Cafe Noir by DSH. For me the favorite meal of the day, a break that sets me up for facing the commute, and lately the two perfumes I have carried with me and applied as my energy may flag during the slosh of the grey days full of sleet and slushy slippery pavements. Partly I think because they are work appropriate perfumes, since coffee and work go together like guitar and flamenco. And everyone, even the most corporate of souls, is pleased by the simplicity and brightness of citrus, especially on a dark cold day, or even a hot humid one for that matter. Another part is that their inherent stimulating qualities and associations are calling to me; so I answer to my luck in having just the thing for me right now, close at hand. They are both part of the traditional morning accompaniments of preparing for a new day, a couple of tip of the iceberg pleasures atop a very deep mass of memories and habits.
I like alternating between a pair of very different but conceptually connected perfumes during the course of the day or a few days, it adds to the associative pleasure of the notes and is an idea I would recommend trying sometimes. I think these kind of pairings tend to come together spontaneously from among perfumes in the fragrance wardrobe at hand. They each enhance the qualities of the other when worn one after the other.
Cafe Noir is a completely natural and handmade perfume, and begins with that clear aroma that wafts up from a cup of very good black coffee sitting beside you though it is far more decorative than that, drying down with a soft resinous floral and plummy accent becoming prominent. It is evident your nice breakfast or cafe table has flowers on it. The pepper and cinnamon notes sharpen the noir effect. The notes are listed as top: bergamot, black pepper, cinnamon bark, pimento berry; middle: benzoin, Bulgarian rose otto, jasmine, labdanum; base: coffee absolute, tolu balsam, vanilla.
On skin it has something like a chypre astringency, a rich tangy and dark effect, as if a chypre was married to a good black coffee. This is one of those universal types that can be worn day or night, male or female, relatable to a wide range of personality types from all across the social spectrum. I can imagine it makes me sophisticated or part of the full time cafe life or someone sharpening my mental pencils for engaging in challenging conversation or work. It is not indolent even if it is sensual in its display of attentive appreciation of specific energetic qualities.
Orange Sanguine is an excitingly true orange citrus with immediate lift off, like a kick of the energy of vitamin C hitting the blood stream. I find this strong cologne almost gives a physical and mental buzz. It is called an absolue and at 15% strength it gives of itself beyond what I ever expected from a cologne. The notes are listed as blood orange, bitter orange, jasmine, geranium from South Africa, amber woods, tonka beans, sandalwood. The strength and longevity would lead me to believe there are some other than natural elements involved, and/or the notes have been skillfully tweaked by the most expert of chemist/designers of scent molecules. It's a very interesting line, that they thoughtfully designed this variation on the theme of cologne. I think the cologne form even adds an extra kick to the expansion of the scent around you because it evaporates so forcefully the action seems to enhance the citrus elements. This is truly like a fresh squeezed juice of something like a hundred oranges, clementines and tangerines that evelope you in that peculiarly joyous effect that citrus has. Over time it begins to deepen and the amber woods, tonka and sandalwood give a satisfying smoothness and depth, while holding the recent memory of the blast of sunshine-happiness factors. I plan to obtain more samples of others in the line. I'm also glad to see that they offer two different sizes.
More information on Cafe Noir at the DSH site.
Above orange and coffee themed photo from the Atelier Cologne site, with more information on Orange Sanguine.