Gourmand scents are the newest family in the fragrance universe – a foodie-inspired category in their own right ever since the extraordinary launch of Thierry Mugler’s Angel in the early 90s. Combining addictive deliciousness from sweet cupcake-type to deeply dark chocolate, through caramel concoctions to today’s more sensually inspired grown-up gourmands; these ‘edible’ notes are perfect to seek out for a sweet treat at any time.
But because we are often what we eat – or at least, our taste preferences can be mirrored in the foods we crave – we thought it would be fun to match your favourite pancake toppings to some delectably more-ish perfumes from the always delightfully eccentric British niche house of 4160 Tuesdays. Definitely not only for Pancake Day itself – this house has something for every perfumista’s palate. Scents to indulge yourself with far beyond Shrove Tuesdays…
‘…lemon and orange and real honey absolute for a fresh, tasty top note that makes you lick your lips. So perhaps it’s a gourmand – a scent that smells of tasty food – but the pancake bit is quite subtle – plus they are British pancakes, the sort with no sugar in the batter. Oh who are we kidding? Really it’s all about warm bodies.’
‘A bright light sparky citrus scent to drag us out of the grey days of winter into shiny spring! Bursts of citrus and lemon tartness, with a touch of mellow sweetness too it is the most sophisticated way we can think of to bring back memories of sweet shops and playtimes. The tanginess of citrus fruits, the softness of musk and vanilla. ‘
‘A long time ago in a village perched on a hill, there was a house above a chocolate shop where a beginner perfume-maker’s friend lived… Over the Chocolate Shop is the gloriously rich aroma you can inhale as the chocolatiers make their first batch of pralines in the early morning. Melting cocoa butter, a dash off coffee, hazelnut extract and a drop of vanilla absolute.’
‘A light, fruity floral fragrance which smells like a refreshing glass of fruit punch with a hint of cherry jam. So how do we create a cherry jam note? What we did was to blend citrus essential oils, flowers, woods and raspberry. We’re pleased with its scrumptiousness.’
‘A gold bottle of creamy custardness with notes of crumble and a tiny bit of fresh leaf tobacco. (This adds richness and depth like to a fragrance which might otherwise be a little bit too sweet and fluffy.) Our sophisticated Vanilla Custard fragrance is made to last, and stays close to the skin to invite closer inspection.’
Linda Pilkington, founder and CEO of London-based niche perfumery Ormonde Jayne, is never one for sitting still. Whenever we meet her, she’s dashing back and forth at 100 miles an hour, always brimming with creativity and new ideas, the latest being Gourmande Jayne…
‘Gourmande Jayne’ is a natural extension of Linda’s scented world – a blog ‘defining scent and good eating’ that features lifestyle tips, fashion and beauty, advice for gardeners, travel diaries as Linda hunts for new fragrance ingredients, how-to videos and deliciously scented recipes she’s constantly inspired by – showing the world how to bring fragrance into every area of life, to enhance to joy of every day. Quite frankly, we’re not sure how she find the time, but we’re awfully glad she does!
We’re especially loving the recipe for Baked Figs with Goat’s Cheese (and the serving suggestion – ‘serve warm with a glass of wine!’) which we first got to taste at the wonderful Ormonde Jayne Christmas Showcase (watch out for our Christmas issue of The Scented Letter Magazine for more new on the fragrant goodies in store!)
See the recipe, below, and watch Linda prepare hers by visiting the Gourmet section of the blog. We promise you it taste (and smells!) amazing, and it’s just the thing for warming your cockles when the wether’s a bit cooler, but you don’t feel quite ready for rib-sticking stews just yet. We’re holding off the donning of tights for a while, and holding on to thoughts of summer holidays by eating these, and quaffing wine while we’re at it. Only because it’s suggested, of course…
Gourmande Jayne Baked Figs with Goat’s Cheese
Medium size figs
Soft goats cheese
Chopped fresh sage
Salt and pepper
Preheat oven to 200 C – Cut off fig stems and cut an X at the top of fig half way down.
Using a teaspoon, stuff soft goats cheese into the fig. Sprinkle with the fresh fine chopped sage and chopped walnuts.
Drizzle with a little honey and small amount of add salt and pepper to taste.
Place in a baking dish.
Place in oven for about 5 minutes.
Serve warm with a glass of wine!
