Parfums de Nicolai New York, 1989

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new york

(image of NYC 1970s, source

Perfumer Patricia de Nicolai

When I’m uncertain what to wear and put on New York, it’s like an olfactory moment of kensho. It’s the moment that reminds me why I wear perfume at all. New York’s secret weapon, besides its flawless evolution, is its powder. Powder is often mentioned in the context of the old-lady perfumes, tedious dandy fragrances, uninspired aldehydic fragrances. But New York’s powder is gunpowder. It is a bitter dustiness made even darker by orange/bergamot resinousness.

Chypre? Oriental? Wood? I’d probably give you a different answer on any given day. Wear it at home, wear it on the bus to work, wear it to an event; New York brings a sense of esthetics to your day that makes everything feel a bit more elegant. Like all the perfumes, that I keep coming back to, New York has a deliberate ambiguity that makes it seem less elusive than actually alive.

2013 Update: Seeing Luca Turin’s note in the “Little Book” I tried the most recent iteration.
Light orange cologne. Heartbreaking.

2014 Update: Sadly, still an orange cologne, and New York Intense does nothing to help the situation.

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