I'm not a coffee drinker, bur I do like the smell of coffee beans and the aroma of a really good brew. Testing a perfume called "Intense Cafe" makes one expect a jolting shot of coffee smell that would wake you up immediately. I don't get that from Montale Cafe Intense which is their newest release. To my nose, Cafe Intense is very much a gourmand, edible more than beverage-like. There is a quick whiff of coffee in the opening, but it's gone before the water for my tea is boiling.
I smell vanilla, an ambery rose that goes the jammy fruity way, oddly mixed with chocolate (I had to double check the first time that I hadn't mixed the samples and grabbed another Montale by mistake) . It's pretty enjoyable, once you let go of the expectations for a coffee scent-- at about the second or third wearing. There is a drinkable part here, and that's a boozy note. Here's where skin chemistry and imagination play a major role: the amber and booze together manifest as a phantom pipe tobacco note on my skin. I smell it and the husband says it actually overpower everything else, to the point Montale Intense Cafe doesn't smell to him like a perfume.
Tobacco or not, Intense Cafe soon turns into a massive sweet musk with a nuclear longevity. There's still amber and rose there (and if you ask the husband, the inside of a humidor), but mostly a very fruity musk that hangs on for dear life even when dabbing on just a couple of drops. It survives a shower-- as a matter of fact the only way to get rid of this Montale is to steam it long and hard. You definitely get your money's worth in sillage and longevity, just not the desired cup of joe.
Notes: Coffee, rose, amber, vanilla, white musk
Montale Intense Cafe ($110, 50ml EDP) is available from Luckyscent, MiN NY, Twisted Lily, amd Parfum1.com.
Art: Willard Leroy Metcalf, Au Cafe (1888)