Coffee Perfumes and a Giveaway!

Baltimore has been in the throes of a city-wide Adderall shortage for several months now. No one seems to know how or why. I blame Woody Allen. This means that for the first time in five years, I am now without ADHD medication. This is bad news bears for someone whose unmedicated attention span and long-term memory would make a goldfish look like a goddamn Ent.

In the absence of Adderall, I have had to turn to some of my pre-medication ADHD coping mechanisms. These include, of course, coffee! Today I’ll be briefly reviewing five fragrances that claim to contain coffee notes. I will also be giving away a sample set of all five scents! To enter the giveaway, please leave a comment sharing your favorite coffee perfumes or your favorite perfumes that help you stay focused. This giveaway is open to anyone, regardless of location. I will close the giveaway on Monday, April 2nd.

Plume Perfume Coffee and Cedar

Coffee and Cedar is the richest, darkest coffee fragrance that I have ever had the pleasure of trying. There’s no misguided sweetness or extraneous notes here, just pure, true coffee. The warm cedar note is a natural match for the inherent woodiness of coffee beans. I would also like to point out that Plume Perfume founder Tara Aveilhe, who donated a bottle and solid perfume locket of Coffee and Cedar to the recent Smell Good Do Good fundraiser, is an utterly lovely person inside and outside.

But mostly outside. DAYUM, girl!

Jo Malone Black Vetyver Cafe

You know how some perfumes just seem made for relaxed, casual days spent in sweatpants and flip-flops? Black Vetyver Café is resolutely not one of those perfumes. Instead, Black Vetyver Café is the finishing touch to a suit of urban armor: severe black dress, fearfully high heels, slash of red lipstick. Rather than a typical warm gourmand, Black Vetyver Cafe’s vetiver note makes it a cool-toned coffee scent. This is a fiercely elegant perfume. Its one downfall is its truly inexcusable lasting power (we’re talking literally 20 minutes here), but it’s so good that I don’t even care.

Comptoir Sud Pacifique Vanille Mokha

For the first thirty minutes, this perfume smells like the most delicious cup of freshly-brewed black coffee you’ve ever had in your life. After those thirty minutes, Vanille Mokha suffers the fate of all Comptoir Sud Pacifique fragrances: its fabulous top notes give way to a pleasant, standard vanilla note. That being said, those first thirty minutes are so utterly intoxicating that I own two backup bottles of this discontinued scent.

Bond No. 9 New Haarlem

It doesn’t smell like coffee, but it smells pretty great. Unlike more obvious gourmand scents, New Haarlem does not smell like any particular food. Instead, New Haarlem is a warm,  sparkling amber fragrance. I once read in an interview that Bond founder Laurice Rahme kept pushing perfumer Maurice Roucel to reduce the vanilla in this perfume. I don’t doubt it for a minute; New Haarlem is far less sweet than many of Roucel’s other creations. As a result, this fragrance is slightly too masculine for me, but I’d be the first one to tell you that New Haarlem is positively delectable.

Parfumerie Generale Coze

If there is coffee in here, I can’t smell it. What I do smell is some terribly dark wood and spices. For a perfume with a note list that alleges chocolate and vanilla pods, Coze is surprisingly devoid of sweetness. With its austere bitterness, Coze evokes coffee only in concept, not in actual smell. Perhaps if I had witnessed the dishy Parfumerie Generale founder Pierre Guillaume literally licking Coze, as did the London Perfume Lovers folks, I might be more convinced.

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54 thoughts on “Coffee Perfumes and a Giveaway!

  1. I’m so glad you said New Haarlem doesn’t smell like coffee. It doesn’t! I do think it smells like food, though: specifically, breakfast: French toast with maple syrup and a glass of orange juice. And there’s a lavender bouquet on the table.

    I’ve yet to try a perfume that really smells like coffee (a smell I love), but I like citrus/cologne type scents for feeling alert. Oyedo is a good one.

    1. It totally doesn’t! Your version of New Haarlem sounds absolutely delicious. I would buy that perfume in a hot second! Thank you for entering the giveaway!

  2. Thanks so much for the run-down–and for the offer, I’d love to win the samples! I’ve steered away from coffee notes thus far, maybe because I’m pretty sure anything that smelled too much like good coffee would trigger a craving to visit my overpriced neighborhood coffee shop! When I need to concentrate, iris scents seem to work for me–something about the austerity and the fact that Iris Silver Mist was literally the only fragrance I owned for like 5 years or so. You’re blog is lovely, by the way, as is your kitten! I’m fairly new to niche perfume, though quickly accumulating a huge sample drawer, and your blog has been so fun to read 🙂

    1. Thank you so very much, Heather! Welcome to the world of niche, and I am honored and delighted that you are enjoying my blog! But you are hardly a niche newbie if you wore Iris Silver Mist for five years- even I haven’t been able to get my hands on that one! Thank you for entering the giveaway!

