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Food to Fragrance: Paco Rabanne’s 1 Million meets a good ole Indian Curry

paco rabannne one mil v indian curry

Men’s fragrance is a funny old thing – I’ve long felt that it doesn’t get the love it deserves from the male populace and am always frustrated by the lack of adventure most males have when it comes to trying a new fragrance. There are a lot of great men’s fragrances out there and sticking to old habits only deprives males from smelling fantastic across a broad genre of womankind.

Ask any girl and she will tell you, there are certain men’s fragrances that make her weak at the knees, { I very rarely reveal which ones have such an effect on me }, and rightly so. The right fragrance on the right male can make him literally look more attractive. But, there is more to fine fragrance than just making us look/smell good with a view to attraction – smelling nice is socially good, uplifts the wearers mood and gives an impression of cleanliness. Lads, you have been informed!

The Fragrance:
I can honestly say, this is not a fragrance I would usually pay any attention to. The packaging is very eye catching, a bit flashy and the brand one I associate with the 90’s when I wore waay to much XS. But One Million by Paco Rabanne features notes of Frosted Grapefruit, Peppermint, Rose Absolute, Musk, Cinnamon Bark, Blond Leather, Patchouli, White Wood and Amber Ketal. The overall feel is actually a lot spicier and warmer than you would suspect. The cinnamon bark, blond leather and white wood give a warmth while the patchouli and amber work together to add a spicy hint without dominating the scent. The scent starts off with a refreshing sharpness from the grapefruit and quickly settles into the musky spiciness that lingers on the skin and attracts..oh it attracts.

The Food:
An Indian curry. I specifically chose an Indian curry due to the way it’s spices are warmly incorporated into the dish. I often find that Thai red, green and yellow curries are a little simpler in their spiciness. But there is a complexity to the spice of an Indian curry, maybe because it is a mix of several spice ingredients: turmeric, coriander and more, that gives it it’s character. The spice is then typically tempered by either coconut milk or yogurt creating a warmth.

Why it works:
The warmth and spice that is evident in 1 Million are defining characters of an Indian curry. Both literally and in flavour the spice adds a surprising zing which is subdued by the creamy warmth { from the yogurt } paralleling the musk, patchouli and white woods. The yogurt can also add a bit of a citrusy tinge to the dish one that is reflected in the ‘Frosted Grapefruit’ top note in the fragrance.

Fragrance Tip:
Fragrances contain ingredients that can change character incredibly when exposed to warm or overly sunlit environments. Keep your fragrances in the fridge! Somewhere on the top shelf or door is about right, the cool dark conditions will help your fragrance last much longer than if they sit in your bedroom, or heaven forbid your bathroom, exposed to fluctuating temps and direct sun. Also, it just feels good to get spritzed with a chilled substance in the morning!

images via sephora and indian foods co


Food to Fragrance: Rose Brut Champagne Float with Raspberry Sorbet meets Marc Jacobs Eau so Fresh

mj daisy eau so fresh meets rose brut champers with sorbet

There are some designers out there whose style is instantly recognisable and whose talent is inimitable. One such designer is Marc Jacobs. His designs have a certain joie de vivre and yet the cut and hue are executed with such precision that the quality is nothing shy of high fashion. When it comes to the brand’s fragrance collection there is no exception. The packaging is always the type that dominates your counter-top with it’s strong sense of fun and the fragrance one that respectfully compliments whatever you wear. So how about what you eat?

The Fragrance
: Marc Jacobs Daisy Eau so Fresh. With notes that include ruby red grapefruit, raspberry, green leaves, pear, violet, wild rose, apple blossom, lychee, jasmine, musk, plum and cedar – this is a fruity yet fresh mix. I suspect that the dosage on this one is low for two reasons, the freshness of the fragrance is very apparent and the size of the bottles on sale are larger than usual at 75 and 125ml. Don’t let that deter you though, one could take it to mean that reapplication is going to be necessary and frequent BUT as a summer fragrance there is the right balance of light ‘scentedness’ and character to offset the annoyance of reapplication. Having personally worn the fragrance for a day, I will say that it is pronounced enough that it does linger on the skin. In the summer you don’t want to smell cloying, and this scent makes it smell like YOU smell good, not like you are wearing a fragrance that smells good.

