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There are eight widely recognised fragrance families. Some – citrus, woody, floral – are instantly recognisable and are easy to imagine. Others – chypre, oriental, fourgere, and gourmande – demand a little more explanation.
So, what is a gourmande perfume? The dictionary definition of a gourmande is a connoisseur of good food – it is an indulgent and luxurious experience that fills the individual with an opulent love steeped in pleasure.
A gourmande fragrance then is a scent that includes edible notes, most notably chocolate, coffee, caramel, milk, bubble gum, toffee, rum, whiskey, and even truffle.
Most gourmande perfumes tend to have a vanilla note too, either as a standalone or as part of a more complex note like rum or whiskey.
Gourmande notes are often blended together with notes such as patchouli, musk, and amber, rounding off the sweetness by giving them dimension and olfactory texture.
These types of fragrances lean towards warmth and depth, revealing themselves more as the hours wear on and the perfume notes mingle together.
As such, a gourmande fragrance is the perfect choice for cooler weather, giving a touch of comforting luxury – a delight for all senses.
Gourmande perfumes can be feminine, masculine, or unisex – it all depends on the wearer. Typically, the sweeter note profile may create associations with more feminine fragrances, but a well-built gourmand perfume can be worn by anyone, especially if it's middle or base notes include smoky or woody elements. Amber, often combined with gourmand notes, is decidedly unisex while an exquisite vanilla scent will have the depth and spice to be worn by all lovers of the ingredient.
THERE IS NOTHING MORE DISAPPOINTING WHEN SPRAYING A FRAGRANCE IN THE MORNING TO FIND THAT IT HAS DISAPPEARED ENTIRELY ONLY A FEW HOURS LATER.
Gourmand notes combine exceptionally well with other fragrance families, and they're often used to deepen aromas for a luxurious finish. The amber fragrance family is a natural companion for the gourmande, lending it's spice, bolstering its warmth, and amplifying the natural sweetness with layers of complexity. Notes like clove, cardamom, cinnamon, and incense pair beautifully with gourmande elements.
Clive Christian's E Gourmande Oriental fuses elements from the gourmande and oriental families to create a distinct fragrance, balancing rich sweetness with a fresh energy that lingers on the skin.
At the base of the perfume is maple, drawing on honeyed bourbon and warm caramel for its warming foundation. The heart note is labdanum, a resin from the labdanum plant, prized for the smoky and leathery character it brings to the mix. It has a rich sweetness that further amplifies the maple base. The fragrance opens with rum, encompassing elements of sugar cane and the wooden barrels in which it ages, imparting complexity and character to the sugar cane.
Together, the notes create an opulent experience that elegantly retains the indulgence of a gourmande with a pinch of wood, spice, and smoke.
There is nothing more disappointing when spraying a fragrance in the morning to find that it has disappeared entirely only a few hours later.
With gourmande perfumes, the opposite is true – they have excellent staying power, often lasting hours on the skin and clothes. Woody, oriental, and gourmande perfumes have some of the best staying power, often softening up and transforming on the skin with time, becoming powdery and leaving behind lingering heart and base notes that cing to the skin.
To extend the life of your perfume spray it on to clean skin and pulse points that generate body heat – the nape of the neck, wrists, and behind the knees. Using unscented lotion prior to fragrance application will give the perfume a good base to adhere to.
The best gourmande perfumes will take their inspiration from deliciously edible things, but they won't be one-dimensional. As gourmande notes pair so well with elements of spice, smoke, and wood, their inclusion will imbue gourmande elements with complexity and texture alongside unrivalled staying power.