Nina Ricci Nina : Fragrance Review

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Nina_ricci

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

I cannot get away from Nina Ricci Nina, despite all my best efforts. It tops the charts of best-sellers, its pretty pink bottle shows up at every trend presentation, and its cotton candy and dry amber scent pervades the subway. Along with Marc Jacobs Daisy and Vera Wang Princess, it is a good example of how given the right configuration of brand name, marketing and packaging, one can easily create a top seller. Of course, the fragrance is important too—it has to be trendy, pretty and likeable. I like Daisy well enough, Princess is inoffensive, but Nina and I simply cannot find a compromise. …

On the face of it, I should like Nina just fine, since like Daisy, it traces its lineage directly to Dolce & Gabbana Light Blue, one of the most interesting trendsetting fragrances of this decade—the same dry ambery notes, the effervescent citrus and apple top. For me, the beauty of Light Blue lies in its play upon the dry, almost masculine amber notes. In contrast, Nina is rendered as a more conventional feminine with the addition of a heavy doze of ethyl maltol (cotton candy) and other sweet, caramelized notes.

I have a good share of favorite fragrances incorporating gourmand notes—Thierry Mugler Angel, Lolita Lempicka, Missoni. What makes these fragrances appealing is the contrasted quality between their elements which frames the sweetness and creates the abstract, teasing vision of a dessert. However, the heavy gourmand accord of Nina verges on cloying, and even the crisp amber does not lighten the syrup laden base. Instead of sensing a whiff of vanilla from a pastry shop, this is rather like ending up with a cake in your face.

Nina’s main redeeming feature is its packaging. I love the modern take on the classical Fille d’Eve bottle, which was created by Lalique in the course of its fruitful collaboration with Ricci. I just wish that the scent made me feel like the princess in Olivier Theyskens’ dress from the marketing campaign—elegant, beautiful and ethereal, and not like a little girl eating cotton candy at a fair.

Nina Ricci Nina includes notes of Calabrese lemon, lime, red toffee apple, vanilla infusion, moonflower, peony petals, apple tree wood, cotton musk. It is available from Saks 5th Avenue, Sephora and Nordstrom.

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32 Comments

  • violetnoir: I love the bottle, but it’s hard for me to understand how they could justify changing the original Nina, a beautiful floral fragrance from the 80’s, into this, um, mess!

    Hugs! May 5, 2008 at 11:56am Reply

  • Sveta: Privet, Vika! I tried it when it first came out and liked it. Then my boyfriend comment that it smells like candy (petushki). That killed it for me. May 5, 2008 at 12:20pm Reply

  • Robin: I wonder if the new flanker (Pretty Nina or Nina Pretty?) is less “cake in your face”? May 5, 2008 at 2:18pm Reply

  • jms: I’m guessing, based on the notes and your review, that this fragrance is not for me, but that bottle is just gorgeous. May 5, 2008 at 3:45pm Reply

  • Linh Ngueyn: Those are really nice perfume that you can easilly find and bid at the following site: http://www.muabanperfume.com May 5, 2008 at 5:37pm Reply

  • chayaruchama: Such a lovely bottle !
    Sigh.
    It’s sad that the scent follows a “nothing REALLY wrong, but nothing really RIGHT” trend.

    Rather late in telling you how wonderful it is to read you again !
    Hope all is well… May 6, 2008 at 6:36am Reply

  • Cara: I don’t normally like sweet scents, but Nina is just great on my skin. Sveta, it is funny, but my boyfriend also doesn’t like it. Oh well, I wear it for myself. 😀 May 6, 2008 at 8:29am Reply

  • Cara: I don’t normally like sweet scents, but Nina is just great on my skin. Sveta, it is funny, but my boyfriend also doesn’t like it. Oh well, I wear it for myself. 😀 I also like Daisy. May 6, 2008 at 8:30am Reply

  • Peter: Ladies, your boyfriends have good taste! My sister got a bottle of Nina for my girlfriend and …. I started hiding a bottle from her. It is so d***n sugary! Honestly, I can’t stand it. May 6, 2008 at 8:59am Reply

  • Marina: Love contrasts! Maybe I should revisit Missoni. May 6, 2008 at 9:26am Reply