  3. I am still looking for my favorite coffee! (and haven’t tried many of the ones that you mentioned here).

    Cafe Noir (Ava Luxe) I thought was lovely, but my husband says it doesn’t smell like coffee.Same goes for New Haarlem.
    DSH perfumes holiday fragrance Lumiere is more spices than coffee, but the coffee is definitely there.
    Don’t forget L’Or de Torrente — try that one! I gave my sample away together with Ta’if since I cannot wear either one.

    1. Your husband speaks the truth! I was sooo excited to try Cafe Noir, and sooo sad when it did not actually smell like coffee. It was very nice, but I ended up donating it. I’ve never even heard of L’Or de Torrente, but it sounds wonderful from the reviews! I will have to keep my eyes open for it from now on. Thank you for entering the giveaway!

  4. I can’t smell any cofee in fragrances I was able to try till now and I think it’s not easy at all to concoct a perfume with a trully coffee note
    Hermes’ Pamplemousse rose and Orange verte are keeping me focused when I need it
    thanks for the draw, seems inviting

    1. It must not be an easy feat at all, because after all of my searching for coffee fragrances, I’ve only found three or so that really smell as advertised! I wonder what makes coffee such a tricky scent to capture? Thank you for entering the giveaway, Irina!

      1. maybe, it’s psyhologic, coffee it’s linked so strong to taste so, maybe we are looking for a scent to represent our taste of coffee
        thank YOU for the giveaway, Ari
        my regards to your wonderful Zelda

  5. I haven’t explored the coffee note at all, so I’m limited to the stuff that’s just kind of fallen in my lap: Ava Luxe Cafe Noir, which I quite enjoy but smells more like pancake syrup than coffee to my noise, and a recently acquired sample of Bond No. 9 New York for All. It’s quite nice, but I’m not running back to The Bay to buy some. (Certainly wouldn’t turn down another sample, though….)

    There’s NO Adderall in Baltimore at all? How does something like that happen? (12yo Frodo takes it – a small dose, but it really makes a difference for him.)

    1. You are the second commenter to note that Cafe Noir does not smell like coffee! I am so happy to finally be validated. All of its online reviews call it “a true coffee scent” or some such, and I was starting to worry that something was wrong with my nose!

      I have tried five different pharmacies in Baltimore with no luck yet, and I am honestly starting to panic. Adderall literally changed my life in high school (I went from C’s to straight A’s), and Hopkins is not the kind of place where one would want to be without it.

  6. I was thinking I hadn’t smelled any coffee perfumes yet, but then Warum mentioned Lumiere, which I really like, so I guess I have.
    Generally for a focused pick me up I choose citrus. I just recently bought Atelier’s Orange Sanguine and I’ve been using that in the morning and even afternoon of I need a boost. I really like it, and my hard to please husband does too. 😊

    1. I want to try more of the Ateliers!!! Everyone seems to love that Orange Sanguine. I’m intrigued by the sound of the Oolang, too. Thank you for entering the giveaway, Sujaan!

  7. I’ve actually never sniffed any coffee fragrances so I’m definitely intrigued. I used to have a coffee addiction, years ago back when I was in college. Thanks!

    1. Thank you so much for entering! 🙂 I was also a big coffee drinker years ago, but coffee + Adderall = big time overstimulation. I run around like a cat after a Roomba for 20 minutes, and then fall asleep for 3 hours. Time to rediscover the joys of caffination! (Hmmm, apparently that is not a real word.)

  8. I agree with your appraisal of Black Vetyver Cafe, a lovely scent but it doesn’t last long enough. I haven’t tried any other coffee scents yet though I love,love,love the scent of coffee steeping in my french press. When I need to stay alert I wear Orange Verte, Eau de Guerlain or O’de Lalique. I love the crisp dill note in the last one. I always enjoy your blog. Happy Spring.

    1. Orange Verte and that other Hermes (Rose Pamplemousse?) are so freaking energizing! I am so happy to hear that you are enjoying the blog. Thank you for entering the giveaway!

  9. No need entering me into the draw: out of three perfumes I haven’t tried yet I’m interested only in Coze but I think I’ll get a sample of it eventually without cutting into somebody’s chances to try all five.

    But I wanted to comment that on my skin Black Vetyver Cafe stays for hours. Though it’s a cologne concentration so it requires spraying in abundance; touching on pulse points definitely won’t do.

    1. You must have magical skin, my dear! Pretty much every other review I’ve read of it has complained about longevity too. I wish all of the Jo Malones were at least three times stronger.

  10. Surprised some of you don’t smell the coffee in New Haarlem. To my nose it smells exactly like a recently emptied espresso cup (with a tad of sugar). Very strong and pleasant coffee smell.

  11. Am I the only one who smells coffee “fer realz” in New Haarlem? And I also smell it in DSH’s Cafe Noir (I love it!). I’d love to be entered and try the rest of these scents.

