Tag Archives: Nooka


Britt Hovde Ross and Elisabeth Steen, two Norwegian expatriates living in New York, collaborated on Kristiansand New York after meeting each other at a SoHo store opening. Both were fragrance enthusiasts, and Steen had experience in fragrance and cosmetics marketing. The two women decided to create a men’s scent, and approached Drom Fragrances.

Drom perfumer Pierre-Constantin Gueros, who also created watch company Nooka’s recent fragrance (reviewed by Barney here), was asked to create a scent for men that embodied both Norwegian coastal beauty and New York sophistication. The scent is named for Ross’s home town, Kristiansand, which is on the southern coast of Norway.

Does Kristiansand New York smell anything like urban sophistication and Scandinavian nature? I don’t know. As easy as it is to write about this inspirational imagery, it doesn’t really tell us anything about the scent. That said, I was predisposed by my Norwegian ancestry and New York residence to like this fragrance. Imagine my surprise when, upon first scent, I did not.

I tested it on a tissue, spraying it liberally. The top notes were strangely indistinct, with no single note dominating. It was a muddled, generic scent, something that just smelled “safe.” I went back to it after it dried down and was still unimpressed. Some critics compare it to Dolce & Gabbana Pour Homme, another woody fragrance with mandarin top notes. Why, I thought to myself, would an upstart fragrance be so bland? Wouldn’t you want to stand out?

The next morning I decided to give it a fair chance and sprayed it on my skin. Good thing I did. The top notes—which the company describes as “crisp greens, mandarin and exotic spices”—were still muddy to me, but the dry down, which started after about 15 minutes, is quite nice. The fragrance becomes a warm, slightly woody, slightly powdery amber. And it has staying power. Although the bottle says “eau de cologne,” Kristiansand’s publicist tells me that it’s a 15% concentration, making it closer to an eau de parfum (typically 15-20% oil concentration).

I like this fragrance, and I’m not sure what it was that turned me off initially. It’s worth the wait for the smooth, masculine basenotes.

Kristiansand New York ($65 for 50 ml) is sold in stores across Norway (including the town of Kristiansand, of course), in New York City’s Cry Wolf and at Beverly Hills Perfumery in California. Buy online at www.kristiansandnewyork.com.
–Harry Sheff



Meet Matthew Waldman


When I was on my way to meet with Matt, I was nervous. I was about to interview the cat behind nooka. Dude oozes cool, is featured on all the “cool” blogs and here I was about to sit and chat with the cat. Well, an ease came over me when he greeted me in a regular ole white t-shirt and jeans. His office was filled with so many toys. I just wanted to reach out and grab a few. While we chatted, I sat on a swiss ball. I’ll admit now, my lower back started to hurt after awhile but I couldn’t let on.

Matt is passionate about design. He’s smart, funny but he really is a cool. He’s a big communicator as well. But it’s his non-verbal communication that speaks volumes. It reinforces his philosophy seamlessly.

It was refreshing to watch his matrix unfold as we kicked it. I could have spoken with him for at least another hour but the time we shared was well spent. Here is a snippet from our conversation.
While Nooka is known for its watches, what made you venture info fragrance?
Up until the fragrance, nooka was perceived as a watch company, which is understandable, since that’s the easiest way to describe the first product line. But to me and people who understand the brand, nooka has always been about universal language, communication and futurism. I wanted to create something that expressed my ideals, and fragrance really struck a cord – sure you can read the romance copy about a scent, but at the end of the day, it communicates to the user and environment without words – perfectly “nooka“.

Explain your belief that scent is the universal language of the future?
Well, it is a universal language at least on our planet for all living things large and small and will certainly be so in the future. I feel that with convergence, we will need fewer and fewer physical objects [for example, the iPhone eliminated the need for me to carry a laptop and a mp3 player]. This doesn’t mean humans will have a lessening desire to acquire new things. I see a focus on fashion and fragrance returning in a big way because of these trends.

Some brands either categorize their scents for men, women or label them unisex. Who is The Future Distilled catered to?
Well, I hate the word “unisex.” There is no “unisex” with people. We are not worms. We are men, or we are women. It is not my job to tell anyone I haven’t met what they should experience as “masculine” or “feminine.” therefore, it is for men if you are male, and it is for women if you are female.

