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.
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.
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.
*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.
Pics mine, apart from Lancret of course 🙂