We could have begun by saying ‘instead of an Easter egg this year, why not treat yourself to a new fragrance…?’ But sod that, life is too short: buy the choccy egg AND the perfume. For those of us who not only enjoy the softly yielding slide of chocolate as it melts in our mouths, but would quite frankly like to bathe in the stuff, it is to the Gourmand family we turn – pulses quickening, pupils dilated and ready for the dose of dopamine (a pleasure-inducing neurotransmitter released by the brain when we eat – or perhaps even smell – chocolate).
Indeed, scientific researchers have concluded that chocolate doesn’t have to be eaten to stimulate that hit of happiness and promote a sense of wellbeing – it seems the mere whiff of chocolate alone may lead us by the noses to react favourably to a situation. A team of scientists led by Lieve Doucé at Hasselt University in Belgium conducted a study that involved releasing the scent of chocolate in selected bookstores, and noting particular changes in their customers purchasing habits. The scent was subtle yet strong enough to be noticeable, and dispersed for half of the shop’s opening hours. Apparently customers not only spent longer browsing the shelves, on average, but spoke to the staff more frequently, too. Published in the Journal of Environmental Psychology, their conclusions were that ‘…customers were 2.22 times more likely to closely examine multiple books when the chocolate scent was present in store, compared with the control condition.’ Sales of books related to food and drink along with romantic novels reportedly increased by a whopping forty percent, suggesting a sniff of chocolate had a direct influence on the genre of books they were buying, too.
It seems that smelling of a chocolate-like fragrance could well have you perusing bookstores and being more loquaciously friendly, while also being more romantically inclined – a win-win-win situation if we ever heard it. Though perhaps make time to eat some chocolate, as well. Just to be doubly sure, you know…
Inspired by Mugler‘s childhood memories of fairground smells, this candy floss, caramel and chocolate concoction was groundbreaking when first launched in 1992 – often cited as the first true ‘gourmand’ – and retains that power to this very day. Once sniffed, never forgotten, it’s the much copied mixture of berries and patchouli that cuts through the sweetness and swaggers onwards for hours, years, miles…
Thierry Mugler Angel £50 for 25ml eau de parfum
Originally released as a limited edition for Valentines Day it quickly sold-out, and when chocoholics across the pond began demanding it from American perfume retailer Luckyscent, indie-perfumer Sarah McCartney took the hint. Made with an intense dose of pure cocoa absolute mixed with a touch of strawberry, the sugar’s cut through with a tart tingle of bergamot. It’s the next best thing to writhing around in a huge box full of reassuringly expensive chocolates while being dusted with cocoa powder, but don’t let us stop you trying that, too.
4160 Tuesdays Silk, Lace & Chocolate RRP £40 for 30ml eau de parfum (currently on offer at £24)
At 4160 Tuesday
Redolent of dipping just-cooked cinnamon-dusted churros into an unctuously glossy pot of chilli-spiced chocolate sauce, wearing this perfume conjures colourful Mexican festivals and sultry dances that sashay long into dawn. The unmistakably carnal tang of hot-body-like cumin and night blooming jasmine lend a distinctly animalic edge that could well lead to other dopamine-inducing activities, we feel duty bound to warn you.
Arquiste Anima Dulcis £125 for 55ml eau de parfum
There are times when one wishes to smell as though you have glided straight from a couture catwalk – an immaculately put together, properly grown-up lady with clicky heels, a perfect coiffure and very likely carrying one of those handbags that snaps shut with a terrifying metal clasp. I’m not going to lie to you – this is not the scent for that occasion. But yet there are also times when one wishes to smell like a Bourbon biscuit (yes there are, be quiet ye snobs) and revel in childhood memories of licking the spoon clean of cake batter and then skipping giddily around the garden dressed as a fairy on a sugar high. And this is my incredibly pocket-friendly guilty pleasure for exactly those kind of days.
Al-Rehab Chocomusk £1 for 3ml perfume oil
Milk chocolate aficionados are sure to love the cocoa absolute mixed here with meltingly creamy Brazillian Cumaru wood, infused with marzipan-esque tonka bean, smoothed with comforting vanilla, gently warmed by an amber accord and wrapped in a silver foil-like white musk. A sophisticated way to enjoy your favourite treat, we suggest informing the family they can cook their own flippin’ Easter banquet if they want it, and ramping up the pleasure of freedom while wearing this, retiring to a velvet chaise lounge with a good book and a bar of chocolate, the better to indulge your frivolous side. And don’t forget to lock the door.
Parfumerie Générale Musc Maori £81.50 for 50ml eau de parfum
At Les Senteurs
Sometimes you need a scent that simply does what it says on the tin (or, well, bottle) and The Library of Fragrance excel in this, with a huge selection of perfumes made to be worn alone or layered-up to create your own bespoke blend. Perfect for those who wouldn’t dream of purchasing a bar that doesn’t scream 80%, shudder at the mere mention of white chocolate and raise an eyebrow while silently judging those who prefer the milky blends; here’s a hit of satisfyingly chocolate noir. You needn’t fear an overdose, either, as the formula’s subtle enough that it can be re-sprayed whenever the need arises. Layering suggestions include trying it with their Musk scent for a crisp white sheet freshness, or with the Fig for a fruity finish; but a favourite combo is dousing with Frankincense for a smoky incense wallow in chocolate as a spiritual awakening.
The Library of Fragrance Dark Chocolate £15 for 30ml eau de toilette
At BootsIf you have ever experienced lifting the gilded lid of a beautifully packaged box of Charbonnel et Walker‘s Sea Salt Caramel Truffles, you’ll know the smell can immediately transport you to a world of soon-to-be satiated lust. Chocolatiers to the Queen, no less, we imagine HRH doesn’t leave these hanging about the place too long, and bet they don’t make it to a Tupperware container, either. Nothing is more disappointing than lifting that lid only to find the sad rustle of empty paper casings because some blaggard has beaten you to it, so huzzah for Shay & Blue founder Dom De Vetta for enticing perfumer Julie Massé to create this photo-realistic longer-lasting fragrant interpretation of the addictive cocoa confection. Caramel and bourbon vanilla rock on the precipice of sweetness before being dashed through with a hint of freshly-hewn sandalwood and an ultra-intriguing definite note of the salt crystals to set your taste buds salivating.
Shay & Blue Salt Caramel £30 for 30ml eau de parfum
At John Lewis
Written by Suzy Nightingale