July 17, 2007

Bigelow Chemists, NYC

Bigelow's, in the West Village on Sixth Avenue near Eighth Street claims to be the oldest continually operating drug store/apothecary in the U.S., and it's well worth a visit for anyone who loves to get involved with considering their options as to personal care products, in the same way that others might plunge into a series of good mystery novels or get lost in the characters of a long running well acted movie franchise. There are a number of wonderful drug stores in NYC, which are more like boutiques that also fill prescriptions; I am thinking of Zitomer uptown and others such as Concord Chemists midtown, and New London in Chelsea, to name the most well known. But Bigelow's is very special because their landmark building and interior (1838) with its well polished thick glass counters and dark wood cabinetry keeps an early Victorian feel operating subliminally while you get lost in their well edited yet wide ranging selection of cosmetics, gifts, fragrances, bath and hair grooming products. Their private label includes hair, body and bath products, men's shaving cremes, essential, perfume and carrier oils, all of high quality ingredients, and still comparatively well priced. This summer they are emphasizing lemon and mint (aka mentha, in their labeling) which are thoughtfully refreshing choices for helping us deal with the hot and humid city streets outside their deeply air-conditioned oasis. They carry many new and traditional fragrances from i Profumi de Firenze, Carthusia, Tocca, Mistral, Miller Harris, Jo Wood, Diptyque and many others, and it is a pleasure to review all the imaginative and beautiful packaging, to browse the elaborate hair ornaments, costume jewelry and all kinds of special compacts and makeup bags, scented candles, aromatherapy, bath and home fragrance products. They also have a range of Kneipp, Foucaud, Dr. Hauschka, Weleda, Valobra and Mustela, and a range of homeopathic remedies and interesting toothpastes (Marvis Jasmine Mint) varieties of pastilles and lozenges for the vocal cords of the singers among us. I noticed with interest that they carry Bumble and Bumble's aerosol hair powder in various colors, white, black, brown and red. I have yet to see many using hair powder but recently saw a woman who used pale kaolin clay powder in that manner, who then sculpted her long hair into an elaborate but casual up swept style that voluminously framed her pale face, so I am wondering if a return to certain 18th century hair aesthetics is about to seen again. Beauty patches are also sometimes available. Bigelows carries a selective range of all the best of the basics too, and still fill prescriptions with the kind of personal and unhurried individual attention not to be had at a chain drugstore.
Here are about 26 positive reviews from the locals, and a link to Bigelow's online site, with an partial selection of what they actually have in the store...
Above photo by Brian Dube, NYDP


Vetivresse said...

Lucy, I always check out Bigelow's when I make my weekly visit to Aedes des Venustas on Christopher Street. Great store and great blog. Check mine out at Vetivresse.com. Cheers!

chayaruchama said...

Hello, L !
I love the Copley Sq. one, though it lacks the original's quirky retro charm.
The sweet young things seem to enjoy my demented raving perfume 'tutorials', as we discuss all the various merits of their wares.
Sniff, sniff !

Please say I'll see you in October...

Lucy said...

It's great that you are so generous with your knowledge. It takes a lot to get that kind of background and overview.

I do plan on October, that will be fun, looking forward to it...

Noteworthy Fragrances said...

I loved your review on Bigelow's. It sounds like the perfect place to day dream and 'window shop' for so many unique products. I recently tried Jo Wood's line and love it, love it!

Great blog!

Fragrant best wishes,

Elena said...


Sorry this isn't a comment, but I couldn't find where to contact you. This is actually a new product launch alert from the luxury perfume house, Bond No. 9...

I am pleased to announce the launch of our 2 newest fragrances... Saks Fifth Avenue For Her and Saks Fifth Avenue for Him.

Please contact me at contactus@bondno9.com should you be interested in receiving samples and/or additional information.

Thanks; I look forward to hearing your thoughts!

With best regards,
Eléna Cattafi
eCommerce Marketing Manager

Enclosure: Press Release...