    1. You are certainly not! I can’t comment on the DSH Cafe Noir, as I have sadly only smelled the Ava Luxe version. The DSH version ain’t cheap! Thank you for entering the giveaway, Jen!

  12. I’m not sure that I ever smell the coffee in Ava Luxe Cafe Noir, but I do like it. I think that I sample Coze a long while ago, and I didn’t even realize that coffee was a note. I’d love to be entered into the drawing – thanks!

  13. Hey!
    A GIVEAWAY!! I’ve not smelled any of your coffee choices but it has been said by previous partners that I can smell a bit like a coffee made with a few very old grains in the machine head anyway, because I drink SO MUCH of it.
    Maybe it’s one of the reasons my skin eats perfume so quickly.
    Portia xx

  14. I don’t think I’ve ever smelled any coffee scents.
    But, a scent that will definitely wakes me up is one with a citrus and green tea smell in it, like The Vert by l’occitane, or BBW’s white tea and ginger body spray. Instant wake up call!

    1. I loooove White Tea and Ginger! What excellent taste you have! 😉 Now I will have to try to find The Vert, too. Thank you for entering the giveaway, Joe!

  15. I’m not that up to speed on coffee perfumes, but one I can recall sampling is Maitre Parfumeur et Gantier’s Eau des Illes. I think this one is meant to capture more of a green coffee note, so doesn’t conjur up the usual roasted dark coffee accords one might expect to find (at least what I was expecting).

    Perfumes that make me focus – certainly anything with frankincense or Sandalwood in it. One that particularly springs to mind is Diptyque’s Tam Dao. Pity my bottle’s spray mechanism has jammed and I don’t know how to get it off or fix it. Guess that is my concentration gone for good….

    1. A green coffee note! Sounds so unusual. I just ordered my first MPG sample, the passionfruit one. So excited to try it!

      I honestly loathe sandalwood (too much bad incense growing up), but Tam Dao is really lovely. Sorry to hear about your bottle, and your concentration! 😦

  16. No need to enter me in the draw either, as I don’t care for coffee in any of its manifestations from bean to cake via coffee-themed scents. Well, I would probably make an exception to see that Coze-licking demo again – ideally in slow motion so we could be quite sure of the exact technique involved…: – )

  17. The coffee perfumes I have tried are TM A Men Coffee and the Jo Malone, neither of which I liked. Years ago Sephora had an amazing coffee/mocha scented body wash I just loved! No need to enter me in the draw-good luck staying focused!

    1. I REMEMBER THAT BODY WASH!! Sephora is always discontinuing its nicer products in favor of flash-in-the-pan lines 😦 Thank you so much for your good wishes!

  18. I had no idea Coffee perfumes even existed….and I really don’t live under a rock, I swear! But, oh my, I would love to get my hands on some samples to see if that amazing aroma of coffee (following me around everywhere I go) is truly heaven on earth like I think it would be!

    1. I believe you, Melissa!! Coffee notes are apparently somewhat common in masculine scents, but rare in feminines. Thank you for entering the giveaway!

  19. Coffee coffeee coffeeeeee! I love coffee frags. I haven’t found my ideal yet, though. Would love to try those of these that I haven’t. Thanks for the draw!

  20. Yes, a film of that Coze-licking demonstration would help me focus tremendously.

    Oh wait, you were asking about coffee scents. I don’t have much familiarity with coffee frags but I love ELdO’s Like This and wonder if it qualifies, as it does seem to have a bitter note.

  21. For a coffee pick-me-up in perfume form, I enjoy Maitre Parfumeur’s Eau des Iles, as well as Mugler’s A*Men Pure Coffee.
    But I find that vetyver and sandalwood based fragrances can help me to concentrate on the task at hand; for this purpose, I would choose either Chanel’s Sycomore, Lalique’s Encre Noire, Lutens’ Santal Blanc or Diptyque’s Tam Dao.

    Thanks for the draw! ^_^

    1. Thank you so much for entering, Laura! I probably spend at least ten minutes per week regretting that I never got to try that Pure Coffee.

    1. Cacharel seems to have had many lovely fragrances! I wonder why they’ve all been discontinued? Thank you for entering the giveaway!

  22. I want to enter. I havent smelled too many coffee fragrances. I have smelled New Haarlem, and i like it, but you are right, there is no coffee. I thought it smelled like maple syrup for a good while in the opening there. I also liked Thierry Mugler Pure Coffee.

  23. New Harleem is my favourite coffee smell. And only one that comes to mind. I really should look into it more as I enjoy that smell in perfumes but have only a decant of New Harleem to enjoy.

  24. I don’t know if I have ever tried a coffee perfume…!!! which is horrible since I have a 2-3 cup /day habit. I pretty much run on coffee. Queen Latifah Queen kind of evokes coffee for me, but I don’t know if it has *actual* coffee.

    As far as perfumes that help me focus, I find that most any perfume helps me focus. There’s just something about perfume that strengthens my will.

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