40 Days and 40 Nights of Fragrance Notes: Karo Karounde
Going To The Chapel
by Patti F aka Cavewoman
I wore Panthere by Cartier on my wedding day. We were married late in the day, and I had stopped at Neiman Marcus to pick up some cosmetics. We were in Las Vegas and I was at the Fashion Show Mall. It may have been my first time in a Neiman Marcus store, and I was truly dazzled. I stopped at the perfume counters to sniff around, and was totally enchanted by Panthere with is big vanilla presence. I bought it and wore it that evening when I said "I do!" to the man. Years later, no longer wearing Panthere (because my Mother-In-Law had discovered it on my perfume tray and had taken the liberty of spraying herself) I noticed a new edition of Panthere, called Eau Legere, at Nordstrom. I wondered if it would be different enough that my husband would not think I smelled like his mother. I sprayed it on my wrists and bought it within twenty minutes. Panthere Eau Legere is nothing like Panthere. I did not know what I was smelling but I knew it was love. Even the SA did not know the notes (which was rare for a Nordstrom SA because most of them are CFSS certified.) It was fresh, light, flowery and breezy.
A few years after the Vegas wedding, which is my husband's favorite town in the entire USA, I figured it was time to take him to MY favorite town, New York City. We boarded the Amtrak and had a lovely trip. I took him to his first Broadway show,Guys & Dolls, with Nathan Lane and Faith Prince. I introduced him to Gallaghers Steak House and the Carnegie Deli, and the secret wonder of La Mela, my favorite Italian restaurant that so far had not been discovered by tourists. We were sad to head to Penn Station on our last day in New York, but lo and behold, was this a perfume store in Penn Station? Yes! And with my final few minutes in New York, I spotted a fragrance I had never heard of before, and wanting a new perfume to take home as a memento of the trip, I tested it, loved it, bought it, and brought it home. That fragrance was Joop!Berlin, and I am now on my second bottle. Joop!Berlin is a green floral with sparkling aldehydes, tropical fruits, white flowers, and a gorgeous base of tonka, caramel, sandalwood and vanilla. No wonder I still love it.
Doing research on these two scents brought me some fascinating information on a floral note which I discovered is common to both of these scents. The note is Karo Karounde. This flowering shrub from Africa is often compared to jasmine, but without the sting and sharpness that comes in some jasmines. I found out that the karo karounde note is considered to be an an aprhodisiac and that it is used in rituals of sexual magic in the Congo (source: profumo.it) -- yikes! Karo karounde can smell chocolatey or ripe-fruity. It has been described as somewhere between jasmine and tuberose. To me, it definitely leans more to the jasmine side.
Probably the most well-known fragrance containing the karo karounde note is Pleasures by Estee Lauder. This beautiful floral has stood the test of time. It is still one of their best sellers since its successful launch in 1996, as clean as could be, with that touch of green on the top and the flow of light-hearted florals in the middle. What you are smelling is that lovely karo karounde. It is also present in Lauder's beautiful chypre, Knowing. Sitting on its base of oakmoss, the karo karounde lifts this scent from being too deep. It's one of the lighter chypres in a category where the word "light" seldom appears.
A few years ago, a good friend who also loves fragrances returned from a trip to Las Vegas (!) with a gift for me, which he had purchased because the name on the bottle was pretty close to my own name. I had never heard of Marella Ferrera, but the bottle was lovely and so was the scent inside. Ferrera, a fashion designer from Catania, designed this scent to companion her chic, understated garments. It's a rich white floral blend, centering on the karo karounde note, and adding lush fruit notes of apricot and spicy notes of caraway and cumin. Gardenia gives a creamy effect, and sandalwood and amber add some exotic touches to the base.
I have to speak of one more fragrance that contains the karo karounde note, L'Artisan's Timbuktu. I wanted to try it out before I wrote this review. Thank goodness Ms. Blogdorf had a sample in her stash. I dabbed it on this morning. If there is indeed any karo karounde in this scent, it is totally drowned out by the resinous, car fluid smell that came from my wrist. I assure you I was not under the hood of the Honda this morning. I cannot go further in reviewing Timbuktu because I ran for the antiperspirant to remove any trace of that scent on my wrist. It was almost too late, I had already become nauseous.
But now, the offending dab is gone, and I'm happily enjoying the last day of Winter in Ohio, a beautiful warm sunny afternoon, Pleasures on my wrists, and wondering if any Blogdorf readers know of the karo karounde flower and its lovely perfumes. Tell us in the comments!
Disclaimer: All fragrances in these photos were either purchased by the reviewer or given to her as gifts.
Reviewer: Patti F
Photo Credit: Patti F
Graphic Credit: Melanie Parker