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What's NOU? Two Very Different Things, Apparently

What's NOU? Two Very Different Things, Apparently

For half my life, the letters NOU have stood for one thing: Nation of Ulysses. The Washington DC band fused fashion and punk and politics and theater in an inimitable way, earning singer Ian Svenonius the title of "Sassiest Boy in America" from Sassy magazine before the band even released its first record. But now there's a new NOU in town, and it's also somewhat musical.

The fragrance NOU is inspired by Alma Mahler-Werfel, the wife of composer Gustav Mahler. A composer in her own right, she used to give parties during which the women secretly went commando. Fast-forward to today, when NOU stands for "no underwear," and promises to give you a similar boost of sexytimes confidence.

OK, so the story (and the website) is gimmicky, but there's more substance to the story. NOU was created by perfumer Claude Dir, who has also worked on scents such as Britney Spears Curious, Bobbi Brown Beach, and Marc Jacobs. If you're tired of Bubbilicious-style fruity florals, NOU is worth a sniff; it's definitely a woman's scent rather than a girl's, sophisticated but far from matronly. Its notes include verbena, ginger, cinnamon, pink rose, iris root, vanilla orchid, and mandarin zest. The cinnamon stands out, tempering the florals and giving them a slightly earthy appeal. (Think flowers growing in the wild, not an arranged bouquet from FTD.) If you can look past the underpants issue, you'll find a sultry scent worth checking out. (A $4.50 sample is available.)

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