What better compliment is there than smelling good enough to eat? Perfumes are highly subjective, but the experts say the best perfumes are those that evoke joyous memories of people, places and things and conjure up a wave of happy emotions. Dopamine hits don't get stronger than when you combine evocative scents with the most delicious gourmand base notes.
Gourmand perfumes, also known as “edible” perfumes are blended with dessert-like notes, including praline, toffee, honey, caramel and vanilla—all very well-matched to the autumn months ahead and ideal for party season too. While summer calls for fresher, more citrus-led fragrances, you can be much more indulgent when the weather starts to turn.
Now, as alluring as gourmand fragrances might sound on paper, they do tend to get a bad rep for being overly sweet to the point where the word sickly is easily thrown around. As such, perfume snobs easily disregard them as a scent for the unsophisticated nose. The launch of the popular gourmand scent Angel by Mugler in the early '90s put the category on the map, and it has remained divisive ever since—some people love to douse themselves in it; others can't stand it. However, since then, the category has evolved into a much broader spectrum with options that are less extreme and more refined. Gourmand fragrances can now be interesting and complex and developed with influences from the opposite end of the spectrum, including woody, spicy and darker notes. We put together an editor-approved list of the best (and most elegant) gourmand perfumes that are worth considering for your fragrance collection.
Unlike the traditional vanilla scent, this scent has tipped everything we know about vanilla on its head. Created from a base note of Madagascar vanilla beans, which sets the tone for a sweet and complex undertone, while the tops and middle of plum, musk, cashmere woods and freesia give it texture and something unfamiliar that you wouldn’t associate with vanilla scent, creating the most gorgeous vanilla fragrance full of character.
2. Vilhelm Parfumerie Poets of Berlin Eau de Parfum
Of this opulent scent created as an ode to David Bowie and the city of Berlin, founder Jan Vilhelm Ahlgren says, “A tribute to David Bowie: the more I read about him, the more I felt the warm and gentle person that he was behind the persona.” A captivating, grand and imaginative scent that arouses a sense of creativity and airiness. A charming pairing of blueberry, lemon and green wild orris, on a rich base of vanilla, sandalwood and vetiver.
This is a subtle, refined and seasoned gourmand. Philosykos was developed as an ode to the fig tree: the green freshness of the leaves, the milky flavour of the figs and the earthiness of the bark. Notes of fig leaves, tree sap and wood and black pepper create a harmonious, fresh scent. The subtle sweetness of the coconut note brings it together and very much alive. Every spritz is a magical olfactory journey to the beautiful landscape of the Greek Islands.
Playful, sweet and absolutely addictive, this scent totally caught me off guard. An alluring and appetising combination of wild strawberry, apple juice and pomegranate on a base of grounding marshmallow, musk and sandalwood. It illustrates perfectly that gourmand scents are not just a combination of sickly sweet notes. It's light, edgy and completely gourmand.
A true gourmand scent, enter heavenly dessert paradise. This is, quite simply, a sweet tooth's idea of the perfect scent. Gloriously sweet from the opening spritz, it has scrumptious and nutty top notes of warm pistachio and almond on a rich base of jasmine petals, sandalwood and salted caramel accords. Designed to transport you to the luscious coast of Rio on the a beautiful hot summer's day.
A mature and elegant take on the classic gourmand scent, an intricate sweet and woody fragrance for even the most sophisticated nose. A silky-smooth milky concoction that is good enough to eat. The notes of almond, musk and vanilla work so harmoniously together. As good as a cup of the most luxuriously warm almond-flavoured hot chocolate, one of my favourite winter scents.
Kilian Angels' Share is all about the cognac, inspired by the founder's heritage as heir to a long line of cognac makers. It's decadent, sophisticated and smooth. Even the Art Deco bottle is intentionally designed to mimic that of a cognac bottle. It kicks off strong, with opening notes of cognac oil, oak absolute cinnamon essence and tonka beans that gradually develop to leave you with the most delicious aroma of sandalwood, praline and vanilla. It reminds me so much of a warm, mouthwatering cinnamon pie.
8. Bon Parfumeur 402 Vanilla Toffee Sandalwood Eau de Parfum
A true indulgence, a sweet feast, a mouthwatering sensation of creamy almond notes, for a milky sweetness, and spicy warm vanilla base note. The spice and warmth come from the sandalwood and benzoin notes. The scent was inspired the humble vanilla pod. Created in France, the brand’s mission is to bring genderless and sustainable fragrances that inspire.
9. Acqua di Parma Arancia di Capri Eau de Toilette
Transport yourself to the beautiful Italian Mediterranean with one spritz. The crisp, fresh notes of Sicilian orange, mandarin and lemon sit on a bed of intense aromatic cardamom and a hint of soft and delectable caramel and sensual musk to capture the essence of a romantic, relaxing, gloriously sunny and luminous Italian getaway.
A personal favourite, this scent has only very recently come into my possession but has quickly become a favourite. Not your typical gourmand perfume, nonetheless a gorgeous treat. Imagine a sweet and tantalising fruit salad. It strikes the perfect balance of sweet and fruity, with notes of orange flower, jasmine, Madagascan mandarin and black pepper and a sweet kick with notes of coconut and vanilla. So yummy.