Star rating: 5 stars–outstanding/potential classic, 4 stars–very good, 3 stars–adequate, 2 stars–disappointing, 1 star–poor.
Graceful and delicate, Weekend à Deauville is tied along with Odalisque and Le Temps d’une Fête as one of my Parfums de Nicolaï favorites. The fact that I cannot decide simply proves how much I enjoy the offerings from this perfume house. I love how perfumer Patricia Nicolaï expresses classical themes in a modern form. Weekend à Deauville is a particularly nice example of her signature—a salty-sweet composition of lily of the valley and leather.
While lily of the valley can at times seem too prim and proper, in Weekend à Deauville it is treated quite differently. Set against a velvety backdrop of musk and leather, this pale flower gains some very alluring curves. Even though animalic notes are used with discretion, they are a constant presence. They are obvious through the initial verdant explosion of basil and mint. They deepen the crystalline floral accord. Finally, they come into their own in the sophisticated woody drydown. A hint of marine notes lends Weekend à Deauville a delightfully airy quality, while the pleasant bitterness of galbanum adds a further unexpected twist. It is like Chanel Cristalle with the accents on the cool mint notes, rather than the citrus ones. Despite its delicate expression, Weekend à Deauville is quite tenacious, and its sillage remains strong and distinctive for hours.
The current version of Weekend à Deauville has been reformulated to comply with the IFRA standards for oakmoss, but I do not miss the mossy darkness of the original. In fact, the exquisite shape of lily of the valley is much more clearly rendered in the new version, and it truly captures for me the perfumes of a salty breeze, sun bleached woods and transparent seaweed. It is not a beach of multicolored umbrellas and golden sands, but rather a forlorn beach after a summer downpour.
Parfums de Nicolaï Weekend à Deauville includes notes of basil, peppermint, tarragon, calone, helional, jasmine, lily of the valley, cardamom, galbanum, apple, cedarwood, leather and white musk. Available from First in Fragrance, Beautyhabit, Luckyscent, New London Pharmacy, The Perfume Shoppe and directly from Parfums de Nicolai website. 30ml, $45, 100ml, $130
Sample: my own acquisition
Image: Gustave Courbet, Fishing Boats on the Deauville Beach.