One Thousand Scents

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Downmarket: CSP Caramel Sunset

Maybe ten years ago when we lived in Saint John, Jim and I used to rent a car--we've never owned one--and drive to Calais, Maine, at least once a month during the spring and summer. It was a reasonably beautiful drive, and it was fun to go to a completely different country by car (still a novel experience for me, who grew up on an island but hasn't lived there for half his life) and buy things we couldn't get in Canada. One of those things was Sathers Coconut Stacks

which were little droppings of slightly waxy cheapjack caramel (surely made with hydrogenated fat) and minced coconut.

To paraphrase Noel Coward, "Extraordinary how potent cheap candy is." They were positively addictive, and we would buy a few little bags with every trip and try not to wolf them all down before we got home. We would usually succeed, but they wouldn't last past the next day.

The last few times we went to Calais, we couldn't find them, and Jim figured they were withdrawn from sale as a way of protecting the public from acute fake-caramel intoxication, but no, they're still available: the company's website shows them, and you can mail-order them from various sites by the case (12 bags, surely a lethal dose). We don't dare.

How clever of Comptoir Sud Pacific to create Caramel Sunset, and in so doing exactly recreate the experience of being sold a bag of stale, dusty Coconut Stacks by a woman wearing gardenia perfume.

It's not all coconut, caramel, and tiare; there's plenty of that signature CSP vanilla in the base, for all the good that does.

As any perfume fanatic knows, the ones you dislike the most are generally the ones that stay on your skin the longest: they're the cat the makes a beeline for the one cat-hater in the room and won't leave him alone.* If it turns out that you like Caramel Sunset, you will have the pleasure of its company for a long, long time.

*The reason cats do this, in case you wondered, is that we humans tend to look at things we like, but in the most of the rest of the animal world, this prolonged adoration is called staring, and it's a threat. Cats will tend to gravitate to people who avoid their gaze, perverse though that seems. If you want to make a cat feel at home, don't meet its gaze, or blink obviously and repeatedly. If you want to drive it away, glare at it. This is not guaranteed to work, cats being what they are.

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