The Gentle Breezes Of Spring – Review: Parfums de Nicolai Week-end à Deauville

Parfums de Nicolai is a line that is so much under the radar it is really a shame. I blame the packaging, because once you get past that, the perfumes are exquisite and very well worth your time and attention. This just proves – for me at least – that a) many people are highly visual and b) packaging is important. (This discussion allows a similar conclusion.)

I only reviewed one of Guerlain niece and Osmothéque president Patricia de Nicolai’s perfumes until now, Sacre Bleu, but I definitely want to expand my knowledge of the line a bit more in the future.

nicolai weekend a deauvilleWeek-end á Deauville was created by Patricia de Nicolai and includes notes of Italian bergamot, petit grain, galbanum, lily of the valley, rose, mimosa, pepper, pink pepper, clove, oakmoss absolute and styrax balm.

There was a first, limited edition of this perfume, that has been reformulated due to ingredient restrictions. This review is based on a sample of the new, permanent addition to the line.

Upon first spray, it is clear that Week-end á Deauville is a classic, sparkly, citrus chypre in the manner of Chanel Cristalle, Bel Respiro or the new Vero Profumo Mito. The green opening is sustained for a long time, citrus notes and galbanum holding up well and only slowly being fleshed out by a more floral accord of lily of the valley and hyacinth, before – hours later – segueing into a leather-tinged, mossy base that preserves the idea of cool, green freshness until the very end.

Week-end à Deauville is a breath of fresh air, a long-awaited and very much needed one after a long, cold winter. Imagine the first days of spring sunshine, the air is still crisp but clear, there is a sense of new beginnings all around.

I have never been to the French coast in Normandy, where the city that gives name to this perfume lies, but when I wear Week-end á Deauville, I can easily imagine a leisurely stroll at the seaside, the air, the water and the newly sprouting grass equally fragrant. This perfume is fresh and clean in a way far removed from the way we have (unfortunately) learned to use these words. This is the fresh and clean of nature, not of shampoo and soap.

I have a hard time with change, even when this change is something I have longed for. So every spring I find myself absurdly reluctant to just enjoy it. Although I moaned and groaned about the long and dark days of a grey winter only last week, I now stupidly cling to it, and all the rituals that came with it.


Week-end á Deauville helps me to just relax and give in to the changes nature is going through, to take a deep breath and let go of the old, embrace the new and just let myself be blown into spring on its gentle breezes.

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65 Responses to The Gentle Breezes Of Spring – Review: Parfums de Nicolai Week-end à Deauville

  1. lucasai says:

    This perfume sounds like fun!

  2. Ines says:

    I fell in love with this one after the first sniff but in retrospect, I should have given it more thought before buying the bottle. 🙂 I almost never wear it (so far twice to be precise) and it doesn’t seem to work its initial magic on me. That said, each time I feel in the mood for something like it, I choose Odalisque instead. 🙂

    • Olfactoria says:

      How interesting! Do you think it bores you?
      I will see how I fare with it in the (not so long) run (I only have a large-ish sample).

      • Ines says:

        Now that you mentioned boredom, that might be it. I’m not sure. As far as I remember, I believe there is the underlying Nicolai theme iin there, one I’m not very comfortable with.
        The strange thing is, I find Odalisque and WaD to be quite similar (in perfume types) and somehow Odalisque took the throne there.

        • Olfactoria says:

          Since you mentioned that you go for Odalisque instead of WaD, I immediately tried Odalisque yesterday and I’m baffled. For me they couldn’t be further apart in style and smell. Odalique is very loud and hefty on me, not a green, delicate spring flower like WaD – at all! Lol, my nose might be crazy! 😉

          • Ines says:

            😀 I always wonder about different ways people associate perfumes.
            Yesterday I heard someone link Pomegranate Noir with Kenzo Elephant which in my mind have nothing in common.
            Somehow Odalisque is what I expect from a spring-like perfume and WaD is a pale version of that which I thought was the thing I liked until I smelled Odalisque. Now I need to go and re-smell them side by side. 🙂

    • Ines – when did you buy it? Did you happen to buy the original formulation, which only came in a 50ml bottle? If so, I would happily, merrily, joyously buy it from you and give it so much love and wear. It’s in my THG (my trifecta holy grail).

      • Ines says:

        I bought it in May 2011 (it came from London). It’s not a 50ml though but a 30ml one.
        If you still want it, I’d be happy to let it go. 🙂

        • GvilleCreative says:

          Drat! That means it’s the new one. Thank you for the offer though! If it was the original formulation, that would have been the highlight of my 2013! I love that stuff!

