Spice World: The Meetup – Perfume Lovers London, 24th November

We were greeted by a spice themed soundtrack at the October Gallery last Thursday with tracks from Salt-N-Pepa and of course, The Spice Girls. Our fragrant leader Odette Toilette/Lizzie is nearing her due date so we were in the capable hands of Laurin and Callum. As you will see from the abbreviated sequence of events below, they also have a great way with words.




Intoxicated, By Kilian

Laurin: Intoxicated is part of the Addictive State of Mind collection from By Kilian which features three fragrances based around a substance that can be addictive: coffee, tobacco and weed.

Callum: Intoxicated is supposed to evoke Turkish coffee and although that is usually teeth rottingly sweet, this has dark bitter spices. The green, bracing note of cardamom is particularly noticeable.

Laurin: I find it dry.

Audience Member: I get some lavender, similar to A*Men.

Callum: It’s a good example of a very strong cardamom note.

Audience Member: It’s getting sweeter with time.


Lumiére Blanche, Olfactive Studio

Callum: Each fragrance by Olfactive Studio is inspired by a photograph. Lumiére Blanche is the opposite of Intoxicated. Here the cardamom is in a setting which is really creamy and it’s much easier to wear.


Audience Member: I’m picking up anise and mint.

Laurin: I think it’s like a milky drink at bedtime; like spicy Horlicks.

Callum: Does anyone think it’s like the photo? It has the bright white feel.

Audience Member: It reminds me of the sea.

Audience Member: It reminds me of Lovehearts. There’s something sherbet-y.



Classique EdT, Jean Paul Gaultier

Laurin: I get lots of orange blossom and ylang ylang from Classique but once I found out there was was ginger in it, it became a lot more noticeable. When I smell it, I picture ginger root complete with its hairy bark.

Callum: I used to wear it a lot in my teens. Over time the shape of the bottle has changed. It now has a bigger derrière and smaller breasts – The Kim Kardashian Effect.

Laurin: I’d put it in the bombshell category along with Fracas.

Callum: It’s huge. Do we like it?

General murmurs of “No”.

Audience Member: It’s very dated.


The Smell of Freedom, Gorilla Perfumes

Callum: This is a sunny ginger fragrance.

Laurin: I always think it’s like when you’re grating ginger and some of the juice runs down your hand.

Holly from LUSH: This is a triptych of a perfume. It’s a combination of three other perfumes about inspirational people, so it has a lot of notes.

Laurin: I get more lemongrass as it goes along.

Callum: It’s the opposite of Classique. It feels more stripped back.

Audience Member: It’s quite earthy.


Love, By Kilian

Callum: One of my favourite vanillas is the one by Mona di Orio but most are very sweet so I thought I should pick one which is representative of that. Love is pink, frilly knickers. It’s bright and sickly but amazing. It’s softened by orange blossom. It’s crazy sweet.

Laurin: I always think vanilla is too needy. You’d break up with it and it would still come round to your house and knock on the door. I like this one though because there’s something a bit scratchy about it.

Audience Member: It’s like raw cookie dough.


Black, Bvlgari

Laurin: This is one of my favourite fragrances of all time. It’s leather, petrol station forecourts and gimp masks. It’s a good example of an edgy fragrance that uses vanilla to make it more wearable. The perfumer is Annick Menardo and she’s very good at using vanilla in compositions such as this, Hypnotic Poison by Dior and Morn to Dusk by Eau d’Italie.

Black wouldn’t get past a focus group these days. It’s Resting Bitch Face in a bottle. It’d slit your throat if you rubbed it up the wrong way. I admire anyone who bought it when it first came out. People say it’s discontinued but you can still get it on Amazon. It also comes in this great bottle shaped like a tyre.




Esprit du Tigre, Heeley

Callum: All Heeley’s fragrances are very bold in that they have a very clear idea. This is centred around the idea of Tiger Balm. It features a very pure use of clove; tarry, methylated and smoky.

Would you wear it?

Generally well liked and quite a few people would wear it except for those with memories of Tiger Balm.




