Friday 24 April 2015

Scents and the City. Samantha's Guide to Perfumeries in New York.

In August last year I went to Mexico, New York and Los Angeles for a working holiday. I had the most amazing time discovering perfumeries and various department stores in NY and LA. I was a woman possessed in Bergdorf Goodman and Barneys as I was determined to try every brand I had never heard of.  I went a little crazy and bought this much....

I had to buy another bag to bring all of my loot home, as all of these products weighed about 6kgs. I am about to head there again and am compiling my list of perfumeries I have to revisit. Needless to say I will be taking a spare bag this time.

As a perfume specialist, it is my job to be in the know about what perfumes are out on the market, but it is also a pleasure for me to do so as I love what I do. Who wouldn't love strolling around the streets of New York, smelling and chatting to other perfume aficionados?

Below are some of my favourite perfume stores in NYC, there are many more which I will add to this post when I return in June.

 Aedes de Venustas

Aedes looks more like an opulent yet quirky Parisien salon than a perfumer, but that is part of its charm. I found the staff extremely friendly and eager to help me find a new fragrance from their array of brands. I fell in love with their signature fragrance by Bertrand Duchaufour, which is no surprise as I am quite partial to his fragrances. My other favourite of his is Rhubarb in the Sherbert series for Comme des Garcon. He clearly likes this particular raw material as it features in Aedes de Venustas along with tomato leaf, red berries and vetiver. It is deliciousness in liquid form, and was on high rotation in my perfume wardrobe for all of summer. 

Aedes de Venustas website

MiN New York

MiN boasts a pretty impressive range of fragrances in a gorgeous building in SoHo that looks more like a gentlemens club. They take their fragrance pretty seriously at MiN, and I was excited to visit the store, yet the staff member there that day didn't offer me much in the way of help. After sniffing around, I did end up purchasing R'Oud Elements by Keroscene and I am looking forward to returning to discover more of the range. I am hoping that the staff may be more attentive as I am curious to try their Scent Stories range.

MiN New York website


Out of all of the perfumeries I visited in New York, I would say that Oswald interested me the most as it had lots of brands I hadn't experienced before. I also ran into a colleague from Miller Harris from about 7 years ago. He used to work in the Miller Harris flagship store when I was the Wholesale Manager, and now manages Oswald in New York.  Clement introduced me to Profumum Roma, and I immediately fell in love with a fragrance called Arso. The fragrance makes you feel like you are strolling through a dark pine forest in winter, with the promise of a fragrant fire in a log cabin with a whisky at the end of your walk. I purchased this for my GBF, it was as if it was made for him. I nearly cried giving it to him but I get to experience the fragrance regularly as he wears it often. I will certainly be returning here in May to discover the rest of the range along with many of their other hard to find brands.

Osswald NYC website

By Kilian

Ye gods, this store is gorgeous, I want to move in. I have long been an admirer of By Killian fragrances and packaging, and Kilian Hennessey is quite the looker. He also is from the Hennessey Cognac family. Le sigh. 

As I had purchased dark, complex fragrances in my perfumed journey around New York thus far, I was determined that today I would invest in something light and summery. That is to say, the exact opposite of what I am normally drawn to. After swooning over Amber Oud, I firmly pushed the tester away and asked for something light and fresh but with some complexity. I purchased Imperial Tea, an impression of Jasmine tea that is like inhaling a freshly brewed pot of tea. It was also utterly essential that I have one of their black boxes with a silver lock. Stunning.


Krigler is a little corner store in The Plaza hotel that stocks only Krigler fragrances. I wanted to discover their fragrances as they have been making perfume since 1904 and have an interesting history. They began in Russia, moved to Grasse and then to America in 1931 to cater to the growing US perfume market. I was assisted by a young man who was clearly new to the role and was being 'guided' (told what to show me) by a senior staff member. Sadly I was not asked what kind of fragrance I would like to experience and they kept offering me sweet florals that didn't appeal. I will do some research before I go this time and ask for specific fragrances. 


I first fell in love with Caron at Fortnum and Mason, they have a counter there with their spectacular fountains on display. I was further lured by the range at Roja Dove's Haute Perfumery in Harrods when a former colleague introduced me to Poivre, a hot, spicy pepper fragrance.  Tabac Blonde is another favourite and a staple in my perfume wardrobe. Caron fragrance hark back to a time when perfume was bold and daring, even if this is not your perfume style, go just to see the perfume fountains. I need to have one of these in my life one day.

Parfums Caron website 

New York has amazing department stores with extensive rages of fragrances. Bergdorf Goodman perfumery has some gems so stop by and have a wander around. Go and smell JAR, a perfume line by luxury jeweler Joel Arthur Rosenthal. The brand is so secretive, they wont tell you the notes in the fragrance and I can't even find a website for them. Some other brands to have a sniff of are the Roja Dove and Diane Vreeland ranges.

Barneys also has a great perfume range, I bought  Cologne du Maghred, a natural fragrance from Andy Taeur. I have a few clients who like natural perfumes so this was more for them  than me. Barney also have Odin, a really interesting range from NY. I did not buy anything from this brand on my last trip, but I plan to rectify that this time.