Once inside the fantastical world of the Barneys New York department store in Las Vegas, I felt like I was trapped on an expensive planet. The native inhabitants were friendly and well groomed, yet there was something off about them. Maybe it was the scent of money in the air. I felt sweaty and nervous when the staff spoke to me, like they might be cyborgs. Expensive cyborgs.
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I made my way toward the cosmetics department. I was looking for makeup and beauty brands I’d never seen before, and my research before the trip suggested that Barneys, located in the Palazzo Hotel on the Vegas strip, wouldn’t let me down.
My first reaction was disappointment. I was seeing all the same high end stuff also carried by Neiman Marcus and Bloomingdale’s — YSL, Chantecaille, T. LeClerc. Yawn.
The street entrance to Barneys New York in Las Vegas
I’d almost given up, and then it was there, at the very heart of the store. They resembled two empty telephone booths, or perhaps teleportation chambers, standing beside a display with several scientific looking bottles and a sign that read, “.” Holla!
I began at one end of the display and sniffed my way to the other. With each scent, I grew more intrigued. Raul, a Barney’s sales associate with the smoothest hands I’d ever seen on a man, noticed my eyes rolling back into my head (seriously, some of the scents were *that* good) and proceeded to fill me in on the line.
One of the perfumes, Carnal Flower
Nine famous perfumers (noses) developed their own individual perfumes for the Editions de Parfums Frederic Malle collection. These are some of the most famous noses of our time. Without limits or boundaries placed upon them by anyone, each perfumer received free reign over their creations, resulting in the 16 scents that make up the line. You won’t find watered down eau de toilettes or body splashes here; each of the scents is complex and interesting in its own way.
When you test perfumes sprayed onto paper strips at a perfume counter, the scent’s top notes grab you (the initial burst of fragrance). If your nose is hyper-sensitive like mine, you might even smell the paper.
But you could be missing the more subtle aspects of the fragrance — the middle notes (which occur after the top notes fade), and then the dry down (which is like the scent’s finale). To appreciate the fullness and complexity of the Editions de Parfums Frederic Malle scents, Raul suggested I ditch the paper strips and use one of the store’s special scent chambers to fully appreciate the line.
A little scurred of the chamber…
The two phone booth/teleportation chambers are actually scent chambers. I’m claustrophobic, but Raul assured me that I wouldn’t have to step into the chamber to get the full experience, just stick my head in.
Raul explaining how the chamber works
Raul flipped a switch to activate fans installed in the ceiling of each chamber and then sprayed a fragrance from the line into each one — En Passant (a light floral) on the left, and Noir Epices (a spicy Oriental) on the right.
I took a whiff of each and instantly fell in love with En Passant. Created by perfumer Olivia Giacobetti and described as an “impressionistic” fragrance on the Editions de Parfums Web site, En Passant combines the scent of white lilac flower with orange tree leaves, cucumber and wheat. I could detect all of the different layers and rich fullness in the scent chamber. I couldn’t help but picture fields of lilac flowers and freshly laundered cotton sheets. Heaven!
Sniffing En Passant perfume is heavenly
A few other fragrances that I smelled and liked were…
Iris Poudre by Pierre Bourdon – Tonka bean, musk, vanilla, sandal wood and vetiver.
Nose fun fact: In 1988 Pierre created one of my favorite men’s fragrances of all time, Davidoff Cool Water.
Carnal Flower by Dominique Ropion – Tuberose, coconut and musk.
Nose fun Fact: Dominique, along with perfumers Loc Dong and Carlos Benaim, created Calvin Klein Euphoria, winner of the 2006 Fragrance Foundation (Fifi) Award, the equivalent of the “Oscars” in the perfume world.
Lipstick Rose by Ralf Schwieger – Violet, musk, vanilla, vetiver and amber… and it really does smell like a tube of lipstick!
Nose fun fact: Ralf has created several famous perfumes, including Yves Saint Laurent’s Baby Doll and Marc Jacobs’ Men.
This refrigerator, located beneath the display, keeps the fragrances fresh
Prices range from $115-$330, depending on the scent (some are more expensive then others) and size (50-100ml). Here in the US, the Editions de Parfums Frederic Malle line is exclusive to Barneys New York stores. To find the one nearest you, check out their . If you don’t live near a Barneys, you can also order the scents or call a store and place your order over the phone using a credit card.
Aren’t you glad we’re done with Monday? I’m still tired from traveling so it’s early to bed for this girl tonight. I hope your day was good and that you’re feeling relaxed and happy.
Your friendly neighborhood beauty addict,
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