Parfums de Nicolai L’Eau a la Folie & Ayala Moriel Etrog ~ fragrance reviews


Today, as I pack for my first summer vacation, quick reviews of two fragrances perfect for summer wear, on vacation or otherwise.

Parfums de Nicolaï L’Eau à la Folie

We've had debates here before about fruity florals — a segment of the perfumista community frowns on fruity florals simply because they're so ubiquitous, and let's face it, many (maybe even most) of them are pretty dull. But I've said it before and I'll say it again: some of my best friends are fruity florals. French niche house Parfums de Nicolaï made one of my favorites, the sadly discontinued sparkling mango summer-cocktail Eau Exotique. The brand's latest, L’Eau à la Folie, is a citrus fruity floral that I'd likewise describe as a sparkling summer-cocktail, this time with peach, juniper berry, pink pepper, mint, lime, jasmine and rum. It starts with a lovely fresh burst of peach and citrus, sheer and lively and slightly spiced, and dries down to a still-sheer jasmine-y blend with a lingering hint of fruit over a warm but summery woody musky base. The juniper berry adds a nice kick, but don't worry, L’Eau à la Folie doesn't really smell like you're wearing an alcoholic beverage.

L’Eau à la Folie is a perfect pick-me-up for hot days. The lasting power is good for such a thing, but if you're looking for a fragrance to make it through an 8 hour day at the office, it probably won't suit. Then again, the small 30 ml bottle can be had for $45 — one of the last great bargains in niche perfumery — and you could always toss the bottle in your purse for late afternoon refreshers. It's going on my buy list.

Parfums de Nicolaï L'Eau à la Folie

Parfums de Nicolaï L’Eau à la Folie is available in 30 ($45) or 100 ($115) ml; for buying information, see the listing for Parfums de Nicolaï under Perfume Houses.

Ayala Moriel Etrog Oy de Cologne

There are a number of wonderful indie natural options for summer citrus. I'd recommend Anya's Garden Kaffir or Aftelier Candide or Tauer Perfumes Cologne du Maghreb as potential candidates, and now I can add Ayala Moriel's Etrog Oy de Cologne to the list — and who can resist something called Oy de Cologne?

Moriel tinctured the citron (etrog in Hebrew) herself, and you can read about it, complete with DIY instructions, on her blog (and you can also follow the development of the scent by cycling through the posts under her etrog tag). The result is a must-smell for serious citrus lovers. Like many (but not all) natural fragrances, it lacks the sparkle and diffusiveness of a mainstream scent, but Etrog makes up for that with depth and complexity. It starts as a gloriously zesty honeyed citrus, and slowly turns greener and woodier, and takes on an almost herbal cast. What starts as a hint of light and airy incense in the early stages develops into a rich resinous base which lingers for hours, and the citrus lingers on for much of that time as well.

Etrog is both invigorating and relaxing — it wears nicely in summer heat, and I found it perfect for reading in bed at night. I don't generally spray perfume on my sheets, and couldn't afford to spray Etrog all over my bed in any case, but this is what I'd like my pillow to smell like, all summer long. Another for the buy list.

Ayala Moriel Etrog

Ayala Moriel Etrog Oy de Cologne features notes of citron zest, pomelo peel, green myrtle, honey, mint, balsam poplar buds, lemon myrtle, citron leaves, incense and olive tree resin. It is available in 4 ($48) or 15 ($120) ml Eau de Parfum; for buying information, see the listing for Ayala Moriel under Perfume Houses.

Note: top image is Peach [4] [cropped] by Яick Harris at flickr; some rights reserved.

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  1. Rappleyea says:

    These both sound good, but the Etrog especially is calling my name. Have a wonderful time on your vacation!

    • Robin says:

      The samples of Etrog are expensive, but it really is worth trying if you can, and it’s much longer lasting than people would assume from the “Oy de Cologne” or natural genre.

      And thank you!!

      • Ayala says:

        Good morning, Robin –
        Big heartfelt thank you for reviewing Etrog Oy de Cologne!!!
        I’m so glad that you enjoyed it – and am really happy that the name puts a smile on everyone’s face so far :-)
        It’s more of an EDP concentration, even though the style is an “eau de cologne”; also – I got to thank the ambergris & balsam poplar buds for making it a tad stronger than the genre…
        Etrog will make an appearance at the Artisan Fragrance Salon in San Francisco July 8th – so hope to see some of you there in person :-)

  2. Emily says:

    And here I was hoping that this review would eliminate my considerable temptation to sample Etrog. Oh well, at least the Nicolai sounds appealing to both my nose and my wallet.

    Enjoy your vacation, Robin!

    • Robin says:

      Thanks Emily!

      The PdN is definitely the more economical option, but must say that *if* I’m going to pay more, I mind much less when it’s for an indie product where the perfumer is doing their own tincturing and what not. At least you’re paying for something that matters instead of advertising & so on and so forth. But that doesn’t always mean I can afford it.

