Parfums de Nicolai Kiss Me Tender : Perfume Review

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Gourmand is a fragrance family I love for its instant mood booster potential. At the same, many contemporary high-calorie blends can test the limits of one’s tolerance for sweetness, and if you’re looking for a luscious, but not cloying, treat, the options can seem limited. One of the good lines to explore for abstract gourmands is Parfums de Nicolaï. Its founder, Patricia Nicolaï, is an heir to Guerlain’s tradition (a house famous for its trademark accord of vanilla, tonka bean and other delicious notes), both as a granddaughter of Pierre Guerlain, Jacques Guerlain‘s brother, and an innovative perfumer in her own right.

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Kiss Me Tender, her take on the candy-smelling plant, heliotrope, could have been inspired by Guerlain’s Héliotrope Blanc (1870). It’s a dessert of vanilla and almonds, but the pastry illusion is kept in check by the realistic jasmine, orange blossom and ylang-ylang.

Kiss Me Tender is simple, achieving its effect with few bold accords. Before the alcohol even has a chance to evaporate from your skin, you’ll notice a sweet, woody note of vanilla beans, which will be the constant leitmotif. What happens when you combine vanilla and orange blossom, as Nicolaï does next? If you grew up eating French marshmallows, there is a similar impression in Kiss Me Tender that will make your mouth water for the following hour or so.

While at first the marshmallow in Kiss Me Tender is so clear that you can almost envision biting into a white, pillowy square, the sweetness is tempered by spicy orange and green anise. Their hints are delicate, but they’re enough to blend the edges and dilute the sugar. Kiss Me Tender won’t change dramatically over the course of its development, but as floral notes become deeper, it also moves between a white bouquet and a delicious morsel.

In my perfume wardrobe, Kiss Me Tender reappears the moment the days get shorter and colder. It has a bubbly, lighthearted personality, and its opulent layers feel warm and enveloping. The combination of vanilla and white flowers is not only gourmand; it’s also sunny and tropical, a perfect fantasy during our grey Belgian winters. Kiss Me Tender is one of the few truly seasonal perfumes I have, but what it lacks in versatility, it makes up for with its big character.

The sweetness and character of Kiss Me Tender are in between Kilian’s Love and Annick Goutal’s Songes. It’s more nuanced than the former and more one-dimensional than the latter, but like both, it’s carefully balanced and has a distinctive (and very long-lasting) presence. So, if you like your candy and want to smell like it too, Kiss Me Tender is a guilt free pleasure.

Since I’m always curious to try more gourmands without loads of sugar, I’d love to hear about your favorites.

Parfums de Nicolaï Kiss Me Tender Eau de Parfum includes notes of heliotrope, anise, almonds, fresh hay, orange blossom, jasmine, ylang ylang, cloves, cinnamon, woods, musks, vanilla. Available as an EDP of 30ml/$60 and 100 ml/$130. In the US, it’s sold at Luckyscent and Beautyhabit.

Photography by Bois de Jasmin

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131 Comments

  • The Blue Squid: Sounds tasty! I really like the combo of tropical blooms and soft ‘n pillowy vanilla. I enjoyed it, as many others did, in the recent Terracotta Le Parfum. I think I will be going to the Northern Hemisphere for a little while after the middle of this year, and will be able to try KMT at the Nicolai boutique in London. Good times! Thankyou for the appetising review, Victoria. I will now finish my beer and go to sleep, perhaps to dream of marshmallows 🙂 January 21, 2015 at 7:40am Reply

    • Victoria: Terracotta Le Parfum is similar to me, although it ends up as much more floral than Kiss Me Tender on my skin. I hope that Guerlain makes it part of their permanent collection.

      Sweet dreams! 🙂 January 21, 2015 at 8:16am Reply

  • Cornelia Blimber: I really must try Les Parfums de Nicolaï, I don’t know a single one. After all, it is available in amsterdam.
    my guilty pleasures are salty (potato chips! frites!) but occasionally I like a gourmand. Many years ago I had Dans La Nuit (Worth) which smelled like sweet cookies to me. (discontinued?).
    Nowadays I have Hypnotic Poison, and Un Bois Vanille ( fresh in the drydown).
    The other day I was tempted by Rahat Loukoum (black vapo), but it was too pricey for me.
    I love the heliotrope note in L’Heure Bleue (if that makes sense). January 21, 2015 at 7:44am Reply

    • Victoria: Makes perfect sense! L’Heure Bleue also has a marshmallow accent to me. Jacques Guerlain certainly loved playing with the gourmand effects.