The Food: Rose Brut Champagne Float with Raspberry Sorbet. A little bit dessert, a little bit sophisticated boozy party drink. Made with fresh raspberries, raspberry sorbet and chilled Rose Brut Champagne. This drink is fresh, fruity, fun yet expertly tailored.

Why it works:
The ingredients in this fragrance are so well balanced that you are empowered to focus on what you will and enjoy it for what it is. I immediately honed in on my favourite elements: the raspberry, the lychee and the wild rose. They create a fruity floralcy that is grown up yet fun. Not too dissimilar to how marc’s work has a youthful spirit and tailored edge. The idea of sorbet in Rose Champagne reflects that idea well. Certainly there is the literal fragrance { raspberry note } to flavour {raspberry sorbet } connection but the spirit of ‘fun’ is evident in putting a frozen treat { sorbet } in a tailored grown-up glass of champagne – a formal drink that usually comes out for special occasions only.

Dressing down the champagne so to speak with the inclusion of a dessert product is very marc. Something grown up, sophisticated but with a playful edge.

Fragrance Tip:
Don’t let fragrance descriptions deter you from trying them! Sometimes you hear a fragrance categorised as ‘fruity floral’ and your hatred for all things fruits make you pass by it with an upturned nose searching for something a little more floral. Stop. Turn around. And smell the fragrance first! Fragrance ingredient prejudice leads many to deprive themselves of what could be the signature fragrance of their life!

The way the ingredients are incorporated in each and every fragrance is different and sometimes just like with cooking where certain foods and seasonings enhance the flavours of other ingredients in the dish, certain olfactive ingredients enhance or temper those in the fragrance. The results can often be surprising and enchanting, creating the fragrance you have been looking for all your life. So before you write something off. Stop. Turn around. Try it. You might actually like it.

Food Tip:
Don’t be afraid to pair casual foods – ice cream, sorbets, candies or even potato chips with more sophisticated ingredients! Experiment and PLAY with food, you’re a grown up now, you can actually do that! The pairings can result in a dish you never expected that will be a welcome addition to your repertoire.

mj daisy image via nordstrom, sorbet champage by jenna

Food to Fragrance: Guerlain’s Aqua Allegoria Pamplelune meets Grapefruit Panna Cotta

aqua allegoria pamplelune vs grapefruit panna cotta with berries

As I sit here sniffing a blotter drenched in Aqua Allegoria Pamplelune I find my salivary glands going into overdrive. It’s amazing the power scent has over the body and mind to react in the way it does. A few weeks ago a friend was asking me if I had heard about Synesthesia, indeed I have – it was a technique that we would try and employ { although REAL Synesthesia is a disorder that is not intentionally inflicted } in order to smell fragrances on another level. I love to do this – it forces you to SEE a scent as a colour, feel it as a texture or taste it in your mouth.

Some fragrances lend themselves quite easily to this alternate sensory experience – while with others you really have to focus on to achieve the effect. Why all this talk about experiencing scent through an alternative cognitive pathway? Because when I sniffed the blotter drenched in Aqua Allegoria Pamplelune my mind and mouth was involuntarily flooded with a past memory and taste from an evening out with a dear friend.

The Fragrance: Aqua Allegoria Pamplelune by Guerlain. First of all it’s worth knowing that this is a fragrance that is sold exclusively at Sephora. So if you want to experience it you will have to pop into one of their stores or buy it online. With notes of California Grapefruit, Italian Bergamot, Neroli, Petitgrain, Black Currant, Patchouli and Vanilla, there is a distinct citrus juiciness when you first smell the fragrance that is quickly followed by a succulent yet slightly more grounded sweetness that I feel can be attributed to the vanilla. This succulence reminds me of the gentle pop that you hear when you dig a spoon into a creamy gelatinous dessert and pull the spoon out.

