Coffee: 8 posts

Atelier Cologne Café Tuberosa : Perfume Review

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I sometimes notice that coffee smells better than it tastes–or that it doesn’t taste the way it smells.  Even the aroma of coffee, for instance, is difficult to sum up–sweet, bitter, spicy, acidic, toasted, burned, with hints of blackcurrants, chocolate and hazelnuts. Even more difficult is to render coffee notes believable in a perfume without making one smell like a badly washed coffee mug, or worse, a piece of grilled meat. Coffee notes are stubborn. I’ve been on a search for successful coffee perfumes for a while, and this fall I’m adding a new contender to my collection, Atelier Cologne Café Tuberosa.

The idea behind Café Tuberosa is clever–take a creamy tuberose accord, brighten it with bergamot and give it a bittersweet rush with coffee. All three are bold, strong notes, but the whole fits together so harmoniously that it makes me wonder why this motif is not more explored.

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L’Artisan Parfumeur Noir Exquis : Perfume Review

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I love a good gourmand. Weaving notes of vanilla, caramel, and other delicious things, fragrances in this genre are my ultimate comfort blankets. The moment that days get shorter and mornings cold, the tray above my perfume drawer starts to fill up with my favorite gourmands–Pink Sugar, Lolita Lempicka, Kenzo L’Éléphant, Parfums de Nicolaï Vanille Tonka and L’Artisan Traversée du Bosphore.

The latter is interesting because the sweetness of Turkish delight and vanilla are balanced by a generous dose of crisp green notes and saffron. Created by perfumer Bertrand Duchaufour, Traversée du Bosphore is an example of contrasted gourmand I especially enjoy. Wearing it is exciting, because one moment you experience a fresh breeze and the next a voluptuous embrace. This also seemed to be the premise of Noir Exquis, a fragrance by Duchaufour that blends rich notes of candied chestnuts, coffee and tonka bean with orange blossom and citrus.

marzipan fruit

Since Noir Exquis is meant for both men and women, it doses sugar lightly and instead emphasizes the woody, balsamic layers. At first, it’s earthy and nutty, hinting at its patchouli and coffee soon to follow, but there are enough floral accents to brighten up the darkness. Based on the name, I expected something heavy and rich, but Noir Exquis is unexpectedly radiant.

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Maitre Parfumeur et Gantier Santal Noble : Perfume Review

Maître Parfumeur et Gantier Santal Noble is my “reference” sandalwood fragrance, my baseline for other fragrances featuring this note.  It is part of MPG’s “Parfums du Levant” collection for men, the “Levant” broadly referring to a geographic area that is here stretched to include India and therefore the famous and now endangered Mysore sandalwood.

sunset

Although marketed to men, Santal Noble is, in true niche fashion, genderless.  Sandalwood connoisseurs might find the sandalwood note somewhat too mild, but Santal Noble gives me a rush of pleasure each time I wear it.  It is creamy, smooth, and I would go as far as to say, bewitching.

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Comme des Garcons Incense Series Kyoto : Perfume Review

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If I feel particularly tired at the end of a day and I don’t have time for my usual de-stressing rituals–a bath, an hour with a cup of tea and a favorite book, I burn some incense. I store the joss sticks in a large box that after several years of being used as an incense receptacle smells of sandalwood, oud and spices. As I watch the slender sticks turn to pale grey ash and inhale the rich aroma, my worries seem less important.

When I want the incense to linger on my skin, I reach for my favorite incense fragrances–dry and woody Donna Karan Black Cashmere, bright and fresh Atelier Cologne Bois Blonds, or Comme des Garçons Kyoto. Kyoto, created by perfumer Bertrand Duchaufour, is a part of Series 3 Incense, which was launched in 2002.  Avignon took us to France, Ouarzazate to Morocco, Zagorsk to Russia,  Jailsamer to India, and finally, Kyoto to Japan.

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Tom Ford Jardin Noir Cafe Rose : Perfume Review

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After my mixed experience with Lys Fume, I approached the rest of Tom Ford’s Jardin Noir collection reluctantly. As I wore the fragrances  over these past few months, I grew to like them very much, especially Ombre de Hyacinth and Café Rose. While Tom Ford promised that Jardin Noir would be abloom with twisted, dark florals, the collection is neither twisted nor dark. Instead, it features elegant, polished fragrances on four different themes: lily, daffodil, hyacinth, and rose. The lack of drama is a minus, especially given the concept of this quartert, but these interpretations of classical florals are so smooth and refined that they are worth sampling.

Café Rose was created by perfumer Antoine Lie, who also worked on Azure Lime and Violet Blonde for Ford.  It is the darkest perfume from Jardin Noir, but it has a distinctive Middle Eastern flair. The woods are so pronounced that they compete with rose for top billing, while the incense gives the perfume an exotic twist. The main reason I enjoy Café Rose is for its contrast–it feels sophisticated, but at the same time, it has a flamboyant air. Too much elegance can be boring, after all.

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