin, when I apply Booster, actually is cooled and tingly - and the menthol pairs nicely with it, in keeping it icy, bracing and tonic-like in its effects. Plus the bottle and sprayer (which is big, green and round - kind of like a retro garden hose nozzle) is cute too. Quite perfect, if you ask me, for Summer 2008.
    Last edited by mikeperez23; 11th April 2008 at 10:32 PM.

  22. #22

    Default Re: My fragrance weekend in LA (Barneys, Neimans, Scent Bar & beyond!)

    Pluran was the one who gave the tip about Booster in a Patou por homme thread, saying it had been formulated at the same time by the same people.

  23. #23

    Default Re: My fragrance weekend in LA (Barneys, Neimans, Scent Bar & beyond!)

    This account made for a most enjoyable reading. Thanks for letting us all in on it! I used to live in that neck of the orange groves when I was in 2nd & 7th grades so there was a bit of nostalgia mixed in as I read. Would have loved to have been a fly on the wall looking on.

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