Give us a little insight into the bottles design.
Glam-future! Man-made satellites, giant gemstones, chrome coated surfaces, shiny shimmering mystery!

What fragrances are you personally wearing these days?
nooka all the time now. I really love it. Sometimes Prada Infusion d’Iris

How often do you go out looking for something new? What specifically do you look for?
To me, something new is not limited to shopping. For example, I noticed recently that I rely too much on my right leg when bicycling, so as of yesterday I decided to make an effort to push off with and leave my left foot in the stirrup. It’s a body memory action, so very hard to change, but challenging myself to change small things somehow makes my mind sharper and has a halo-effect on other things. Does that make any sense?

Have you ever purchased the same fragrance more than once? If so, what was it and what about it made it worthy of a repeat buy?
Oh yes: eau de correges! It reminds me of being at summer beaches AND cut grass in a park all blended together.

How would you finish this statement? “My most memorable fragrant moment would be…?
The first things that come to mind are too dirty to print, but consistently, I love the way the city smells when I’m riding my bicycle in the rain.

What’s next for nooka?
We are adding to our accessory lines, just launched a cool belt called the nooka strip and a wallet called the nooka asset organizer, and more to come next year. I’m building what I like to call a mindstyle™ brand!

We are not worms…I couldn’t have said it any better Matt. Thanks for the time and the great scent.


The Future Distilled by Nooka

So much more than watches…


About a week and a half ago I was on Twitter when something led me to the page of @nooka. While there I read the following post, “i was just interviewed by matt evans of WWD on my fragrance! lot’s of questions and i hope great answers #nooka #beauty #fragrance. My mind immediately started racing. Could it be that the company I knew for the funky, futuristic watches has now ventured into fragrances?? I sat there and pondered sending an inquiry tweet. As a publicist, we get rejected often. It could be in the form of unreturned emails, phone calls…you name it and we’ve probably experienced it. I did not want to experience that via twitter too but I said what the hell and wrote “@Nooka I’d love to learn more about your new scent. DM me. To my surprise Matthew Waldman, the Chief Creative Officer, President of Nooka Inc responded. We exchanged a few emails and Matt offered me an opportunity to come up to his office for a chat. He also let me know that new scent was available at Den if I wanted to test it.

I had absolutely no expectations before I made it over to Den. All the write-ups/reviews were great but for some reason, my mind was completely open. When I made it to the store, I admired the watches for a bit and then made my way over to Nooka’s new scent, The Future Distilled. I sprtized on a bit and my thought to myself, it’s powdery and a bit metallic. I was digging it so much that I couldn’t take my hand away from my nose. I’m pretty sure the sales attendants thought my actions were peculiar so I asked a few questions so I wouldn’t look too strange. This scent was really grabbing me. Its metallic opening matched the bottles design, the watches and the stores decor…lots being communicated all at once. But the powder softened it nicely. I liked the juxtaposition. Here’s the kicker though, as the scent settled into my skin, I wasn’t picking up any woody notes that usually make up the bottom layer scents catering to men. Which led me to ask myself is it a scent for men or women?

The Future Distilled, which debuts as an eau de parfum for $80, was conceptualized and guided by Matthew Waldman. The olfactive chemistry was developed by renowned perfumer Pierre Constantin Gueros. What I appreciate about this scent is the ease at which it wears. Its not overly perfumey and nestles itself into the skin for an added layer of refinement. It’s sexy without being spicy or florally. It communicates confidence because it’s not a run of the mill scent. Matt could have gone a bit more safe for his first foray into fragrance but he didn’t. He’s passionate about fragrances and it shows. The bottles design and the synergy of scents used all tie back to his views on design and universal language. The bottom line here, The Future Distilled is an awesome scent I’ll be adding to my rotation.

Tomorrow, my interview with Matt.

The Future Distilled by Nooka is available via their website or at Den

330 E. 11th Street
New York, NY 10003
Monday – Saturday: 12 p.m. – 9 p.m.
Sunday: 12 p.m. – 8 p.m.