Nina Ricci: L’Air du Temps

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When I first tried Nina Ricci L’Air du Temps in 1991, I was 21 and thought it an innocuous and pretty light floral.  Revisiting it in 2013, aged 43 (but I look younger, we decided *cough*), I realised that my first impression was way off the mark.  This is a floral with a bit of bite. This one is all about the  warmth. The flowers are just the picture frame.

 L’Air du Temps was created in 1948 and the classic bottle represents the dove of peace: a poignant symbol in post war Europe.  The fragrance itself is a complex mix of light and shadow.  The light comes from Rose, Bergamot and Violet: made airy and floaty with a light hand. The shadow comes from spicy warm Amber, raspy Vetiver, Benzoin and deep, dark Cloves. In other words, just when you think you’ve got it sussed, it changes into something different.

lair du temps adThe balance of the two results in a fragrance of genius.  It is light enough to be as delicate as a cloud, yet the base that remains makes it smoky, warm and rich.  When I tried it yesterday the most prominent note was Amber. It was there from beginning to end.  However, this is no rich Oriental: all warm and cosy.  This is almost a sleight of hand.  All those light, pretty florals promise one thing and then they fade into that classy and gently spiced finish that seems to say “there’s more to me than meets the eye.”

This is a classic scent that everyone should have in their collection.  I understand there have been reformulations across the decades, but I cannot speak for them unless I have smelled them.  It is also interesting, that I can’t for the life of me, name a scent that it resembles. (Fragrantica readers say Prince Matchabelli Wind Song, but I would have to have smelled that in order to agree).

For a flawless classic, this is a great price, starting  at around 15GBP.  I’ve run out again, but will be putting that right very soon.

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5 thoughts on “Nina Ricci: L’Air du Temps”

  1. Hi Sam, this is one of oldest favourites, glad you like it too. It seemed very grown up to me in my late teens and early 20’s, I felt very sophisticated, even though I dressed like a tramp,( homeless not slutty) .x

    1. Hello Lynette, Thank you for dropping by! It made me laugh that you said you dressed like a tramp. You should have seen me in the 80s! But do you know what Lynette? I bet we smelled incredible.

  2. Enjoyed this review. I remember trying L’Air du Temps back in the early 80s and deciding it wasn’t for me. Recently acquired, at a thrift store, a spray EDT in a white canister embossed with doves. Don’t know the vintage, but I’m really enjoying it this time. I agree with you that it’s different from anything else.

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