Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Parfums Nicolaï - Le Temps d'une Fête

Daffodils bloom in a sunny glade, surrounded by the dappled shade of mossy green woods

Parfums Nicolaï was created by Patricia de Nicolaï and her husband Jean-Louis Michau. Patricia comes from a distinguished family of perfumers, the Guerlain's. Her great-grandfather was Director of Guerlain and she was trained as a perfumer by her uncle, Jean-Paul Guerlain.

Patricia started her company to create "haute-couture" perfume - perfume that is not controlled by the marketers and their briefs, but instead allows the perfumer complete freedom to express herself, to use high quality ingredients and to manage the creation from idea right through to production.

Le Temps d'une Fête must be Patricia's idea of a walk in springtime. You can see in the notes, taken from her web site, how she envisions the perfume's development, from green leaves, to white flowers to animal/woody base. It's my favourite perfume structure, the chypre, and it's been done beautifully, so classic and yet so pretty and approachable.

LTdF starts with a sweet, bright fruit, like lemons and apricots. After a few minutes, the galbanum comes out. I'm really starting to love galbanum, it has a slightly bitter, spicy greeness; it's all leaves and stems. Another thing I love about this scent is that I don't have to wait until the drydown for the moss; it's right up top, nice green mossiness, like you've plunked yourself down under a mossy tree to enjoy the sunshine.

In the heart is the thick, yellow-pollen smell of daffodil and the waxy, lightly spicy hyacinth. It's like Easter.  Everything is held in perfect balance, the florals shine, a little fruit is still there but it never gets too sweet. Everyting is dappled by green leaves and the shadow cast by mossy branches. The base has lovely oakmoss and wood. My favourite part is sniffing my wrist in the far-drydown and smelling that deep mossy wood. As far as I am concerned, it's not a chypre without oakmoss and I hope that LTdF is never reformulated to conform to annoying IFRA rules.

Even with the high quality and creativity of her scents, Parfums Nicolaï manages to offer perfumes at a reasonable price. I especially appreciate the option to buy in smaller bottles of 30 ml, which makes collecting them so much more affordable!

House: Parfums de Nicolaï
Nose: Patricia de Nicolai
Top notes : Green notes : galbanum, opoponax (sweet myrrh), mousse d’arbre (tree moss)
Heart : white flowers : jacinthe (hyacinth) and narcisse (narcissus)
Bottom notes : Animal and woody : bois de santal (sandalwood), patchouli, mousse de chêne (oakmoss)

Photo: bortescristian


  1. Sounds lovely, and right up my alley. Will have to try soon....

  2. This is another prime example of a highly respected scent (like Daim Blond) that I so want to like, yet which goes peculiar on my skin. In this case it turns indolic - the narcissi, I imagine. Such a shame.

  3. To La Bonne Vivante: You should! I am going to try more of her scents now.

    To flittersniffer: That's too bad. I like the indoles! But I feel the same way about most of the classic Guerlains, I just can't seem to like them. I know, the shame :)


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