Guess what impresses me most about Yves Saint Laurent’s Nu? The bottle – wait, not the space age silver cylindrical box that belongs to the Men In Black movie, but the surface of the chrome box – it leaves no fingerprints. How crazy is that? Nowadays you have to pay more for kitchen appliances with no-fingerprint chrome surfaces, but Nu, a perfume released in 2001 is already doing that. Well thoughout little details, kudos to the packaging design team.
To me the name “Nu” suggests something new and radical; to a certain degree, the perfume does smell quite unconventional in 2001. (It smells like a niche perfume now.) Nu is a mildly creamy and sweet, cardamom-heavy, woody and incensey perfume that’s warm and slightly exotic. It wakes me up because the spice is quite strong, and that’s the ironic part. Rather than smelling cold and android, it uses some of the oldest perfumery ingredients (cardamon, incense, jasmine) to create a supposedly space age perfume to be worn by women in cool shades. Instead, it should be a candidate for a Opium flanker. The confusion is like slicing a spring roll diagonally in the middle and plate it vertically and call it an Asian Fusion dish.
As a perfume collector, I bought the vintage version of Nu because of the packaging. I became aware of it when a sales lady from the perfume shop that I visit all the time showed me the EDT version of Nu, which came in a simple blue bottle. (Mine is the EDP.) The scent didn’t leave a strong impression and neither did the bottle. She told me that she wished she could show me the sold-out first version (the one I have now) because it was so cool. A few months later I read about Nu in Roja Dove’s book “The Essence of Perfumes”, which has a big section dedicated to the most notable perfumes and bottles. Then one day, to my surprise, I saw a brand new bottle in a perfume shop that I rarely go to. The quasi-clueless owner sold it to me for an excellent price and the EDP version was definitely stronger and memorable than the EDT version the other shop had shown me.