The official fragrance grouping for perfumes that smell like food is gourmand. According to the dictionary a Gourmand is a person who is fond of good eating, often indiscriminately and to excess, so it makes sense that gourmand fragrances are all about delicious, edible notes served with reckless abandonment and usually not for the faint-hearted. Some of the top-selling perfumes are in this group: Opium, YSL, Euphoria Gold, Calvin Klein and Angel, Thierry Mugler.
These fragrances tend to smell almost edible usually featuring notes such as vanilla, caramel, honey, chocolate and black coffee. Often sweet, but also savoury and umami.
The first perfumes that many of us wear as teenagers are super- sweet with notes of sugar and fruits, think of the Body Shop’s Vanilla scent. This is related in some ways to hormones as younger women are drawn to these scents.
Perfumes that smell like food-stuffs are not in fact a new idea. Gourmand perfumes are almost a century old and in the last few years are riding a new wave of popularity. The French perfume company Guerlain released Shalimar in 1925 to counteract all the heavier musk and spice scents that were worn and this smelled like baby powder and biscuits.
There is really no shortage of scents in the marketplace, that allow you to smell of your favourite foods, no matter how random these may be. From the subtle scents of citrus or tea to the extremes like cheese.
For meat lovers, the perfume house, I Hate Perfume combines the smell of roast beef, parsley, herbs, black peppers, smoked woods, patchouli, cedar and tobacco absolute. Whilst, in 2008 Burger King launched their meat infused spray, Flame, marketing it as the scent of seduction with a hint of flame-broiled meat. I am really not too sure about that one, some men may like this though?
Frying bacon has to be one of life’s greatest smells. In 1920, John Fargginay, a Parisian butcher discovered the ability to dramatically elevate his customers mood with a secret recipe blending eleven pure essential oils with the essence of bacon. This was to become a fragrance; it is said that even film stars and heads of state would frequent his shop to procure the magical elixir of Fargginay’s Bacon Cologne. After a huge fire on July the 4th, 1924, the business was lost and so was the formula. Fargginay, Inc. was founded in 2000 (the perfume was launched in 2011) by John Leydon. Who was passionate to uncover and resurrect one of the greatest legends of the early 20th century. The company classically designed a fragrance that used a traditional structure to create an untraditional, artisanal gourmand scent.
Other companies have produced food inspired scents, Demeter, have a wide range, one of the most unusual been Lobster featuring subtle hints of sweet meat, the sea and butter. It does sound good enough to eat, but do you want to smell of fish. www.demeterfragrance.com
The Stilton Cheese Makers Association commissioned an aromatics firm to create Eau de Stilton. It was part of their Stick on the Stilton 2006 campaign, to encourage people to eat more Stilton cheese. The perfume, billed as eminently wearable, blends Yarrow, Angelica seed, Clary Sage and Valerian to recreate the earthy and fruity aroma of Blue Stilton cheese. The smell of strong cheese causes me to feel quite unwell, so I think this one is not for me.
Jean-François Laportes, niche Parisian brand l’Artisan Parfumier is inspired by nature and creates many lovely perfumes. Their best-selling Premier Figurer scent, echoes a fig tree on a summer’s day in Provence with an enveloping freshness with milky woody notes. Poivre Piquant, combines white pepper and the sugary sweetness of milk, honey, and liquorice. which is a spicy yet delicately sensual aroma. http://www.artisanparfumeur.com
So many artisan companies are producing gourmand perfumes which are very wearable and not in the least gimmicky. As after all not everyone wants to smell of flowers. Many of us are foodies and becoming more aware of using exotic spices in our food, so why not add these stunning aromatic ingredients to our scents!