Parfums de Nicolai Pour Homme : Perfume Review

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Briullov8

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

Parfums de Nicolaï Pour Homme (2003) is a fragrance that defies all gender distinctions, being simply irresistible. Exploring the fragrances specifically designated for the opposite gender can be a fascinating experience. While the classical fougères like Davidoff Cool Water and Guy Laroche Drakkar Noir might be too quintessentially masculine for most women, many fragrances designated as Pour Homme can be confidently explored by women, particularly by those who would like a break from the voluptuous florals and the sweet fruity compositions. Thus, by way of example, Chanel Égoïste Pour Homme is a mélange of sweet woods layered with sweet mandarine cream. Le 3ème Homme de Caron is a dark smoky flower with an exciting, but subtle fougère facet. …

Gucci Pour Homme has a delicious smoothness of amber and leather foiled by iris that hints at the voluptuous quality of Eau de Parfum for women, yet treats it without the rich sweetness. Similarly, Ormonde Man is a perfect composition for those women who might like more emphasis on the resinous green notes that are hidden under the violet and jasmine accord in Ormonde Woman. Givenchy Xeryus Rouge explores the hotness of red peppers in such a sexy manner that it seems unfair to let only the men enjoy it.

As for Nicolaï Pour Homme, it  conjures the visions of autumnal orchards, where the air is filled with the honeyed sweetness of ripening fruit, darkness of withering blossoms, and gentle smokiness of distant bonfires. Patricia de Nicolaï, whose unconventional creations never fail to delight, whether she creates a radiant white floral bouquet as in Number One or an incense laden vanilla like Vanille Tonka, once again presents an enchanting composition.

The mint shimmering over the floral lavender loses its sharp crispness in the almost edible sweetness of benzoin that fills the outlines of the composition as it unfolds. The chocolate-like warmth is a perfect counterpoint to the verdant herbaceous top accord, yet it merely alludes to its presence at first. The floral accord is underscored by the green rosy richness of geranium, which persists elegantly until it melts into the dark current of sweet woods and vanillic amber.

Nicolaï Pour Homme does not play by any expected rules of the masculine fragrances, with its herbs having a sweet floral character and its woods a honeyed nuance. Its complex arrangement of accords results in an interesting composition that would be perfect for a woman with predilections for woody fragrances. On the other hand, a man should not worry about experiencing an effeminate floral in Nicolaï Pour Homme. Simply put, it is confident, sexy and sophisticated.

Notes include galbanum, orange, China mint, lavender, geranium, jasmine, moss, amber, spruce, cedar, tobacco, benzoin and labdanum.

The house has several boutiques, the locations of which can be discovered directly from Parfums de Nicolaï. Fragrances and ancillary products are available online at Beautyhabit, New London Pharmacy. European online stores that carry the line include First-in-Frangrance and Senteurs d’Ailleurs.

Painting: Karl Brulloff. Italian Midday. 1827. Oil on canvas. The Russian Museum, St-Petersburg, Russia. From abcgallery.

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41 Comments

  • MC: Thanks for that lovely review Victoria. Nicolai Pour Homme has been a favourite for a few years. The movement from grassy lavender to rich, incense-and-honey tinted woods is one of the real wonders of men’s perfumery. And you’re quite right to point to its “vendange tardive” qualities – it’s the perfect late summer into autumn scent that promises all the riches of the season.

    Another great composition by a strangely under-rated perfumer. Have you ever come across Patricia de Nicolai’s Vetyver? It’s another strange one – a combination of moss and a fizzling balsamic note laced with an intriguing dose of cumin. Splendid, though not as fiendishly complex as Pour Homme or New York. November 30, 2005 at 4:30am Reply

  • Judith (lilybp): Another wonderful review! I liked this scent very much, and I was hoping my husband would like it too, but he is simply too conservative (or perhaps “conservative” is not the right word, since he loves Montale Cuir d’Arabie–but while he enjoyed Pour Homme, he thought it was too sweet for him to wear regularly). I like Vetyver as well; in fact, I have yet to meet a Nicolai fragrance that I don’t like (I wear SacreBleu and Vanille Tonka regularly). Have a great day! November 30, 2005 at 8:04am Reply

  • julien: I know Nicolai pour homme is well known and loves like new York,another Nicolai perfume but i just hate it,don’t know why.
    It disgusts me at a point you can’t imagine and i don’t even know the reason why…I love nicolai fragrances yet in general.

