In perfume, there are the classic ingredients that create constant scents- rose and jasmine, vanilla and tonka beans, cedar and cinnamon. But there are also notes that stand out as a bit stranger, a little more farfetched, that nonetheless make fantastic fragrances for anyone to try. From food to beverages to minerals, these are some of the most unique ingredients that have made some of the most wearable fragrances.
We start the list with something more likely found in a bottle of salsa: chillies. Pimento chilli adds a spiciness to perfume that is different from pepper, ginger, and other common oriental smells, one that is fresher and crisper. It is more popular in men’s fragrances than women’s but still features in both. For me, the men’s fragrances where they are most apparent are not Orientals, but are fresh-spicy fragrances that have earthy, fresh tones.
Just Cavalli from Roberto Cavalli is a simple fragrance, with a base note of leather, a middle note of vetiver, a top note of pimento chilli, and though it sounds like it should be a heavy fragrance, that is not the case. Despite the woody, spicy notes, this fragrance applies lightly with a fresh feel; the leather and vetiver create a subtly masculine fragrance, while the pimento chilli adds spice and a crispness.
The same can be said for Davidoff’s Hot Water. Part of the Cool Water range, Hot Water retains some of the original’s herby freshness using wormwood, basil and water note. However, there is added patchouli and, most prominently, pimento, for a spicy element. As the name suggests, it really does smell like hot water- pimento chilli in a glass of cool water.
For ladies, there is Fatale Intense from Agent Provocateur, which has a more layered fragrance than the mens. The base notes of this fragrance are vanilla, leather, and amber for a sweet yet slightly smokey base, floral middle notes of red rose and lotus for a feminine touch, and the interesting top notes of liquorice, dewberry and strong pimento. This fragrance is a sweet and seductive, with the grounding layers of leather and pimento for a bit of smokey spice.
Ice cream is another edible note that can feature in fragrances. This sweet, creamy note adds a layer of confectionary delight to the fragrances it is part of, without being overpowering as other sweet notes can be. Salvatore Ferragamo’s Signorina Ribelle has pink pepper, mandarin, frangipani, and ylang-ylang as its top and middle note that create a fresh and floral twist to the fragrance, but it is the base notes that shine in this perfume is vanilla, coconut milk, and ice cream. These notes create a sweet, loud fragrance that is not too cloying, vanilla and cream with the yellow floral and twist of fresh pepper gently seeping through.
If you after a men’s fragrance that has ice cream as a primary note, there is Dolce & Gabbana’s Light Blue Love is Love. Like the original and very popular Light Blue, this fragrance features orange, bergamot, and grapefruit in the top notes for a citrus opening, and a rosemary middle note and musk base not for some herbal depth. However, the fragrance also includes green apple, pink pepper, vanilla and, most importantly, ice cream that adds a sweet, vanilla, and creamy layer.
For a twist of something more mature, perfumes with absinthe have that kick. This beverage note gives perfumes a sweet but distinctly sharp and alcoholic note, which is the main feature of YSL’s Black Opium Intense. While similar to the original Black Opium, this fragrance has an added layer of mystery from the absinthe, that settles into a powdery, almost almond scent. The base notes of this fragrance are vanilla, liquorice, and sandalwood, with middle notes of orange blossom, jasmine, and coffee and top notes of boysenberry and absinthe. It is the vanilla, coffee and absinthe that shine, making a sweet, slightly bitter fragrance, while the other floral and gourmand notes elevate this fragrance to a unique and sensual icon.
There are also men’s fragrances featuring absinthe, including Coach Blue. The absinth in this fragrance is lighter than the Black Opium Intense, nestled between the lime and ozonic notes, but adds a sweet and mature scent that elevates this fragrance from airy to something sharper, down with the help of light notes of amber, cedar and black pepper that subtly reveal themselves in the dry down. Overall, this is a citrus-fresh and light scent, and a sharp edge of subtle sweetness and woodiness.
Away from weird notes, there are stranger non-edible notes, such as the beachy smells of sand and salt that are both featured in Paco Rabanne’s Olympéa Legend. This is not just strange in that it contains sea salt and sand; on paper, its composition looks as though shouldn’t smell good; a strong base of vanilla, tonka beans, amber and the sand, for a base that is heady-sweet and deep. The middle notes of floral and ginger flower are more subtle, a feminine underlayer for the strong top notes of sea salt, apricot and plum. However, this perfume settles on me into something unique and comforting; the apricot and plum are fruity but not sweet, subdued by the base notes to keep it deep and enticing, and the sea salt gives an edge that keeps it from getting sickly. Admittedly, I’m not sure I can pick up on the sand, but I’m not entirely sure what sand smells like, and there is a hard-to-describe element to this fragrance that makes it so captivating.
Writen By Miranda