      My salty cravings tend to be for things like salami and pickled or smoked herring. Matjes herring was worth moving to Belgium! (For those who aren’t familiar with this Dutch treat, it’s a very mild, lightly salted herring.) January 21, 2015 at 8:24am Reply

      • Cornelia Blimber: I seldom eat meat, but I agree about the herring. Healthy and delicious, with some onions and icecold wodka. January 21, 2015 at 8:44am Reply

        • Victoria: I also like them on rye bread spread with a bit of butter. Or with potatoes topped with dill. January 21, 2015 at 12:47pm Reply

          • Cornelia Blimber: Yes, dill goes well with maatjes. Also with salmon: salmon, mayonnaise, sniff of garlic and dill. January 21, 2015 at 12:53pm Reply

            • Victoria: That’s such a great pairing. I’m baking a coulibiac with salmon, dill, green onions and rice for dinner. January 21, 2015 at 1:12pm Reply

              • Cornelia Blimber: I googled coulibiac…that’s a pie..pastry..sounds wonderful, too bad I am not a very talented cook! January 22, 2015 at 6:13am Reply

                • Victoria: I bet that whatever you saw is much more impressive than my simple version. I originally wanted to make little pies, but after a long workday, I had no energy and just wrapped the dough around the filling. So, the pie turned out be quite rustic looking, but it tasted good. 🙂 January 22, 2015 at 10:22am Reply

          • Hamamelis: Also very nice with beetroot salad! January 22, 2015 at 5:09pm Reply

            • Victoria: Thank you for this idea! In fact, this was our dinner tonight, and it was a really great combination. The earthy sweetness of beets (I added walnuts to the salad too) matches the briny, saline taste of herrings. January 23, 2015 at 2:38pm Reply

              • Hamamelis: I also often add walnuts to the salad, such a good combination, and sometimes pieces of apple. If I don’t have it with herring I sometimes add fresh goat’s cheese. Have you ever made beet kvass? January 23, 2015 at 4:17pm Reply

                • Victoria: Sounds great! I love the combination of beet and apple. Also, dried cherries or plums go really well with it, especially smoky Ukrainian ones.

                  I make beet kvass time to time whenever I feel like cooking borshch the old way. But it can also be used in salad dressings for a mild tart note.

                  Now I’m waiting on my batch of Lebanese pink pickles to ripen (turnips and beets). January 23, 2015 at 4:32pm Reply

                  • Hamamelis: Oh, Victoria, I hope you one day do a post about borshch, with your favourite recipe. I would be curious how you use kvass there. When I have a bit more time I have a few batches of kvass fermenting! I had a kombucha culture for a long time, it kept giving birth! Do you ferment our Lebanese pickles as well? January 23, 2015 at 4:54pm Reply

                    • Victoria: I do. I like the taste more than the standard vinegared variety, but it definitely takes more time for them to ripen.

                      I’ll be glad to share my family’s recipe for borshch. Just need to remember to take photos the next time I make it. 🙂

                      Kvass is just added to borshch at the end of cooking to give a sour note. But these days, it’s rare that people use it. Tomatoes have replaced it entirely, although the combination of kvass and tomatoes gives the best taste. January 24, 2015 at 5:07am

      • Savita: Hi Victoria, Have you ever tried smoked herring with dhall and rice? That dish is wonderful, u must try! January 22, 2015 at 8:35am Reply

        • Victoria: I haven’t, but it sounds so wonderful! January 22, 2015 at 10:37am Reply

          • Savita: Yes it is, it’s more of a Caribbean dish I think though, don’t believe the combo is done in India. January 22, 2015 at 10:40am Reply

            • Victoria: In Iran, smoked fish is cooked with rice and herbs in a special festive dish, and it’s delicious. So, I can imagine how the combo can work. January 22, 2015 at 10:49am Reply

          • Savita: Btw, I love marshmallow scents, is KMT similar to any other scent, perhaps another Guerlain? January 22, 2015 at 10:43am Reply

            • Victoria: I mentioned Love and Songes in the review. I’d say, it reminded me of those a lot, especially Love. There are glimpses of L’Heure Bleue’s marshmallows, but in the end KMT is quite different. January 22, 2015 at 10:45am Reply

              • Savita: Sorry that’s true u did mention Love and Songes…. I have never smelt either. I some how envisioned it to be like Mon Precieux nectar but I guess not lol. January 22, 2015 at 11:14am Reply

                • Victoria: I’m still testing through Mon Precieux Nectar, but I suppose, yes, they have some overlaps. I’ll have to wear them side by side and see, since I don’t know Mon Precieux Nectar that well yet. January 22, 2015 at 3:16pm Reply

                  • Savita: I think Mon Precieux Nectar is gorgeous, I have a tiny sample and I find that it has good silage.

                    Perhaps you can do a review sometime 🙂 January 23, 2015 at 8:38am Reply

                    • Victoria: I will do! I’m a bit obsessed with this perfume right now, because it seemed to be just right on these cold, misty days. January 23, 2015 at 2:53pm

      • kayliz: Heliotrope in L’Heure Bleue: I have a Parfum de Toilette tester from 1992. It says on the side: “Notes dominantes: Heliotrope, Vanille”. January 22, 2015 at 6:43pm Reply

        • kayliz: Sorry, that last post is in the wrong place — will try and re-post January 22, 2015 at 6:45pm Reply

        • Victoria: I have one of those bottles too! January 23, 2015 at 2:47pm Reply

          • kayliz: Aren’t we lucky?
            The spray nozzle on mine is faulty, more a squirty dribble than a spray. I like to think this is what preserved it for someone to find years later. To me it’s treasure! January 24, 2015 at 5:39pm Reply

