Wednesday, February 7, 2007

Chocolatey Goodness

I think that chocolate is truly a difficult note to use in perfumery. Whether it's synthesized or from actual cacao, it usually smells very fake, cheap, and unpleasant to me. A chocolate note, in order to smell anything near appetizing, needs to be carefully blended with complimentary notes that will emphasize the best aspects of the scent. Personally, I think the best ingredients to blend with chocolate are butter, sugar, and eggs, but that's just me. :)

There are a number of perfumes on the market that have cocoa or chocolate notes. Thierry Mugler's Angelis one of them. Popular and polarizing, you either love it or you hate it. On me, the urine smell really gets in the way of the chocolate, but other people swear it's a sweet delight. Here are a couple of perfumes with a chocolate note; I'll be adding more at a later date.

Comme des Garcons Series 7 Sweet
Spicy Cocoa

Notes: bergamot, grapefruit, black chocolate, cardamom, fennel, coriander, black pepper, chilli, absolute cocoa

Comme des Garcons was established in 1973 by Rei Kawakubo in Tokyo. Their fashions are avante garde and their fragrances are somewhat expermental. For example, Spicy Cocoa is from the "Sweet" series that also includes scents called Burnt Sugar and Sticky Cake. Other series are named Leaves, Incense, Guerrilla, Synthetic, and Sherbet.

Spicy Cocoa is appropriately named, with obvious notes of black pepper, chiles, and chocolate, with a touch of bergamot and coriander. Almost like chocolate covered orange peel dipped in mole. The dry down has more cocoa and cardamom, with a touch of Necco wafer (which may be the fennel). Neal and I both tried it, and the black pepper is much more pronounced on him. It smells delicious and unusual on both of us. The downside is that the fragrance is fleeting and disappears very quickly.

Temper Chocolates
Temperare 01

Notes: white ginger, pear, chocolate, cardamom, Litsea cubeba, blood orange, pink grapefruit, and fresh ginger

Temper Chocolates is a Boston-based chocolatier that partnered with California perfumer Yosh Han to create chocolate-based perfumes. I decided to sample Temperare 01 because the description sounded so lush and delicious. Unfortunately, I didn't like the fragrance on my skin. It starts out with a fruity aroma with a hint of cardamom. The drydown is gingery, and the chocolate is completely undetectable. While the idea of pear and ginger sounds good, and doesn't smell too bad on paper, on my skin it reminds me of visits to the dog groomer. It smells of canine shampoo mixed with rubber dog toy and maybe a soupcon of IAMS. And it's strong and long-lasting. I had to purge my arm with lashings of rubbing alcohol and spritzes of something even stronger to neutralize the smell.


Notes: bergamot, orange, lemon, lily of the valley, coriander, hazelnut, vanilla, malt, musks

The chocolate sister to Pink SugarChocolovers comes out aggressively chocolate with a huge citrus note, then dries down to a musky vanilla with hints of hazelnut and orange. It's a positively edible blend but is strong and sweet--a little goes a long way.



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