Gourmand Scents: Fragrances Good Enough to Eat.

What does happiness smell like?  For some, it’s the scent of hazelnut praline, buttery popcorn, strong cappuccino, bittersweet chocolate truffles, sticky cinnamon buns, smoky Islay whiskey, and the caramel oozing from a melt-in-the-middle chocolate pudding…  These people are the gourmand lovers, and I am an unashamed member of the club.

Gourmand scents (ones with distinctive “edible” notes) have stormed the fragrance world in recent years, much to the chagrin of many who find them cloying and overbearing.  But why is it that they have become so popular?  As a self-confessed bon vivant, I am sure I know the answer.  Nothing takes us back to the innocent, carefree existence of our childhood like the sweet smell of comfort foods and confections. However, there is certainly also a very adult sexiness that attracts us to these fragrances too.  The connection between food and sex is undeniable, if you don’t believe me, just watch that infamous scene from the movie 9 ½ Weeks.  According to Freud’s theories of psychosexual development, the mouth was our first erogenous zone so it can be said that gourmand scents not only prey on our happy childhood memories but also shamelessly capitalize on our sexual oral fixation (everyone knows that the way to someone’s “heart” is through their stomach).  Another important factor to take into consideration is that our sense of smell is intricately connected to our sense of taste as both senses use the same types of chemo-receptors, just think of how bland food tastes when your nose is blocked.  This means that when we smell these gorgeous scents, it’s almost as satisfying as actually eating them.

Angel, by Thierry Mugler

One of the first scents that really launched this modern family was Thierry Mugler’s Angel (1992).  Today you would be hard pressed to find a more divisive scent, with people either loving it or hating it.  However, there is no denying that it was truly ground-breaking, with its innovative use of gourmand notes like caramel and praline.  There was nothing like it before, and it opened the door for the plethora of gourmand scents we have on offer today.  Love it or hate it, Olivier Cresp & Yves de Chirin created an icon that deserves respect, which it is all too often not given.  In fact, there seems to be a certain level of snobbery which surrounds the gourmand olfactory genre.  Some traditionalists deride it for not being a “real” olfactory group, and the fact that scents like vanilla, candy floss, chocolate, and caramel are pleasing to even the youngest in society, leads some to discount gourmand scents as being unsophisticated and childish.  In my opinion, this is not the case, I believe that gourmand scents can be as well constructed, balanced and beautifully nuanced as any other scent.  There are many gorgeous gourmand scents out there and here are my pics of some of the best.




L’Instant pour Homme Eau Extreme by Guerlain



Citruses, star anise, elemi, jasmine, neroli, tea, sandalwood, patchouli, cedar, cacao & hibiscus

Virgin Island Water by Creed (unisex)

Virgin ISland.jpg


Lime, coconut, Sicilian mandarin, white bergamot, ginger, Indian jasmine, hibiscus, ylang-ylang, musk, sugar cane & white rum

New Haarlem by Bond No. 9 (unisex)

New Haarlem.jpg


Lavender, bergamot, green leaves, coffee, cedar, amber, vanilla, tonka bean & Patchouli

Acqua e Zucchero by Profumum Roma (unisex)

A & Z.jpg


Orange Blossom, forest fruits & vanilla

Au Masculin by Lolita Lempicka



Violet, ivy, basil, anise, licorice, wormwood, sandalwood, tonka bean, rum, almond, vanilla, vetiver, cedar, praline & labdanum

Back to Black by Killian (unisex)

Back to black.jpg


Bergamot, saffron, nutmeg, cardamom, coriander, raspberry, chamomile, olibanum, honey, Virginia cedar, oak, patchouli, almond, tobacco, labdanum, vanilla, geranium, gingerbread, benzoin, tonka bean, amber & cherry

Rochas Man by Rochas



Lavender, bergamot, jasmine, Virginia cedar, lily-of-the-valley, raspberry, coffee, sandalwood, patchouli, amber & vanilla

Elixir Charnel Gourmand Coquin by Guerlain




Spices, vanilla, dark chocolate, rum, cacao, pepper & rose

Uomo By Salvatore Ferragamo



Black pepper, cardamom, bergamot, tiramisu, orange blossom, ambroxan, cashmere wood, sandalwood & tonka bean

Hypnotic Poison by Christian Dior



Apricot, plum, coconut, tuberose, jasmine, lily-of-the-valley, rose, Brazilian rosewood, caraway, sandalwood, almond, vanilla, musk