Normally I don’t care to copy the marketing blurb here, however the text for Nobile 1942’s Café Chantant, is really rather delightful; ‘A cheerful buzz, burns of laughter, ladies in stunning evening gowns whose chypre perfumes are blended with gentlemen’s tobacco, ready to enjoy the show from their table in the front row. No matter what is their social status. The enjoyment of the pleasure, a genuine joie de vivre towards the end of the nineteenth century, following a wave of optimism, regenerating the great European capitals.’ Indeed it was delightful enough to go in search of the perfume.
If, after reading this, you’re looking for a gourmand-chypre, this one isn’t as sophisticated as that, it also isn’t reminiscent of times gone by seen from a perfumed perspective, it is also a far cry from the ‘back-stage velvet robes, powder-puffs and fur boas’ of HdP’s Moulin Rouge- this is really a gourmand the Italian way, and it’s a rather fine one.
I like the Nobile 1942 line; I think they have done some nice fragrances, which manage to stay true to their Italian origin, being more flamboyant than the typical French style, while at the same time being quite classical in their compositions.
The name is taken from the ‘singing cafés’ of the belle époque, an environment as described above, so although you’d assume they do drink coffee in these cafés, this isn’t a perfume created around a coffee note. Rather Café Chantant starts out very almondy and with a whiff of a doll-head-note, that combination of vanillin and heliotrope. When I think of the belle époque, I also think stylized drawings and posters of women with big dolls eyes, so this imagery works for me.
A hint of cherry evokes the smoke of pipe tobacco hanging in the crowded room. Although I never get a coffee note per Se, I do smell a mix of anise, working its way into a dark liquorice molasses, and combined with an entirely patchophobe-friendly patchouli and laurels, this somehow manages together with the heliotrope to smell like a rather gorgeous coffee hazelnut blend or perhaps you should care for an Italian Gianduja with your espresso, per favore?
On my skin Café Chantant stays cuddly, a darkish gourmand rounded by a bit of buttery iris, however, on the scent strip I do get a bit of that chypre mentioned, it’s like that liquorice- patch combination goes a bit more dark emerald green, rather than the dark cherry red and ganache layered cake I get on skin.
A good old-fashioned Italian song, sung by a famous Italian tenor, would be the right sound track to end this post with; so for those who care for it here’s a link to the beautiful song ‘Non ti scordar di me’ as sung in the 1935 film (by the same name) by Beniamino Gigli.
*the pics are mine.