Olfactory desserts have become the latest craze in the perfume world. Foodie fragrances have taken over with their delectable scents of chocolate, vanilla and fruit. Why? It is their power to regress us all, masculine or feminine, to nursery memories of sweet treats. We smell them and we want to taste them, evidence of the inextricable connection between smell and taste known as ‘flavour.’ Ever since the 1992 creation of Thierry Mugler’s Angel, gourmand fragrances have evolved into a mainstay of the industry, seductive delights that tantalise the tongue as much as the nose. Here are five of my favourite gastronomic scents, all of them unisex in ensnaring all who smell them.
HERMES EAU DE RHUBARBE ECARLATE
This fragrance by the French fashion powerhouse is summertime bottled. As its title suggests, the star of the show here is the top note of rhubarb, a scent that invigorates with its sherbety zip and its slight cucumbery coolness. Accompanying this acidity is the warm fruitiness of red berries and powdery white musk, a balancing base note that offers lingering depth and warmth. This tart temptation is reminiscent of those rhubarb and custard sweets we all ate as children, but this time it is accompanied by the sprightliness of an early summer day.
SHAY AND BLUE SALT CARAMEL
All of my friends know that when I need a gourmand fragrance, this is the one I turn to. Deep, dark and rich, Shay and Blue have created a scent that beguiles in its chocolatey, caramelly excess. When sprayed initially on the skin, the fragrance opens with liquid caramel, its sugariness tempered by frothy sea salt. As it sits, saccharine sweetness melds with warm, smooth base notes of bourbon vanilla and tonka. Gorgeous liquid caramel combined with tonka’s almond praline background comes together to form an irresistibly regressive perfume – it is the nostalgia of cinema treats, chocolate-coated honeycomb and popcorn. No wonder that this fragrance was inspired by chocolatier to the Queen Charbonnel and Walker’s Sea Salt Chocolate Truffles.
PENHALIGON’S JUNIPER SLING
Is it gin ‘o’clock? The great British perfume house Penhaligon’s offers a refreshing cocktail of a fragrance with Juniper Sling, a scent with a cool spring in its step. The botanical freshness of juniper is given extra zest with the addition of cinnamon, orange and cool angelica, rounded off by the spiciness of cardamom and black pepper and the sensuality of brown sugar and cherry. Putting this on in the morning will inject into you unrivalled vim and vigour, leaving you wondering if it’s five ‘o’clock somewhere in the world already.
JO MALONE POMEGRANATE NOIR
Pomegranate Noir is Jo Malone’s answer to sitting in front of a roaring fire with a large glass of red wine. Intense fruity top notes of pomegranate, raspberry and plum do not become jammy when they are offset with the floral spiciness of rose and pink pepper. These elements are undergirded by the warm resonance of patchouli, musk and amber, a combination that invites with its velvet juiciness.
VIKTOR & ROLF SPICE BOMB
Spice Bomb is a true celebration of spice. Explosive in its contrast of olfactory elements, the fragrance is robust, punchy and rousing. Bergamot and grapefruit offer a citrusy overtone to invigorating allspice and saffron, which is based upon a rich, woodsy trail of vetiver, tobacco and white leather. It is as if Christmas cookies got sexy – baking sessions of holidays past merge with the mystical promise of Middle Eastern spice markets.