Chocolate Fragrances : From Flowers to Woods

Chocolate_2

Bittersweet and lusciously smooth, redolent of roasted nuts and foiled in delicate spicy notes, alluding to late August roses and ripe berries…. The contrasting and intriguing flavors present in a piece of fine chocolate are the reason for its irresistible allure. Those who love chocolate would not be surprised that more than 2000 years ago the Maya Indians not only created the first beverage from the crushed cocoa beans, but also built temples embellished with images of the cocoa pod. Michelle has vividly described the beautiful marriage of olfactory and gustatory pleasures inherent in chocolate. I would like to continue the discussion by offering an overview of perfumes that beautifully explore the idea of chocolate, whether they actually rely on chocolate aroma-materials or create the effect via other notes. I hope that my list will go beyond the usual feminine gourmand offerings and will inspire even those who do not have a particularly strong sweet tooth.…

Created in 1982 (more than a decade before Thierry Mugler Angel), Annick Goutal Eau de Charlotte is one of the first fragrances to use the chocolate note. Paired with the leathery warmth of mimosa and the verdant tartness of blackcurrant, the bittersweet cocoa is memorable and sophisticated.

Armani Privé Ambre Soie is a fragrance which makes me think of melting chocolate. The composition creates this effect via warm spices, rich amber and effervescent patchouli.

Bvlgari Omnia is a soft fragrance that gently clings to the skin. Its spicy and gourmand touches are subtle ornaments over its elegant woody form. Created by Alberto Morillas, it possesses a seductive aura like other fragrances created by this great perfumer.

Chanel Coco is another fragrance that contains no chocolate notes, and yet it conjures the decadent pleasure of eating bittersweet chocolate with its intoxicating combination of rose, clove, leather and sandalwood. The animalic and incensy tones of its opulent resinous base further heighten the chocolate illusion.

Christian Dior Dior Homme is an interesting combination of chilly iris with the nutty sweetness of cocoa bean. Finished with a smooth touch of leather, the fragrance possesses a refined character as well as an edgy quality.

Estée Lauder Youth Dew Amber Nude is an oriental fragrance based on amber and resins, including chocolate absolute. Much more than a new take on the classical Youth Dew, Youth Dew Amber Nude explores the novel direction of a gourmand theme—dark and mysterious, rather than sweet and pretty. Radiant and weightless, despite its dusky character, Youth Dew Amber Nude is a stunning beauty.

Frédéric Malle Musc Ravageur is a fragrance that manages to capture the seductive effect of chocolate in a rather unexpected manner—via its rich animalic accord. Taste the bittersweet chocolate and notice that it contains quite a few animalic facets, ranging from an indolic jasmine like note to leathery spiciness. Likewise, Musc Ravageur brings to mind the same multifaceted effect given its beautiful composition of woods, resins and spices.

L’Artisan Parfumeur Piment Brûlant is a vision of sweet red peppers dusted with cocoa powder — a fragrance that is subtle and understated, marked by an interesting juxtaposition of green vegetal and creamy woody notes.

Serge Lutens Borneo 1834 is an austere and dry chocolate note, lacking the honeyed, melting sweetness that one might expect from it. Yet, its minimalist and paired down form is striking and distinctive, reminiscent as much of charred wood as it is of mouthwatering desserts.

The chocolate illusion of Serge Lutens Vétiver Oriental resides in the luscious and smooth quality of its woods and vetiver accord. It conjures the decadent richness of chocolate and teases the senses, without ever becoming sweet and trite.

S-Perfume 100% Love created by perfumer Sophia Grojsman takes the rose and chocolate pairing into a completely unexpected direction — seductive and irresistible, with classical elegance and a quirky character.

Thierry Mugler Angel and Angel Men – no discussion of chocolate can overlook Angel, the fragrance that engendered a whole new gourmand genre of fragrances. Fresh and crisp notes are layered with the warm richness of chocolate, honey and caramel. Even if the success of Angel made it rather ubiquitous, one cannot deny its genius. Although Angel Men was marketed to men, it is a great fragrance for women, being less sweet and somewhat duskier in spirit than its feminine counterpart.

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18 Comments

  • Givenchy III: Intrigant Patchouli (Parfumerie Generale) is also a beautiful austere animalic patchouli exploring dry notes of dark chocolates. April 2, 2007 at 1:31am Reply

  • Ina: Wonderful article! I agree on all of these. I’m also thinking Dior’s Bois d’ARgent has a dusty, bitter chocolate accord. Same goes for Iris Taizo by Parfumerie Generale. Oh, and Magie Noir by Lancome. April 2, 2007 at 1:44am Reply

  • ~vanilla girl~: Great article Vic! neat since I was looking into purchasing either missoni or angel,the popularity of angel has me very curious,I am going to Minnesota next week so I get my first change to visit Sephora,I am thrilled!!
    What do you think of either one?? April 2, 2007 at 7:41am Reply

  • March: You made me hungry for chocolate for breakfast with this one! Hmmm…. it’s cold again, maybe I’ll make some cocoa.