The citrus adds a freshness to this scent that makes me feel that it would be preferable for day to day wear, ideally in Spring. The Black Currant adds a berry sweetness that is tempered by the citrus and prevented from being sickly sweet or berry fruity like a more mass market product.

The Food: Grapefruit Panna Cotta with berries. Oh Panna Cotta how I do love thee. I first experienced Panna Cotta in a little Italian restaurant with a friend who hailed from the country of it’s origin. I was afraid to try it as ‘cooked cream’ didn’t sound appetizing to me at all. But I will never forget the gentle succulent pop as my spoon punctured the mold and extracted a hefty teaspoon full of creamy white goodness. Nor will I forget the sensation of the cool vanillaness and citrus’ zest that flew from my taste buds to my brain in the blink of an eye. Pure bliss. Being a cold dessert, there is a freshness to panna cotta that is refreshing and yet sophisticated. This ain’t jello kids! { the recipe in the link above doesn’t include berries, but to experience this food to fragrance match up I suggest swapping out the candied kumquats for black currants or black berries! }

Why it works: The vanilla and citrus evident in the fragrance are the two things that clearly stand out in the panna cotta dish. But it is more than a direct ingredient to ingredient connection; the feel of the scent mirrors the feel of the way grapefruit panna cotta tastes. From the cool refreshingness of the cold milky mold to the cool refreshingness of the citrus scent gently reined in by the vanilla.

Then comes the berries. Like those smattered on top of and around the panna cotta providing punches of interesting berriness to the experience.

Fragrance Tip: While it’s nice to find a fragrance that is unequivocally ‘you’ it’s also good to find a fragrance for different occasions, moods and seasons. Something a bit more ‘close’ { read sweet or skin musky } for special evening’s, something airy and bright for days out and about, something with a statement and bold character for a night on the town with the girls – wearing something that suits your mood and the occasion will help make you feel more confident and happy. Trust me on this one.

Food Tip: Never be afraid to try a new dessert. That should be craven maven cardinal rule #1.

fragrance image via sephora, panna cotta via learning how to cook, recipe by a bird in the kitchen

Food to Fragrance: Berry Pavlova Roulade meets Hanae Mori no.1

berry pavlova roulade meets hanae mori no.1

I have a not so subtle obsession with berries. I love them. It’s their burst of colour that reminds me of a bouquet of deep rich flowers and the way their juice bleeds all over creams, yogurts and custards.

But aside from their aesthetic attraction, berries are actually good for you – antioxidants, fibre, vitamin C, enhancing your eyesight, protecting your heart and preventing cravings, these small gems have superpowers!

Berries in fragrance are nothing new, but their intensity and sweetness varies immensely across the brands. From Bath and Body works more sweet, literal interpretation of a berry to fine fragrance sophistication.

The Fragrance:
The Hanae Mori brand started releasing fragrances in 1995, almost forty years after the clothing brand made it’s debut. ‘Hanae Mori No. 1’, a decidedly fruity addition the Hanae resume, was released last spring. With notes of Bergamot, Black Currant, Mulberry leaf, Blackberry, Raspberry, Sandalwood and Vanilla I found it had a surprisingly zesty pop, paired with subtle warmth and definite fruitiness.

That being said, don’t be mistaken in thinking that this is a heavy fragrance. The balance makes it light enough to be a day to day scent. There is a certain freshness to the fragrance that belies the berry ingredients despite the berriness being quite apparent.

The Dish:
Mixed Berry Pavolva Roulade. I love a good pavolva. Growing up, my friends mum was known for her pavolva’s – she made them effortlessly { or so it seemed } and crowded them with berries and cream.

Why it works:
The cream and meringue base of a pavlova lend it a subtle warmth – while the fruit topping, in this case berries are allowed to pop as they are a stark contrast to the more docile flavours of the meringue and cream.

