Monday, April 29, 2013

My Top 12 Gourmand Fragrances

For someone who claims she doesn't want to smell like a cupcake I certainly own and wear a staggering amount of sweet and gourmand perfumes. I do have a sweet tooth, so that may explain it. Still, I didn't consider making a list of foody perfumes because I already posted my top fig, vanilla, chocolate, citrus, and fruity ones. But a couple of readers requested a "Best Of" gourmands, and looking at my shelves I realized that there are quite of few that didn't make it into previous posts because they're not necessarily centered around any of the obvious notes I mentioned above.

I admit that all of these are sweet and sinful. Yes, there are food-related fragrances that aren't dessert-like; Christopher Brosius even offers a roast beef accord, but as you can imagine, that's not really my thing. So while avoiding straight up vanillas and such, here are my personal favorite perfumes that make me go and raid the pantry (in no particular order):
  • Honore des Pres- Sexy Angelic. Olivia Giacobetti created a natural perfume based on a traditional French confection, calisson, that sounds heavenly and obviously smells the part. Abysmal lasting power, though.
  • People Of The Labyrinths-  Luctor et Emergo. Marzipan and cherries that spell Play-Doh to many.I find it delicious and somewhat incensy in the dry-down. I especially love it on the husband.
  • Serge Lutens- Rahat Loukoum. Turkish Delight is one of my favorite things in the universe, and Uncle Serge's interpretation is musky, honeyed and luxurious. 
  • Keiko Mecheri- Loukhoum and Loukhoum Parfum du Soir. Keiko Mecheri's variation on this theme is more floral, more powdery and also woodier. It is larger than life, especially in the parfum version.
  • Guerlain- Gourmand Coquin. From the somewhat controversial Elixir Charnel range, this spicy boozy chocolate and rose creature grew on me slowly. It's delicious and very very Guerlain.
  • CB I Hate Perfume accords in My Birthday Cake, Wildflower Honey and just about everything Christopher Brosius makes. The accords are very literal, often (not always) linear and are bound to take you places.
  • Thierry Mugler- Innocent. Angel's delicate and musky sibling is soft and very praline-like. There's none of the loud and obnoxious qualities of too many Mugler perfumes, which is probably why Innocent is the wallflower of the line.
  • Kelly & Jones- #5 Notes of Chardonnay. Kelly & Jones perfumes were created to go with wine. It would have been nothing but a gimmick if the fragrances weren't so nice. Chardonnay is creme brulee in an oak barrel. Irresistible.
  • Hilde Soliani- Fraaagola Saalaaata. Italian perfumer Hilde Soliani offers several mouth-watering perfumes. This one is about salted strawberries. I can't believe how much I like it, considering I usually abhor strawberry notes in perfume, but the masterful blending and saltiness save Fraaagola Saalaaata from being as intolerable as Soliani's penchant for extra vowels.
  • L'Artisan- Traversee du Bosphore. Yes, another Turkish Delight fragrance, this one with an extra serving of every stall from the markets of Istanbul, including the leather ones.
  • Etat Libre d'Orange- Like This (Tilda Swinton). Pumpkin pie laced with ginger and maple syrup, a warm kitchen and a cat snuggled at your feet.
  • Dawn Spencer Hurwitz- Mahjoun. Fruitcake and sticky pudding, spicy and nutty. A drop before bedtime is kind of like a hot toddy for the soul.
Honorable Mention: Serge Lutens Louve (Rahat Loukoum's muskier and fluffier sibling) and Jeux de Peau (caramelized popcorn on toast),  Ava Luxe Loukhoum, Milk, and Madeline (what it says is what you get), Lostmarch Lan-Ael (Fruit Loops in milk), Montale Sweet Oriental Dream (another sweet almond with a touch of honey and a powdery rose), and Parfumerie Generale Tonkamande (almond milk and toast).

What are your favorite gourmands?

Image: Paulette Goddard in Modern Times.