When New York’s Iconic Luxury Specialty Store Meets Luxury New York Perfumer,

the Results are Bond No. 9’s Saks Fifth Avenue for Him...

and Saks Fifth Avenue for Her—Firsts in the New Genre of Retail Eaux de Parfum

(Launch date: September 1st 2007)

Saks Fifth Avenue and Bond No. 9 jointly announce the debut of Saks Fifth Avenue for Him, along with its partner scent, Saks Fifth Avenue for Her. This is the first time a specialty store has ever commissioned a perfumery to design scents, marking the start of a bold new direction in upscale retailing and a new genre in luxury fragrances.

It is fitting that Saks, which for years has defined New York retail elegance, turned to Bond No. 9, the highly praised creator of artisanal New York neighborhood scents, to develop two fragrances that treat Saks, the iconic destination store located in the heart of Fifth Avenue, as an ultra-sophisticated neighborhood unto itself—one that has long played a role in defining the world’s most sophisticated super-city.

Deborah Walters, Senior Vice President and General Merchandise Manager, Cosmetics and Fragrances, Saks Fifth Avenue said, “Saks Fifth Avenue is excited to be collaborating with Bond No. 9 on Saks Fifth Avenue for Him and Saks Fifth Avenue for Her. This will allow our customer across the country to experience the quintessential Saks Fifth Avenue scent. Everyone here at Saks is thrilled to be a part of such a unique fragrance collection of New York neighborhoods and feel it is such an honor to have two scents dedicated to our New York flagship.”

Saks Fifth Avenue for Her signals the return of the classic gardenia eau de parfum, given a chic contemporary twist with the addition of sparkling jasmine and vetiver, along with smooth vanilla. This all-white bouquet captures the fashion-forward essence of 21st century Saks, while at the same time expressing the eclectic downtown spirit of NoHo-based Bond No. 9.

Saks Fifth Avenue for Him is an elegant aqua scent, containing an initial dash of Sicilian bergamot for coolness, followed by cardamom, amber, and cedarwood for warmth. What gives this eau de parfum its metro-modernity is the addition of notes that are new to luxury perfumes: a marine accord … fiery chilis … seductive incense … soothing guaiac wood from South America. This blend of classic and contemporary reflect the eclectic downtown spirit and style of NoHo-based Bond No. 9.

The flacon design displays the retailer’s vibrant new white-on-black logo--one of many examples of Saks turning to its venerable past in order to energize its future. As depicted on everything from shopping bags to the store’s Fifth Avenue awnings, the pattern consists of quadrants containing refined, deconstructed, and then reconstructed versions of the signature stacked-script Saks logo that held sway from 1973-1997. The letters now serve as design elements containing Saks’ “DNA” motif. (Visible, for instance, on the front of the Bond No. 9 flacon are parts of the “n” and “A” from “Avenue.”). The slender bottle is the Bond No. 9 superstar flacon, its circular centerpiece logo inscribed with both SAKS FIFTH AVENUE and BOND NO. 9.

Terron Schaefer, Group Senior Vice President, Creative and Marketing, Saks Fifth Avenue said, “Our Saks Fifth Avenue DNA is the essential element of our unique identity. The DNA found on Bond No. 9 Saks for Him and Saks for Her bottle reflects both the logo and the brand. Like Saks Fifth Avenue’s expertly edited merchandise, every square of the DNA is an integral piece of the brand. As a historical retailer located on Fifth Avenue, Saks Fifth Avenue is thrilled that Bond No. 9’s Saks for Him and Saks for Her will become part of our heritage as the first scent ever created for the company.”

Arriving on counter on September 1st 2007, Saks Fifth Avenue for Her and Saks Fifth Avenue For Him will be sold exclusively at Saks Fifth Avenue stores nationwide and at Bond No. 9’s four New York boutiques. Price: 3.4 oz, $185, 1.7 oz, $125.