      • Emily says:

        Oh, I completely agree! I would happily subsidize all kinds of indie arts ventures, if only I didn’t have to, y’know, eat and stuff :)

  3. Aparatchick says:

    For anyone who lives in an area with steamy, hot summers, I can’t recommend the PdN Eaux highly enough. And Robin, you’re so right about the 30ml bottles being the last great bargain in niche perfumery! I’ve drained my tiny decant of Folie, and it’s going to be my next full bottle purchase.

    • Robin says:

      I still wear PdN’s Balle de Match in the summer too, and her Eau d’Ete.

      I am watching for a sale at Parfum1 or Beautyhabit.

  4. annemarie says:

    PdN is tricky for me because I’m in Australia and all the online options charge a lot for shipping. That also goes for Tauer’s Cologe du Maghreb, which, last time I looked, was only available at Luckyscent ($34 for international shipping). I get so frustrated when I read exultant comments about how cheap those 30 ml bottles are! I think my cheapest option is to buy direct from the PdN site itself. I do have a birthday coming up … and Folie sounds lovely.

    • sinnerman says:

      Shipping costs are very unpleasent inconveince to Aussie perfumistas!

    • Robin says:

      Oh, so sorry! I thought there were some good niche stores there though…you need to beg one of them to carry PdN!

      • Robin says:

        This is one of the ones I was thinking of…PdN and/or Tauer would fit nicely with their brands!

        But you obviously know the local shopping better than I do.

        • sinnerman says:

          Wonderful , will check this out for sure ! Creed and “Juliette has a gun” is about as niche as AUS gets !!! It’s is fun I must say , Internet shopping, such variety and choice , thou a bargain will turn into a full spend when u add on shipping to the land down under !! Thanks for the link ;)

          • Robin says:

            Most of my fragrance shopping is done online too, but yeah, I don’t have the added burden of high shipping. And these days, if something doesn’t make it to the US, I tend to skip it! But that’s hard if there are lots of fragrances that don’t make it to Australia.

          • annemarie says:

            Mecca Cosmetica carries a few niche lines, inc. Lutens and Diptyche, maybe Comme des Garcons, a few Rosines. David Jones and Myer are getting better. Myer in Melbourne is especially good. Has Malle and Le Labo. One of them – Myer or DJs in Melbourne, can’t remember which – carries Amouage. Also in Melbourne is Klein’s, in Hawthorn. I don;t actually live in Melbourne myself but visit once or twice a year.

        • annemarie says:

          Peony is great, but it does not carry PdN, or not last time I looked. Yes, I should beg.

  5. Valentine says:

    I love peach, so I’ll have to give this a try. Do you have any other peach or apricot suggestions? I’m not a fan of green or sharp fragrances however.

    • Robin says:

      Keiko Mecheri Peau de Peche is nice, & hope others will chime in…I’m sure there are many I’m not thinking of.

      • Ayala says:

        Yvresse is rather peachy… And I really do like Vanille-Abricot by Comptoir Sud Pacifique, although to some it might feel too linear or not sophisticated enough.

        • Emily says:

          Seconding Peau de Peche and Yvresse (wearing the latter today!). Lucy B’s Royal Egyptian Amber and Honeysuckle is a warm floral with a peachy note and is very well done for the price (under $30 on Indiescents). If you really want to smell like peach and nothing but, Yves Rocher makes a straight-up peach EDT — I got a travel size for something like $6. Then there are the big guns: the new Rochas Femme, Mitsouko, Chant d’Aromes (though the current version smells like shampoo to me).

          • Valentine says:

            Hmm, you know, I might just have to give that Yves Rocher a try. With something fruity and fun, usually what I want is linear and simple.

          • Emily says:

            Valentine, I’m kicking myself for not having thought of this in the first place — osmanthus scents usually have a wonderful peachy quality. Check out Parfum d’Empire Osmanthus Interdite and The Different Company Osmanthus (my favorite of the two).

        • Valentine says:

          I like Vanille Abricot as well, but it’s more of a sweet-vanilla-dessert than fruity smell to me. I do like the sweetness though.

      • Valentine says:

        Oooh, yes, I’ve been meaning to order a sample ever since the weather started warming up. Thanks Robin!

  6. ockeghem says:

    Love PdN! Will have to try this! Citrus can be very iffy on me — easily turns to bug spray when I spray it on, as much as I love the idea of citrus and the smell of citrus fruits, so I think a sample of the Etrog is in order, but I think I could order the PdN in the small bottle unsniffed given your review.

    • Robin says:

      I’m lucky, citrus is rarely problematic for me. Hope you’ll like 1 of these 2!

  7. Omega says:

    I need to try this! Love peach!

  8. austenfan says:

    I got me a bottle of l’Eau à la Folie a few days ago. From the source itself so to speak.
    It seems much closer to Eau Exotique and Turquoise than to Mixte or Chic.
    My favourite is still l’Eau d’Eté. But they all get a lot of wear during summer.

    • Robin says:

      I love Eau d’Ete too, & agree this one is closer to the fruitier PdNs.

  9. Sunski says:

    I’ve been into perfume for at least a couple of years now and this article was the first to inspire me to buy a full bottle unsniffed. My PdN l’Eau à la Folie came yesterday and I LOVE it. Finally a citrus that lasts longer than 30 seconds on me! And it really is the perfect pick-me-up for hot days. Thanks, Robin!

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