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.
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.