    Somebody please help me!lol

    Well,what else?
    Nice review,as always…

    Kisses,j. November 30, 2005 at 8:55am Reply

  • marina: My goodness, all of the scents you described above sound delicious…but PdN Pour Homme is now a huge lemming…autumnal orchards, fruits, smokiness…oh yes, please! 🙂 November 30, 2005 at 9:24am Reply

  • linda: Lovely review, dear V! I purchased Arpege Pour Homme for my husband but I am the one who wears it more often. Nicolai Pour Homme sounds like it could work pour femme too. 🙂 November 30, 2005 at 11:04am Reply

  • Christine: It is nice to see Nicolai perfumes mentioned here, because it is one of my favorite brands but it seems to be almost unknown in the States. I wear SacreBleu!, Vanille Tonka, Eclipse, and Balkis. The only one I don’t like is Number One. It turns sour on me. I bought New York for my boyfriend but I like to steal a few spritzes from his bottle. I should get Pour Homme for Christmas which would make a perfect shared present for us. 😀 November 30, 2005 at 11:20am Reply

  • Tania: I was so impressed by PdN ‘New York’ that I’m eager to visit the one place in NYC that sells the line, which apparently is in the 20s (I have the name and address written somewhere). ‘Pour Homme’ sounds like a must-try. The line sounds like it’s reasonably priced in Europe; I hope it’s so in the States. Thank you for a wonderful review! November 30, 2005 at 11:35am Reply

  • linda: Tania, I think that you mean New London Pharmacy. It is between 22nd and 23rd Streets on Eighth Avenue. Such a cool pharmacy! I wish my local drugstore carried Nicolai. 🙂 November 30, 2005 at 11:44am Reply

  • parislondres: Great review dear V! It is one of their best.
    Hope you are well and all my best wishes.
    Mwah! November 30, 2005 at 11:51am Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Mike, your mention of Pour Homme a while ago is what make me want to rediscover it. And what a great find that was! I find it amazingly complex and interesting. It seeme to segue beautifully from the herbaceous, yet floral accord to a warm woody base drizzled with honey. It is just perfect.

    Vetyver was another recommendation you made to me, if I remember correctly. I liked its balsamic quality, which was interesting in contrast to the cool humid vetiver. November 30, 2005 at 12:03pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Judith, same here. I have very few that do not work on me, and over the years I must have worn nearly all of them, with some exceptions. Pour Homme might just be the fragrance you wear, rather than your husband. 🙂 November 30, 2005 at 12:07pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Julien, oh, that is too bad. Is it the sweetness that bothers you? Or the lavender and geranium?

    What other Nicolai fragrances do you like? November 30, 2005 at 12:10pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: M, it is a beautiful composition, and you might like it. It does have a fairly pronounced lavender-geranium aspect, however it fades, all the while lightening the darkness of the base. A fascinating combination, actually. November 30, 2005 at 12:11pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: L, it does not sound like a bad deal to me! 🙂 Glad that you liked Arpege Pour Homme. It is one of my favourites. November 30, 2005 at 12:29pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Christine, I am glad to see another fan of the line. I think that they are very nicely done, although their prices in the States is much higher than in France. In France, they are actually very reasonable. November 30, 2005 at 12:36pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: T, it is less reasonable in the States. The mark up is significant, although still not as highly priced as some others. I think that Nicolai Pour Homme is among her best, and it is not very sweet, which is what I like. November 30, 2005 at 12:38pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: L, yes, the New London Pharmacy is great, and not just for PdN. It has a range of other interesting lines, which I could not find anywhere else. November 30, 2005 at 12:40pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Thank you, dear N! I cannot but agree. I have a few others PdN fragrances I like, but lately Pour Homme is at the top of my list. November 30, 2005 at 12:40pm Reply

  • linda: I also like PdN Mimosaique but it doesn’t lasts on me at all. I used up my bottle but I don’t want to repurchase it. November 30, 2005 at 12:51pm Reply

  • helena: Wonderful review! How sweet is Pour Homme? I am only familiar with Vanille Tonka, which I found to be too sweet. November 30, 2005 at 1:12pm Reply

  • Robin: Agree that it is one of her best, V, and in general her men’s line is slightly more interesting to me than the women’s. November 30, 2005 at 1:26pm Reply

  • paru: I loved your comparison to autumnal orchards and it made me want to sniff this fragrance. I grew up next to apple and pear orchards and we sometimes enjoyed bonfires under the stars between rows of trees. Your description brought back some fond memories. November 30, 2005 at 4:09pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Linda, they actually have the EDP concentration now, so you might like to try that. I love Mimosaique, but it does not last on me either. November 30, 2005 at 4:28pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Helena, thank you. I do not find it very sweet. It has a touch of vanillic sweetness, but not the candy-sweet kind. It is less sweet than Vanille Tonka. November 30, 2005 at 4:30pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: R, I find the feminine fragrance a bit too vanillic, although I love the line in general. November 30, 2005 at 4:31pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: P, that is such a beautiful description! If I could bring back those memories for you, I am very glad. November 30, 2005 at 4:31pm Reply

  • julien: Must be the lavender…i am not a fan of it.
    Or something else?

