Coffee Time – Sebastiane Espresso Royale and Reliquary Perfumes Café la Nuit

Only thing worse than your computer crashing once, is your computer crashing twice. And how about that second time being just after you’ve put the final dot in a post, and for reasons unknown the file has disappeared. Hours I spent in vain because I refused to believe that it had not been saved somewhere in the depth of the hard disc, but alas! Rant over, and many, many espressos later I’m trying to recreate my coffee post.

I was encouraged by a fellow perfumista and several online reviews that Sebastiane’s Espresso Royal would be worth a try in my ‘search for the perfect’ coffee perfume (to quote Undina).

Espresso Royale does what it says: it smells of coffee. It is an espresso with hazelnut praline. Its hazelnut sweetness reminds me of Italian Gianduja and goes down perfectly with a good espresso. I would say that the sweetness to coffee ratio is 50/50, but thankfully it never feels like a Tall Hazelnut Latte. The espresso stands its ground with a dark roasted bean even when the hazelnut gets a little help from caramel and tonka bean. The perfume feels quite linear to me, but as it evaporates I start getting a mere hint of cinnamon and butter, as if the praline had been exchanged for a Belgian speculaas. The dry down is coffee grounds, but the sugar has been consumed and the overall feel is less foody, more just comfort-coffee. In case you were in doubt this is definitely a Gourmand perfume, and even if I absolutely love both hazelnut praline and espresso, for me personally perhaps Espresso Royale is a little too much so. However, if you are a gourmand perfume lover looking for a true coffee note, this one must be tested.

Notes; Whiskey, coffee, hazelnut, caramel, tonka bean.


The indie perfumer from Reliquary Perfumes wrote and asked me if I would like to sample a few of her fragrances, and one in particular was instantly of interest to me; Café la Nuit, inspired by the famous Van Gogh painting La Café la Nuit.

The coffee note in Café la Nuit is one of the most natural and authentic I’ve come across. There’s not even a hint of coffee aroma chemical which I’ve found in so many coffee perfumes (A*men coffee, New Harlem a.o). The opening is like dark chocolate and espresso with crisp sugar, and it reminds me of another favourite chocolate of mine ‘Pocket coffee’.pocket coffee 1

There is the merest hint of lavender to lift this perfume oil out of ‘straight-up-gourmie’ territory and into something which although dense still somehow feels like it has a little more ‘space’ than your typical chocolate-gourmand perfume. Later enters a lovely smoky note changing the feeling of the coffee from a tasty dark brewed liquid to the roasting of beans, of cafés and perhaps even a cigarette… This is dark chocolate and black coffee in various shapes and forms. The coffee not only stays as the heartbeat throughout the composition, but manages to change character, going from buoyant to pensive as the night falls at the Terrace Café.

Notes; orange, cinnamon, lavender, espresso, café au lait, cacao, spilt sugar, tonka bean, vanilla, smoke.

Now I better get this published before more posts are lost, perhaps I should reward myself with a coffee afterwards.

Both perfumes can easily be enjoyed together with this little number;

Natalie Cole ‘Coffee Time’

Coffee time
My dreamy friend, it’s coffee time
Let’s listen to some jazz and rhyme
And have a cup of coffee

Let me show
A little coffee house I know
Where all the new bohemians go
To have a cup of coffee

Greetin’ time
The music box is beatin’ time
It’s good old fashioned meetin’ time
So grab a chair and take me there
‘Cause that’s just the place I’m at

Coffee time
My dreamy friend, it’s coffee time
Let’s sing this silly little rhyme
And have a cup of coffee

Hey, greetin’ time
That music box is beatin’ time
It’s good old fashioned meetin’ time
So save me a chair, I’ll see you there
‘Cause that’s just the place that I’m at

Coffee time
My dreamy friend, it’s coffee time
Let’s sing this silly little rhyme
And have a cup of coffee

We’ll have a cup of coffee
Just a little bit of Java
Yeah, we’ll have a couple of joke
Don’t you know?
‘Cause it’s coffee time


I bought the Sebastiane sample, the Reliquary sample was given to me by the perfumer. Pocket coffees photo didn’t have credits. Feat pic is mine as are my opinions.

6 thoughts on “Coffee Time – Sebastiane Espresso Royale and Reliquary Perfumes Café la Nuit

  1. I’m so sorry about your computer woes. I would have refused to believe that finished post was lost forever too.

    As you probably know, I’m firmly in the tea camp but enjoyed your writing and illustration as always. Hunting for your perfect whatever is a lot of fun and these two sound like they made interesting and worthwhile testing.

    Espresso Martinis were rather popular on a recent night out, I noticed 🙂

    • Thank you for your understanding, truly much appreciated.
      I know that coffee perfumes and espresso martinis are not your thing, so that’s for reading along non the less 🙂 I have actually never tried an espresso martini, so now I even know my order when we finally hit the town together 😉

  2. Like Tara, I am also firmly in the tea camp, though I have been enjoying the swirly patterns on a friend’s cappuccino lately. That may be as far as I get with that particular beverage. I can certainly relate to your computer woes, having lost posts in the days before Blogger did its online saving thing. And I lost my computer altogether recently, though thankfully not while composing a blog post.

    So yes, I am very glad you were able to reconstruct this review from memory – it is amazing how much is retained by the brain in such circumstances – for a short while at least…

    • Yes, you are both tea-total so to speak 😉 I saved that one just for you.
      To be honest I only remembered bits and pieces, and of course I should just have written directly here in WordPress and it wouldn’t have happened, but it’s an old habit of mine to have everything in word documents first. Old habits die hard.
      I just read that apparently tigers have the most amazing short term memory, 30 times that of humans. And to keep within the topic of scent: allegedly their urine smells of popcorn.

  3. Problems with computers are such a hassle! Sorry, I didn’t read this post earlier: I saw the title and decided I had to finish my post before reading whatever you wrote on the topic – not to distract myself or influence what I was writing 🙂 Now, when I’m done, I’m here and what I see? It seems like the coffee theme isn’t one of the Perfumeland’s favorite topics.

    I am not sure if I am still looking for a coffee scent but I will give any of these two a try if I ever come across them. What I really want to try (and I think I found where I can buy it here) – is ‘Pocket coffee’ chocolates 🙂

    P.S. Are you using MS Word? If yes, you should find how to turn on the auto-back-up feature.

    • I completely understand, and how fun we should be working on this theme at the same time. I did in fact try to reply immediately to your post (when it got up), but my Ipad wouldn’t have it, so now I’m answering here first.
      Ha, no, perhaps we are the two odd-ones out, the coffee-perfumistas 😉 You must try Pocket Coffee, they are the best! As for the two perfumes I mention, they are probably too sweet for you, and one of course is also an oil… I suppose the combination of being a picky perfumista and a coffee-snob (the coffee-snob is on me), doesn’t make it any easier to find the right coffee perfume! I did like Black Vetiver Cafe, and have been looking on-off for a not crazy expensive bottle, but having read your post, I think I’ll leave it, turned perfumes are too sad.
      Thanks for the tip on auto-back up. Indeed I had that, but just had to install new Words so that’s why it went so wrong.

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