It’s hard to find something to say about Aedes de Venustas that hasn’t been said many times before. Ever since this West Village business opened in 1995, it has been the subject of countless glowing reviews that heap praise upon its merchandise, its décor, its customer service, its discerning clientele, and its indefinable mystique. The thing is, Aedes actually deserves all the accolades it has received over the years. Its selection of high-quality fragrances includes full lines (Serge Lutens, Etro, Diptyque) and one-offs (such as Shalini or the signature scent of the Hotel Costes), as well as brands that you won’t find anywhere else in New York (Amouage). Its extensive assortment of home fragrance and scented body-care features products that have gained places in the “cult favorite” hall of fame: Claus Porto soaps, Agraria potpourri, Mariage Frères candles.
The boutique’s décor is detailed and lavish: antique glass-front cabinets, chandeliers, Victorian sofas, and a stuffed peacock or two. All year long, the space is punctuated with vases of fresh flowers chosen and arranged by the store’s owners. Speaking of the owners, they (and their small, experienced staff) have mastered a low-key but highly informed sales approach that allows shoppers either to browse without pressure or to make a satisfying choice. The clientele includes, yes, famous actresses and luminaries of the fashion world, but it does not exclude the average, anonymous fragrance-obsessive visitor. Overall, Aedes grants the ineffable sensation that you have been admitted into a place unlike any other, a world unto itself where you can indulge a somewhat obscure and rarefied pursuit in a sumptuous yet intimate setting. After all, its name translates as “Temple of Beauty.”
Fragrance brands: Agraria, Ambra di Venezia, Amouage, Annick Goutal, L'Artisan Parfumeur, Brandy, By Kilian, Carthusia, Costes, Côté Bastide, Creed, Diptyque, Eau d'Italie/Le Sireneuse, Escentric Molecules, Etro, Heeley, Hierbas de Ibiza, Hors Là Monde, Lalique, Lubin, Maison Francis Kurkdjian, Maître Parfumeur et Gantier, Mark Birley, Miller et Bertaux, Montale, Nelly Rodi, Nez à Nez, Odin, Paratus, Parfum d'Empire, Parfums Delrae, Les Parfums de Rosine, Penhaligon's, People of the Labyrinth, Pierre Frapin, Ritz Paris, Santa Maria Novella, Septimanie Perfumes, Serge Lutens, Shalini, Sylvie, The Different Company, Ulrich Lang New York, Yvona K.
Best seller: Aedes de Venustas Eau de Parfum
Not to be missed: The Aedes de Venustas eponymous house fragrance, a scent created exclusively for the boutique in collaboration with L’Artisan Parfumeur (available as Eau de Parfum, room spray, candles, and fragrance diffuser)
9 Christopher Street, New York, NY 10014, 212-206-8674, website. Update: store now moved to 7 Greenwich Avenue.
— report filed by Jessica M; images via Aedes de Venustas
See also: Perfume Shopping in New York City
Disclaimer: Aedes is currently an advertiser at Now Smell This.