  • Ina: I see this perfume highlighted in pretty much every perfume store around here. I really wish I like the scent as much as I like the bottle. The new flanker is actually more cake in your face! But I kinda liked it. In moderate amounts. 🙂 May 6, 2008 at 9:37am Reply

  • oblitterati: Yes! I agree with you completely though you put it more eloquently (and I dare say diplomatically) than I did.
    http://smell-o-vision.blogspot.com/2008/05/nina-by-nina-ricci.html
    I had tried it on at Bloomingdales and found myself smelling like sweet street-fair teen funk all day. The lure of the beautiful bottle indeed! May 6, 2008 at 1:30pm Reply

  • Boisdejasmin: R, I did not even want to bring that up. I just cannot connect these two fragrances. The original Nina was a beauty, to be sure. May 6, 2008 at 1:40pm Reply

  • Boisdejasmin: Sveta, petushki–what a memory! If you like it, wear it when he is not around. 🙂 May 7, 2008 at 8:42am Reply

  • Boisdejasmin: R, no, it is that plus a fruit cocktail! May 7, 2008 at 8:43am Reply

  • Boisdejasmin: Jms, I love this bottle–the color, the shape, the detailing. If I were a bottle collector, I would get it. May 7, 2008 at 8:44am Reply

  • Boisdejasmin: Chaya, so well put!

    Thank you. It is a pleasure to see you commenting. May 7, 2008 at 8:45am Reply

  • Boisdejasmin: Cara, good call. Boyfriends’ opinions should be taken with a grain of salt. 🙂 May 7, 2008 at 8:46am Reply

  • Boisdejasmin: Peter, it is very sweet for my tastes. I agree. May 7, 2008 at 8:50am Reply

  • Boisdejasmin: Marina, you should! It is very interesting fragrance. I love orange blossom and chocolate together. May 7, 2008 at 8:51am Reply

  • Boisdejasmin: Inochka, so nice to see you! I keep wondering how you are doing and what the life back home is like to you. Curious, what else is a big seller besides Nina? May 7, 2008 at 8:53am Reply

  • Boisdejasmin: Oblitterati, “12 year old in a thong” descriptor really made me laugh. The lure of a beautiful bottle is something I can understand! May 7, 2008 at 8:58am Reply

  • Ina: I’m doing very well, thank you! Wonderful to be home and enjoy a peaceful lifestyle. 🙂 I know I owe you a letter. As for best-sellers, I’m not quite sure but I do see lots of Trussardi Inside, Carolina Herrera CH, Boss Essence de Femme, Burberry Beat. Not too exciting. 😉 May 7, 2008 at 9:34am Reply

  • Sveta: Vika, I wear it, but I live with my boyfriend so it is difficult to find time when he is not home. 🙂 May 7, 2008 at 2:19pm Reply

  • Sveta: Cara, what fragrances does your boyfriend like on you?

    V, what about you? May 7, 2008 at 2:21pm Reply

  • Boisdejasmin: Ina, would love to hear more! Especially about peaceful lifestyle. 🙂 I really want to go to Kiev this summer, but I do not know if it will happen. Just too much going on right now.

    That best-seller line up sounds so much like German preferences. I guess, given the regional aspects, it makes sense. Are you wearing any perfume currently? BTW, whenever I wear L’Artisan, I think of you and of Marina, of course. 🙂 May 8, 2008 at 9:22am Reply

  • Boisdejasmin: Sveta, well, that might make things difficult. 🙂 May 8, 2008 at 9:23am Reply

  • Sveta: Vika, so what perfumes does your boyfriend or husband like on you? May 8, 2008 at 10:13am Reply

  • Boisdejasmin: Sveta, his favorite one by far is Serge Lutens A La Nuit. May 9, 2008 at 9:14am Reply

  • Lauren: The bottle is somewhat appealing, but far down another perfume counter lies the Poison family of Dior. The bottle and scent are just nice, but I don’t really think both are original. Tsk tsk.. Poison. July 4, 2008 at 5:45pm Reply

  • Natalia: I couldnt agree with you more! It is cloying, this is the word for this perfume. A cake in the face! Perfect description.
    All my sisters (I have 3) wear it, and I have a hard time at family parties. October 18, 2014 at 8:22am Reply

    • Victoria: They now have another flanker, and it seems to be even sweeter. October 20, 2014 at 9:42am Reply

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