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Note Series #15 – LICORICE (ANISE)

Image - - Various liquorice products by Rik Schuiling, Feb. 5, 2013

Licorice – black, sweet, salted, stuffed, or all-sorted – we love it! Commonly known as “sweet root” because it’s about 50X sweeter than sugar, the herbal bittersweet aroma of the licorice root is unmistakable, and very close to anise, star anise, fennel, tarragon and sassafras. Native to Europe and Asia, licorice/anise has been used as a healing plant for centuries, and since it smells so delicious and can be easily extracted, it has also been used in perfumes. Here are four of our favourites, perfectly wearable by men and women:

Note Series #15 - LICORICE (ANISE) – 4 – 1ml. decants, regular $18.00 for $14,00.

Anice by Etro – anise-y and herbal and spicy

A delicious note of anise runs right through this fragrance – it’s there at the opening and bolstered by dill and fennel as it develops. Rosewood, orris root, cumin and vanilla pull it back from the edge of ‘gourmand’ so that the dry-down is not too sweet, not too green, not too harsh – just perfectly pitched and beautifully diaphanous. The perfect licorice scent.

Réglisse Noire by 1000 Flowers – licorice-y and warm and softly sexy

A note of spicy, pungent white pepper and an aquatic ozone note play a balancing act of light and deep at the opening. Mint and shiso leaf follow giving a fresh herbal backdrop to the heart of star anise, spicy and gently anise-y and dark licorice.  A note of ginger warms things up and adds a zingy freshness that prevents Réglisse Noire from getting too sweet or too cloying. Allspice adds more spicy warmth while cocoa gives it a deep, dark fullness and a slight bitterness too. It all rests on a base of vetiver, cedarwood and vanilla, softened by musk creating a softly sexy drydown.

Lolita Lempicka by Lolita Lempicka – licorice-y and peppery and dark vanilla smoky

Created by Annick Menardo, who also did the fabulous Bulgari Black and Dior Hypnotic Poison, Lolita Lempicka, the fragrance, is built around licorice – anise seed and licorice flower. The first sniff is sharp, dry and crisp from the licorice, but slightly fruity with carmelized sugar and vanilla, and is delicious! The scent moves into a spicy-sweet, green woody direction with a constant peppery, earthy undertone from the anise and woods, which is the clever and interesting part.  The base deepens into a warm, comforting vanilla/musk accord with hints of dark bitter chocolate, powdery and faintly smoky. The end result is that you want to keep sniffing your wrists, or lick them, or something. Lolita Lempicka is not like food, it’s like catnip!

Yohji Homme by Yohji Yamamoto – anise-y and creamy-woody and leathery

I smell the anise note right up front, but it’s not an in-your-face, annoyingly sweet licorice. Mixed with coriander, cinnamon and lavender, it completely bypasses the gourmand effect, and becomes an herbaceous accord with a slightly bitter appeal. The heart is almost floral, spicy from carnation and rosewood and softly edged with green galbanum.

The dry-down is rich from creamy sandalwood (the good stuff), as well as the powdery notes of cocoa from tonka, and coffee beans, which are dark, dry and sensual. Rum adds a crème brulée sweetness and when mixed with leather, resinous cedar, and anise, Yohji Homme becomes an intoxicating olfactory experience that you don’t want to miss. Made for men, great on women, it smells like genius to me.

Note Series #15 – LICORICE (ANISE) is listed in our Decant Store.  4 - 1ml. decants for $14.00, regular $18.00.