            • Victoria: It must be the fault with many of them, because the sprayer on my bottle also doesn’t work properly. And same goes for my PdT of Chamade. But the scent is still fresh. You’re right, it’s a little treasure. January 25, 2015 at 3:19am Reply

    • Austenfan: Cornelia if you want to order samples Parfumaria ( in IJsselstein) sells them. They have the whole Nicolai line. I’ve ordered from them twice and found them very reliable. January 21, 2015 at 9:59am Reply

      • Cornelia Blimber: Thank you, Austenfan! Maybe I must overcome my fear for fishing on the Internet.. January 21, 2015 at 11:23am Reply

        • Austenfan: I remember you didn’t like that which is why I mentioned my own experiences. 😉 5 samples cost 15 euros and give you a discount of 5 euros for your next order. January 21, 2015 at 12:17pm Reply

        • Annemarie: Or you could visit the Perfume Lounge in Amsterdam and explore the Nicolaï collection there. January 23, 2015 at 7:54am Reply

          • Hamamelis: Such a lovely shop, and very good staff (Perfume Lounge). We did the nicest ‘smelling workshop’ with Phine. Highly recommended! January 23, 2015 at 4:19pm Reply

    • Solanace: I encourage you to explore Patricia de Nicolai’s creations. I think you might enjoy her classical style as much as I do. January 21, 2015 at 10:52am Reply

      • Cornelia Blimber: Classical style sounds good! 🙂 January 21, 2015 at 11:24am Reply

        • Solanace: She has that Guerlain influence, as Victoria points out, that I think might appeal to you. Plus, the prices are right, and there are 30 Ml bottles. January 21, 2015 at 11:43am Reply

          • Cornelia Blimber: You are right, Guerlain is my favourite brand. I always return to Guerlain. January 21, 2015 at 12:55pm Reply

    • kayliz: Heliotrope in L’Heure Bleue:
      I have a Parfum de Toilette tester from 1992. On the side of the bottle it says “Notes dominantes: heliotrope, vanille”. January 22, 2015 at 6:47pm Reply

  • Sofie: ‘Our grey Belgian winters’ … If you start owning the weather like that I think you’re settled in :-).
    I’ve only just started tiptoeing around gourmands. I think I like almond and tonka bean better than sugar. So, I won’t search for it although that picture and all the marshmallow talk made my mouth water… January 21, 2015 at 7:58am Reply

    • Victoria: I’m the kind of the person who starts to referring to a hotel as “a home” after 3 days. I adapt easily, I suppose. 🙂

      If you like almonds and tonka bean, then Kiss Me Tender may be ok. It’s not a sugary gourmand like Aquolina Pink Sugar, but it’s sweet. January 21, 2015 at 8:26am Reply

  • Michaela: Interesting review!
    My favorite very sweet gourmands are simple: ScentStory 24 Gold makes me think ‘sugar’. It’s actually all about amber, good for winter. Long lasting and strong presence, needs a light hand to apply. The feeling is similar to Chopard Cashmir, but this one is simpler, or I perceive it so. I also like Chopard Casmir and Aquolina Pink Sugar. January 21, 2015 at 8:00am Reply

    • Victoria: I haven’t even heard of 24 Gold, but it sounds like a nice option. Sweet ambers can be so cuddly. January 21, 2015 at 8:27am Reply

      • Michaela: It’s a cheap eau de toilette. I liked very much a perfume that a friend of mine bought in Dubai, Raghba by Lattafa Perfumes. I tried that on skin, then read on Fragrantica about 24 Gold as being a dupe of the Arabian perfume. I liked it a lot, I found it lasts 12 hours, it was available at my usual discounter, very cheap, and that’s how I bought it. They are absolutely identical, tried them on left and right hand. For me 24 Gold is charming and warm. If sugar had a scent, this would be the one, I think. For my friend’s son, it’s ‘that nasty perfume again’, he can’t stand it, so I suppose it’s a love or hate one. January 21, 2015 at 8:40am Reply

        • Victoria: Sounds interesting! I smelled a few gourmands from one of the UAE brands (don’t remember which one, though), and I was struck how they managed to be sweet and animalic at the same time. January 21, 2015 at 12:45pm Reply

  • Polinia: Victoria, I am so glad you reviewed this perfume because it’s been now with me for over a month. I bought it almost blindly during a business trip (together with Cuir Cuba) and even was feeling some regret immediately. But with each test I started to like it more and more. It’s so bright, happy and cozy.
    My impression of it is like sitting on a hay stack and eating caramel with a jasmine bush growing not far and fresh wind brings its aroma.
    Now it’s too cold for it here but I imagine wearing it on early spring days. January 21, 2015 at 8:02am Reply

    • Victoria: When I first tried it a couple of years ago, it didn’t make an impression on me at first. It’s quite straightforward, and I might have been expecting something really complicated and surprising. But when I wore it, I liked it more and more. It’s really like a soft, comforting wrap, and on grey, dreary days it’s just right. January 21, 2015 at 8:31am Reply

      • kayliz: I’m so glad you said that, Victoria! I’ve been sitting here thinking it was me: I got oldfashioned vanilla ice cream from Kiss Me Tender and nothing else. Your comment has encouraged me to try it again.

