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Nose-to Nose – Our Top 10 scents for November – Gourmand scents for Late Fall

Photo - Wikimedia - Coffee cortado - by Mortefot, 2005

Gwen: You know, today I started to feel it….

Kay: Oh, no…it’s back again? Don’t you still have some antibiotics from the last time?

Gwen: No, I’m not feeling sick, I’m feeling the lure of the last crops of summer’s bounty. We’re heading into feast season! We’ve already had Thanksgiving as a teaser, and now Christmas is coming, then New Year’s.

Kay: Feast season – I love it! Short, cold days outside, warm cozy rooms inside, scented candles and rich dark, deep flavoured foods.

Gwen: Oh yeah, the light fruit desserts of summer and early fall have given way to cobblers, silky pies, and tantalizing roasting and baking smells.

Kay: Crisp greens make way for roasted root vegetables, grilling gives way to thick hearty stews and creamy soups.

Gwen: The house is full of evocative smells this time of year and I want fragrances that echo that, to stand up to the cold, the dark, the richness, and the promise of November.

Kay: And that’s why the Perfume Gods invented gourmand scents, BFF! Chocolate, coffee, licorice, liqueurs, berries, honey, breads, nuts, whiskey, rum – these gourmand notes have shown up recently in many fragrances. Some of the great old classics have vanilla as a dominant note – like Shalimar. But the gourmand category per se, the “New Gourmands” really got underway with the introduction of Angel in 1992, which has a sweet candy floss note with an undertone of dark chocolate and coffee. These new scents focus around edible notes, desserts, comfort foods which our weight-crazed skinny-model culture feels guilty about actually eating, but smelling them is a guilt-free pleasure! Sugared almonds, marzipan, spiced fruits with cinnamon and cloves, licorice candies, chocolates, espressos….they appeal to both men and women. Research has revealed that men LOVE the smell of cinnamon – to them, it’s sexier than any other smell!

Gwen: Really! I would have guessed it’s bacon!

Kay: Well, bacon’s great – but…sexy? I don’t think so…

Gwen: Well, to each his own, as they say! So what are your fave gourmand frags for November?

Kay: I’ll start with Jeux de Peau from Serge Lutens – the smell of bread baking and toasting, hints of licorice, coffee, maple syrup on top of soft florals. It becomes a gorgeous skin scent, and I love it!

Then Rochas Man. It’s the coffee note from Bond No. 9 New Haarlem re-interpreted - Maurice Roucel created them both - extending it with chocolate and vanilla, balancing it with florals, and creamy sandalwood and amber, with the result that it’s warm and comforting.

Next I’d have to add Caravelle Epicée by Frapin. It’s the smell of Christmas in a bottle – it's a party in full swing, conversation buzzing, glasses in hand, food on a plate - ginger-spice cookies, eggnog, mulled wine, spiced beef – I get all that in this I this nutty, spicy, boozy wonder of a scent!

Then there’s La Vaniglia, from Bois 1920. Wow! This is vanilla like you’ve never smelled it! The opening has mandarin and mint, then hot black pepper and ginger, then boozy dark vanilla – this is one mysterious, voluptuous and sexy frag.

And finally, I have to include my newest gourmand love, Anima Dulcis from Arquiste – an alchemy of dark chocolate, vanilla, cinnamon and hot chilis. It’s described as a baroque gourmand, an Oriental vanilla scent and it is darkly seductive, almost sinful in its appeal. The chocolate and spices aren’t foody, rather they convey an aura of decadent indulgence – it’s so smooth and yet light at the same time.  It’s brilliant, and super-addictive.

How about you? What’s on your list, BFF?

Gwen: Well, right at the top would be Lolita Au Masculin by Lolita Lempicka. That brisk, cool opening of ivy, aniseed and absinthe, smelling all green, herbal and licorice-y is such a head-turner.  And almond is in there too, with rich, dark, sweet vanilla. But it’s the licorice note that makes it for me.

Then, I’d have to add Five O'Clock Au Gingembre from Serge Lutens. It has that sweet, dry and warm candied ginger note that makes me salivate. With herbal vetiver and patchouli, and pepper at the base to give it a warm, dark earthiness, a note of dark cacao at the end adds a slight bitter note that just makes it perfect.

Then there’s Pomegranate Noir by Jo Malone. It smells fruity, like pomegranate and raspberry with a spiciness from pepper and incense rounded out by patchouli. It really smells like nothing else – truly unique and really gorgeous to wear.

And I couldn’t leave Vanilla Intense off the list. Bourbon vanilla absolue, a whiff of rum highlights the boozy facet of Bourbon vanilla absolue while warm, floral vanilla opens up and is joined by lush, green immortelle with a note of cinnamon gives them a spicy richness. Maybe this one from Parfums de Nicolaï needs to be moved up to the top of the list…

Kay: Hey, we're not rating these, we’re just listing our fave five frags…

Gwen: Right, sometimes I can't help myself.... but I just want to put L'Eau d'Hiver from Frédéric Malle on the list, too. Almond, honey and caramel, warm and milky - perfect for this time of year.

Kay: You know, a gourmand is a person who takes tremendous pleasure in food, and eating.

Gwen: Hey, that means we’ll be gourmands, wearing gorgeous gourmands.

Kay: Exactly. But I have a feeling we won’t be alone.


After you discover some of our favourite gourmands, and experience a new  non-guilty pleasure, you’ll want to be wearing them, too…just click on the links.