Parfums de Nicolai Weekend a Deauville : Perfume Review

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Courbet

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.

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26 Comments

  • Mademoiselle: I have not tried any of the fragrances from this line even though I live in London. I am so looking forward to explore the whole line ASAP. This one sounds lovely. June 27, 2011 at 3:55am Reply

  • rosarita: I am a PdN fan and haven’t tried this yet. Sounds like something I’d love. June 27, 2011 at 8:00am Reply

  • Isabeau: Love this one!! Bought a small bottle (so happy that as a perfumista Id do not have to buy a big 100ml bottle) in Paris together with my other favorites Kiss me Tender and Odalisque! June 27, 2011 at 8:20am Reply

  • Suzanna: The blazingly hot weather here made me wonder about this one recently–et voila! Once again, I can just about smell the scent from your description.

    It’s nice to know that this is one IFRA-compliant switch that works for the better. One day, perhaps a list might be compiled of fragrances that fit that category. June 27, 2011 at 9:39am Reply

  • ScentScelf: Ah, I am in Rosarita’s position–a fan of PdN, but have not yet tried Weekend a Deauville. (Maybe if I learn how to accent that “a” with a mark leaning in the proper direction, I’ll have earned a sample? 😉 Seeing as green and galbanum tend to work well with me (there’s an understatement), I suppose there is no excuse for not having sniffed, really…other than accessibility.

    Of course, I heart oakmoss, as the kids say. So I am going to pout over reformulation a bit, even though I like what you have to say about the new one. Which also brings me to a related IFRA question about Odalisque that I fear to raise.

    Rather, instead, I turn away from fretting and join you on the forlorn beach after the summer downpour. It’s wrung out beautiful, isn’t it? ::sniff:: And the air… 🙂 June 27, 2011 at 10:47am Reply

  • Rowanhill: I have done the weekends in Deauville, now it would be lovely to try the fragrance. June 27, 2011 at 12:14pm Reply

  • Andrea: I bought the large 100 ml bottle of this… I’m rather new to perfume, and think I will have to learn that just because I really like something, and just because the larger size IS more cost effective, does not mean it makes more sense to have a bunch of large bottles of perfume, esp. when a smaller size was available. June 27, 2011 at 3:05pm Reply

  • carmencanada: ScentScelf, I find the new Odalisque quite true to its form. As for Weekend à Deauville, I think that when the perfumer herself treats this as an opportunity to rework her idea rather than just fix the formula, which is what Patricia de Nicolaï told me, you get can get a pleasant surprise.

    I love the way Weekend veers into a chypre vibe after the rounded, moist lily of the valley. It’s really quite a lovely scent, isn’t it? June 27, 2011 at 5:07pm Reply

  • Austenfan: I never got around to smell the first Weekend à Deauville, which at the time I felt quite sorry for. It’s one of my favourite houses and I try everything it comes out with. Yours is the 2nd very favourable review of this WàD. I must order one of their delightful small bottles of this.

    Europe is having inverted seasons. Especially the North-West. We had a dry and very warm spring and now seem to start a cool and wet summer. Although today it was very hot! June 27, 2011 at 6:05pm Reply

  • ScentScelf: Excellent news…thanks, CC. And agreed; when the perfumer is looking at the big picture and not just brushing in a spot, it can be an equally, if differently, rewarding something.

    I might reserve a small pout for never having had the chance to smell the first one, but I am known to self-indulge at times.

    I don’t need any persuasion to trot on over and check out a Patricia di Nicolai collection. But you and V certainly do put wheels on my feet. 🙂 June 27, 2011 at 8:08pm Reply

  • Victoria: The whole line is fantastic and worth discovering! June 27, 2011 at 9:02pm Reply

  • Victoria: I fell in love with it immediately. It is just such a great example of PdN’s aesthetic, which I enjoy. June 27, 2011 at 9:02pm Reply

  • Victoria: I so enjoy those smaller bottles. They are also great for travel. June 27, 2011 at 9:03pm Reply

  • Victoria: It took me some time to come to this realization too. Perfume does not last forever, after all. June 27, 2011 at 9:03pm Reply

  • Victoria: I am so happy to hear this! 🙂
    As Carmencanada and ScentScelf mentioned below, when a perfumer takes the new rules as a challenge to expand her vision, then the results can be interesting. I admire Patricia de Nicolai for doing just that. June 27, 2011 at 9:04pm Reply

  • Victoria: Then, it should be something you would enjoy. I love how she renders lily of the valley as a salty, sexy accord here. Such an unusual decision. June 27, 2011 at 9:05pm Reply

  • Victoria: I love that aspect of it too. It always comes as a surprise to me. June 27, 2011 at 9:06pm Reply

  • Victoria: Oh, then you must, if only to pay homage to the memory! 🙂 June 27, 2011 at 9:06pm Reply

  • Victoria: I was shocked at how cold Spain was this year. NY, by contrast, has been sweltering since May. June 27, 2011 at 9:08pm Reply

  • Ines: The only two bottles of PdN I am currently wearing are Odalisque and Weekend. 🙂
    I’m not on good terms with most of the perfumes I tried from the line, but these two, I love. June 28, 2011 at 4:29am Reply

  • Austenfan: During the spring the North of Europe had unusually hot weather, and the South was cold and wet. It seems to be reverting back to normal now. June 28, 2011 at 4:58am Reply

  • Victoria: I have been wearing these two interchangeably this whole week. They are just excellent! June 28, 2011 at 8:23pm Reply

  • nstephens@beachcroft.com: Thank you for this lovely review of one of my current favourites. I was a Cristalle edt girl back in the early eighties and I retain a great fondness for it. As you so eloquently put it Weekend puts some curves on Cristalle which suits my age now! I try to visit PdN twice a year for lampe berger oils and also to sample her latest offerings. The visit in April saw me fall for Weekend pretty much instantly. And for once I am serene about the fact that there was a previous incarnation featuring oakmoss which I had not sniffed. It does not seem to matter here. Nicola June 30, 2011 at 9:08am Reply

  • Victoria: I used to wear Cristalle EDT a lot, and my college summers are permanently marked with that scent. So, now, I am also ready to make a switch to something else, just like you! June 30, 2011 at 9:26am Reply

  • spe: The original was perfect, but was very difficult to find in the US – I just had a decant as I didn’t want to fax my credit card number to the boutique. Last time I faxed my card info to Paris, someone purchased a round trip airline ticket to Tokyo. Thank you for this review and including the revised edition of Weekend! I’ll give the new one a try based on your recommendation! July 23, 2014 at 12:47pm Reply

    • Victoria: It’s different, one can’t deny it, but it’s also great. July 24, 2014 at 7:53am Reply

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