    It’s nice to see Omnia on your list. I don’t like the bottle at all, but I do think what’s inside is lovely. An underrated fragrance, I had no idea Morillas did it. April 2, 2007 at 7:49am Reply

  • Marina: Lovely list. Reminded me how much I need Vetiver Oriental. And now I think I will go have a chocolate pudding for breakfast. 🙂 April 2, 2007 at 8:02am Reply

  • Elle: My first reaction would have been to say I don’t like chocolate in scents. However, as I read your list I realized I actually like, even love, quite many on it. I obviously have to ammend my first reaction about not liking chocolate in scents at all. I do like it – just not in overly sweet, foody scents. April 2, 2007 at 8:04am Reply

  • Judith: I don’t know why, but I tend to dislike chocolate notes in perfume (although I adore bittersweet chocolate in my mouth:) But I love several of the fragrances you mention, including Musc Ravageur and Coco, and I like others very much (Ambre Soie, Vetiver Oriental; I can’t believe I’ve never tried Omnia–must do). Of course these tend to be the ones that evoke chocolate, rather than containing the note. 100% Love, though–while I can see why others adore it–is far too chocolately for me. April 2, 2007 at 8:11am Reply

  • Tigs: Wonderful article, V – I especially liked to read about those perfumes that evoke chocolate. Omnia actually contains white chocolate, I believe (which I don’t like, being one of those people who thinks it just tastes like wax) and I find it does a lovely job of evoking the feel of it, rather than the smell. Vetiver Oriental is an interesting comparison, because it has that same almost cosmetic-like creaminess. I love Piment Brulant, but think that there wasn’t enough chocolate in there for most people. It could certainly do with more zip, more cocoa bitterness or poppy, maybe, but I like that creamy/red pepper combo fine too. Surprising how many of these are sheer, considering that we think of chocolate as a very opaque note in perfumery. April 2, 2007 at 10:48am Reply

  • Elizabeth: I definitely detect a chocolate effect in Caron N’Aimez Que Moi – like chocolates filled with rose and violet cream! April 2, 2007 at 11:10am Reply

  • Jennifer: Lovely article. I find scents that have a heavy dose of myrrh often give off chocolate like qualities. April 2, 2007 at 11:54am Reply

  • Robin: Great list, V, and always glad to see my much-loved Omnia mentioned. April 2, 2007 at 1:07pm Reply

  • Madelyn E: Dear Victoria,
    I wasn’t aware hw many scents I like have a chocolate note – hidden within their essence . Interesting.. Musc Ravageur, Coco Chanel..
    The photo of chocolate powder is so enticing .
    I sniffed Guerlain’s new Iris Ganache and Sensual oil. I am smitten.
    I do detect chocolate notes in Iris Ganache- it is gorgeous. Also I was seduced by the new Garden- Sensual Oil too. Did you sample it dear V ?
    I am excited to say that I did succumb to the charms of Chanel No. 22 – parfum ! I found it at Saks . 1/2 ounce for $150. It is exquisite .
    Here’s to chocolate notes, classic scents ad your beautiful writing – April 2, 2007 at 3:01pm Reply

  • Madelyn E: Dear Victoria,
    I wasn’t aware hw many scents I like have a chocolate note – hidden within their essence . Interesting.. Musc Ravageur, Coco Chanel..
    The photo of chocolate powder is so enticing .
    I sniffed Guerlain’s new Iris Ganache and Sensual oil. I am smitten.
    I do detect chocolate notes in Iris Ganache- it is gorgeous. Also I was seduced by the new Garden- Sensual Oil too. Did you sample it dear V ?
    I am excited to say that I did succumb to the charms of Chanel No. 22 – parfum ! I found it at Saks . 1/2 ounce for $150. It is exquisite .
    Here’s to chocolate notes, classic scents ad your beautiful writing – April 2, 2007 at 3:01pm Reply

  • Fleur.de.Lys: You know, I never made the connection between Musc Ravageur’s animalic aspect and its oh-so-chocolate olfactive effect. El Rey produces chocolate from Venezuela and unlike other companies, they don’t deoderize the cocoa butter. This adds a musky and indolic element, which you can clearly taste in their white chocolate (frankly, one of the few white chocolates worth eating). The El Rey “Apamate” bar has the rich animalic accord you refer to. I just did a side by side comparison with the fragrance 😉 April 2, 2007 at 5:10pm Reply

  • k-amber: Victoria, great and unexpected list! I did not notice my familar scents have hidden chocolate notes. A few, Armani and Serge Lutens are very intriguing, which will be on my next must-try list.

    Kaori April 2, 2007 at 9:06pm Reply

  • ~vanilla girl~: Victoria,just wondered if you read my post? I’d like your input on missoni and Thierry Mugler Angel,I realize that we all have our own preferences but I’d like to know what You think of em,if you ever tried em?
    thanks,Sonia April 5, 2007 at 4:03pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: S, sorry I am running behind this week. Missoni vs Angel… At this point, I would select Missoni, because it strikes me as easier to wear than Angel. Missoni’s pairing of chocolate and orange blossom is quite interesting. However, you should try both carefully and see whatever suits you best. If you are near Sephora, ask for samples–they tend to be very generous. April 5, 2007 at 9:07pm Reply

  • ~vanilla girl~: Thanks so much for the advice Vic,leaving on sunday,I cannot wait to go sniffing,I made a long list! 🙂 April 5, 2007 at 10:57pm Reply

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