Hug in a Mug – Intoxicated By Kilian, 04°N 74°W Richard Lüscher Britos, Asmar SoOud

I do love my coffee, and actually can’t properly function without it in the morning. I take my coffee black, strong but not bitter and steaming hot, and one of my favourite smells is that of freshly roasted coffee beans, freshly ground.

With intervals I keep looking for something which has this particular note, and after another decaf of a perfume that I had high hopes for, I thought I would sum up three of my most recent coffee-note efforts.DSC03046kopi

Intoxicated by Kilian (perfumer Calice Becker) had me hoping big time; the notes looked promising; cardamom, mocha coffee, cinnamon, tobacco, vanilla, patchouli. Everywhere I looked the reviews talked of warmth and comfort, Patty of the Posse even of ‘comfort-heaven’. All descriptions had me hoping for a warm, dark brew minus the caramel praline latte but plus an enveloping, fireplace- perfumy feel. What I smell is a very fresh green cardamom, almost herbal, making me instantly think of male colognes. I get that it’s the Turkish Coffee that the perfumer tries to similate, and does it well, and yet, for me, the coffee-note here is more like the not yet roasted beans; I never get that dark brown glowy smell. Intoxicated dries down a little smoother and a smidgen sweeter, but all the lovely spices and particularly the cardamom, leaves me rather cold. I suppose I just don’t ‘get’ when typically warm spices should give off an astringent aroma. This one is not for me, but I can see how it might wear well on a man, if he likes his spices cool and non-committal.

04°N 74°W– is a natural perfume by Richard Lüscher Britos (perfumer Jean-Claude Richard). My sample of this has been lying around for a while, as the first ones I tried from the line were natural in that ‘whole food eco store henna, patchouli and batik dye a la 1975’-style, so not exactly my cup of (herbal-) tea, and with those names it really wasn’t easy to remember which I had tried and which not.

Nicolas Lancret: A Lady and Gentleman Taking Coffee with Children in a Garden

Nicolas Lancret: A Lady and Gentleman Taking Coffee with Children in a Garden

However, 04°N 74°W is a very pleasant surprise; it’s a soft white floral with a good, true black coffee note, a really unexpected mix which works surprisingly well. A velvety gardenia* opens 04°N 74°W and its –in this case soft-mushroom note ties in nicely with a note of elusive arabia coffee. At first application, I noticed the beautiful coffee aroma instantly, at other times it has been playing hide and seek, perhaps just adding at bit of flavour to the overall composition. Little by little the creaminess of the ylang ylang and the sweetness of what feels like hyacinth sets in. This floral sweetness merges into a mellow and discreet vanilla and what smell like a little sandalwood, though this is not mentioned in the notes. I imagine taking a coffee on the balcony a sunny spring morning, with the flowers blooming all around from pots and nearby gardens. It manages to be both a ‘real’ perfumy perfume AND have a coffee note, even if it’s not a coffee fragrance as such. The more I wear this perfume, the more I enjoy it.

Asmar from SoOud (perfumer Stéphane Humbert Lucas); I wanted to smell Asmar for a while, as I do love Ouris from the same brand and I find a few others really interesting, Fam being a Rose-Oud that I actually enjoy wearing. Taking their inspiration from the Middle Eastern perfumery, the French brand bears the subtitle ‘le pont entre l’orient et l’occident’ (the bridge between East and West), and Asmar really is a tasty trip to the bazaar.

In essence Asmar is more of a honey than a coffee fragrance, and it sets camp somewhere between Oriental and Gourmand territory. The opening is a dusty cacao followed by a very intense honey note. It’s made in a refined way, light and heavy at the same time, like the crispy light phillo pastry to the hefty sweet nutty filling of a honey Baklava. And as if you had just picked this delicacy up in a souk, a fan of smells open up as hints of coffee are sensed from a weave of amber and tobacco. It dries down to a gorgeous warm musk, and here it might be in order to re-use the phrase ‘comfort heaven’, something for long, cold winter nights.

