Thursday, January 04, 2007

Better-Know-A-Niche Perfumery: Parfums de Nicolai

My first morning in Paris, I made a beeline to the Left Bank. Armed with a map and a list of four parfumeries I wanted to visit before lunch, I hopped off the Metro at Rue-du-Bac, walked briskly to 30 Rue de Grenelle, 75007, and prepared to enter the store. It was not yet open. Drat! As I was quickly to discover, most stores in Paris open at 10:30 or 11:00 am. They are often closed for lunch as well. So, I took a quick walk around the block, watching my breath form clouds in the cold morning air, and circled around for another attempt. Bingo! The parfumerie was open!

Parfums de Nicolai Interior.JPG

This parfumerie is very petite but also very charming. I remembered it from a prior visit in 1998, and it looked remarkably the same. On that visit, I had purchased "Juste Un Reve" eau de toilette (an elegant jasmine and rose floral) and "Mimosaique" eau de parfum (yellow mimosa and green leaves - with iris root, jasmine and anise). Both were still available on this visit.

This time I tried four different fragrances, and ultimately selected a 30 ml bottle of "Rose-Pivoine" (Rose-Peony) eau de toilette. This is a very wearable, light floral fragrance consisting of top notes of bergamot and tangerine; middle notes of rose and peony; and base notes of amber and oak moss. Rose-Pivoine is the perfect fragrance to wear when you want something that is not over-powering but rather more of a background presence to your day. It can be purchased at beautyhabit. Cost: $40 for 30 ml edt. Parfum de Nicolai fragrances can also be found at Luckyscent.

Parfums de Nicolai was created by perfumeur Patricia de Nicolai and her husband, Jean-Louis, in 1989. As the grand-daughter of Pierre Guerlain, Patricia grew up immersed in the world of perfumery. She studied chemistry and attended the ISIPCA perfume school in Versailles. In 1988, Patricia was the first woman to receive the prestigious prize of the best international perfumer from the French Society of Perfumers.

Since 2005, Patricia has been using her creativity and her excellent knowledge of natural essential oils to create custom blends for individual clients. She compares custom-blended perfume to "haute couture" in the fashion world. For more information, please see the Parfums de Nicolai website.

Next: a visit to Maître Parfumeur et Gantier.
photo credits: Christine Pierce


giselle R. said...

I've always wanted to try her scents, she is, after all, a Guerlain.

christine said...


abby said...

You can also find these at