|pic taken from here|
An elegant figure of a man slips off his leather gloves and opens a sunburst and windswept since months sandalwood case full of spices and coffee, disclosing so the aroma inside.
This is what Maître Parfumeur et Gantier's Santal Noble conjiures up immediately in mind. An austere and valuable image, the neovictorian elegance of a woolen double-breasted suit, a luxury made of details to be worn for pleasing themselves and not for pleasing the others: maybe that's what Jean-François Laporte had in mind while concocting this juice and that's why this rich fragrance lasts for hours with minimal sillage surrounding you in a discrete way.
Sprayed on skin, it goes straightway to a spicy and herbal register with a smoky hint that introduces unexpected a slightly bitter note of coffee. This is mainly why I never got myself the chance to try this fragrance before: even if I'm a coffee junkie and I love its smell, it seldom carries me away. I find it often fake, cloying, bootlickingly gourmand, especially when it's coupled with other edible notes like caramel, chocolate and vanilla. This happens in the majority of fragrances launched few years ago during the olfactory trend of the gourmand in a cup as I like to call them, one for all A*men by Thierry Mugler. I love coffee but I wouldn't like people to think I've just tripped up a Starbucks caramel macchiato.
|Neovictorian look by McQueen|
Speaking about coffee smell, aside its use in perfumery, I think it's one of the most fascinating aromas for many reasons. First because drinking it we're used to a 360 degrees olfactory perception because we smell it and because of the taste rising from the mouth to the nose. Moreover it's a powerful stimulus because it's like a flash when you smell it, it's difficult to ignore it. Actually looking at the composition of its aroma with a gas cromatography we can see many interesting things: the main components in terms of concentration of smelling molecules released, feature on the top B-Damascenone, a main compound of damask rose smell with a honeyed-fruity vibe. Then we find the most characterizing molecules with a spicy-toasted-woody facet of coffee, the furfuryl-mercaptanes (source here) containing sulphure.
But why this aroma, will it put us in a good mood of will it disgust us, never leaves us cold? The explanation has ancestral origins and it's given by the fact that these molecules are released during the decomposition of proteins and it's in some way index of a potentially toxic food. I've got it! A simple coffee is able to wake up olfactory sulvival instinct to recognize toxic food from the edible one rising an alert.
Who knows if the perfumer, like a magician or a wise choses the coffee note for that stinging blow, that flash capturing all the senses like a spell or simply to follow the trend of the moment. I want to fool myself believing it's because of the shiver running every morning waking up, for that little noble magic.