    I can’t tell you…otherwise i love many perfumes by nicolai,my favorites are Vanille Tonka,for it is a dark vanilla,not gourmand,mixed up with the chocolate and woody aroma of Tonka beans,and Sacrebleu.

    I don’t know well Number One…but i would love to.

    Then,juste un reve is rather good too and the exotic scent for summer very sweet and plesant to wear.
    It is just for the men’s fragrances that i can’t get satisfied.

    The saleswoman told me the new Nicolai is going to be a woody leather for women.
    Interesting,isn’t it?

    🙂

    Kisses,dear.
    j. November 30, 2005 at 6:46pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Julien, yes, maybe it is the combination of lavender and tonka bean that you do not like. Well, one has to dislike something from the line, right? You seem to enjoy many fragrances already. I like the ones you mentioned too.

    I am looking forward to the new Nicolai fragrance. It sounds wonderful! I love anything leather and woods. Let me know when you have more news. November 30, 2005 at 7:41pm Reply

  • AC: Hi!
    I’m new here but I have been following your blog since September. Thanks for doing such a great job on it! I enjoy reading your posts and comments. I have a question about Parfums de Nicolai. My bottle of Vanille Tonka has some residue in it. I didn;t see it at first, it seems to have appeared after 2 months. The fragrance is still the same though. Is it normal? Thanks! November 30, 2005 at 8:18pm Reply

  • AC: I forgot to add that I bought my bottle from beautyhabit in September. They are reliable, right? Thanks again. November 30, 2005 at 8:20pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: AC, welcome and thank you for your compliment. I have never had this happen, and I am not sure what to say. If the fragrance is the same, perhaps it is just the coagulation of the natural essences used in the fragrance. Do you have a lot left in the bottle? If not, I would be tempted to decant it out. November 30, 2005 at 11:50pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: AC, I just remembered that I had this happen to me with a bottle of Molinard Habanita. I still have the bottle, and the scent has not been affected. I am not sure what the residue is exactly, however it might be related to the components of the fragrance coagulating over time, as I surmised above.

    Beautyhabit is reliable, and I have never had issues with their merchandise. December 1, 2005 at 12:08am Reply

  • julien: I promise i will.
    The saleswoman is someone i know now…she would tell me everything for a smile 😉

    By the way,we are also waiting for the new perfumes from MPG “La reine Margot” and a new men fragrance.

    Just wait and see,as they say… December 1, 2005 at 4:07am Reply

  • linda: V, thanks! I didn’t know the edp was available. Maybe the next time I am near the NLP I will check it out. December 1, 2005 at 12:23pm Reply

  • julien: Hi
    I went to Nicolai today.
    They told me the idea of a spicy woody leather for women was abandoned.
    The new one is supposed to be called copacabana and have some coconut actually.
    That’s my news!:)
    Kisses,dear.
    j. December 1, 2005 at 1:22pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: L, please let me know whether it is longer lasting. I am curious myself. December 1, 2005 at 2:10pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: J, thank you! Sounds like it could be interesting. Anything from Nicolai would be interesting, therefore I am not disappointed in the change of plans. December 1, 2005 at 2:10pm Reply

  • julien: By the way.
    When you come to paris again,try the house of perfumes NEZ A NEZ.
    They have beautiful scents… December 2, 2005 at 6:10am Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: I have never heard of Nez A Nez. Can you please tell me a little bit more about it? December 3, 2005 at 12:45am Reply

  • julien: Well,it is a house of perfumes wich makes a relation in between your personal tastes in perfumes and your mind.A kind of psychological transcription of tastes.
    You test perfumes closing your eyes in a feather.

    The fragrances have great quality,even though they are not exceptional.
    But they are creating new fragrances at the time,and these ones are amazing!
    I never smelled a fig fragrance so pure and recreating so well the perfume of the fruit (not fig leaves).
    Then,they are creating a Cedar scent,some gourmand ones,wich smells like a candy etc…

    It is worth it.
    And Christa,the woman who directs the store is so sweet.

    Actually,they also have great candles…i have never found such great candles with a strong aroma.

    😉

    Check out the site:
    http://www.nezanez.net

    They don’t send samples now,but they will soon.

    Kisses.J. December 3, 2005 at 6:16am Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Julien, thank you so much. Sounds like a line that is worth exploring. I love the idea of a fig fragrance smelling like fruit rather than leaves.

    I appreciate you bringing it to my attention! December 3, 2005 at 1:08pm Reply

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