Parfums de Nicolai Number One : Perfume Review

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Gaugin bouquet of flowers

Star rating: 5 stars–outstanding/potential classic, 4 stars–very good, 3 stars–adequate, 2 stars–disappointing, 1 star–poor.

Parfums de Nicolaï Number One was the first fragrance to inagurate the line created by Patricia de Nicolaï and her husband Jean-Louis Michau in 1989. Number One won the prestigious Mouillette d’Or du Prix International du Meilleur Parfumeur, or Golden Scentstrip Award of the Best International Perfume Creator upon its debut. One whiff of this voluptous white floral composition, and it becomes clear why it received such an honor. De Nicolaï’s creations have an aura of grand parfums, while their structures are modern and radiant. Number One is a particularly harmonious blend of floral notes with a sonorous timbre of soft woods. After the initial sparkle of honeysuckle, the jasmine unfolds with its banana jam sweetness. Contrasted with sultry tuberose and green narcissus, the jasmine gains both complexity and sensuality. Iris with its powdery-rooty character lends Number One a caressing character. Its mixture of elegance and nostalgia is haunting.

Painting: Paul Gauguin, Bouquet of Flowers, 1896. Oil on canvas. National Gallery, London, UK.

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9 Comments

  • Woodcock: I have fond memories of Number One, one of my favorite powdery florals, which I wore when I used to go to school in Paris. Did you get your bottle in a store in Manhattan? Clyde’s on Madison Ave. only carried some candles, the various eaux, Vanille Tonka and Sacrebleu the last time I checked. They did not even carry New York. June 15, 2005 at 11:02am Reply

  • Victoria: C, I bought it in Paris just recently. I have never managed to make it to the Manhattan boutique, but do you know that New London Pharmacy (8th Avenue and 23rd) carries the whole line. I spotted Number One there as well. From what I understand, they do mail orders as well. June 15, 2005 at 11:13am Reply

  • Woodcock: I had no idea of the existence of this New London Pharmacy, so danke schoen. June 15, 2005 at 2:56pm Reply

  • cindy n: I, too, adore white florals, jasmine and tuberose in particular. How does Nicolai. no. 1 compare with Sacrebleu? I haven’t tried either yet, but am debating which to order. Any suggestions? June 15, 2005 at 9:45pm Reply

  • Victoria: Cindy,
    Number One is completely unlike Sacrebleu, which is a spicy floral, with peach, cinnamon, clove and currants paired with jasmine. It is a lovely composition, and I would recommend sampling it, however it is not a pure white floral bouquet. Perhaps, ordering samples from Aedes or Beautyhabit might be the best thing to do. Also, try Odalisque, which is the most amazing composition of iris and lily of the valley. I would say that it is among my favourites in the line. June 16, 2005 at 2:46am Reply

  • Liz smellslikeleaves: I have long been a fan of Parfums de Nicolai, but have yet to try this fragrance! I took a break from white florals for awhile, but have regained interest in them this spring. Your beautiful description will certainly prompt me to seek it out and experience it. June 16, 2005 at 10:15am Reply

  • Victoria: Liz,
    You definitely should. While I am tired of plain white bouquets like MPG Jardin Blanc and Diptyque Olene, Number One has enough mystery in it to keep my interest. Let me know how you like it. June 16, 2005 at 10:21am Reply

  • julien: A very elegant scent…
    But my favorite scent from NICOLAI is “SACREBLEU!”,a mixture of white flowers(jasmin,tubéreuse,oeillet)and “fruits rouges”,with a delicate and powdery background like l’HEURE BLEUE of GUERLAIN. June 25, 2005 at 7:50pm Reply

  • Victoria: Julien, thank you for your impressions. It’s great to hear them from others. I also love Sacrebleu, although not in the summer. June 25, 2005 at 8:14pm Reply

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