What’s your body language saying about the fragrance you wear…?
Givaudan‘s Fine Fragrance perfumers have created a new ‘Delight’ collection in collaboration with flavourists – the first fragrance house to specifically use body language research in order to better understand the pleasure we feel when wearing perfume.
The idea began when Givaudan encouraged a close collaboration between their flavourists and perfumers in Paris, New York, São Paulo, Dubai and Singapore. Two arms of the industry who never usually work together, the project also required the input of a non-verbal communications specialist. And their goal?
‘Imagine your favourite flavour and the great feeling you get when you taste it: a powerful physical and emotional reaction that makes you crave more. Now imagine if we could bring that same level of desirability and moreishness to fragrances… That’s exactly what Givaudan has been doing as part of a new global initiative called Project Delight.’
Intriguing, right? There’s a definite correlation between that heady rush of pleasure we’re consumed with when smelling a scent we love – we might describe it as ‘delicious’, ‘moreish’, or even ‘addictive.’ With no true language of its own, we liken fragrance to food and taste all the time – and of course many of the same ingredients are used across flavour and fragrance – so it completely makes sense that Givaudan are focusing on studying the two together.
As a starting point, they analysed ‘…those moments where lip-smackingly good flavours collide with equally delicious aromas,’ composing evocative fragrance bases such as the candyfloss memories of a fun fair, the perfect buttered croissant we associate with a Parisian breakfast, the smoky-creamy mingling of a Brooklyn brunch and the glittering fizz of night out with cocktails. And Givaudan report ‘the result is a revolutionary and exclusive set of bases for perfumers to work with… scents that are both aromatic… and appetising.’
Senior Flavourist for Givaudan, Arnaud, explained the exciting thing for him was that, ‘as a flavourist, I work in a realistic, true to life way, while a perfumer works in the world of abstract and interpretation. In our collaboration on Project Delight, we wanted to mix these two strengths and add a realistic touch to our fragrance palette.’
As part of their research, Givaudan carried out a groundbreaking consumer study, assessing non-verbal responses (such as salivation, surprise or swallowing) to different fragrances. The first time this type of methodology has been used in fragrance development, the research enabled their perfumers to develop a new range of special ‘Delight’ fragrance bases which, rather excitingly, further tests went on to reveal ‘…triggered higher levels of pleasure and craving than other bases currently available.’
In the future, will we be craving certain scents with the same hunger we feel for food? Well according to Givaudan, you’d better tuck in your napkin and get ready for the pleasure in a whole new way, because ‘we have begun a voyage of discovery and will continue to explore further, opening up new possibilities for perfumers to entice consumers with new fragrances that spark pure pleasure…’
Long before ‘gourmand’ foodie-inspired fragrances were even dreamed of and while smell was still perceived as the poor cousin of our other senses, one 18th Century polymath was championing the exquisite pleasures that taste and smell bring to everyday life. And more than mere pleasure alone: in fact, he heralded the proper appreciation and scientific study of these long-foregranted senses…
‘Tell me what you eat and I will tell you what you are.’ So said Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin, 1755-1826, a French lawyer and politician whom, apart from law, studied chemistry and medicine, and eventually gained fame as an epicure and gastronome.
His seminal work Physiologie du goût (The Physiology of Taste), contains Savarin’s philosophies and observations on the pleasures of the food, which he very much considered a science – long before the birth of molecular gastronomy and serious studies of taste and smell had begun. And smell was very much at the forefront of the gastronomique experience, Savarin had worked out; exclaiming: ‘Smell and taste are in fact but a single composite sense, whose laboratory is the mouth and its chimney the nose.’
Previously considered the least important of the senses – indeed, smell remains the least scientifically explored, though technology is making huge leaps in our understanding – Savarin proclaimed that,’The sense of smell, like a faithful counsellor, foretells its character.’
Published only two months before his death, the book has never been out of print and still proves inspirational to chefs and food-lovers to this day.
