40 Days and 40 Nights of Fragrance Reviews: Pepper
by Patti F
Along with shopping for perfumes and talking about perfumes and sharing perfumes with my perfume-loving friends, we have many other things in common. We love beautiful fashion, pretty jewelry, the latest fabulous cosmetics (lipsticks!) and then there are shoes. So, the conversation at lunch often turns to these other subjects in addition to fragrances. On our table at the Cleveland Gang gathering place (in front of the H&M Store) you'll see vials, bottles, and little boxes of fragrance samples sitting right there with our food court trays. Which leads me to just one other thing we have in common, food! So many of my fragrance friends are gourmet cooks. They know their food. They have access to great markets like Whole Foods (wish we had one here!) Trader Joes, and great fresh fish markets and the amazing West Side Market in Cleveland, full of the most delectable goodies, meats, cheeses, and produce. We absolutely love unusual spice notes in fragrances, cumin, coriander, rosemary, cinnamon, nutmeg, clove. These are not necessarily in fragrances that are known as gourmands, they often pop up in mysterious orientals, woodsy scents, and even lighthearted eaux and florals. The Cleveland Gang has been known to ditch the mall, pile into their cars, and head to Whole Foods for an afternoon of gourmet food shopping instead of the displays at Sephora, the perfume counters at Nordstrom, and the shoe racks at Saks. We choose foods over Choos.
Fragrances with the pepper note use black, pink, or white pepper. The note adds zest and spice, and it works especially well with rose scents. My beloved Mille Et Une Rose does not list pepper in the notes, but it's a peppery rose to me, fascinating, unusual, always full of pleasure. Bond No. 9 adds pink pepper to its light and breezy rose scent, Bryant Park. These two rose scents could not be more different from one another, and yet the pepper-rose combination makes the most of a mutual admiration. They play well together.
Si Lolita opens with the fresh pink pepper combined with gorgeous bergamot. It makes me happy right from the first sniff, quirky and fun, and again delivered in an adorable bottle. I wonder if the dots on the box are the pink peppercorns! Pretty florals follow, mostly sweet pea and heliotrope, in a base of amber, patchouli (not too much, I am glad to say) and tonka bean which gives the impression of vanilla, but not as sweet. The pepper resides through to the end, keeping the spark alive in the base notes. I wish I'd swapped for a larger bottle.
In 2005, Clarins, the well-respected skincare company, launched the mother-and-daughter fragrances called Par Amour and Par Amour Toujours. Par Amour, the "Mother" scent, is another pepper-rose combination, sparkling with blackcurrant, warmed with vanilla and sandalwood, and absolutely beautiful. Nobody talks about either of these scents. Maybe because Clarins is not usually known for its fragrances. Both of them are sitting happily side-by-side (as they should be) on my perfume shelf. Daugher does not contain the pepper. Maybe she's just a bit too young for that right now.
I love all of the Agent Provocateur scents. The most unusual of all of them, Eau Emotionelle, is a combination of cape snowbush (a wild rosemary from South Africa,) lie de vin (a red wine sauce? with shallots? and garlic?) pink pepper, white tea, and osmanthus. I get the winey note but not the garlic, thank goodness! Eau Emotionelle is actually a beautiful tea fragrance with fruity apricot notes from the osmanthus, and the snap of pink pepper. If I reach for this bottle, I'll wear it all week, it's just that good.
I'm going to teach Ms. Blogdorf how to cook. I'll be gifting her with her very own pepper grinder when we start our first lesson. She will probably sneak off to play in the perfumes. I'll let you know.
Do you have a favorite fragrance that has a pepper note in it? Tell us about it!
Disclaimer: All fragrances in the photos were purchased by the reviewer, with the exception of Si Lolita
which she obtained in a swap.
Reviewer: Patti F
Photo Credit: Patti F
Graphic Credit: Melanie Parker