  3. Lady Jane Grey says:

    In the manner of Bel respiro ? Now I’m curious. I’m sooo longing for spring, I’m really ready to throw the winter behind me, finally.

  4. za says:

    WAD is probably not my style, but if you want to explore PDN’s line any further I urge you (and any perfume lover, really), to meet New York.
    The first few minutes lean a bit masculine but then the perfume shines, and warms you, and glitters and comforts you like the best of the best Guerlains.
    And I also urge you to test NY on your husband.
    Mine fell in love with it (we are sharing the bottle!), and whenever he wears it my knees just melt.
    Besides, the “men bottles” are so much better than the regular “women bottles”.

    • Olfactoria says:

      Okay, za, noted. I’ll try to get my hands on a sample if New York (you know what’s funny: Turin’s glowing review of it actually put me off, since our tastes are so different.) 🙂

      • zazie says:

        It’s Zazie, actually: hit the post comment button too soon.
        I suppose the anti-Turin club is making a GWP offers these days, given the many smart comments on the subject I see around.
        I’m feeling quite out of place with this new wave, maybe I should just quit reading reviews.
        I have never thought LT as the ultimate judge (nobody should: our own nose is THE judge), but I think he does have a point in many of his assessments.
        Anyway, the guide is not a compulsory read, and it shouldn’t be.

        • Olfactoria says:

          I recognized your email address, so I figured that za was actually zazie. 🙂

          I don’t see myself as a Turin basher, it is just that as a rule of thumb, his personal taste and mine don’t converge very often. I surely don’t make it a point to avoid what he recommends out of some sense of spite, just practicality, as one has to limit or narrow the sampling process in some way.
          I’ve recently heard many glowing accolades about New York though, so I will surely try it.

  5. Lady Jane Grey says:

    Oh yes, Bel Respiro arrived 🙂

  6. Vanessa says:

    I have been to Deauville, and I have smelt the scent – in France as it happens, but not there! It didn’t wow me at the time, but may be one of those quietly pretty, springlike scents like Vert Pivoine which repay a second trial. Tbh, I haven’t found a single PDN to love, though I should have a go with Temps d’une Fete again – it was very indolic on me in the past.

    • Olfactoria says:

      It did not impress me at first sniff (sometime last year) either. Now I guess it was at the right place, at the right time. 🙂

      • Vanessa says:

        Interesting – I tried Weekend a Deauville on a sultry scorcher of a hot day in Paris, when it might have been overwhelmed by the prevailing weather. Un Lys, on the other hand, which I tried on the same day, simply bloomed! : – )

  7. poodle says:

    This was a blind buy for me. It’s really got that springy feel to it. I like it. Its not something I’d reach for every day but it does have that new beginnings kind of feeling to it and I think that’s nice once in a while. It’s not too sweet, not too flowery. If there really is a place that smells like this naturally I want to go there.

  8. brie says:

    I love Cristalle (the original,not reformulated) so I think I would get along splendidly with this one!
    I have heard many good things about this perfume line and have been meaning to seek out samples. Great review!

  9. Alice says:

    My favourite perfume house. I don’t mind the bottles (although I preferred the blue tops and very much regret that I never bought one back then). The little flat 30ml bottles suit me just fine, and in a way I find the non-trendy vibe strangely appealing, it sets it apart from the others where I sometimes wonder whether image isn’t winning over content (including with me). With this one I focus on the smell!

  10. It’s a beautifully crisp not quite spring day here today so the green, lightly floral chypre you are describing sounds like just the thing. Allusions to Cristalle also have me intrigued and does the name check on Deauville – I know this Normandy town well and it can be quite bracing.
    I also sense that after having been, to an extent, written off as a genre a nouvelle chypre is emerging both in niche and slightly in the mainstream.
    Hurrah say I for what I have smelt so far these scents are eminently wearable by gents.
    Yours ever
    The Perfumed Dandy

    • Olfactoria says:

      It certainly is very wearable for men, I even think it would be quite fetching on the right guy.
      I’ll be curious to read about your impressions once you’ve tried it.

  11. Alice says:

    – and I forgot to say that I have spent many, many happy times in Normandy!

  12. You are REALLY clinging to winter? I find it hard to believe beautiful Birgit. I can imagine the warmth and soft sunshine thawing you and your Ugg boots out. Lovely image in my head. Hugs to you & the husband from us both here
    Jin & Portia xx

  13. Keith says:

    Love, love, love Parfums de Nicolai. Well thought out gorgeous pieces of olfactory art that are an absolute bargain… Likely due in part to that horrible packaging. Thank you for giving them some much deserved credit. My favorite scent is Vie de Chateau Intense. To me it’s a resplendent summers morning in a bottle.