        (There’s always hope: I’m finally starting to “get” Bvlgari Black, after a long pause. When I tried it for the first time — last year — all I could think, repeatedly, was “why would I want to smell like rubber and creosote”? I tried it again recently and am now absolutely fascinated with how much else comes through.) January 22, 2015 at 6:26pm Reply

        • Victoria: I love when that happens, when you finally figure out different layers in a perfume. January 23, 2015 at 2:47pm Reply

  • spe: Mon precieux nectar is probably as gourmand as I go – also vanille galante, I guess. I like heliotrope. January 21, 2015 at 8:30am Reply

    • Victoria: I just received a generous decant of it from a kind reader who thought I’d love it. She was right!

      Have you tried Etro’s Heliotrope? January 21, 2015 at 8:33am Reply

      • spe: No – sounds like I need to do that! I think of heliotrope as the less gourmand of the gourmand category. January 21, 2015 at 10:58am Reply

        • Victoria: I think you’ll like it, because it’s one of the nicest heliotropes. And of course, there is always Ombre Rose for a more classical take. January 21, 2015 at 12:54pm Reply

  • Sandra: AH! Before I even got a chance to read this blog I was looking for something sweet to wear today to help deal with the gray NYC cold day I am having-and I sprayed Killian’s Love on! What a coincidence..
    I will have to give this one a sniff, if I can. I adore Killian’s Love-though his line comes with a high price tag, I find that they last on my skin all day. Its also a good “mommy” perfume 🙂
    I live close to New London pharmacy, and they carry Perfumes de Nicolai-occasionally I find a candles their too. January 21, 2015 at 8:55am Reply

    • Sandra: I forgot to put my favorite sweet perfumes -Love by Killian, I find Coco mademoiselle sweetvanilla intense cologne by Alteliee. I don’t wear these but they are sweet:Prada Candy & flowerbomb, miss dior Cherie January 21, 2015 at 12:38pm Reply

      • Victoria: Atelier Cologne’s Vanille is also not too sweet to me, and I like its combo of vanilla and incense. January 21, 2015 at 1:05pm Reply

    • Victoria: Love is also not too complicated, but it’s another one of those perfumes that feel good on cold days or whenever you need a boost. The price tag is a bit outrageous, though. January 21, 2015 at 12:48pm Reply

  • Austenfan: I’m so glad to see a review of this, as it is such a wonderful fragrance.
    To me Patricia de Nicolai is the Queen of Sweet. She handles those gourmand notes so well, always adding something to keep things interesting. Kiss me Tender was another of my successful blind buys after I had read the glowing review of it by Octavian. I don’t wear it as much as my other PdN’s, but it always surprises me by it’s insouciance and radiant character. I wear it year round but I can see that it would work really well as a mood lifter during winter in the Low Countries 🙂 January 21, 2015 at 9:56am Reply

    • Victoria: She is! SacreBleu is another of her sweet perfumes I love. And her Vanille Tonka made me realize that I actually love vanillas and gourmands. January 21, 2015 at 12:49pm Reply

  • Alicia: I think that my favorite is Lolita Lempicka, a near second Hanae Mori Butterfly. But there is a fragrance I like a lot, but don’t know how to classify. Oriental, fruitu-floral, gourmand? Well, it’s sweet enough, and I like it a lot:Chinatown. January 21, 2015 at 10:13am Reply

    • Victoria: Elisa wrote such a tempting review of Butterfly, and I had to get a sample. It’s really a fun, bubbly perfume. January 21, 2015 at 12:50pm Reply

      • Alicia: What do you think of Chinatown. I like the fragrance very much,the bottle nearly as much, the price not so much. January 21, 2015 at 1:21pm Reply

        • Victoria: It’s my favorite from the collection, and I like its combination of fruity, gourmand and incense notes. It’s whimsical and surprising, with lots of character. But the price is just too high. January 22, 2015 at 9:58am Reply

  • courtney: I like this one as well! I noticed, however, that the fragrance is now called “Kiss Me Intense” and is part of her intense range, and Kiss Me Tender is now removed from the PdN website, Luckyscent, etc. I wonder if this is the same fragrance at a higher price point, or something different from the original? January 21, 2015 at 10:58am Reply

    • Carolyn Middleton: There’s been quite a lot of ‘mucking about’ with PdN’s fragrances lately! Some discontinued, including my beloved Le Temps d’Une Fete, some rebranded or moved to a different range. Unfortunately while in London for my annual tennis/culture/shopping trip in December I was nowhere near the Fulham Road to pop into the shop – had been hoping for a still unsold bottle of LTdUF or some info about it returning in a limited edition or some such! January 21, 2015 at 12:16pm Reply