Jungle L’Elephant, Kenzo

Laurin: I tried this at Lizzie’s house recently and took the bottle home with me.  It’s a more rounded use of clove. It’s a Christmas pudding in a marshmallow. It has a lot of warmth. I picture a helix of clove and cardamom.  There’s a huge amount of plum and cedarwood in there too.

It was done by Dominique Ropion who is very good at doing huge perfumes which are very fine-tuned (Portrait of a Lady, Carnal Flower). Lizzie isn’t getting her bottle back.



Hellstone, Gorilla Perfumes

Laurin: I read that cumin is associated with faithfulness. It can stop chickens and lovers from straying, apparently. Hellstone is rounded and has a little of that body sweat cumin but it’s also peaty and has a bit of whisky. I was thinking earlier it would be perfect for the Central Line at rush hour.

Holly from LUSH: A lot of men like to wear it in their beards.

Callum: I like it the more I wear it – the more the terror fades away.

Audience Member: It smells a bit like old books.




Fareb, Huitième Art Collection

Callum: Fareb makes me think of the desert and cola. It’s dry but has a fizziness to it.

Laurin: It’s more foody. Customers at Les Senteurs used to stay they couldn’t wear it because it reminded them of their mother’s cooking.

Callum: It’s sweeter than Hellstone.

Audience Member: It’s brighter.

Callum: It’s doesn’t have the dark, peaty aspect of Hellstone.

This one was generally approved of by the room and preferred to Hellstone. Overall Fareb and Black seemed to be the hits of the evening.



Do you like spicy fragrances? Which are your favourites?






Filed under Perfume Events

20 responses to “Spice World: The Meetup – Perfume Lovers London, 24th November

  1. I love spicy fragrances! And speaking of coffee, I just re-discovered my decant of New Harleem. 🙂 Forgot how much I love that perfume. I also re-discovered in the same box DSH Cimabue and Tamarind/Paprika so I’m all set with spices. 😉


  2. Puredistance M is a lovely one, ELdO Like This, SL Eau de Gigembre, Noir Esoice by FM….. I have to say PLL’s choices were a bit on the weird side. At least for me.


    • I’d forgotten about about the SL gingerbread one. I remember really liking it. I need to try it again. Callum and Laurin do have left of filed taste so I guess the choices reflected that.


  3. Forogt Pomegranate Noir. One of my favs and nearly empty!


  4. Lady Jane Grey

    I very much like spices when cooking (loads of cumin please…), but not in my perfume… Does “Like this” counts as “spicy” ? That’s the furthest I get… Except Vanilla !


    • Like This definitely counts and technically so do your vanilla perfumes, though I don’t normally think of those as spicy.
      I reckon turmeric and smoked paprika are my favourite spices to cook with. I want to eat curry now and it’s only 9.45am!


  5. Great article Tara. i love there are so many difefrent opinions on the same scent. My current favourite spicy scent is Mary Greenwell Fire. It’s my Find of The Year!

    Sam xx


  6. Hamamelis

    Lovely post. I love spices in perfume, cardamon in Dzongkha, Lumiere Blanche and the new Yves Rocher Accord Chic. Vanille in Mona di Orio’s Vanille. Ginger in Un Jardin apres la Mousson. And the whole spice box in Trayee!


    • Thanks for sharing all your lovely spicy perfume picks, Hamamelis. They are all good example of how spice in a fragrance doesn’t have to overwhelm. Even Trayee is really beautifully balanced.


  7. As always, enjoyed reading your report a lot!

    Almost for every category you’ve mentioned I have a favorite perfume. I’m working on the vanilla post now, so I’ll skip this one for now. Mimosa & Cardamom (Jo Malone) is my favorite cardamom; Ginger Ciao (Yosh) for ginger; Pomegranate Noir (Jo Malone) for cloves. I hate cumin, so no favorites there 😉


  8. Hilarious comments!! The cumin and chickens and beard thing, the resting bitch face, the vanilla lovers being needy. Ooh er! What a hoot the evening sounds. Am standing on a platform in Hannover chuckling. And yes, I love spicy fragrances – woody orientals are my favourite category.


    • Thanks for taking time out of your travels to read and comment, V. Happy to hear it gave you a chuckle . However I should clarify that Laurin felt vanilla itself was too needy rather than those that love it, for fear of offending anyone!


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