Ally McBeal is one of my all-time favorite TV shows. I loved it deeply and thought that the first two seasons were just magical – funny, romantic and witty. I stopped watching it at some point in the Season 4, when, in my opinion, the magic was gone. But I keep going back and re-watching some of my favorite episodes and scenes. One of such scenes is dedicated to coffee; not just to coffee in general but to drinking a first cup of the day. If you watched that show, most likely you remember the scene. For everybody else in short: one heroine (Ally) teaches another one (Georgia) how to drink coffee. Here’s a link to a 3-minute video clip (questionable quality but it’s the only one I could find) and a transcript of the most important dialog (if you’re not in the mood to watch):
Ally: You were about to drink this cappuccino like most men make love: skipping over all the foreplay. Now just… just hold it in your hands. Just knowing that it’s close.
Georgia: Yeah, I see what you mean.
Ally: Now, close your eyes. And just think about tasting it. Now, smell it. Just a little.
Ally: Now, pull it away. Just tease yourself a little. Up, and down. And up. Longer sniffs. Now, you see that foam on the plastic? Lick it off.
Georgia: I have to drink it!
Ally: Now, bring it up slow. Don’t rush it. It only happens with the first cup. Slow. Slow. Slow. And drink.
This scene made a strong impression on me: not as much because of its sexual references but because of the idea of savoring the experience and engaging all of your senses. I can’t say that I treat every cup of coffee like that but from time to time…
Smell from a freshly brewed cup is a big part of the enjoyment I get from drinking coffee. But it’s different when it comes to an “unattended” coffee smell (when a cup is not present).
One of the offices where I used to work was strategically placed in a short walking distance from two coffee shops. Since there was no proper lunch room in the office, my co-workers would go to either Starbucks or Peet’s Coffee, dependent on to which camp they belonged, for lunch or during breaks. I didn’t have taste preferences (latte tasted very similar in both places) but after a while I noticed that after I would spend 15-20 minutes at the Peet’s, my clothes would reek of sour and burnt coffee grounds. I didn’t observe the same effect from visiting Starbucks – so given a choice I would go there.
Years later I figured out the mystery: back then that particular Starbucks shop had been just freshly built and Peet’s had been around for a while; nowadays if I sit inside of that Starbucks café I get the same unpleasant odor absorbed into my clothes and hair.
So, do I like coffee note in perfumes? I like some perfumes that feature this note but my gripe about most of them: I get a toothache just smelling them – so sweet they are. But while I do not put sugar in my coffee, I do (or would, if I had them) wear some coffee-and-sugar perfumes.
Montale Intense Café gives me such a perfect coffee aroma in the opening, that I can make my peace with its sugary development. I will never need a bottle of this perfume but a nice decant that I got with my Scent Bird subscription will keep me satisfied those days when I need an extra shot.
By Kilian Intoxicated smells very nice on my skin though I cannot say that I get much coffee from it. Testing Intoxicated in parallel with Thierry Mugler‘s A*Men, I could miss neither the similarity of the two perfumes, nor the difference in the refinement and materials of the Kilian’s creation. The bottom line: I won’t wear A*Men because now I know how harsh it is compared to Intoxicated, the price of which I cannot even consider paying knowing how similar it is to A*Men.
I liked Jo Malone Black Vetyver Café enough to snatch a bottle of it on eBay after it had been discontinued. Unfortunately, I think it was too old when it got to me and now it is turning. But I still have a decant that is in good health, so I should probably start wearing it more often – before it also turns. Black Vetyver Café is much less sweet than other coffee scents that I’ve tested and vetiver adds a nice woody note. I could easily find 2-3 other Malone’s scents I would rather see discontinued but the brand probably knows better.
I tried several more perfumes with this note but they weren’t my cup of … coffee.
EnVoyage Perfumes Café Cacao is nice but too sweet for me. But if you like sweet scents, give this one a try.
In Plume Perfumes Coffee & Cedar, which isn’t too sweet and has a nice coffee note, I can’t stop smelling an oil base and it completely kills the perfume for me (and it’s probably for the best since I don’t think this brand is still alive).
But the biggest disappointment for me was Tom Ford Café Rose: I can’t say that it’s “too much” of anything; I don’t find it unpleasant; but as a Tom Ford perfumes fan I wanted this perfume to be much more interesting. I can’t remember how it smells the next day after trying it.
Have I found the perfect coffee though? I have! It’s Jamaica Blue Mountain that I freshly grind every weekend morning and make on the stove in jezve from my favorite designer Michael Aram. Mmm…
Images: my own