Nicole Richie Nicole : Perfume Review


It should come as no surprise that Nicole, the debut fragrance from reality-star fashion icon Nicole Richie is—gasp!—a “fruitchouli.”  The Nicole perfume, which debuted in September in 2000 doors nationwide, features notes “ juicy blackberries and oranges from Seville, which are followed by golden amber, Moroccan rose, lily of the valley and papyrus, layered over the base of cashmere, sandalwood, sugared patchouli and vanilla absolute.” The nose behind the fragrance is Steve DeMercado, who also authored Paris Hilton’s eponymous scent as well as mall blockbusters like Marc Jacobs for Women.

According to Ms. Richie, the scent is meant to evoke her mother, who layered oil and perfume over lotion and created more than just a “one-dimensional smell.” The smell that one gets, however, leads one to contemplate how involved any particular celebrity is with the creation of their namesake fragrances.  While Sarah Jessica Parker was intimately involved with the creation of Lovely, or at least tried to steer it into darker territories, one wonders about Nicole or whether Nicole was herself steered by market trends.

If Nicole is meant to be a perfume biography of her mother’s elaborate scenting ritual, much as Parker’s Lovely was meant to be corollary to her own personal blend of perfumes, then I suppose Nicole’s mother started out by applying a fruity lotion of the type sold by Philosophy and then layered onto this patchouli, amber, and vanilla.  To be honest, I didn’t mind the fragrance. It was mellow enough and until the sugary facets came into play I enjoyed the citrus and patchouli blend.

After a strong fizz of the orange I got mostly soft amber, stroked probably by the cashmere and no floral notes to speak of.  I was curious about the papyrus note since it can give a crisp dryness to an otherwise juicy blend, but it didn’t appear.  Nicole gets cheated out of much of a base, too, since it nearly vanishes by the time you’d be able to smell any sandalwood.

I tried applying it twice, a couple of hours apart, and got from this the experience of a skin scent.  I then forgot I had it on. Like fame, Nicole the fragrance is fleeting.  I will damn with faint praise by saying it is “nice” in an objective manner relative to other fruitchoulis. It isn’t a blockbuster like Thierry Mugler Angel or like Calvin Klein Euphoria, and it doesn’t smell too cheap, but the juice is blandly wearable. It is the third celebrity release in two months, following Lady Gaga Fame and Nikki Minaj, but without the big roll-out of either.  Its success will probably depend on the allure of its creator and not on its technical qualities or on its actual smell.

Sample: PR



  • Nikki: Good Morning Suzanna!

    Thank you for your thoughtful review! Turning 50 in 2 months, I don’t want to look, smell or have anything to do with this girl/woman or any like her, but that is the point of marketing: market to the right segment. It is a shame though as one would wish to have a perfume school for young women in the USA or other countries not steeped in perfume historically so they can learn about different perfumes, not just cheap mall perfume. November 24, 2012 at 11:27am Reply

    • Suzanna: Nikki, I couldn’t agree more! I think that the fewer perfumes we grew up with (we seem to have gone from Love’s to Lauder with no intermediate stops) allowed a great appreciation of classics. There weren’t many cheapo perfumes around then aimed at the teen market–there were more directed at young working women instead. November 24, 2012 at 8:08pm Reply

  • andygirl: great review even if Nicole was disappointing. why is everything fruitchouli today? November 24, 2012 at 11:27am Reply

    • Suzanna: Because it’s a blockbuster combo, a proven seller. November 24, 2012 at 8:08pm Reply

  • Samantha: I’m 18, and I guess I’m her target audience but like Nikki I have no desire to smell like any celebrity. I don’t even know what Nicole Richie is famous for. November 24, 2012 at 12:18pm Reply

    • silverdust: I think her “celebrity” comes from bring Paris Hilton’s ex-BFF and the daughter of Lionel Richie.

      Sad what passes for celebrity these days. November 24, 2012 at 1:16pm Reply

    • Suzanna: LOL! Nothing of much artistic merit, I am sad to say. November 24, 2012 at 8:09pm Reply

  • maja: Just look at that bottle! Hahahha November 24, 2012 at 2:42pm Reply

    • Suzanna: It’s something, isn’t it? I really had a difficult time getting it out of the box, too. November 24, 2012 at 8:10pm Reply

  • Lynn Morgan: Ick. Why would I want to smell like a former-junkie unwed mother camera ho? November 24, 2012 at 6:55pm Reply

    • Suzanna: We all have our preferences, however they are determined. Thanks for sharing yours, Lynn. November 24, 2012 at 8:11pm Reply

  • Portia: Heya Sizanna,
    I like the bottle, it’s so 80’s. I can imagine Elizabeth Taylor, Moschino or even Thierry Mugler doing something fun and awkward like it. I’m also amazed at how far Nicole has come from her near train wreck life, she should be touted as a role model for recovering addicts. Have you tried her bags? They are inventive and well thought out for usage,
    Shame the frag is not more the same.
    Portia xx November 24, 2012 at 9:57pm Reply

    • Suzanna: I haven’t tried her bags, but thanks for offering an alternative viewpoint!

      Honestly, this frag isn’t bad. It’s very weak, though, which is a frustration, and the concept has been done to death. It would have seemed innovative 20 years ago. November 25, 2012 at 8:19am Reply

  • eminere: That bottle looks like Mariah Carey’s Forever. November 25, 2012 at 5:01am Reply

    • Suzanna: Which I haven’t seen… November 25, 2012 at 8:19am Reply

    • Victoria: It also reminds me of KL Femme by Lagerfeld. Someone else mentioned it when I first posted the news of the launch. These kind of bottles are striking, but they must be really well-made to look beautiful. November 25, 2012 at 12:57pm Reply

      • Suzanna: It is a bit like the original KL fan; thanks for pointing out this similarity! November 25, 2012 at 8:00pm Reply

  • Caroline: I used to sell women’s fragrance from about 1988 to 1991 or 1992 in Honolulu. (& keep in mind that this is before the internet age so the things that were released first in places like New York would come to us almost or about a year later at the time.) But I remember all of the fragrances we sold being very distinctive. I could tell one from the other very easily.

    It seems after CK Escape came out, this trend towards every major company putting very similar notes in their fragrances started. Every company tried to copy what I call the “watermelon” note (probably an oceanic note).

    I find this trend odd as you would think making one perfume smell almost identical to another would hinder sales; but, apparently not. I actually bought Juicy Couture (the original one) because it was the bottle I liked best out of all the other perfumes that had that tropical white flower smell. Why would I buy 10 other perfumes that smell just like it?

    I’d be curious to find out why this marketing method works. November 25, 2012 at 8:15pm Reply

    • Suzanna: The note is probably calone, but V. would know more about that than I would.

      As to why this marketing method works-it works because it has worked before, and because no one dares buck a trend (or start a new one). There are millions of dollars at stake with each new release. The mantra seems to be that success follows success. Separating it from the frag biz, look at mascaras or at matte makeups. Everyone hurrying to be the next (best) thing. November 26, 2012 at 12:02am Reply

  • Joan: Wow, she looks really pretty there. She usually looks like crap. November 25, 2012 at 11:21pm Reply

    • Suzanna: Nice photo, I agree. November 25, 2012 at 11:56pm Reply

  • Ann C.: What a lovely review! After I read the review I ran to get my sample. It’s just as lovely as you describe. In fact, I think I’ll wear it to work today. November 27, 2012 at 7:01am Reply

    • Suzanna: I think it is perfectly unobtrusive, and thus perfect for the workplace. Enjoy! November 27, 2012 at 7:09am Reply

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