      • Victoria: When I contacted Parfums de Nicolai about Le Temps d’Une Fete, one of my top favorites, they said that it’s going to be available upon request. So, I hope that it’s still the case. It’s such a beautiful perfume. January 21, 2015 at 1:00pm Reply

        • Carolyn Middleton: Thank you for this info, Victoria – although I may have to wait till this Dec coming to enquire in person! I have my doubts about the lady I encountered some years ago now in the Fulham Rd shop, however – years before that, somewhere in the back streets of Kensington, I happened upon a PdN stockist & bought a previous formulation of LTdUF – I still have the box, in fact, it’s a handy size for ‘small stuff’ – then when I was in the Fulham Rd shop that time, I was told it was a brand new fragrance & of course didn’t have the box on my person to demonstrate; true, it was a new ‘smell’ but the name was the same as my previous purchase! January 22, 2015 at 11:40am Reply

          • Victoria: Some of their perfumes have been changed quite a bit. For instance, Weekend a Deauville is very different from the original version. This I can understand, since regulations force many of these changes, but the discontinuations make no sense. Plus, they’re a small, privately owned company. They should be able simply to make up whatever perfume the client wants. This is why I hope that LTdUF is not gone entirely. January 22, 2015 at 3:20pm Reply

    • Victoria: Thank you. I was checking Beautyhabit, and it’s still there. But you’re right, it’s not up on the website. I’ll try Kiss Me Intense, and I’ll add a note to my review comparing these two versions. January 21, 2015 at 12:53pm Reply

  • Solanace: I love gourmands, PdN’s Sacrebleu and Vanille Tonka being among my favorites, along with Shalimar, l’Heure Bleue, Lolita Lempicka, Hypnotic Poison, Nez à Nez Marron Chic, Rahat Loukoum, Tonka Impériale… The list goes on and on. See, I crave mostly salty bites, things that go well with beer, like goat cheese, steak tartare or Belgian moules-frites, but perfume wise, I have quite a sweet tooth! January 21, 2015 at 11:03am Reply

    • Austenfan: We are twins then, I’m much the same. I crave cheese, crisps etc. but in perfume I have such a sweet tooth! January 21, 2015 at 11:07am Reply

      • Solanace: 🙂 January 21, 2015 at 11:30am Reply

    • Victoria: 🙂 I crave all sorts of things (currently, those matjes herrings Cornelia and I were discussing), but I don’t really know how it all translates to my perfume tastes. They might be all over the place as well.

      You’re reminded me of Marron Chic, which I haven’t worn in ages, but I agree that it’s a fun gourmand. January 21, 2015 at 12:56pm Reply

      • Austenfan: The sweets I regularly crave are liquorice but I’m only really fond of the very salty ones that no other nation apart from Holland seems to appreciate. January 21, 2015 at 1:33pm Reply

        • Morelle: I once bought a Finnish licorice type (but can’t remember the name) which had a thick salt crust, contained a huge amount of salmiak and salt and also lots of… vanilla! It was quite wonderful in a perverse way.
          Regarding gourmand scents I really appreciate Lolita Lempicka. January 21, 2015 at 6:52pm Reply

        • Victoria: Ok, I need to try that, because it sounds exactly like the kind of candy I’d love. I’m not a big fan of sugar based candy and pastries (caramels, meringues, etc.) The two exceptions are candied chestnuts and kozinaki, Georgian walnut caramels. Italian licorice candy that pack a punch also also great. January 22, 2015 at 10:01am Reply

        • AndreaR: I love black licorice and chocolate and found the perfect candy bar in Reykjavik that combined the two, chocolate covered licorice:-) Now someone just needs to come up with this combo in a fragrance. In the meantime i’ll wear Lolita Lempicka. January 22, 2015 at 12:08pm Reply

  • JoDee: Kiss Me Tender is a favorite of the ones I have tried so far from PdN. Thanks for reviewing it! As for others, Calypso St. Barth’s Lea is my definition of almond vanilla heaven and makes me feel like I am in a warm cocoon when I wear it. I like to put it on before bed. I also really love Profumum’s Dulcis in Fundo. It is my happy day in a bottle. I find it sweet, but not cloying. I guess it does not have almond, but it does have a creamy orange vanilla. January 21, 2015 at 11:07am Reply

    • Victoria: Mmm, a creamy orange vanilla sounds delicious. Your description reminded of Antica Farmacista’s Vanilla, Bourbon & Mandarin. It really smells like a creamsicle doused in rum. January 21, 2015 at 12:57pm Reply

  • iodine: Too bad, no Nicolai fragrance has ever worked for me… 🙁
    My gourmand staples: Etro Heliotrope, L’Artisan L’Eau d’Ambre- I managed to buy a bottle recently, after years of relying on samples and I find its drydown perfectly meeting my tastes in sweet!-and La Traversée du Bosphore, even if I’m wearing it less and less due to some nasty aromachemical I’m becoming too sensitive to. The same with Bois Farine…
    As a side note I’ll add two very different take on chocolate, both by AbdesSalaam Attar: Chocolate Amber, soft chocolate covered tonka beans, quite regressive! and Milano Caffè, woody green chocolate coffee, gourmand in a much more grown up way. January 21, 2015 at 12:01pm Reply

    • Victoria: My ears perked up when you said chocolate and coffee. Both of these sound wonderful, especially Milano Caffe. It’s really hard to find a good coffee note.