I intentionally chose a pavolva roulade as opposed to your usual pavolva. Roulade is french for ‘roll’. In the Western world when you think of Japan, one of the primary things that comes to mind is Sushi. As a nod to the roots of the Mori brand I thought a Roulade would be the perfect ‘crossover’. Couple that with the use of the French word for ‘roll’, an intentional choice as Ms. Mori was the only Japanese woman to have presented her collections on the runways of Paris and New York, and the first Asian woman to be admitted as an official haute couture design house by the fédération française de la couture in France.

To give this dessert more of a HM No. 1 touch consider adding a few scrapes of a vanilla pod to the whipping cream and a teaspoon of grated meyer lemon zest to the egg whites.

Fragrance tip:
How many fragranced products do you put on each day? More than you’d think! Check your morning routine – Shower gel? Lotion? Deodorant? Hair spray? Lip gloss? They ALL are fragranced and if you are not careful you could be a walking cacophony of scent! And that’s before you’ve even put your fragrance on! Be mindful of how your day to day products smell – some have vanilla-y tones { I find this especially true of MAC lip glosses }, others more fruity or floral. Either way by being mindful of your scents, try your best to choose ones that don’t overwhem but best compliment the perfume you intend to wear that day. I for one have a shelf of shower gels in my bathroom from vanilla to tuberose to citrus and choose which one to use depending on what fragrance I plan to wear!

Food tip:
This recipe calls for flaked almonds – an ingredient I ALWAYS have on hand! Almonds provide a nice burst of protein sprinkled on yogurt, oatmeal, salads and more. Used in moderation they take the edge off hunger and prevent you from overeating!

pavolva roulade image via cathys kitchen, hanae mori image source unknown.

Food to Fragrance: Marc Jacobs Pear Splash meets Pear Infused Gin

mj pear splash gin accord and peargin / pear

What I love most about the seasons is how it affects people’s attitude towards food. Lately, I have seen so many { non foodies } asking for recipes, trying new ingredients and making the most of this current season that forces us to hunker down in our homes and keep warm.

However, no meal would be complete without a good libation. Alcohol not only warms the cockles, it provides us with a compliment to our meal and relaxes us. A good fragrance can do the same: compliment our attire, our mood and create in us a relaxed and inviting attitude.

A few years ago the Marc Jacobs brand started releasing a series of ‘splashes’. A limited edition fragrance in a 10oz bottle reminiscent of the after bath splashes of yesteryear with a trendy twist that smacks of ‘Marc’. One of my most favourite was the complex Pear splash released in 2007 for the summer sorbet inspired collection.

The fragrance has a very fresh fruity note to it – in large part due to the pear ingredient, the freshness though, can also be attributed to a lovely gin accord that runs through the heart of the fragrance. This gin accord gives a sophisticated alcoholic headiness to the fragrance without a boozy feel. The fragrance is then grounded and given a sensual air and longevity through the amber and musk notes that linger longer on your skin.

mj splash and pear gin cocktail

The Fragrance: Marc Jacobs Pear Splash, a unisex scent with notes of ripe pear, bergamot and lemon zest. A heart of juniper, gin accord, and freesia, finished with Musk, teakwood, and soft amber. Don’t let those warm sensual notes of amber, musk and teakwood deceive you into thinking this is a sultry evening fragrance; the scales tip in favour of the pear note and gin accord making this a very reliable light and breezy day to day fragrance especially on a bright summers day.

The Dish: Actually…the drink! A literal translation of pear infused gin is a very fitting replica of this fragrance. I paticularly liked this ‘Pearfect Times‘ pear/gin cocktail by your bella wedding.

Why it works: The fragrance has a pear-like alcohol freshness to it that gives it a distinct gender ambiguous signature that is unlike most fruity fragrances you will smell. The gin-accord note creates in me an emotional response – the feel of being in a bar, dimly lit, very New York and with plush fixtures.

