Perfume can be used to evoke a variety of emotions; joy, lust, sadness and love but perhaps the strongest emotion perfume can instil is a sense of comfort. At times when the weather or life is cruel a warm, enveloping perfume can shroud the wearer in layers of liquid armour that fights off the world’s negative elements.
When thinking of comforting perfumes one’s mind drifts easily in to the world of the gourmand, whose inhabitants are olfactory dinners, puddings and treats for those that wish to take comfort in food without the calories. They are comfort on a plate or in a bottle.
Perhaps the most comforting gourmand notes of all is chocolate and it is very much an accord that can go either way with a tendency to be cloying and sickly if used incorrectly. If you are a chocoholic like I am then this guide to the fragrant delights of the genre should serve as a delicious tour of pure delight.
Normally in one of these guides I would give a brief description of the note, it’s origin and uses, however as we are all familiar with chocolate and its odour I thought it would be more pertinent to share with you the following extract (and recipe) from olfactory wizard Jean-Claude Ellena’s book ‘The Diary of a Nose’:
“The aroma of cocoa beans alone is made up of hundreds of molecules, but, by roasting the beans, man has given this distinctive flavour a very human complexity because he has tripled the number of odorous components. This juxtaposition of smells demonstrates that perfumers are above all illusionists.
isobutyl phenyl acetate
To ‘make’ plain chocolate, I recommend adding patchouli; for a ganache, a trace of civet; for ‘orangette’, orange zest; for an After Eight, spearmint; and for the smell of cocoa powder, concrete of iris” 
It would be rude to start a guide into the world of chocolate perfumes with a fragrance that wasn’t Angel, for it isn’t only the most successful choco-based fragrance around but it is also the fragrance that put chocolate notes on the map.
Angel is a fragrance of contrasts, juxtaposing the intensely sweet and sickly notes of berries, white flowers, caramel and candy floss (there’s a metric ton of ethyl maltol in there) against bitter dark chocolate and a noir monolith of patchouli.
In theory it shouldn’t work but the best things in life very often don’t sound good on paper and Angel very much deserves its spot as one of the most novel and beautiful fragrances of all time.
Angel Le Goût du Parfum takes Angel’s chocolate accord to the next level, emphasising its darker, more roasted qualities and giving the impression of ganache freshly rolled in bitter cocoa powder.
This one is for those that want something a bit deeper and richer than the original Angel. It has hints of cooking chocolate and loses a lot of the sweetness that makes the original cloying to the more discerning palettes.
Also worth trying is Mugler’s quadrilogy ‘Les Jardins Etoiles’ (The Garden of Stars) that consists of Angel plus a variety of flowers, specifically Lily, Peony, Violet and Rose.
If you ever thought that Angel was difficult to stomach then you’re in for a treat with Chocolate Greedy. Never has a perfume been more aptly named than with this calorific rendition of death by chocolate.
Chocolate Greedy is the smell of hot butter stirred in to melted chocolate. It has hints of orange essence and chocolate cookies as well as oodles and oodles of vanilla cream. Its as fun as it is delicious but whether it is entirely wearable I am unsure, it certainly requires a careful trigger finger, spray just a bit too much and you’re in for a serious bought of indigestion.
This is the last Angel on the list I promise! Despite the fact that the combination of chilli and chocolate is well-known and equally well-respected A*Men Le Goût du Parfum is perhaps one of the weirdest scents around.
The piquant note of hot chilli oil really adds a kick to A*Men’s melting pot of god-knows-what (seriously A*Men has just about everything you can think of inside it) and the overall impression is a stark contrast of black and red. Fabulous stuff!
If there’s one thing Guerlain knows how to do properly it’s a floral gourmand and Iris Ganache is one of their most unique and striking, which is why it is so distressing that the house has made the decision to discontinue it.
Taking the rooty, powdery and violet notes of iris and swirling them into a warm pot of white chocolate, Iris Ganache caresses you in a cloud of edible velvet that is light, fluffy and seriously addictive.
It’s quite easy to refer to a chocolate accord as ‘novel’, after all the idea of the familiar odour of cocoa as a perfume is a pretty funny one, but none are more so than Musc Maori, which is so instantly recognisable it cannot fail to encourage a smile.
Musc Maori is spray-on chocolate milkshake, Nesquik chocolate milkshake to be precise, and it most definitely pushes the novelty factor to the limit. That said, it is very easy to wear with a gorgeous texture of almond milk and chocolate powder. As with all Parfumerie Générale scents the quality is unarguably good and Musc Maori is definitely worth a sniff if you’re looking for a bit fun with your chocolate.
Jean Paul Gaultier’s Kokorico has received mixed reactions since its release in 2011 and as far as I am aware it hasn’t made a massive splash in the department stores. Personally I love it, it’s a real mishmash of themes – fresh green fig, warm cocoa and plush woods – that seem to pull together to create an extremely friendly and wearable masculine.
The chocolate is relatively subdued in comparison to some of the other scents in this guide and that’s what makes it unique, it is much more of an abstract fragrance that uses foody notes without smelling redolent of anything remotely edible.
Last but not least in this ode to chocolate is a fragrance that uses bitter cocoa as a base note rather than a central theme. As you would expect from a perfume that is intended to be a youthful interpretation of the original party girl of fragrance – Fracas – Petit is a big sweet bomb of white flowers and fruit accented by a creamy delicious base of dark chocolate ganache for those that do not believe in behaving.
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Join the Discussion!
What are your favourite choco-scents?
Do you agree with my choices?
What would you add?
Do you like chocolate fragrances?
Let me know your thoughts in the comments box below!
Other Guides in This Series
Image 1 fanpop.com. Image 2 tumblr.com. Image 3 theperfumeshop.com. Image 4 & 7 osmoz.com. Image 5 basenotes.net. Image 6 esun.ro. Image 8 osmoz.fr. Image 9 douglas.de. Image 10 via press release.  Ellena, JC. 2011. The Diary of a Nose. Particular Books.