For some time, coffee fragrances have enjoyed a certain vogue among the perfume cognoscenti. Maurice Roucel’s Riverside Drive
, Jacques Huclier’s flanker for Thierry Mugler, A*Men Pure Coffee
, Jo Malone Black Vetyver Cafe
and the coffee granddaddy, L’Artisan Parfumeur’s L’Eau du Navigateur
– each has showcased this ultimate comfort note, which, along with chocolate and tobacco, forms a triad of vanillin-packed scents. To smell a cigar humidor, a dark chocolate wrapper or, as is the case here in New York City, to walk past a branch of Porto Rico Importing Co., is to fall under the smell of the bean (coffee, tonka, cocoa or otherwise).
As some of you may know, I recently completed a move to a new space, and in the process many samples and bottles were jostled about ... which is to say that quite a few things, which previously languished in the dark, got their proverbial moment in the sun. Maître Parfumeur et Gantier’s L’Eau des Îles
was among them, and now I am kicking myself for not having recognized (or better appreciated) its strong features years ago. Jean Leporte, who also was responsible for L’Eau du Navigateur,
created it in the pre-gourmand days of the mid-Eighties. Taking a spicy, musky coffee note and allying it to the weedy note of galbanum, Laporte created something beautiful in its hardness – for lack of a better analogy, a sort of tropical flanker to Germaine Cellier’s galbanum-bombshell, Bandit
(as recreated, of course, by the Guichard duo at Givaudan).
It is an unsung wonder, and if you like Bandit
and, albeit for a very different reason, Patou’s Colony
, this cup’s for you.