Once upon a time I thought that chocolate in perfume equals Angel. I suspect that many people who found themselves in close quarters with an Angel abuser declared themselves gourmand haters in general and chocolate perfume-loathers in particular. I was clinging to this misconception for a very long time. Bumping into Aquolina Chocolovers didn't help any, and neither did getting a gift of a Tommy Hilfiger milk chocolate-scented body cream. It was quite a while before I realized that neither pink marshmallow nor a rotten fruit accord are necessary to a chocolate perfume. Once I did, though, I fell in love with the dark, bitter or sweet, buttery or powdery character of this note. I also figured the connection between patchouli and chocolate/cocoa and the magic that happens between chocolate and iris. Which brings us to the present, when I have several full bottles of chocolaty perfume goodness, and a shortlist that had to be shortened for the sake of this post.
**2014 Edit: all of the perfumes mentioned below are wonderful and worthy of your time and skin. However, last year I came across a perfume I consider now to be the chocolate to end all chocolates, Body Made Luminous from Scents By Alexis. Perfumer Alexis Karl created the richest, most true to life, dark chocolate that caresses the skin and still smells like a perfume and not frosting. The perfume is made in very small batches and its availability depends on shipment of some rare raw materials. Thus, it's best to call Alexis at her studio or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org and get on the wait list. **
In no particular order:
Mazzolari- Lei. Like rolling in cocoa powder. An incredible comfort scent and mood booster. Kind of like eating chocolate.
Aftelier- Cocoa. The best interpretation I know of the chocolate-orange theme.
Guerlain- Iris Ganache. White chocolate never smelled more enticing. Sadly discontinued.
Serge Lutens- Vetiver Oriental. Wonderfully original and intoxicating. Chocolate in the jungle.
Serge Lutens- Borneo 1834. The reference perfume for patchouli and cocoa. Dark and dusty.
Parfumerie Generale- Musc Maori. Cocoa, powder and milky skin can be surprisingly sexy.
Providence Perfume Company- Cocoa Tuberose. Yes, I recently mentioned it as a favorite tuberose fragrance. It's that good.
Cartier- Le Baiser du Dragon. Amaretto and chocolate over a patchouli-vetiver base. A love-or-hate fragrance. Discontinued but can still be found.
Tableau de Parfums- Dark Passage. A limited edition by Andy Tauer that pairs iris, cocoa and dark chocolate.
Arquiste- Anima Dulcis. A very modern animalic fragrance that uses chocolate for depth and seduction.
Montale- Chocolate Greedy. Chocolate, vanilla, coffee. What you see is what you get, in the best possible way.
Armani Prive- La Femme Bleue. I wish it was just hype. Iris, chocolate and incense in a super limited distribution and a shocking price tag.
Honorable mention: Ayala Moriel- Roses et Chocolate (the ultimate Valentine's Day perfume), Tom Ford- Black Orchid (not a chocolte perfume, but has a sumptuous chocolate note), Payard trio fragrances (dessert in perfume, a short-lived pleasure), 1000 Flowers- Reglisse Noire (spice and chocolate), Hermes- Elixir de Marveilles (orange and chocolate).
How do you feel about chocolate in perfume?
Images: thestoryofchocolate.com, Serge Lutens Facebook page, vintageprintable.swivelchairmedia.com, and various online auctions.