NYC: A Visit to Aedes de Venustas, Bigelow and Enfleurage

We had a nice trip to NYC yesterday; my daughter wanted to see Madame Tussaud's (Wax Museum). The museum is very relaxed-- visitors are allowed to touch, and pose for photos with, the life size figures. This is worth bringing children to. (Who knew that Napolean was so short?)

From there we took the subway to 4th St. and walked a couple of blocks to Aedes de Venustas at 9 Christopher Street, which is conveniently open until 8. We had visited Aedes a year ago and had a good idea of what brands they carry. I went armed with a short list of perfumes I wanted to try.

While my daughter was enjoying her favorite L'Artisan (Tea For Two) and my husband was testing Serge Lutens and Amouage perfumes and the new CDG Wonderwood, I went down my list systematically:


Dianthus-- verdict: I still prefer CDG Series Red: Carnation.
Messe de Minuit --sprayed on arm, and later on chest. From the bright citrus top notes to the development of the myrrh and amber (sorry, but I don't smell incense in this), this perfume was mellow and easy to take. However, I would have liked more incense and less amber, especially as it dried down and became a bit sweeter. I got a sample to take home and will try it again.

Santa Maria Novella:

Mughetto (lily of the valley). The Lily of the Valley discussion thread on the female forum triggered off an urge to give this one a wearing on skin. I sprayed one arm liberally. Initially it smells very much like Muguet des Bois, but gradually it develops a more complex character-- about one hour in, other light floral notes, emerge that do not overwhelm or replace the muguet. Maybe a hint of lilac, even.

After two hours I began to smell a light centifolia rose note and some linden, and maybe a bit of honey. Very nice! But at the end, while on the train home, only a decidedly urinous note was left. My husband took one whiff and recoiled-- so I know it wasn't only in my mind! Well, I have a sample and will try it again. But I don't think this one will work on my skin, alas.

In the film Casino Royale, near the end when James Bond is looking through the few personal effects Vesper Lynd left behind, there is a brief view of a perfume bottle. I recognized it as Melograno (My daughter was amazed that I knew this. It is always fun to amaze one's teen!)
Well, after seeing the wax version of Daniel Craig as James Bond at Madame Tussaud's and remembering about Vesper and Melograno, of course I had to try it. I love the top notes, and in fact love it for about an hour, until the powderiness settles in. Of course it smells nothing like the pomegranate it is named for, but it is worth trying. I brought a sample home.

• Several I sniffed but did not particularly like included Città di Kyoto, Magnolia (not like any magnolia I've smelled), Rosa (a very light rose, not much to it), Fresia (too understated) and Nostalgia.

But I have to add that Nostalgia was truly startling! I smelled metal and strong fuel notes, and only later read that it is supposed to evoke a racing car. Well, it does!


Oranges and Lemons Say the Bells of St. Clement's-- I got a clear neroli from this, not exactly what I was hoping for, but may retest someday.
Ophélia-- jasmine, sweet, not to my taste.

Penhaligon's Orange Blossom-- quickly turned soapy on me. (I've been spoiled by the L'Artisan, I'm afraid.)


I already own and love Gold woman (and my husband has been wearing samples of Homage and Tribute) but I was not yet familiar with Dia, Ubar, Epic, and Jubilation 25. I tested these only on paper; I liked Epic's early woody and spicy notes quite a lot but less so as it developed; Dia I may try on skin next time. Today it didn't win me. Ubar and Jubilation 25 were too heady for me. I think I'll stick with Gold.

Odin 02 (Owari) -- delicious blend of citrusy top notes hit me right away: mandarin, bergamot, grapefruit leaves. I wanted to buy it on the spot! But as citrus notes generally do, these faded fast on skin (lasted a lot longer on paper, though.) Maybe if one got quite a bit on clothing it would solve the problem. I wish I had thought to ask for a sample.

Eau d'Italie Au Lac-- a soft floral indeed. Did not capture my imagination today.

Lubin Figaro-- perhaps by this point I was getting weary; this didn't excite me. I suspect I just need to try it again-- on paper it looks interesting. One can only smell so many things in a short time.

After leaving Aedes, we visited C. O. Bigelow which is diagonally across the intersection, sniffed this and that, and chatted with the SA about Basenotes, which she hadn't heard of. Hopefully she will check us out. I do not see us returning to Bigelow, but if one is looking for Geo. F. Trumper products, Bigelow has them.

Finally we walked over to Enfleurage on Bleecker Street between Christopher and Grove, which sells high quality essential oils. I compared Roman and German chamomile oils and absolute, and smelled geranium (pelargonium) and a few roses. My husband bought 5 ml of their Omani frankincense-- so much richer and more complex than the Somali frankincense! Lasted longer on his skin as well.

Oh, one last fragrance: Calanques at the L'Occitane shop at Grand Central. This is pretty but quickly grows powdery, and I don't see guys wearing it so much as ladies.

I think the next time we visit NYC, I would like to visit CB I Hate Perfume in Brooklyn. Or MiN New York, at 117 Crosby Street in Manhattan.

Blog Comments


Well-known member
Mar 8, 2005
How lovely to spend a day sampling with your family. I am looking forward to my girl being old enough for us to do this. I am ever so slightly jealous, but in a good way!

30 Roses

Well-known member
Oct 8, 2007
Hebe, do you have girlfriends who would enjoy such an outing-- a day you both take off from parenting, perhaps, leaving the kiddos with their dads? We moms do need some down time, after all....


Well-known member
Mar 8, 2005
I have a friend in London who really wants to try some new scents, so I should really organise to leave the testing two-year old with her daddy for a day and go and have some fun with my friend. Thank you for the reminder!

Add your Comments

Latest News