Post by Greg Young.
The house of Montale is pretty much all about wood. Especially aoud. Occasionally Pierre Montale will deign to include a stray gourmand, amber or leather note but really this house is for fans of wood. Especially aoud.
If the theory that packaging is a guide to the marketing strategy holds, then the house of Montale is also all about blokes. Especially DIYers who always have the oxy-acetylene torch or a spot welder ready to go, or those capable dads who are the first to set up the gas barbie on the weekend. At a pinch, their market may include Master Chef fans who wield a mean blowtorch in front of a quivering creme brulee.
Montale bottles are the blokeiest in the market.
If you are going to review Montale fragrances this is the time of year to do it. If you’re doing it around Easter, there is an obvious candidate: Chocolate Greedy. Fortunately, I was able to evade that cliche, but only because I don’t have any. As I write this Chocolate Greedy is almost the perfect, most succinct description of my current state. A missed opportunity to pair feast and fragrance, that’s for sure.
Photo Stolen Wikipedia
Intense Cafe by Montale Paris 2013
Photo Stolen Fragrantica
Fragrantica gives these featured accords:
Top: Floral notes
Heart: Coffee, rose
Base: Amber, vanilla, white musk
Instead I chose another of Montale’s atypical fragrances, the oriental gourmand Intense Cafe. Having had a big Easter celebration on at home, I felt that its warm vanilla would be more suitable on a pleasant autumn day than a big beefy aoud.
Intense Cafe is described by Montale as “A truly enticing fragrance. Brilliant Floral Notes reveal a surprising heart made of Delicate Rose and Sensual Coffee. This perfect duo leaves a very beautiful sillage of Vanilla, Amber and White Musk.”
This one gets a pretty warm reception on Fragrantica, notably among men of my generation. Young ‘uns seem unimpressed, and it doesn’t seem to get much love from the ladies at all. Perhaps it’s the packaging. Consensus on Fragrantica is that rose predominates here and vanilla and coffee share a roughly equal second billing.
Photo Stolen Pixabay
Rose and coffee are among my favourite notes, so Intense Cafe should be right down my street, but I feel that it doesn’t really deliver in that way. It opens with the kind of warm coffee made at Starbucks, laced with vanilla flavouring and then served to coffee drinkers who don’t really like coffee. Far from Intense, this scent is like a mellow cafe au lait in a New Orleans riverside jazz cafe compared to New Haarlem’s ristretto in a New York hipster haven.
Which is not to say it’s bad, just that a luscious vanilla rushes to the fore and shoves the coffee to the sidelines, yelling “pick me, pick me”. Intense Cafe pretty quickly becomes intense vanilla, with a thorn’s-edge of rose to prick at the sweet gourmand. On this day, for this occasion, walking around in warm sweet vanilla was no bad thing.
Photo Stolen Flickr
Where Intense Cafe really does deliver is on Montale’s vanilla and amber promise. It’s 12 hours after I put this on, and I can still smell a trace of vanilla on my wrist, but a big waft of it is still there on my shirt. There are no longevity issues with this one. So even if you don’t like wood, especially aoud, Pierre Montale still has one for you.
What Montales have you tried? Does coffee sound good in a perfume to you?