The pear infused gin cocktail suits this perfectly. Not only are both the key ingredients very prevalent in this libation as they are in the fragrance, but one can imagine the environment in which you would drink this. The drink in a martini glass – chilled to the point of condensation on the outside of the glass, forcing you to hold the rim carefully for fear of it slipping out of your hand. The coolness chilling the tips of your fingers. The idea of a bar is a fitting translation of the soft amber note that is sensual and a bit dark.

Fragrance Tip: Not many people wear watches nowadays, but if you do or if you have a favourite bracelet or wristband that you wear daily it WILL affect the way your skin smells in that area. Remove it and see how your skin looks different under there from your ‘exposed’ skin. Now sniff…smells different right? Spraying fragrance on there will also make it smell ‘different’ and not necessarily in a good way. My advice, if you have to wear a watch or bracelet every day remove it as soon as you get home and don’t put it on until you are about to step out. Or better still, don’t wear it at all. Not if you want all of your skin to smell it’s best that is!

Food tip: I can be a bit of a fuss pot when it comes to choosing what I like. Brands of alcohol are no exception. There are a plethora of gin’s out there. Tanqueray, Bombay Sapphire,Hendricks to name but a few. Before you commit to a bottle for your home liquor cabinet, find a great bar and try them all on for size. Ask the bartender for brand recommendations, it’s a great social excuse to ‘try a brand on for size’, your home bar will thank you for doing so.

mj splash image via conde nast, pear gin image by andre doyon.
hendricks image via esper magazine and pear image via here.

Food to Fragrance: Rhubarb & Custard pie meets Ricci Ricci

ricci ricci ingredients rhubarb / rose / sandalwood

Over the years, you will come to find that there are few fragrances that will literally turn heads and stop conversations mid-sentence when you wear them. For me, one of those scents is Ricci Ricci by Nina Ricci which contains notes of rhubarb, rose and sandalwood. The result is, by definition, a fruity-floral scent, but due to the vegetable on top { rhubarb } and the warm back of Sandalwood there is a certain playful sensuality to this fragrance.

I have always found that the warmth of sandalwood gives skin a nice warm sensual feeling, not dissimilar to what enveloping something in warm custard does for what it covers. Sandalwood’s odour is not overpowering or pronounced, but it’s effect is definite – its what gives the certain something that makes people want to draw close and investigate.

Rhubarb is an interesting choice of fragrance note. In the food world it’s a fruit { in America } and a vegetable elsewhere – visually resembling a sort of red celery; when cooked it’s tender with a tarty zing.

ricci ricci meets rhubarb custard pie

The Fragrance: Ricci Ricci by Nina Ricci. The mix of rhubarb, bergamot, rose, tuberose, sandalwood and patchouli create a glamorous scent that is perfect for going out..or just when you want to smell head turningly good.

The Dish: Rhubarb and Custard Pie pudding by The British Larder

Why it works: Rhubarb is the only literal food to fragrance translation I chose to go with in this case. The zing of rhubarb is subdued in this dish due to the inclusion of sugar and vanilla pods in the recipe. The reduction of sharpness makes it ‘friendlier’ – producing the reaction of wanting to ‘get close’ that the fragrance invokes.

The custard and pastry in the recipe comes with a hint of rum – a grown up ‘sophisticated’ element to what could otherwise have been a usual dish. Which brings me to the dish itself. Rhubarb and Custard was, and may still be, a dish that was served weekly for school pudding. I remember few children being able to appreciate the unique taste of such a dish, nevertheless it was a bastion of the school dinner menu rotation.

In a similar way, Nina Ricci is a brand that has proven longevity – 78 years this year in both the worlds of fashion and beauty – staples in life in the Western World at least!

Fragrance tip:
Every fragrance does NOT smell the same on every person, ‘your scent’ can and will be influenced by what you eat as certain foods leech out of the pores after consumption. My foolproof trick is to not eat garlic or spices 24 hours before I am going somewhere special where I need my fragrance to waft at its maximum potential!

