Monday, December 28, 2009

Sonia Rykiel Woman (Not For Men!)

I remember reading several reviews comparing Sonia Rykiel Woman to Barbara Bui (both were created by perfumer Anne Flipo around 2004) and not really getting it. For the longest time, Barbara Bui was mostly a powdery labdanum-incense on me, while Rykiel Woman smelled like sweet leather. But wearing both for several seasons I realized that while Rykiel's deeper and darker notes bloom dangerously in warm temperatures and more humid air, it is quite incense-y and its strong amber base has more than a touch of powder.

Rykiel Woman makes a statement, though I'm not sure it's "not for men!". It has a feminine air, like a well-cut and tailored coat or a sweater dress, but nothing girly or frilly about it, and the drydown of wood-leather-amber is dark and smooth. Men who are not scared of powder would probably enjoy it, while women who are into fresh and light scents wouldn't.

Sonia Rykiel's perfumes deserve a lot more attention than they get. It looks like a distribution issue- you rarely see them in stores and most people aren't familiar with the gem that is Le Parfum (1993). The good news is that if you search online you will find these fragrances at many online retailers for what is now considered practically a song (under $50, just make sure you get the eau de parfum, as the EDT is significantly inferior). The bad news is that the Sonia Rykiel website has changed since the last time I visited and no longer promotes or even mentions any of the perfumes, which we all know can't mean anything good.


  1. So curious to try this one! I bought Belle En Rykiel when it came out and loved it; it too, disappeared quickly. Definitely underrated!

  2. I am going to avoid this one since you write that it's not for men. Walking well away from it.

  3. Don't walk away, Tom !

    Gaiale, this is YET ANOTHER 'shared' delight ;-)

    I've bought several bottles for friends-

    One can enjoy this just about ALL the time; the date/ violet/ incense notes are lovely and don't howl at you.

    It's a very fine quality go-to.
    [The BOTTLE, however-
    Chalusciously kitsch ! ;-) ]

  4. Belle en Rykiel was nice, but I felt stocked up on that type of fragrance, what with my three bottles of Shalimar Light and my six (eek!) bottles of vintage Emeraude pdt, so I didn't buy it.

    And I honestly do NOT get the Barbara Bui love. It bores me, instead of being the quiet comfort scent that everyone raves about.

    But I have yet to try Not For Men, and I think I should give it a shot.

  5. Does the ad really say "Not for men!" ??

    How strange...


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