As the saying goes; Everybody should believe in something. I believe I’ll have another coffee.

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*Yes, I’m aware that neither gardenia nor hyacinth can be distilled naturally, but those are the notes mentioned, the ones that the perfumes has tried to recreate.

**My explorations so far have taken me through; Jo Malone Black Vetyver Coffee, Nez a Nez Atelier Artiste (of which I own a bottle), Bond no9 New Haarlem, Histoires de Parfums Veni, Paul Kiler Café Diem, and I feel probably others too that I might have forgotten just now. I would be happy for any suggestions you might have.

Samples of Asmar eau fine and Intoxicated bought from Luckyscent and 04N 74W send to me from a kind perfumista.

Pics mine, apart from Lancret of course 🙂

14 thoughts on “Hug in a Mug – Intoxicated By Kilian, 04°N 74°W Richard Lüscher Britos, Asmar SoOud

  1. Hi Asali!

    I’ve never tried a coffee scent, but I do taste love the smell of coffee so perhaps I should. Both the Richard and the SoOud sound lovely, although I fear my skin heavily amps honey and that one may end up a bit too sweet for my tastes. The notes for the By Kilian do look so good, what a shame that it proved lackluster. 🙁 Thanks for highlighting these for us Asali!

    • Thank you, Sun Mi.
      In that case propbably Asmar will be too much honey for you, but looking to your avatar, perhaps you should explore this note more 😀
      Lackluster is the right work… I normally do my best to just describe scents, so people can make up their own minds, and then not write about things that really bore me or that I can’t find anything so say about, but this one is not as bad as that just not at all like most reviews I read, so I felt it would be right to give my two cents.

      • Dear Asali – I appreciate this comment. Being new to perfume world and I’ve been blogging to help me keep track of my experiences with different perfumes (NOT because I’m a fabulous writer and have tons of great insight, haha). I figure over time it will help me learn about what I really like/dislike and see how my tastes change. But there’s definitely some perfumes where I really just have nothing to say. I may really like them, or really dislike them, but when it comes to quantifying those experiences with words, I come up short. I’m glad that this happens to other more experienced perfumistas/bloggers too!

        And rereading your review – I should really try the 04°N 74°W! mmm, white flowers and coffee…

        • Dear Sun Mi, that’s a great way to start. And I hope you don’t worry about the great writer or not-bit, because we just do this for fun, right? I try to describe things as well as I can, so that anyone can work out for themselves if they might like something or not. Which is why I don’t want to write about things that I find bad, others might like those perfumes and do them better justice.
          You know I like 04°N 74°W more and more, and I would advice giving it time. The first time I tried it I thought it had disappeared after an hour, the next time it was present for at least 10!

  2. Uh, coffee is one perfume note I wouldn’t mind smelling more in my perfume. I have no suggestions for you though, I love New Harleem and don’t mind having that as my coffee perfume. 🙂

    • Yes, as you know NH is a bit too articificially caramel latte like for me, I’m looking more for that freshing ground coffee smell! The more I write on this theme, the more I do feel that I’m a tough customer 😉 Oh, and you might like intoxicated, it’s a Turkish coffee green cardamom rendition…

  3. Really interested to get your take on Intoxicated as I sent B a review of it recently. I’m not a coffee drinker so not well qualified but I thought it might appeal to coffee lovers who like it sweet because – unlike you – I got loads of vanilla. That collection is aimed at men though so your take seems more fitting. Val found it horrendous so it may be quite a changeling.

    A lot of perfume people seem to like Milano Caffe if you haven’t tried that one.

    Lovely main pic. A self-portrait?

