I have a very high level of respect for the Elie Saab fragrances. Unlike lots of fashion brands that head into the market at this late stage in the game, Elie Saab has a very clear olfactory vision that feels inextricably linked to their design aesthetic. What’s more, the brand has worked solely with one perfumer (the incomparable Francis Kurkdjian) to ensure that their scents all carry the same threads, resulting in a beautiful, luminous style that is undeniably Elie Saab.
In Elie Saab’s Essence Collection, Francis Kurkdjian really gets to stretch his legs and create scents that don’t share the style of Le Parfum, Saab’s signature scent. So far they’ve done wonderful things with oud, rose, gardenia, musk and now, for the latest addition to the collection, two materials get to take centre stage: almond and tonka bean. Essence Nº10: Amande Tonka is a delicious oud to two of perfumery’s most delectable notes and guess what? It’s really tasty….
“Almond essence blends with tonka bean to weave a voluptuous and subtle palette of almond nuances.”
– Elie Saab
Almond Essence & Tonka Bean
How Does it Smell?
This is more of a quick review than normal, mainly because we sniffed Amande Tonka on our last episode of Fume Chat, but I thought that the scent was lovely enough to share here too. Amande Tonka opens with a melange of gourmand notes that speak of an exotic treat found on a stall within an expansive spice market. Up top, Amande Tonka is a golden pastry filled tonka bean cream and top with toasted almonds, oh and with a dusting of hot cinnamon for good measure. It smells as edible as it sounds.
Underneath all of that is a stonking great big vanilla note of remarkable tenacity and quality. As it dries down, the cherry marzipan facet of the tonka subdues, making way for something more evocative of caramel. It’s richer, warmer and spicier in the base, taking on a toasted vibe that gives the impression of vanilla bean paste warming slowly by a fire. It’s very delicious but not overly sugary, giving the impression of a delicious pastry from Pierre Hermé. My kind of scent then…
Amande Tonka strikes me as a rather unusual entry into the Elie Saab oeuvre because it’s decidedly much more heavy than any of the others that I’ve sniffed (admittedly I haven’t spent a huge amount of time with many of the Essence Collection). Despite its thick, caramel-like texture, Amande Tonka treads the very fine line between gourmand heaven and indigestion really well, being just on the right side of the calorie count. Like all Elie Saab fragrances it does bear light, except instead of the golden lense flare of the original, Amande Tonka is a glowing ember – all auburn and warm.
Essence Nº10: Amande Tonka is available in 100ml Eau de Parfum.
Sample, notes and quotes via Elie Saab. Images are my own.