Dreaming of Ispahan

Ladurée's Ispahan
Ladurée’s Ispahan – The best damn thing I’ve ever eaten!

Inspiration can come along at the oddest of moments and often in the most surprising of guises. This is why I currently sit on a train whizzing home from London and feel the need to whip out my iPad and start writing a post about my day. A little self-indulgent? Perhaps but in the spirit of ‘sharing the joy’ I’ve had the urge to write about the sensory pleasures of the day.

Today, having finished work early, I took myself off to The Big Smoke on a ‘treat yo’ self day’, during which I pottered around the Isabella Blow exhibition at Somerset House, visited one or two of my usual fragrant haunts and took myself for some much earned sugar at Ladurée, before attending a Perfume Lovers London talk in the evening. And why not? I’ve been working very hard over the last couple of weeks so a little sensory R&R is surely deserved.

The main event was of course the food and it will come as no surprise to those who know me that I have spent the last few weeks ogling images of Ladurée treats on the internet. There is just something about the pastel shades of smooth macaron shells and the vivid sight of pastries overdosed with fruit that sends my mouth, stomach and brain whirling towards sensory overdose.

The Spoils of the Day

When I finally made my way to Ladurée I already had a strong idea of what I wanted. Weeks of research meant that was I well prepped for my treats and when I reached the counter I quickly looked for the ‘Religieuse Rose’ and the ‘Ispahan’. The former of which wasn’t available and is a double-stacked choux bun filled with rose cream and raspberries, whereas the latter is – well the latter is just haven on a plate.

The Ispahan was created by patissiere Pierre Hermé for Ladurée and consists of two macaron shells adorned with a rose petal (with its very own sugar dew-drop for good measure) filled with a ring of raspberries, rose cream and litchi. It was, as it sounds, rather tasty indeed and whilst I munched away my mind drifted towards the world of perfume (as it so often does) and I started to think about which sort of perfumes capture the essence of these perfect flavours – of rose, of raspberry and of almond meringue.

Oud Ispahan
Oud Ispahan by Dior

Oud Ispahan is ‘Ispahan’ in both name and scent. What makes it so startling and dessert-like is Francois Demachy’s cunning use of rose. Rose in oud fragrances is usually either sweet and powdery or sour and dense however, in Oud Ispahan the feel of the note is something akin to rose water, providing a mouth-watering hint of sweet, delicious rose.

The ‘oud’ part of Oud Ispahan is, much like the rose, not typical of the genre, taking on more smoky, leathery facets than the usual spicy and medicinal interpretations of oud. Taking it back to our Ladurée analogy, the oud represent the robustness of the macaron shells – the crunch before the explosion of flavours and textures that sit beneath the surface. It is the anticipation before the reward.

Traversée du Bosphore
Traversée du Bosphore by L’Artisan Parfumeur

L’Artisan’s wonderful ode to the hustling, bustling sights, sounds and smells of Istanbul –  Traversée du Bosphore – is one of their best fragrances and if I were pushed to pick a top ten (and I mean in a gun-to-the-head type of situation) I’m pretty sure that it would find a spot amongst my all time favourites. It is, after all, the very best Turkish Delight fragrance one can buy.

Traversée du Bosphore represents the powder of the meringue and the sharpness of the raspberries. In truth, the association between Ladurée’s Ispahan and L’Artisan’s Traversée du Bosphore is more abstract, after all the latter is a sensory explosion that evokes images of rose & pistachio Turkish Delight, apple hookah, suede and leather. Instead, and these two are linked in my mind as sensory overloads where a whole range of flavours and textures are combined to make a new and startling creation that stops one dead in one’s tracks

Une Rose Vermeille
Une Rose Vermeille by Tauer Perfumes

Andy Tauer’s Une Rose Vermeille is pure gourmand heaven. It is based on the principle that there is nothing more delicious and edible than rose cream and due in part to its large size, Une Rose Vermeille pretty much feels like a giant bowl of rose and raspberry cream sent straight from the Gods.

Like most things Tauer creates, Une Rose Vermeille isn’t subtle, but that’s not to say that it isn’t complex – the truth is far from it in fact. Une Rose Vermeille is suitably nuanced and multi-faceted, capturing the sweet syrup of rose, tartness of raspberries and sharp caramel of lavender, all whipped into a sensual and creamy macaron that is impossible to resist.

Join the Discussion!

What are your most edible fragrances?
Do you, like me, wishy you could plant your face in the counter at Ladurée?
When have you felt inspired by food and perfume? Or any other sense for that matter?
What would you do on a ‘treat yo’ self day’?

Please leave your thoughts in the box below!