At the end of summer you notice the days becoming shorter, one morning there’s a chill in the air that wasn’t there before, the sky is clearer and is a deeper shade of blue which seems further away. But somehow the changing of seasons doesn’t announce the autumn itself. One day you just notice that you’ve put on the central heating, you wonder where you put your favourite jumper, or the yellow hat that you wore all of last year and you start craving chocolate again.
We perfume lovers have perhaps already retired the summer scents to the back of the cupboard and taken the autumnal orientals into rotation. But there are also the ones you didn’t have before and can now test for the first time in their perfect environment. It just so happens that I have two indie chocolate perfumes in this category, and today I’ll write about these two calorie-free delicacies.
EnVoyage perfumes’ Café Cacao starts of powdery dry and dark like being in an old spices shop full of spice jars and with cacao and coffee being weighed on old-fashioned scales. Some would say it’s salty, but what I get is just anti-saccharine, as in cacao powder drizzled with sugar rose petals on top. Now and again I get a faint whiff of something mocha-like, but as a coffee addict, I must say I don’t get an actual coffee note, more like a faint flavour to add gravitas to the chocolate. I can almost visualise the process of drying pods and beans, grounding them, turning them to powder. There is sweetness; like the sugared rose in the beginning, a tiny bit of cream in a hot chocolate or a sweet musky amber towards the end, but what I like is how all the gourmand facets, somehow manage to stay sober, there’s no Starbucks or Snickers association, this is all very tasteful (excuse the pun) perhaps with no little thanks to the real ambergris used.
Chocolat irisé by Annette Neuffer Duftmanufaktur on the other hand, starts possibly juicy by comparison. It opens on a dark chocolate orange flavour note, and if Café Cacao felt more powdery dry, the opening of Chocolat Irisé is like a baroque still life of melting orange chocolate dripping from a cacao jar. The citrus notes are quite decadent, neither tart nor candy-coated, but like rubbing tangerine peel between your fingers. However, it isn’t an actual ‘gourmand’; iris butter and a floral heart of orange flower and a tiny hint of rose keep Chocolat Irisé a very grown up guilty pleasure. Orange flower and vanilla add a touch of sweetness in the heart while the chocolate and iris keep going back and forth vying for attention. The dry-down sees a gorgeous sandalwood take over the role of the orange flower, adding that delicate touch of liquid sweetness to the dark cacao and iris.
Here are two wildly different chocolate centred perfumes created without regard for any research groups or fashionable notes. However, they have some common ground too; each has excellent longevity, I get 12+hours from them, and with that they also have a rather wonderful slow development. At several points I wondered if they were in fact linear, only to find that hours later a new facet had arrived. I admire how both manage to be adult chocolate sins rather than gourmie-teenage-sugar-bomb with glitter on top, and last but not least they both ‘bloom’ in the autumn.
Feature pic is mine, ‘Rosalie’s spice shop’ from Grimms, Zurbaran still life. EnVoyage sample send to me by the perfumer and Duftmanufaktur sample purchased by me.