Food tip: Personally, I like to consume custard on the day it’s made – it is one food that doesn’t macerate as well as others. Make the dish with a view of eating it day of or the day after at lastest!

Try the fragrance, try the recipe and let me know what you think of both!

images via the british larder and nina ricci
ingredients: 1. 2. 3

Food to Fragrance: Why you should eat what you smell..

fragrance and food ingredientsbergamot / grapefruit / pink peppercorns

They say the quickest way to a man’s heart is through his stomach, I always thought it was with a very sharp, well placed knife. The saying though, hits on a very interesting point; what we eat is usually something that brings us comfort, invokes good memories and transplants us to far away lands. It warms our heart.

“Scent is the strongest sense linked to memory,” so stated an Axe commercial a few years ago. While many Axe ads are somewhat flippant that statement is actually true and it’s because of that, that the olfactive industry spends millions on research and development into what scents make you, the consumer, happy.

It’s a fact that we find pleasant and comforting scents that are reminiscent of foods that we find nostalgic, whether it be the vanilla sweetness of egg nog or the cinnamon warmth of a pumpkin pie. It is interesting to note that many fragrances include ingredients that are part of the food family.

In a former life, I worked in the olfactive industry, specifically fragrance development. It was, and continues to be an industry filled with amazingly talented people who create the most intricate, notorious scents in the world yet, unassumingly pass you on the street on a daily basis. Most people don’t know that such an industry exists – but indeed it does..you don’t think that Paris Hilton or Puff Daddy, ACTUALLY mix their concoctions up in their bathrooms do you?!

But back to food. Due to this direct correlation between fragrance and food – ie food makes us happy..and scent is the strongest scent tied to memory, it only makes sense to develop fragrances smell like foods that bring happy memories back to YOU…because YOU will buy it, and equally as important, YOU will feel GOOD when wearing it!

Food & Fragrance is going to be a regular feature on this blog – where I will break down the ingredients of a fragrance – and find a dish that closely corresponds to it in ingredient content and overall effect.

The first fragrance to commence this project is from the new collaboration between Le Labo and Anthropologie.

Le Labo and Anthropology Chant de Bois

The Fragrance: Last night, I attend the NY launch of the 5 new scents that fragrance creators Le Labo concocted with Anthropologie – Chant de Bois particularly caught my attention. Its notes of bergamot, grapefruit, pink pepper, patchouli and cedar lend it a spicy and citrusy mix.

Citrus and spices are common ingredients in Asian dishes. In a fragrance, citrus notes create a sparkle effect on skin, kind of like what zest does to your mouth.

Pink Peppercorns on the other hand are a very specific taste. Exotic and aromatic, they aren’t like other peppercorns; while they add spice it’s not a fiery hot pepperiness, rather more subdued and sophisticated. As it does for your palete so it does for a fragrance. Pink Peppercorns bring intricate depth to the fragrance by their warm exotic odour, the overall effect is something very sophisticated.

The Dish:
Stir-Fried Shrimp with Spicy Orange Sauce by Cooking Light.

Why it works: The orange juice ingredient provides the citrus zing that makes Chant de Bois sparkle. Soy and Ginger exude the exotic spice and depth that is provided by pink peppercorns in the fragrance. While those are more literal translations of food to fragrance, an abstract interpretation is the inclusion of shrimp. Remember the elements of Chant de Bois create an overall sophisticated air. To honor this effect I purposely chose a dish that doesn’t contain an ‘every day’ protein, such as pork, chicken, beef or tofu. Hence the shrimp is the sophisticated element.

If the dish is one that you or your Amore likes try the fragrance, as with each wear it’ll rekindle memories of good eats. If the *fragrance is to your liking then try the dish and see how elements of the fragrance translate to your food!

Let me know what you think of this new series..future posts will be much more succinct and feature men’s fragrances also!

images via anthropologie and myrecipes.com.
Ingredients: 1 / 2 / 3

*As of last night Chant De Bois is the lead seller of this new line!