      Wonder what ingredient you’re reacting to. Is it something in the drydown? January 21, 2015 at 12:59pm Reply

      • iodine: Milano Caffè is a great fragrance and it’s inspired by the whole city and the “ethnic” Porta Venezia area in particular- hence it’s also quite spicy! 😉
        The nasty note in La Traversée appears quite soon after spraying and lasts for the whole developing. I guess it’s in the base as it appears sooner when sprayed in warmer places- neck- than in colder ones- arms. It’s very common, I think I find it in many Diptyque- Tam Dao, Volutes… and many other Duchaufour- Avignon, but it’s not ISO E Super. Maybe also in Dries Van Noten, another great gourmand fragrance if it weren’t so synthetic! January 21, 2015 at 1:15pm Reply

        • Victoria: Do you also smell it in Frederic Malle Une Rose? I’m wondering if it’s a woody amber or something like this.

          I’m in love with Milan, so Milano Caffe is now at the top of my list of perfumes to try. 🙂 January 22, 2015 at 9:57am Reply

  • Amy: I’m not a big gourmand person, but Mme. de Nicolai has a way with them I really love. Sacrebleu is one of my favorite, most comforting fragrances, and her Vanille Tonka is also divine without being too sweet. Having met her once at an event, I must say that this quality is a nice parallel to her personality – she’s very warm and personable without being faux kissy-kissy friendly. January 21, 2015 at 12:20pm Reply

    • Victoria: I admit that until I started trying Nicolai’s perfumes, I thought I disliked gourmands. She definitely does sweet blends so well. They’re always well-balanced and have something to temper the sweetness, whether it’s incense in Vanille Tonka or spices in SacreBleu. January 21, 2015 at 1:09pm Reply

  • Gentiana: Just looked on the Parfums de Nicolai official site. There is no more Kiss Me Tender listed, Instead appeared Kiss Me Intense… January 21, 2015 at 12:25pm Reply

    • Victoria: Yes, thank you. Courtney mentioned it as well. I’ll definitely check what this Intense version is like. January 21, 2015 at 1:01pm Reply

      • Gentiana: Thank you, I just read Courtey’s answer, excuse me, please.
        Two years ago I sampled Kiss Me tender and a few other Nicolai perfumes and I liked them all, without exception. Kiss Me Tender was one instant love. This is the kind of fragrance that brings a big, happy smile on my face and makes me feel 20 years old.
        I hope the new version is as good as the old one.
        I would be very curious to compare the older EDP versions with the new ( labeled as “Intense” ) ones. I mean Maharanih, Sacrebleu, Vie de Chateau, Number One… Did you?
        Off topic: Le Temps d’Une Fete- s disappearing from the market gave me the same type of frustration as falling in love as a teenager for the handsome actor on the Cinema screen and finding out he is the age of my Grandpa… or already dead… January 22, 2015 at 6:46am Reply

        • Victoria: Your last comment made me smile. Yes, what an appropriate comparison! 🙂

          No, I haven’t compared them, but I keep meaning to. January 22, 2015 at 10:26am Reply

  • Nancy A.: First, the photo of little confections are a treat to look at! They look like meringues studded with what rose petals? I don’t think they are bits of red hots. I cannot say I dislike gourmand totally since I enjoyed Lempicka’s original anise-scented fragrance and then there was Prada Candy (original) not the updates that I was drawn to and received compliments. Reading the favorable notes on this and depending what the reality would be on test it sounds like a fragrance to “scratch and sniff”. Good review! January 21, 2015 at 12:39pm Reply

    • Victoria: Yes, they’re rose flavored meringues, and they’re like little clouds of rose sugar. Normally, I really don’t like meringues, but these were very good with bitter green tea and with coffee.

      I also like the first Prada Candy more than any other version. January 21, 2015 at 1:07pm Reply

  • Bastet: My current favorite sweet gourmand is Lalique l’Parfum. I’ve worn it to bed almost every night for the last month or so, and it always feels perfect. It has a spicy/herbal note that I really love, bay leaf I believe. January 21, 2015 at 1:52pm Reply

    • Bastet: Sorry, I meant Lalique Le Parfum! January 21, 2015 at 1:55pm Reply

    • Michaela: Oh, how could I forget it?! It’s such a beautiful sweet one! January 22, 2015 at 4:41am Reply

    • Victoria: Glad to see Lalique mentioned! Le Parfum is a gem, created by none other than the great perfumer Dominique Ropion. January 22, 2015 at 10:02am Reply

  • annemarie: Prada Candy of course. I’m sure I’m one of many people ensnared by it promise of candy for grown-ups. Me – a chypre lover from birth! Love the stuff.

    Then there’s Ginestet Botrytis: honey, fruit and spice over amber.

