Sunday, December 19, 2010

Coty Nokomis Perfume, ready to wear or make your own?

Vintage Perfumistas on a budget needn't fall for the same tired old perfume snobbery. There are many fine vintage fragrances tucked in among the drugstore releases of yesterday. Coty is a case in point. Once a leader of classical French perfumery today Coty rules the shelves of CVS and Wal-Mart. Don't underestimate the modern drugstore variety Coty fragrances, either. There are hidden gems waiting to be discovered among the bargain bins.

Perfumes often became rare before word gets around about which ones are going to become future classics. But once people catch on prices quickly inflate.  A case in point is a cult favorite of Coty's: TRIBE. Released in 1991, it had the heart of a fine fragrance hidden under cheesy teen beat packaging and drugstore marketing. Today you'll only find it on Ebay commanding prices equal to what you'd pay for many
expensive new niche perfumes and then only if/when you can manage to win it in an auction.  

 NOKOMIS is yet another drugstore offering with some of that old Coty magic. Classified as a sharp oriental floral fragrance Nokomis has notes of jasmine, sandalwood, musk and vetiver. Named after a mythical Native American Moon Goddess, Nokomis was released in 1997. A decade later Nokomis has basically vanished from the retail market scene. Yet it gains fans over time rather than fading away. As a testament to its growing popularity of late, a number of hobbiest perfumers have published their own kitchen recipes for Nokomis. Excepting a few bottles that are available on Ebay, Nokomis is fast becoming scarce and growing highly collectible.

If you happen to find a bottle tucked into your Christmas stocking this year or if you already own Nokomis, count yourself lucky. But in case you left it off your list this year, here's a little Christmas bonus for you- that is, if you've ever thought about dabbling in perfumery yourself. Nokomis is a great perfume to try your hand at making for yourself. Why not whip a batch up, decant some into a few pretty little bottles, decorate your own labels and viola, you have your first batch of homemade vintage perfume (or potpourri) to give out for New Years, House Warming, Hostess gifts etc.

The notes for Nokomis are easily available and the results smell great even for beginners. You just need the following: for base notes musk, sandalwood and vetiver oils. As for middle heart notes, you will need a good jasmine. For top notes, use your choice of either bergamot and or lavender. But I might add a dab of rose or rose geranium too (or instead?), since I detect a hint of rose in Nokomis' opening. 

To make the recipe: add to 15 mls of 190 proof ethyl alcohol, 24 drops of each of your base note oils and adjust the resultant base mix by adding a drop or two of whichever base note your nose tells you to... Once you get the base adjusted just right, add to the blend 18 drops of the middle note (jasmine). To this base + middle concoction you will add your top notes. 

This is where the recipe leaves you some room to play since there are no specified top notes for Nokomis. You might need to try a few different top note blends side by side- lavender only, bergamot only, then maybe a mix of two or three top notes until you get something that smells right. You might want or add some of each of the top note blends to your base mix and work from those 'mods' to a final product. Blends often require some sitting time in order to meld so don't work too fast; let things stew a while before you adjust.

I personally love both the home-made and the original version of Nokomis although truthfully, I love the Coty version more. But that's only because they use such a good quality sandalwood and their jasmine is so delicious smelling. Give it a try and see if maybe Nokomis deserves to be part of your perfume collection, too.

The Vintage Perfume Vault, where the scent of yesterday's vogue lives.
perfume recipe from Melissa Jordan-Reilly
moon witch
Santa with Perfume from pennyprintables
Tribe ad from perfumepurist
Moon Goddess


Angela Cox said...

Thank-you for the recipe . I wish you Happy Christmas and a very fragrant 2011.

Amelia said...

Quite welcome. Thank you for the warm wishes and of course the same to you and yours:)