Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Spring Sniffapalooza 2011

I spent the last two days of April in New York doing two of my favorite things: eating and sniffing perfume. (You can read about my dining adventures here, here, and here.)

I took the train up on Friday the 29th, and after a nice lunch at Ma Peche, I checked into the Fitzpatrick Manhattan. For some reason that I didn't quite catch, I had been upgraded from a standard room to a suite that had two flat-panel tvs and a wet bar. I must be living right! I dumped my baggage and headed back out, intent on testing as many fragrances as possible before meeting up with my friend David Dust for dinner. Lunch took longer than I had expected, so I had to scrap the original plan to hit Barney's and the Hermes boutique on the same block; instead I headed straight to Saks.

Saks used to be a regular stop on the Sniffapalooza tour, but for some reason that's no longer the case. I've heard many complaints about their pushy sales associates, but I've only ever had pleasant experiences. I've found that if you are polite and speak to them as a knowledgeable consumer, they fall over backward to be helpful, doling out samples and even recommending fragrances at other counters. Remember - SAs are people too. They are not lesser beings and deserve as much respect as the rest of us. Anyway...I spent some time at the Hemes counter, sniffing the new Jardin fragrance and testing out Eau De Gentiane Blanche, which sounded like something I'd like and was already sitting in my Amazon.com shopping cart but I didn't want to buy blind. (I did like it, despite the "bell pepper" note.) I also schmoozed the very cute Thierry Mugler SA (whom I have dealt with before) and got a sample of the new A*Men Pure Havane for Mr Minx. I also got a sample of Angel Sunessence, which is much more compatible with my skin chemistry than any other version of Angel I've tried so far, but unfortunately still smells like Angel. And I spent some time chatting with the Penhaligon's SA, finally trying Amaranthine. It's really quite lovely on paper, but something about it just doesn't work on my skin.

That's ok - I didn't need to spend any money. There was still Aedes de Venustas to explore.

I had Aedes pretty much to myself, so sniffed just about everything they had, including the new Lubins, most of the Frederick Malles and Serge Lutens, and various other niche scents. I walked away with several bits of scented paper plus a sample of Odin Nomad to try at a later date. I really love the incense-y L'Artisan Parfumeur scent custom-blended for the shop, but at $185, it's a bit spendy for me.

After Aedes, I walked across 6th Avenue to Bigelow and explored their eclectic fragrance department. There I found scents from Acqua di Parma, Juliette Has a Gun, Robert Piguet, and Trance Essence, as well as Chanel and Geo. F. Trumper. I picked up a bottle of AdP Blu Mediterraneo Fico di Amalfi to share with my BFF Andree, a Bigelow-branded fragrance called Winter Lemon, and a lovely home fragrance by Belle Fleur called White Orchid Tea.

The next day was the start of Sniffapalooza proper, and I made sure to get myself to Bergdorf Goodman well in advance of the 8:15 am start time for their famous breakfast. Last year, I got stuck at a table full of rude strangers; this year, I planned on snagging one of the little tables for two at the back of the room. Once seated, I was able to enjoy some fruit salad and pastries before the presentations began.

The breakfast is always my favorite part of Sniffa because the various reps show off the new scents in the line, handing out scented cards and ribbons. It's a good way for me to decide which counters to hit right away, and perhaps which to avoid. Nothing I sniffed was a must-have this season, so I merely wandered around and gossiped with my friends, makeup artists David Aikman and Donna Muzio at Estee Lauder, and Jason Beers at Guerlain. Donna put on some new lips for me and I purchased a liner and gloss, and I also bought some hair and skin products from Kiehl's. No fragrances this time, but then I had already done puh-lenty of damage earlier in the month during their gift card sale. 'Nuff said.

Because last year's lunch made me homicidal crazy, I skipped it this time and did my own thing. After eating, I still had almost an hour to kill, so I wandered up and down 5th Avenue before stepping into the next shop on the schedule - Henri Bendel. They carry a lot of fragrances, but the amount of real estate they give to them is ridiculously tiny, so I took the opportunity to sniff as much as possible before the rest of the gang arrived. During this time, I caught up with perfumer Neil Morris and got a personal tour of the several Vault fragrances he brought along with him. While all were quite nice, I really fell for the fabulous coffee-scented Izmir (papaya, orange, cinnamon, rose, fig, geranium, coffee, vanilla, agar wood, sea air, patchouli), and I have to admit I liked the semi-strangeness of Fetish (myrrh, ambergris, rosewood, musk, oud, leather, benzoin, patchouli), particularly the unusual vinyl note.

I spent some time sniffing the Memoire Liquide scents, and fell in love with Soleil Liquide from their "Reserve" collection. That went into my shopping cart, along with the embarrassingly-named ELDO scent, Don't Get Me Wrong Baby..., so I could score the usually-fab GWP. This time, it was a vinyl Bendel's tote bag with lots of samples, plus a full-sized Kai body lotion.

At this point, I was already sniffed-out. I found a couple of friends whom I had met last year and walked with them to The Plaza, initially to sit out the Krigler presentation and have a drink, but we couldn't find the bar! (I guess we were already drunk on perfume.) Instead, we partook of the free wine at the presentation, where I found another friend. Honestly, one of the best things about Sniffa is chatting with other like-minded fragrance aficionados.

We sat at Krigler entirely too long and missed the festivities and the macarons downstairs at Plaza Beauty. At that point I was ready to go back home to Baltimore, sated both by food and fragrance, yet already ready for next Fall's event.

For more information on Sniffapalooza, check out their Web site.

Posted by theminx on Opalescentminx.com
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