    • I shall be looking forward to that Tara. Strange, to make sure it wasn’t just my skin I even tested it on friends too. I’m sure you’re right quite a changeling 🙂 I haven’t tried Milano Caffe, and I know there are a few indies out there as well, I try to come by them little by little, thanks for the suggestion. And it isn’t a self portrait. I had spend a long time on making the photos get the right feel about them but without success, so I got mad and did a sketch in 5 minutes or so 😀 it had more of the right feel (including coffee stains) than the photos, even if I’ll never be satisfied myself. And thank you.

  4. I’ve been working on a coffee-centric perfumes post for a while now just for that reason: I seems not to be able to find anything that actually smells how I imagine a coffee note in perfume should smell. Intoxicated was nice – but not for the price. Even though it was smoother than A*Man, for the difference in price I might still consider the latter if I feel an urge to wear that type of a scent.

    Nice picture (love the stains 🙂 ). You should probably update the copyright year on the bottom of your blog (and I should do the same 😉 ).

    • Yes, THANK you Undina, it’s done now 🙂
      And as always you put it so to the point ‘how I imagine a coffee note in perfume should smell’- that’s it exactly! And I suppose it’s silly to assume that every perfumer ought to know what you or I think is the coffee smell that we want captured. Anyway, I shall very much be looking forward to your post on coffee notes. I do like Atelier d’Artiste a lot, but it’s heavy on the booze, so certainly not something for an everyday ‘pick me up’. 😉
      Yes, every coffee addict knows those stains 🙂

  5. Asali, my experience with coffee notes in perfume is that they don’t last very long, they seem to be volatile like top notes. Probably the strongest, truest and most lasting coffee note I’ve ever smelled is in Ava Luxe Café Noir. I don’t know if it’s still in production, as it’s been many years since I purchased a decant, but at the time (when I first started blogging), it was the perfume that seemed to most captivate people who like coffee perfumes.

    Even though 04°N 74°W isn’t a strong coffee scent, it does sound quite charming from your description. And hey, as usual, I love your sketch! (Like Tara, I thought maybe you were doing a self-portrait, albeit in an abstract fashion.) She looks like she’s not going to part with that coffee mug for love or money, which is the way I feel about my coffee first thing in the morning. 😉

    • Suzanne, you’re so right of course. The coffee notes are volatile, that’s probably why they alway try and prolong it by doing turkish coffees/ vanilla lattes/ caramel macchiatos etc, because that way they can make the impression of coffee last longer.
      I read about both Ava Luxe and DSH’s coffee perfumes, and do feel tempted to order at some point, my only concern being that I would still want it to be a perfume not a coffee smell 🙂
      Yes, 04°N 74°W is very charming, as I said I like it dangerously more and more with each wear…
      And I love your analysis of the sketch. It wasn’t purposely done that way, but I think subconsciously you’re right, and that the coffee-greed was what was missing from the photos 😉 my precioussss

  6. Once again, we seem to be evil scent twins – or rather ‘evil beverage twins’ – as I hate coffee! I once worked in a deli and had to grind the beans – I used to hold my breath as I did so. I am not as averse to the smell nowadays, but certainly wouldn’t seek it out…

    Of the perfumes under review, Asmar seems the most promising in the sense of being most unlike a coffee-forward scent, hehe. Somewhere between Oriental and Gourmand sounds good to me! Bring on the honey baklava note and the dusty cacao!

    I also love the picture of you hugging a mug. You should really sell your work – I could see it making great greetings cards too – I’d buy a whole sheaf of them myself. 😉

    • Hehe, didn’t I know it! Well, it must be a case of opposites attract then. But Asmar is nice, especially once the honey phase is over it developes beautifully. I like honey, but I just rarely feel like smelling of it. I should also mention that I dabbed Asmar and it was the ‘light’ version the eau fine, I wouldn’t recommend you over-spraying the nectar, and risk you never talking to me again 😉 And should I have guessed, I would have thought that the floral one (avoiding name) would be more to your liking…
      Oh, and thank you (blush), well if all of you keep on saying such nice things about the pictures, I might look into it 🙂

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