One Thousand Scents

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Shopping, Part 2: CSP Amour de Cacao

There's a Canadian chain of drugstores called Shoppers Drug Mart (I've talked about it before on this blog and on my other one) which is has really upgraded its image in the last few years; one of the new store designs puts a little self-contained fragrance department at the very front of the store, and it's like a really high-end boutique. I walked into such a store this morning and just inside the door was, to my astonishment, a display of Comptoir Sud Pacifique scents. I was completely flabbergasted, because it's just not a line you associate with drugstores. The lovely saleswoman said they'd had them for about a week, about a dozen or fifteen of the line's scents, including many of the newest ones, ones I hadn't even had a chance to try before: Bois de Filao, Vanille Peach, Vanille Pineapple, and Vanille Extreme, along with such standbys as Aqua Motu, Mora Bella (the new name for the old, wonderful Fruits Sauvages), and of course Amour de Cacao. I tried Bois de Filao and Vanille Pineapple--though not on my skin--and was delighted with both of them, and though I couldn't get samples of them, I did snag samples of Vanille Coco--I already had a tiny vial of it, but this is a nice big spray and I never turn down a sample--and Aqua Motu. I don't even want to think about the fact that I am going to be buying a whole bunch of these fragrances in the next six months.

As it happened, I'd put on Amour de Cacao after the gym this morning. Even though it's a hot summer day and AdC is a warm sweet scent, I felt secure that it wouldn't be too strong or too cloying, because, amazingly, it never is.

Officially, the notes in Amour de Cacao are orange peel, vanilla, and chocolate, which makes it sound like a Terry's Chocolate Orange, but the orange note escapes me altogether. (The new, updated version of AdC supposedly has a starfruit note as well; I haven't tried it, so I couldn't say.) All I smell when I first spray it on is vanilla-infused chocolate, though not a pure chocolate-bar scent nor the dust-dry cocoa powder of Cocoon but a mixture of the two, a lush chocolate combined with a very salty, slightly dusty note of cocoa powder. The salt note is amazingly strong at first. I know; salt oughtn't to have a smell at all. But I've worked around large quantities of the stuff, thousands of pounds at a time, and trust me; it has a smell, and that smell is in Amour de Cacao.

Over the next few hours, whatever development there is in this scent consists of the chocolate/cocoa receding and the vanilla coming to the fore, and that's it. But it's the most wonderful simplicity; it smells like someone's making chocolate-chip cookies somewhere in the vicinity, and that's such a cherished, almost universal childhood memory that Amour de Cacao can't help but bring a smile to your face. It's a sleek aluminum can full of lovingly hand-made bakery bliss.

Shopping, Part 1 is here.



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