    The only way I can sample Nicolai is through the decant services, and they don’t tend to keep up with all the Nicolai LEs and Intense versions and so on. It’s frustrating. But with cooler weathet on the way here soon, I really should try Kiss Me Tender. January 21, 2015 at 4:02pm Reply

    • Victoria: Gosh, who can keep up? By the time it took to test a perfume properly and write a review, it’s already been “intensified”!

      The nice part about Candy is that it’s not cloying. Some complain that it’s a little bit too light, but I don’t mind the delicate touch. It’s another great cashmere wrap like perfume. January 22, 2015 at 10:04am Reply

  • Figuier: Lovely review. I did enjoy Kiss Me Tender the one time I tested it. It was a while ago, but as I remember the heliotrope was perfect. The florals were barely perceptible to me, though. I’d never think to class it with Songes, for instance, but rather with Eau d’Hiver (at the drier end) and Traversee du Bosphore (at the sweeter). Funny how different ‘sides’ of a perfume are noticeable to different people. January 21, 2015 at 4:56pm Reply

    • Victoria: It reminded me of working on a jasmine accord and adding an overly big dose of vanilla. And suddenly the whole room started smelling like marshmallows and tropical flowers! Vanilla does wonders with white florals, and if you push these kind of sweet, dessert-like notes in the right direction, you can create such an impression that the flowers stay in the background and the gourmand effect is front and center. January 22, 2015 at 10:07am Reply

      • Figuier: Thanks Victoria, that’s fascinating! I’m going to have to get myself another sample of Kiss Me Tender, and smell it along Songes to see if I can notice the floral ‘in context’…marshmallows and tropic flowers sounds like heaven (and now I want to go buy some marshmallows) January 22, 2015 at 5:19pm Reply

        • Victoria: Have fun! It’s one of those interesting things with perfume, the more you smell, the more different facets you discover. 🙂 January 23, 2015 at 2:39pm Reply

  • Andy: In my neck of the woods, ‘Gourmand Season’ (aka mid January till about Valentine’s Day) is in full swing–so I happened to be wearing one of my favorite gourmands, Lolita Lempicka, today. Another gourmand that I love for smelling delicious, but not too sweet.

    Kiss Me Tender sounds lovely, but the Nicolai I really love is Le Temps d’Une Fete. I’m reminded in this thread that it’s in fact discontinued, so I’m now very glad I recently got myself a bottle. January 21, 2015 at 7:38pm Reply

    • Victoria: Lolita Lempicka never fails to hit the spot, and it’s one of the perfumes that I love as much for the bottle as for its scent. January 22, 2015 at 10:12am Reply

  • Jennifer: If only you could have seen my goofy face when I saw the title of this post.

    While I don’t love ALL of PdN’s creations, the ones that I do love make me very happy.

    I don’t tend to like gourmands, and honestly, it didn’t even occur to me (duh) that this was a gourmand. I only thought of it as being prettiness done so right, like looking at a box of those disgusting candy hearts that are popular in the US around Valentine’s Day (why is this everyone’s Valentine’s Day fragrance??) that are yet so incredibly adorable to look at. January 21, 2015 at 10:17pm Reply

    • Victoria: Perhaps, it’s because most of the popular gourmands like Angel or Coco Mademoiselle are based on a similar accord of patchouli and cotton candy, and this idea has been getting sweet, sweet, and sweeter. Not everyone enjoys that. PdN sweet perfumes, on the other hand, have such a good balance between different facets. And I agree with you, many perfumes from the collection really make me smile. January 22, 2015 at 10:16am Reply

  • Nemo: Perfect timing! I had just been wishing I had a soft and creamy almond perfume in my collection 🙂 This sounds like it may be worth a try! I do love PdN Vanille Tonka. It is a great classy gourmand, if such a thing can exist. January 22, 2015 at 12:15am Reply

    • Victoria: Then, you should give Kiss Me Tender a try, especially since I understand that it might be on sale at many online perfume boutiques. If you like Vanille Tonka, then you won’t find KMT too sweet. January 22, 2015 at 10:17am Reply

  • marlene: Love your comments on gourmand perfumes and the photos look so good to eat. I have a bottle of Jo Malone’s Ginger Biscuit. It is spicy and sweet and is a good scent for winter. I feel like I am back home with my mother baking cookies. January 22, 2015 at 12:54am Reply

    • Victoria: Is Ginger Biscuit still available or was it one of their limited editions? It sounds so nice! January 22, 2015 at 10:17am Reply

  • Rosie Jeffery: The PDN shop in Fulham, London still has L’Temps d’une Fete, they did last week anyway,
    but they currently have a half price sale on some fragrances, but i’ve now got samples of temps, La vie un chateau and Vanille Intense –
    I wish i’d asked my husband to ask for Kiss Me Tender, Victoria, you make it sound perfect for this grey, wet, miserable weather here in the English Countryside! I’m really enjoying my bottle of Sacrebleu, its so comforting and cosy, yet elegant too i feel.
    So far i’m a passionate fan of the houses of both Guerlain and PDN, thanks to you’re beautiful and informative writing! January 22, 2015 at 5:14am Reply

