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Salt Caramel – Deliciously decadent – November 6, 2015

Image - Salt Caramel bottle,

Candied chestnut, maple syrup, tonka bean, sandalwood, vanilla = Noir Exquis.

It’s a French fragrance, of course, by Bertrand Duchaufour for L’Artisan Parfumeur, a gourmand scent inspired by “…an unexpected rendez-vous in a French patisserie. Two people meet over a coffee. In this delicious atmosphere of patisserie and coffee, hushed looks are exchanged. This delightful rendez-vous is the beginning of a new story with Noir Exquis.’  Hmmm…Parisian passion in a pastry shop…how romantic. 

Liquid caramel, sea salt, tonka bean, sandalwood, vanilla = Salt Caramel.

This is a British fragrance, by Julie Massé for Shay & Blue, a gourmand scent inspired by  “the Queen’s official chocolatier, Charbonnel et Walker… Sea Salt Caramel Truffles…this is an irresistible fragrance composed of waves of caramel and bourbon vanilla cut through with sea salt. Tempting and indulgent…” Hmmm, British seduction in a chocolate shop…how sweet.

Image - Sea Salt Caramel truffles -

Except it’s not sweet, really, because it’s got tangy briney sea salt swirled through that luscious liquid caramel, and that makes all the difference.  At the top, there’s a huge rush of salt and burnt-sugar sweet, soon joined by a wave of fresh popcorn, or is it buttery croissants just out of the oven? The opening moments of Serge Luten’s Jeux de Peau immediately springs to mind.  The yeasty notes become distant roasted hazelnuts as the heart emerges with the distinctive tonka bean and creamy sandlewood, and I detect a hint of white floral – orange blossom? -  in spite of the fact that no florals are listed. The sandalwood balances the sweetness of the caramel, giving Salt Caramel a lovely smooth depth, and with the addition of dark vanilla, the scent settles in for a long tantalizing drydown, salty-musky, elegantly sweet with smoky undertones, and occasional hints of bitter darkness.  How delicious. How decadent.

I happen to like gourmand fragrances – Anima Dulcis, Jeux de Peau, La Vaniglia, Attire-moi, Lolita Lempicka, Histoire Charnelle are some of my favourites. I love strong flavours, as long as they are complex and not too sweet, and the same rule applies to scents that smell like flavours – not too sweet, please! I do not want to wear food on my skin, but wrap me in deep dark delicious gourmand scents with facets of tart, savoury, bitter notes and I’ll be in an indulgent heaven. Salt Caramel is a balanced perfection of sweet and savoury, it is pure deliciousness, an extra-sensory indulgence to be enjoyed by anyone, anywhere, anytime, without guilt.

Shay & Blue is a new self-described boutique perfume house, established in London in 2012 by Dom De Vetta, former Senior VP at Chanel and Global General Manager of Jo Malone London. De Vetta is inspired by the great classic scents and is committed to producing high quality contemporary fragrances in the grand tradition – perfumes that the website describes as “daringly different, richly decadent”. De Vetta has partnered with nose, Julie Massé, a very talented young perfumer with a flair for creating modern, unique scents, and within three years they’ve built an award-winning niche brand with eleven fragrances. Salt Caramel, which the webpage states contains around two pounds of woods and vanilla, is one of their best.

Salt Caramel is listed in our Decant Store. Decants are $5.00 for 1 ml.