Every great city I’ve visited has its own scent profile. They are specific to the season and the locale. One of my favorite cities and seasons is spring in New York City. In those days the city emerges from its hiding indoors during the winter to get back on the street. What that means is as you wander around the city there is a freshness attendant to the new growth on the trees. Blossoms fall in a gentle cascade if the wind blows. Street vendors are selling their wares. When I received my sample of Widian New York it reminded me of all of this.
Widian is the re-branded name of the former AJ Arabia line of perfume. Ali Aljaberi is the creative director overseeing it all. The early perfumes from 2014-2018 were all Middle Eastern inspired styles. I tried some here and there and thought the quality was high, but the perfumes never connected. That changed a year ago when there was a change in inspiration.
Mr. Aljaberi retained the quality and decided to use the great cities of the world as the briefs for the Sapphire Collection. London was an interesting oud-y fruity floral that was different than what came prior to that. New York is the follow-up to London.
The perfumer for New York is Jordi Fernandez. It is not surprising that I was reminded of springtime in the Big Apple because that was the brief behind New York. One of the things I didn’t think they would be able to capture is that sense of overlapping smells enveloping you as you stand in midtown on a sunny day. Mr. Fernandez captures this by using a spine of baie rose, the patchouli analog akigalawood, and a warm amber. On this he hangs all the things which make a spring day in NYC fun.
It opens with a flash of citrus sunlight as lemon beams out. Underneath it is the herbal, slightly fruity green of baie rose. To that Mr. Fernandez captures the early green of spring as coriander, juniper, and geranium rise to meet it in an accord of new growth. This is where the spicy woody akigalawood finds its way to the foreground. It carries a bouquet of flowers as rose, lavender, and jasmine create a rich floral harmony. As we move to the base a bit of the grit of the city comes through as ambrox and cypriol provide an edge. It becomes sweeter as we pass a street vendor making caramel covered nuts. There is a gourmand caramel accord here which Mr. Fernandez keeps from being too sweet or overpowering. The final touches are a set of warm ambers as we pull our sweaters close on our way home.
New York has 14-16 hour longevity and average sillage.
This change to city inspired fragrances has changed the way I look at Widian. New York is another in a positive new direction.
Disclosure: this review is based on a sample I purchased.