    • Victoria: We had not a bit of sun today, so something sweet, warm and suave feels just right. SacreBleu is another great option, and that’s what I’m going to wear tonight. January 22, 2015 at 10:21am Reply

  • Danaki: I’m a proud owner of Angel though I’m no Gourmand queen. At the moment though, my favourite is Traversee du Bosphore, which is the sweet side of rahat that I’m happy with, if that makes sense. It also impresses me in being a gourmand and a near eastern fairy tale at the same time.
    I’m a sucker for vanilla but haven’t actually bought FBs just lots of samples which I often use and enjoy. Chocolate is another one, as you might guess. I enjoy Coze from Parfumerie Generale with its chocolate heart and sometimes, on the right day, I get chocolate from SL’s Santal Majescule. Chocolate is my indulgence and I like it bitter, so I guess my choices follow suit. January 22, 2015 at 6:17am Reply

    • Victoria: I also get chocolate out of Santal Majuscule, and I really love that part, especially when it reappears again with the roses. January 22, 2015 at 10:26am Reply

  • Tasha: I love Kiss Me Tender and need to get a decant. 🙂

    I also join folks who crave salty things – cheese, steak, picked anything, bacon, – but I do love Candy and Butterfly. I find I wear them to bed the most. Traversee du Bosphore is a daytime scent that I enjoy, and so is Prada L’eau Ambree and Daim Blond, which is deliciously sweet on me.

    I am looking for a great honey scent, but so far haven’t found one I like. L’Occitane used to have some scents but I couldn’t find any to try. January 22, 2015 at 8:27am Reply

    • Victoria: Honey is a tough note, and it rarely comes out smelling right to me. I did love MAC Naked Honey, but unfortunately it was discontinued very quickly.

      Have you tried Serge Lutens’s Miel de Bois? January 22, 2015 at 10:43am Reply

      • Tasha: Great suggestion, I did try it a long time ago, when I thought I didn’t like any sweet or heady white scents or leather…. Back in the days when my perfume wardrobe was incredibly limited. 🙂 January 23, 2015 at 12:55am Reply

        • Victoria: I was the same way in the beginning. I had all of these notions of what I liked and didn’t like, but all of it turned out to false. For instance, I thought I didn’t like woods, which is now one of my favorite fragrance families. January 23, 2015 at 2:50pm Reply

  • marlene: Yes, Ginger Biscuit was a limited time offering from Jo Malone. I am trying to make it last a while. However,the Earl Grey and Cucumber,which I also have and love,is still available. Maybe not so much gourmand,the Earl Grey is sweet,but not cloyingly so. It compliments the cup of Earl Grey I have for breakfast! January 22, 2015 at 10:36am Reply

    • Victoria: I tried Earl Grey and Cucumber, and I agree, it was nicely done. It was a fun collection, but I seem to have missed Ginger Biscuit. January 22, 2015 at 10:49am Reply

  • Aisha: This sounds sooooooooo good! Is it sweeter than Vanille Tonka? Another PDN fragrance to sample. January 22, 2015 at 8:28pm Reply

    • Victoria: It’s a little bit sweeter, but not by much. If you like Vanille Tonka, chances are Kiss Me Tender will be a good contender as well. January 23, 2015 at 2:48pm Reply

  • kayliz: Today I discovered Alambar by Laboratorio Olfattivo. The start was very pleasant, a spicy cocoa amber, but oh, the drydown is bliss: I’m getting rich deep honeyed chocolate. January 23, 2015 at 11:56am Reply

    • Victoria: You had me at chocolate amber! Sounds so good. January 23, 2015 at 2:54pm Reply

  • Anne-Catherine: Boccanera is a tough gourmand: first ginger and chili come at the foreground, with a bitter chocolate touch, then the chocolate will guide you with spices in the background and it will leave you with a creamy sandalwood. All of this with an excellent sillage and an amazing longevity. You can even smell it after two days (and showering of course) on your hand. After about 5 days I noticed a sandalwood in my car and it also came from Boccanera!
    last summer in a long grey Belgian period I was longing for a gourmand and went to a shop of commercial perfumes (+ a bit of exclusive Guerlain and Serge Lutens), where the woman gives excellent advice and is very patient with me. After trying about 8 trendy perfumes, I was happy she came with the mother of all gourmands, Angel. I have an adore-despise relationship with Angel, but she gave me the liqueur de parfum, a more grown-up, less exuberant version. I’m very happy with it.
    Back to Black is my favourite gourmand, not to sweet for me because I’m guided by the tobacconote. It reminds me a lot of Clandestine (Guy Laroche), probably already discontinued for 20 years? I only wear BTB for special occasions and during the Christmas period. Hope this will inspire you. January 24, 2015 at 5:26am Reply

    • Victoria: Boccanera also sounds fascinating!

      Angel’s flankers have been very good. I once complimented a stranger at the grocery store on her perfume, and it turned out to one of Angel’s summer flankers. It smelled like iris tea and caramel. Unfortunately, it was only a limited edition. January 24, 2015 at 9:53am Reply

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