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Black Vetyver Cafe by Jo Malone

May 29, 2009

Now, neither I, nor seemingly Microsoft has any idea what the word ‘Vetyver” means – but the “black” and the “cafe” are explanation enough, i feel. This unisex, coffee-based fragrance is definitely not for the faint-hearted, as demonstrated by the reaction said fragrance received from my good friend, and discerning nose, the HONOURABLE CHINAMAN.

“Mother of mercy what is that? It’s pungent.”

Swiftly followed by,

“It smells like old Chinese people.”

Black vetyver cafeNow I, and indeed the good people at Jo Malone who encouraged me to part with $120 of my* hard earned cash for the privilege of wearing this scent, would entirely disagree.

I had visited the fragrance (and by visited, I mean taken the Boyfriend to the Jo Malone counter, gushed over its scent, winced over its price and then wandered slowly away whilst humming a suitably funereal sounding anthem) prior to the final purchase, and on the last such visitation, the kindly lady behind the counter had wafted some coffee beans under by nose. The purpose of this exercise, no doubt, was to demonstrate that should I, fool that I am, try recreating said fragrance at  home, say, by rubbing a couple of coffee beans into my skin, the subtle nuances of fragrance captured so expertly by Ms Malone, would be lost. Fortunately, both for myself and for the multi million dollar perfume industry, I agreed, perfume was pocketed, samples were offered, hugs were exchanged, (apply the same rule to fragrance vendors as you would to hairdressers  – the more chummy you are, the more things you get for nothing) and Boyfriend and i returned home, relationship intact.

It does smell like coffee, yes, but with a delicious warmth and richness. Think oak panelled offices, winged arm-chairs, coffee and cigars, as opposed to your average Starbucks Barista after a double shift. Looking for inspiration i turned to Jo Malone herself who writes on her website

“The deep, bitter character of the coffee bean is steeped in earthen notes of vetiver, temple incense and sequoia which provides a unique warmth and woodiness.”

I’m not exactly sure what that means, and i suspect it may be bullshit, but the “temple incense” part would certainly explain why aforementioned CHINAMAN called earlier today to accuse me of making his car “smell like an Asian hearse.”

Reactions to this perfume have been concededly mixed. The Boyfriend loves it – and I definitely think there’s some truth in the theory (of mine) that traditionally masculine scents on women can often be quite sensual. I also love it, for its sheer uniqueness – there is nothing worse than getting onto a subway and being pelted full force with a mouthful of Gautier’s “Classique” or Dior’s Addict – seemingly, and inexplicably the fragrances of choice for working women who take public transit.


"The Sushi Guy" - Popular with the ladies

"The Sushi Guy" - Popular with the ladies

Regardless, last night, in an effort to break the stalemate and salvage something of an evening with CHINAMAN we appealed to our favourite sushi waiter (imaginatively named -by us – the Sushi Guy) to venture an opinion


Proffering a wrist, I invited him to smell

“Is good…” He remarked.

Score!” (I thought to myself, aware that Chinaman had offered to pay for dinner)

Haha take that Chinaman” (I said, deciding that making my point was worth more than dinner)

“It smell like my teppanyaki counter” (The Sushi Guy added)

A minor scuffle ensued, chopsticks were raised, some sushi was thrown, I took my leave, dignity intact. Though, given the high volume of punters jostling for a place at said teppanyaki counter, I left, confident that the victory was mine.


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5 Comments leave one →
  1. May 29, 2009 6:57 pm

    As Chinaman say: A closed mouth gather no foot… and a closed nose gather no whiff.

    10,000,000% hilarious. Review of God-like genius.

    Well done to all concerned.

  2. Chinaman permalink
    May 31, 2009 3:50 am

    me rike leview! puhfume lot so much.

  3. June 5, 2009 1:01 am

    Great post! Just wanted to let you know you have a new subscriber- me!

  4. Molto Pioggia permalink
    June 7, 2009 2:13 pm

    Wilson?
    Hello!
    Nice blog!
    I was about to post a message (with links) announcing your site to my friends on the Norwegian Death Metal scene

    http://www.metal-forum.com/index.php?f=8

    but though it polite to ask first. (?)

    I already took the liberty with the Flat Earth Society. http://theflatearthsociety.org/forum/index.php?board=1.0

    Best to you & G

    XX EH

  5. June 15, 2009 1:42 am

    Great post! I’ll subscribe right now wth my feedreader software!

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