I get a luxurious feeling of well-being from Cocoa Sandalwood, the new fragrance from Sonoma Scent Studio. Chocolate makes people (me) happy. So do plush textures and beautiful surroundings, both are evoked in perfumer Laurie Erickson's all-natural creation.
In theory, Cocoa Sandalwood is a rich gourmand. All the foody elements are there: exquisite dark chocolate, aromatic black coffee, heady spices; but the sophistication of the fragrance is such that instead of screaming "Eat Me!" it makes me want to roll in it catnip-style. It's the tactile feel created by the natural peach lactone Laurie Erickson used in this perfume-- it's very different than the cloying and scratchy peach note you find in many mass market fragrances. This peach is very creamy, a characteristic that makes it work so well with sandalwood. It's present well into the dry-down, preserving that smoothness that makes a great perfume (and a great chocolate).
Let's speak of the chocolate for a minute: this is the real thing. The dark cocoa scent here is not an olfactory illusion created with patchouli but a cocoa absolute that seems to melt into the skin. It's not overly sweet and one doesn't need to be a fully fledged chocoholic to appreciate this sensation (but I admit that it helps). The combination of the chocolate liquor and sandalwood manages to be both comforting and exotic, probably because of the presence of various spices that enliven it beyond the realms of a guilty pleasure. The effect on skin is warm and musky without a hint of dirt and/or earthiness. I'd say that it's delicious in a highbrow way, without the teenage yumminess that popular chocolate perfumes like to throw at us. Is it because the subdued sweetness? the all-natural raw materials? Probably a bit of both. Sillage, at least from dabbing, is pretty low, but the longevity is beyond decent (I get about 4-5 hours from a single drop). I'm curious to see what effect spraying will produce.
Notes: Cocoa absolute, coffee absolute, ginger, cinnamon bark, clove bud absolute, peach, rose absolute, Virginia cedar, sandalwood, ambrette seed, vanilla.
Sonoma Scent Studio- Cocoa Sandalwood ($25, 5ml travel spray. Samples as well as larger sizes are also available) can be purchased from sonomascentstudio.com. The sample for this review was sent by the perfumer.
Chocolate Fashion Show – Edible Clothes at World Chocolate Wonderland in Shanghai, December 2011, Reuters.