Warm spices are making us sit up this season…
In our September issue, out today, we focus on delicious scents that have a twist of spice. Just as we are comfort-eating baked goods, from Scéal’s cardamom buns (definitely worth the queues – and they are opening a bakery in Greystones soon), to Bread 41’s outrageous cinnamon swirls, we are also seeing a rush of delicious perfumes, which celebrate all manner of sugar and spice. DS & Durga’s delicious Pistachio, warm and nutty, was one of the surprise indie hits of the year.
Gourmand master Olivier Cresp – the perfumer behind the original “tasty” perfume, Angel for Thierry Mugler, with its rush of praline – is finding a passionate audience for his latest scent, Bake. Sugar and spice can be comforting, full of pleasure and even nostalgic, he says: “These notes are so powerful and figurative that they trigger memories.” And perfume maestro Frederic Malle talks about our craving for comfort in times of uncertainty. His just-launched latest perfume, Heaven Can Wait, composed by the legendary Jean-Claude Ellena, is a new way of working with warm spices to create something “so intimate, and addictive”. It’s interesting that Tom Ford Beauty have just re-released Café Rose (from €120, at www.flannels.ie), a perfume originally launched back in 2012, in a new bottle, with its saffron, dark coffee, coriander and cardamom notes. I still have my original bottle, and it’s strikingly of the moment.
It’s easy to associate spices such as clove and cinammon with Christmassy candles and drawer-liners, and be rather put off. But these modern takes on spice notes are far more intriguing, punchy and beguiling. Here’s our pick of the hottest spices:
Maison Crivelli, Santal Volcanique
“Glowing spice-clouds”, via explosive hits of coffee, crackling cardamom and ginger. This is strikingly hot yet soft. €185; www.maisoncrivelli.com.
Olivier Cresp’s range channels “addictions turned into perfumes”: think tobacco, chocolate, whiskey and cake … His bestseller, Bake, balances the sweetness of vanilla with tart lemon, along with rum, praline, chantilly cream and brown sugar. It’s utterly delicious, without giving you a sugar headache. €80; www.akrofragrances.com.
Byredo, Rouge Chaotique
This “oud gourmand” comes alive with spicy saffron and sweet praline, plus hints of blackcurrant and plum. Byredo scents often feature spices such as cinnamon and cardamom to suggest close comfort and warm skin. €270; www.byredo.com.
Cloon Keen, Castaña
Cloon Keen’s award-winning sweet chestnut elixir is a triumph, with warm caramel offset by cardamom and red pepper. And the Galway perfumery’s new bottle design, in solid faceted silvery glass, is exquisite – each one is like a mini sculpture, to be displayed. €150; www.cloonkeen.com.
Dries Van Noten, Raving Rose
The designer’s perfume collection, launched last year, is as stylish and original as you’d expect. Try perfumer Louise Turner’s modern take on the classical flower, with pink and black pepper notes giving it an explosive twist. “The rose is an icon for Dries but I wanted to disrupt its classicism to create a rose that is not a rose, not taking itself too seriously, ultra-modern and spicy,” says Turner. €250; www.driesvannoten.com.
Matiere Premiere, Vanilla Powder
The French perfume house, which launched at the end of 2019, delivers its twelfth fragrance, Vanilla Powder, on October 1. If you’ve smelled any of the others – Neroli Oranger, for example, or Radical Rose – you’ll know the quality of these perfumes, composed by Aurélien Guichard, who describes this new one as “a refined vanilla: its dark richness is met with an explosion of white modern powders.” A celebration of (sustainably sourced) Madagascan vanilla absolute, paired with coconut powder and Palo Santo wood notes, this puts a whole new spin on the idea of vanilla. They do a beautiful Crystal Saffron scent, too, plus a hair perfume. €145; www.matiere-premiere.com.
Bon Parfumeur, 803: Sea Spray, Ginger, Patchouli
A winning mix of ice and fire, via chilled marine notes warmed with spice notes of ginger, anise and pink pepper. from €42; www.bonparfumeur.com.