One Thousand Scents

Friday, June 27, 2008

30 Demeters in 30 Days: Day 27, Espresso

Since my regular Friday posting is about a coffee scent, it seemed like a good time to talk about Demeter's coffee offering, Espresso. They have a few other coffee-inspired scents, which I'll get to in a bit, but this is the only real, full-blast coffee in their lineup. (Too bad: I'd be glad to wear an accurate Drip Coffee With Cream And Two Sugars.)

Demeter Espresso smells like espresso beans to me, and they're burnt almost black; there is a harsh bitterness to the smell with, frankly, an almost fecal note (which, I hasten to add, I also find in the real article, though I might be alone in that).

This scent is realistically sharp and brittle, and it's almost unbelievably penetrating; it doesn't have a lot of projection--it doesn't fill up the room--but when you're near to it, when you have your wrist near your face when talking on the phone or whatever, Espresso occupies all the available airspace. Do not make the mistake, as I did, of wearing this while you're eating, because you will not be able to smell the food. (I suppose you could wear it if you're going out for coffee.)

There are two other coffee Demeters I've tried. The coffee drink called cappuccino is made from espresso diluted with hot milk and topped with foamed milk. Demeter's Cappuccino is not a convincing version of the drink, in my opinion; it's very sweet, as if it were a version of a coffee-flavoured candy, or a frozen coffee-shop drink. In its milky niceness it resembles, of all things, a coffee-scented incense I owned years ago. It's extremely pleasant, certainly much more likable than Espresso, if sweet blandness with a restrained coffee aroma is what you like; but if it's accuracy you demand, this is not the place to find it. The other coffee Demeter in my collection is Black Russian, which is a cocktail made with vodka and coffee liqueur. This, too, is pleasant, but not commandingly coffee-like; it has a hazelnut overtone which seems very out of place. (If you add milk or cream to a Black Russian, you get a White Russian, logically enough; I haven't tried Demeter's version, but I can imagine it.)

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