  1. I haven't been a big gourmand fan and a quick peruse of my perfumes turns up three, and all L'Artisan's, Jour de Fete (I draw ever closer to running out of this one which makes me very sad - it's my in slippers scent), Vanille Absolument and Ananas Fizz. This year though, as we head towards winter here in the Southern Hemisphere, I'm surprised to find myself craving sweet and creamy. My mum sometimes makes this concoction of proper home made custard/creme anglaise, with slices of banana and a sprinkling of coconut.... I kind of want to find a perfume equivalent...
    You have me curious to have a sniff of Inocent now too.
    First time commenter, but long term lurker here btw! Lizzie

  2. Yum!

    My favorite gourmands tend to have a strong streak of ginger, which is odd because I don't much like ginger in food. Un Crime Exotique (an exact scent duplicate of a pfeffernusse cookie), Tea for Two, Sushi Imperiale, Aomassai (OK, no ginger there.)


  3. I absolutely love Dawn Spencer Hurwitz Lumiere and Neil Morris Scrumptious. I also adore L'Artisan Safran Troublant. Would that be considered a gourmand?

  4. I'll admit I had to look up Turkish Delight to see what it is, but now that I've seen it, I realize that I've had it, and it is amazing! It's the rosewater that really does it for me...I **LOVE** Rosewater! I'm really not into gourmands, but I have to admit that the first time I smelled Angel on an old roommate over a decade ago, I thought it was the most beautiful thing I'd ever experienced. On me, however, that was decidedly not the case! Thank you for all of your posts...I very much enjoy reading your fragrance thoughts :)

  5. Seconding Safran Troublant. I also like Ginestet Botrytis, which is really similar to DSH Mahjoun but little sheerer and with a bit more of a tobacco-ish facet. Mahjoun is one of my favorites of the DSH scents I've tried. Cimabue is a good one too with its spicy saffron notes.

  6. I was read Alyssa Harad's wonderful book last week and sampled Ginestet Botrytis. I agree with Jennifer that Botrytis fits wonderfully in this category. The other delicious scent I love is Frapin 1697 absolu - it's the most delicious cognac infused creme brulee! ~~nozknoz

  7. I am so glad that you wrote this list Gaia, it's close to my heart as the gourmands were my gateway to the perfume world. I have tried several that you mentioned here: Luctor et Emergo, Innocent, Keiko Mecheri Loukoum, Lann-Ael, Tonkamonde, and Gourmande Coquin - love them all. A couple that I also like are Ginestet Botrytis, Vanille Abricot by Comptoir Sud Pacifique, Unknown Pleasures by Kerosene (complex vanilla wafflecone), Dulcis in Fundo by Profumum, Vaniglia Officina Profumo-Farmaceutica di Santa Maria Novella (reminded me of a tootsie roll :)), Black Orchid by Tom Ford (LOVE this one, picked up the truffle accord and chocolate in the dry down), Candy by Prada, "L" by Lolita Lempicka, and (don't hit me! :)) Angel - the dry down is glorious on my skin. There are so many more that I want to try and you all have made me add several more to my ever-growing list!

  8. Traversee du Bospohore is a must gourmand. I get a cumin linger on me and, surprisingly, I LOVE it. But then, I'm Cuban-American so I can't help it, I guess. And Like This is perhaps my most commented-on fragrance. That and Tauer's heady incence-y pair. (Incense Extreme and the L'air du desert Marocain).

  9. How many perfumes do you own? I can't sleep and I love reading your posts.

  10. I'd like to mention 1270 by Frapin (best Chocolate, dried fruits and rum!) and Praliné de Santal by Parfümerie Générale, which smells like salty pretzls with butter, very unusual.

  11. ...I forgot the wonderful Lann-Ael by Lostmarch - smells like home and childhood.

  12. What do readers think of Patou's Sira des Indes? Banana and pear notes and that Joy signature.

  13. Love your lists, for the novice they give a sense of the iceberg awaiting. I just got my hands on a bottle of Givenchy Immortelle Tribal which is a helichysum~fig leaf ~ sandalwood accord. However on me it smells exactly like honey, or as a reviewer commented elsewhere "French toast with maple syrup".... it's delicious and I can't wait to compare it with the Lutens, L'Artisan and Guerlain above (the nichier lines are harder to find in San Francisco, unless a kind reader has suggestions).


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