  14. acstrommen says:

    I love the few PdN creations I’ve tried. Drained half a bottle of Temps, want Odalisque dearly, and will purchase NY for the DH. Now I’m clicking over to order a sample of this!

  15. Alice says:

    My favourites are juste un reve, and temps, but I love many others + there are some I haven’t yet tried. They are approachable but also original.
    I have a feeling this house has a relatively small but very loyal client base.

  16. Tara says:

    It’s the perfect day here for me to read this review. The sun is shining and it’s so mild it really feels like spring has finally sprung.

    I think you make an important distinction between fresh as in nature and fresh as in shampoo. Two very different things! It irritates me when all people want is “fresh” perfumes but when mirroring nature it can be a beautiful thing. I’m wearing OJ’s Champaca today and it is also fresh in just the right, natural way.

    Now I also want to try this, Odalisque, New York…

  17. Suzanne says:

    Spring in Pennsylvania can be awfully rainy, but I really am looking forward to the part where spring is verging on summer, and there are dandelions dotting the yards. In other words, hurry up, May!! 🙂

    This perfume sounds lovely by your description, Birgit, and I’m also intrigued by Zazie’s comment about New York. I haven’t sought out the PdN fragrances and often forget about them, which is strange since I love and own Sacrebleu. In my case, though, I don’t think it’s the packaging that’s an issue; I think it’s simply because I don’t buy nearly the amount of samples that I did years ago.

  18. lorraine says:

    I’ve been curious about all these PdN’s mentioned and now I must try them. They really are a bargain considering the high quality of the juice. Part of me wants them to upgrade their packaging but knowing that would raise prices stops me from wishing too hard 😉

  19. I would love to explore her line! I wish that someone in NYC carried it . . . actually, I seem to remember reading somewhere that someone did . . . I just have to find out . . .

    In any case, wonderful review! Sounds perfect for the spring to come.

  20. GvilleCreative says:

    Oh, how I love the original version, from before the reformulation. It’s one of my absolute favorite perfumes. If anyone has a bottle and reads this comment and is willing to part with it, please reply to this message or find me on MUA (gvillecreative). I’m dying for another back up bottle of the original, salty version.

    The new formulation is almost aquatic on me, and it just doesn’t work on my skin. And what a pity! Had I realized how much I would lament it, I would have purchased a bunch of bottles of the 1st version (as well as a small bottle of the original Violette In Love). They were so cheap and so lovely.

  21. Farouche says:

    Wearing Odalisque today, the last of a smallish sample…will need a FB soon. I own Sacrebleu and L’Eau Chic, a summer fragrance, so I don’t think I need Weekend a Deaville, but I encourage you to try L’Eau a la Folie, also by PdN, a wonderful almost overripe fruity fragrance. I love it!

  22. annemariec says:

    I got myself into a stupid muddle over this one. I bought a sample and thought I didn’t like it, but it got mixed up with some other new samples, and shortly after that I think I gave it away. This is unusual for me because I am not normally this careless. I do remember not liking it as much as Le Temps, which I own in a large decant, so in that sense nothing is lost.

    I am on a Nicolai journey though. I wore Number One today, and at a function tonight I will be wearing Maharanih. I have samples of them in their non-intense forms and love them both. I’m seriously thinking of getting decants but wonder if I should try the intense versions first. I’m not sure I really get this ‘intense’ thing that Nicolai does. Just means EDP, I guess.

    • Olfactoria says:

      Oh, that is unfortunate!
      Maybe another sample will make its way to you eventually. (I’d send you some if the shipping costs weren’t so outrageous, sorry! 😦 )

      • annemariec says:

        Oh no worries, yes, the shipping is outrageous and getting worse. Still, it focusses the mind and puts a brake on expenditure. Otherwise I’d be bankrupt, and my children and I would be living on lentils! (Not that I object to lentils, just not every day … )

  23. laniersmith says:

    Now this kind of freshness I can love, the natural freshness of nature as opposed to the freshness in detergent and fabric freshener. I adore Chanel Cristalle so this is something I might really enjoy trying. Yes Yes YES to the importance of packaging. We want our perfumes to come in a fairy tale coach not a pumpkin. LOL.

  24. Undina says:

    I’ve tried only two perfumes from this line so far – Le Temps D’Une Fete (like it and have a small decant of it) and Odalisque (mixed feelings but don’t think I’ll move beyond the sample). I haven’t seen bottles in RL so I wasn’t influenced by them in any way. I just do not like testing perfumes with such limited availability.

  25. Pingback: Patricia de Nicolaï at Perfume Lovers London – New Cavendish Club on Thursday 23th May | Olfactoria's Travels

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