Preceding the remarkable leaps in knowledge high-tech equipment has allowed and revealing how entwined our sense of smell is to the taste and enjoyment of food, Savarin also observed how our noses protect us from eating potentially harmful substances, explaining ‘…for unknown foods, the nose acts always as a sentinal and cries: “Who goes there?”‘ while coming to the conclusion that a person’s character may be foretold in their taste and smell preferences… ‘Tell me what you eat and I will tell you what you are.’ We devoted an entire issue of our award-winning magazine The Scented Letter (now available in print, and with online subscriptions worldwide!) to taste and smell – as of course we are gourmand fans in ALL the senses. And so it is heartening to know that Brillat was on our side here, with this extremely useful advice we selflessly pledge to carry through life:
‘Those who have been too long at their labor, who have drunk too long at the cup of voluptuousness, who feel they have become temporarily inhumane, who are tormented by their families, who find life sad and love ephemeral… they should all eat chocolate and they will be comforted.’
Wise words, indeed. We plan to enjoy all the sweet temptations that come our way, in scent form and in chocolate. Talk about having your cake and wearing it, too!
Written by Suzy Nightingale
Dappled sunlight dipping low, skin still warm, running through corn fields in a crisp, white gown as the sun sets… ah, how the dreary days of January make us yearn for such simple pleasures. Even going outside without a coat and brolly right now would be a luxury! But fear not, for L’OCCITANE have bottled the sunshine from that ethereal, other-worldly time of day often termed “the Golden Hour“, and infused the glow into their new fragrance (to be launched in February): Terre de Lumière… L’OCCITANE say: ‘As the day draws to a close, the sky is set alight, embracing all the shades of gold. Beauty is suspended in time and this stunning spectacle reaches its height. Light infuses the ingredients in this fragrance, enhancing them in a rich, faceted creation that evokes the intense sensoriality of a walk through the fields of Provence at the Golden Hour.’
Oh yes, take us there now, please…!
We were lucky enough to be present at the press launch of this perfume, and so excited to discover this will be the very first gourmand fragrance for the brand. We predict gourmand as a genre will be huge news once again in 2017 – the comforting, deliciously food-inspired fragrance family seems only natural to turn to in times of uncertainty – and far from the 90s scent bombs that truly began this trend, gourmand has taken a fresh turn of sophistication and wearability – for men and women alike.
Top Notes: bergamot, ambrette seed, pink pepper Heart Notes: lavender, honey Base Notes: acacia flower, bitter almond essence, tonka bean, white musk
Renowned perfumer Calice Becker was chosen for Terre de Lumière, closely collaborating with Shyamala Maisondieu and Nadège Le Garlantezec; Calice explains how the talented trio worked on the fragrance so that it ‘…plays on the tension between masculine freshness and delicious feminine softness. It’s a very innovative scent, the first gourmand aromatic fragrance from L’OCCITANE, absolutely addictive.’ Talking about the inspiration for composing the scent, Calice describes the Golden Hour as the time ‘…when the light is at its most beautiful. It is also when scents are at their height.’
And so what does it smell like? Well, close your eyes, imagine the setting sun still warm on your skin (move closer to the fire or add another layer of clothing, if necessary!) and let us take you to the glowing fields of Provence…
Aromatically zesty from the first spritz, there’s almost a sigh of delight as the fizz of bergamot and pink pepper suddenly melts into the true heart of honey infused with lavender and balanced by the milky freshness of acacia blossoms, the almond-like nuttiness of tonka beans and the balsamic warmth of the earthier base. Perfectly evoking that moment when the day slips impercitibly to dusk, it’s the sensation of contemplative contentment while sitting on a hay bale, having romped barefoot in flower meadows and paddled in cool streams. Deliciously revivifying and fragrantly soothing all at once, we bet you can’t wait to try it…
…And on that note, we suggest [*wink wink*] that you keep your eyes peeled for an exciting announcement, for you could be one of the first people to Discover Terre de Lumière with us. [*hint hint*]
Written by Suzy Nightingale
What the giddy aunt is a ‘chypre‘?
Not exactly the most immediately evocative word to get your head around when describing a type of fragrance, but that’s what we’ve been landed with and so that’s what we continue to say. But how many people outside the world of perfumery could tell you what it actually means?
When touring the country talking to perfume lovers across the UK, our co-founders Jo Fairley and Lorna McKay asked this very question just to see, and out of the many hundreds who came to see them, only a couple of people put their hand up to venture an answer. Explains Jo, ‘…chypre is widely acknowledged as the most sophisticated (and beautiful) of fragrance families – and it’s a term the perfume world certainly believes is understood by all and sundry.’
