Several of my favorite home fragrances are made by Parfums de Nicolai. I wrote about the Maharadjah scented candle before. Parfums de Nicolai is a French perfume brand which was founded by the French perfumer and president of perfume museum the Osmoteque in Versailles, Patricia de Nicolai. She has made a large home fragrance collection including room diffusers, room sprays, scented candles, lamp oils, and oils with at this moment 27 different scents and 3 Christmas fragrances.

Ambre Precieux

I have tried several PdN room diffusers including Ambre Precieux and Cedre d´Orient. Ambre Precieux lasted about 9 months which is a long time for a room diffuser. After some time I wanted another scent to scent the hall. At the shop in Amsterdam where I buy my Nicolai fragrances, they advised me to keep the cap to store the diffuser and change it with another one.

Ambre Precieux smells powdery and luxurious. It is more a scent for winter or when it gets cold outside.  I imagine a rich decorated Parisian apartment with expensive rugs, paintings and soft brown scentless leather chairs as the inspiration for this scent, a bit like the one in the photograph.

Notes according to the Nicolai website are: sandalwood with birch straightened this amber note on a vanilla and musky note.

Personally I did not get the birch in this roomdiffuser. It is not an soft amber perfume like Maitre Parfumeur Ambre Precieux or Il Profumo Ambre d’Or. PdN Ambre Precieux reminded me of the soft powderiness of classic Chanel perfumes like Bois des Iles (extrait in its dry down) and 31 Rue Cambon (for its elegance). Although it is not very likely these fragrances were inspirations for this room fragrance. More likely would be for Patricia de Nicola to be inspired by Guerlain L´Heure Bleue, as she once said the universal symbol of the word powdery in perfumes. The name Ambre Precieux is a bit deceiving as is Cedre d´Orient. A better name would have been Poudre Precieux for this room diffuser.

Apartment Coco Chanel 31 Rue Cambon Paris

Cedre d´Orient

Cedre d´Orient is a modern woody leather scent with smoky accents.  The leather is very pronounced as the scent of a newly bought leather motor jacket. This fragrance is especially suited for winter and it brings out a masculine aspect in a home. Ambre Precieux brings out a feminine aspect in a home. Both fragrances are very refined, elegant, modern and have a certain powderiness in common. The name Cedre d´Orient is a bit deceiving here as well as leather is the key player in this fragrance. Cuir d´Orient would have been a better name for this fragrance.  

Notes on the Nicolai website: cedar with Moorish leather dressed up by labdanum, birch and lignum vitae wood (gaiac wood). According to the sales assistant in the Nicolai Parisian shop on Rue Richelieu this was one of their best sellers.

The room diffusers do not scent chemical like others ones I tried from the Dutch brand Rituals or other cheaper ones. If you try the room diffusers from Parfums de Nicolai others might scent artificial.  They do to me. So you are warned, if you scent a Nicolai diffuser you might not be able to use others anymore. The Nicolai diffusers cost 45 euro for a 250 ml bottle in Europe which is not cheap but if you take into account the time they last, in the end they will turn out to be cheaper than others.

All Nicolai home fragrances are like small perfumes in a bottle. They are a beautiful way to scent your home. I heard some perfumers make home fragrances before they make a perfume and smelling these that does not surprise me. I would very much like Patricia de Nicolai to turn Cedre d´Orient into a perfume.

The room diffuser bottles are just the right size, not to small or big and the sticks absorb enough liquid as well. Enough sticks are included to change them after some time. These might seem trivial but the wrong sticks do not absorb enough liquid resulting in no home scent. Everything has been tested and works well. One could not ask for more !

After using a diffuser I use the small bottles as vases for flowers and the boxes for storing perfume samples or small perfume bottles afterwards as the one on the photograph with fragrant sweet peas.


Photograph 1: Parfum de Nicolai website Painting 2: Earth Woman, 2008 made by Henriette Hackenberg Photograph 3: Photograph 4: Room diffuser bottle with fragrant sweet peas made by me

All products mentioned in this article were my own acquisition.

January, 13th, 2014