Thursday, June 02, 2016

Coty- Nokomis (Vintage Perfume)

I didn't know anything about Nokomis by Coty when I picked a half full bottle at a random estate sale. To be honest, I barely remembered it ever existed. Let's face it: Coty of the late 1990s* was no longer the legendary perfume house of the early 20th century, and I wasn't paying much any attention to what they were doing. But for a dollar... I was game. A quick digging revealed that Coty named this perfume after a character from The Song of Hiawatha (1855) by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. The only things I remembered about the epic poem was that it was sad, had too much hunting, and was excruciatingly long. An interesting choice for Coty, wouldn't you say?
Downward through the evening twilight,
In the days that are forgotten,
In the unremembered ages,
From the full moon fell Nokomis,
Fell the beautiful Nokomis,
She a wife, but not a mother.
  She was sporting with her women,
Swinging in a swing of grape-vines,
When her rival, the rejected,
Full of jealousy and hatred,
Cut the leafy swing asunder,
Cut in twain the twisted grape-vines,
And Nokomis fell affrighted
Downward through the evening twilight,
On the Muskoday, the meadow,
On the prairie full of blossoms.
"See! a star falls!" said the people;
"From the sky a star is falling!"
  There among the ferns and mosses,
There among the prairie lilies,
On the Muskoday, the meadow,
In the moonlight and the starlight,
Fair Nokomis bore a daughter.
Opening lines from Part III of  The Song of Hiawatha, Hiawatha's Childhood

My very first impression of Nokomis was that it was a less-refined take on Samsara. It opens with some aromatic greenery and a sharp jasmine that doesn't fully mask the full-bodied (and very very nice) creamy sandalwood base. It also reminded me several favorite florientals from the nineties, with its bold tuberose. I'm a sucker for this style, with or without a moon lady attached to it.

Nokomis won me over by being just sweet enough and satisfyingly rich. It has a peachy rose facet that leads the development beautifully from the attention-grabbing jasmine and tuberose to the smoothness of the musky sandalwood base. Nokomis is at its best worn under my clothes, where the warmth of skin allows it to bloom, spread and envelop me with its best features. It's sexy, romantic, and to me represents young femininity, probably because it's the kind of thing I used to wear most of the time in my early and mid-twenties. Most of all I wish I paid more attention back in the day and stocked up when Nokomis was a drugstore mainstay and not an eBay rarity.

*Once again I have to apologize for calling a 1997 perfume "vintage". It's not, but "discontinued and mostly forgotten outside of eBay" is less catchy.

Art: From the Full Moon Fell Nokomis by Illustrator Maria Louise Kirk, 1910

1 comment:

  1. Hmm. So maybe Coty was not actually completely killed off by its evil twin and in a soap opera worthy twist returned to create one more perfume worthy of its name. Haven't even sniffed this one, but am going to immediately go and get a bottle online. Sounds truly lovely.
    Your explanation about using the term "vintage" totally cracked me up. :-)


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