In fact, we dedicated an entire feature in our magazine, The Scented Letter, just to explaining the mysteries surrounding this scent category – so clearly something is amiss and requires further explanation. Indeed, there are all sorts of terms bandied about in perfumery that baffle the best of us at times. And what’s more – nobody entirely agrees on the ‘rules’ of which perfumes belong in which fragrance family at all.
What about Fougere, Ambrée or Gourmand, Woody and Floriental – where to begin…?
Well, we’ve put together a handy guide to some of the most frequently used fragrance families, with a brief history of their evolution and some iconic examples of perfumes to try in those categories, to see which family you are most frequently drawn to and perhaps discover some new ones to try. So why not get your nose stuck in and give it a go?
Written by Suzy Nightingale
BeauFort London are one of the most intriguing brands we’ve seen in a long time, so imagine our excitement on discovering they’ve just released their latest fragrance – Lignum Vitae – into the wild blue yonder of the perfume world.
Having first encountered them before they’d even properly launched, sometimes you get a sixth-sense tingle the passion behind the perfume will carry a new fragrance house way further than they’d perhaps ever have imagined. This was certainly the case when we first got our noses around the unique triptych of fragrances that began their story – really, quite unlike anything else around, the ‘fume-heads, bloggers and fragrance-buying public agreed; with 1805 Tonnerre (featured in our Secret Sensations Discovery Box) subsequently chosen by Jo Fairley as the Most Exciting New Brand of 2015 in her TelegraphOnline column; praised by big-name glossies and highly respected tomes such as the Financial Times, alike.
Although perhaps not entirely smooth sailing (what new company’s launch is?) appropriately enough, these firecely independent, historically inspired yet utterly contemporary fragrances – named for the famous Beaufort Scale of measuring wind strengths – are themed around the turbulent history and intrepid spirit of the British isles, maritime history and notoriously shady characters who have shaped them. It was clear this niche line had quite an adventure ahead of them – indeed they have recently been lauded by critic Luca Turin as one to watch – and with the brand new fragrance Lignum Vitae just launched, it’s another exciting scent trail we were keen to explore…
BeauFort London Say: ‘Inspired by the innovative use of materials that allowed 18th Century clockmakers to construct the first truly accurate marine chronometers, Lignum Vitae combines elements of wood, metal and salt to produce a truly unique, transportive fragrance.
In combining unexpected and exotic raw materials, BeauFort London celebrates the innovative spirit which brought to an end the search for lost time, and permitted the safe passage of ships across the world.’
Discussing the various inspirations behind any BeauFort fragrance is like a masterclass in maritime history, literary appreciation and a philosophy 101 with a smattering of art criticism for good measure – but fascinating as these influences are, it’s important as ever to not forget the most important thing of all – what it smells like on your skin! Complex, perhaps even slightly unsettling (because of their singularity) to some, BeauFort are not about one size fits all crowd-pleasing sniff-alikes that put you in mind of such-and-such a scent you used to wear. So what does Lignum Vitae actually smell of…?
An immediate tang of salty air melts mistily to the scent of madeleines still warm from the oven – a Proustian almost-but-not-quite gourmand sense that feels as though it’s going to get huge, but within a while segues seamlessly to a citrus-tinged, freshly-felled woodiness and the silvered glint of cold metal that keeps the whole concoction bouyantly uplifted. Tenacious in perhaps a more tender way than its predecessors, Lignum Vitae is one of those true ‘scent journeys’ on the skin as it warms and settles. Having sprayed this in the early afternoon we could still smell it the next morning, where now it had dried down to a close, warm skin scent that was comforting but with a wonderful whiff of weirdness to it that you cannot exactly place. It seems to constantly fold back on itself, somehow – you think you have the measure of it and then it switches again, still retaining an image of its former self but with a new layer to explore. There’s a point about an hour in, when all the various threads seem to mingle into an intricate knot – you can trace each one, yet they have transmogrified into a new creation…
Were we to draw a map of this fragrance’s journey, we could cite the salt on the breeze, sweetness wrapped within a shady forest, misty darkness, warm skin huddled close against cool, mossy wood and the ever-present, slightly melancholy but ultimately intensely comforting echo of sweetness, wood and salt that carry you onwards to the trail’s end.
BeauFort London Lignum Vitae £95 for 50ml eau de parfum
Buy it at beaufortlondon.com (or see their website for other stockists)
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
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