Today Andy takes a break from tea and talks about the aromas of hot chocolate.
With whimsical packaging and fragrances inspired by exotic locales, Pacifica is a brand that makes it easy to fall in love with their perfumes. After all, with such a low price point ($22 for 30ml), the fragrances are hard to resist. The line offers a selection of simple, clean fragrances that are all easy to wear and layer, with generously scented soaps and body butters. There are also solid and rollerball versions of their perfumes, plus scented candles and diffusers for the home. The brand’s aesthetic shies away from being too serious, keeping their scents fresh and fun, lively and bright.
Even though the fragrances aren’t profound or challenging, I’ve found that Pacifica’s scents are worth trying, because several are of outstanding quality, given the price. My first foray into Pacifica was with Mediterranean Fig, which continues to be one of my favorites from the line. It is a well-made, transparent fig scent that follows a nicely developed progression through all the fragrant elements of the fig tree: leaves, fruit, and branches. Another scent worth trying is Pacifica’s French Lilac, which captures an extremely realistic lilac note with a gentle, milky touch. Nerola Orange Blossom offers a simple, refreshing neroli and orange blossom cologne that smells surprisingly heady and sophisticated. Their Mexican Cocoa is addictive and comforting.
I can easily understand why this perfume is said to be one of Pacifica’s most popular. The inspiration behind Mexican Cocoa is the fragrance of a chocolate beverage that Pacifica founder Brook Harvey-Taylor remembered from a trip to Baja, Mexico. Unlike the hot chocolate traditional in Europe and the United States though, the chocolate beverage referenced in this perfume is a traditional Mexican breakfast drink that also blends in the flavors of vanilla and spices. The result, of course, is a warming cup whose fragrance is worthy of being captured in a perfume. Mexican Cocoa portrays the scent of this spiced hot cocoa in a way that remains light and easy to wear, without feeling too heavy or rich.
Mexican Cocoa starts off on an almond marzipan note, which serves as a bright introduction before the darker, spicier notes that follow. The almond lasts for a few moments, and then segues into a warm blend of nutmeg, cinnamon, and clove. Through the spices, a haze of dark sweetness comes through, conjuring an impression of chocolate that grows more apparent as the initial rush of spices fades. In reality, the chocolate impression in this fragrance is mostly the result of a clever combination of milky vanilla, spices, and gentle earthy notes, but it works nonetheless, and ensures that the cocoa note never smells too edible.
I was surprised that this fragrance, though gourmand, isn’t overly sweet. I like that the chocolate note is balanced with spices; it doesn’t leave me smelling like a piece of chocolate candy. This fragrance is warm and cozy, and I frequently reach for this scent when I crave something comforting. And when I’m dreaming of warm hot cocoa and snowflakes once summer comes again, who knows—I might just turn to Mexican Cocoa to take me on an altogether different sort of Pacifica journey.
Mexican Cocoa includes notes of bitter almond, cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla, and Mexican chocolate. Available at Whole Foods and Ulta stores.