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Les Élixirs Charnels- Gourmand Coquin by Guerlain

Photo credit: Sherbypeaches

The first perfume is by my favourite perfume house, Guerlain and is a part of their Les Élixirs Charnels collection. The perfume is called Gourmand Coquin and roughly translates to ‘greedy rascal’. Despite belonging to a somewhat controversial collection and a having a tacky name the perfume itself is a beautiful fragrance and one of my absolute favourites.

An opening of smokey tea and pepper that instantly gives way to layers of boozy chocolate. It is difficult to decide if the chocolate is more dark or milky. Rum, spice and smokey tea lend an almost smouldering feel to the luscious layers of chocolate. This continues for a good half an hour before a beautiful red rose appears. The rose is very soft and short lived. The perfume gradually transitions into a well rounded, sweet and comforting vanilla with hints of spice and chocolate that lasts for almost a whole day. A real chocolate lovers delight……a unique olfactory experience.

All the notes are well done and balance each other. Despite having such prominent gourmand notes the perfume never becomes overly sweet, cloying or artificial. It has low to medium sillage and is more of a skin scent, however, longevity is good. On my skin it lasts well over 12 hours.

I have tried and tested a lot of gourmands but have never come across any thing so elegant and delicious. The perfume comes with a very exclusive price tag and is only available in a handful of boutiques. I actually waited a whole year, hoping for the infatuation to end, before finally giving in and buying a full bottle. Overall I would describe this as a delectable and sensual (maybe even a bit seductive) fragrance that is special enough to become a signature scent.

The notes as per Guerlain’s website are:

Top notes: black pepper.
Heart notes: rose, smoky tea.
Base notes: rum, chocolate.

The scent was released in 2008 and was created by perfumer Christine Nagel for Guerlain.

Delights of Autumn

Autumn is my favourite season after spring. The trees, with their leaves taking on various shades of red, golden-yellow and green put on one final show before slowing down for winter.

In Switzerland autumn happens to be one of the best seasons to visit the country. Apart from the stunning landscape, in full glory of the different colors of autumn, it is also a season of festivals and special treats. My favourite of all is the “Basler Herbst Messe” (Basler Autumn Fair), Switzerland’s oldest and largest amusement fair with a history of over 500 years.

Fraumünster by the Rhine, Basel.

Handicrafts and food stalls as well as various rides are setup on 7 squares across the city. What is normally a cosy quiet little city is suddenly buzzing with life. The atmosphere is electic. It looks exceptionally stunning in the evening as the dark of the night is contrasted with the multicolored flashy lights of the different rides across the city. The most prominent and wondrous being the ferris wheel setup in the Fraumünster plaza. Visible from miles apart with its reflection shimmering in the historic river Rhine that flows through the heart of the city.

The food stalls with their colourful displays of Basler autumnal sweet specialities are a real attraction. Mässemogge (hazelnut praline filled candies sold only during autumn), Beggeschmutz (also a messe specialty of chocolate and coconut covered cream), Magenbrot (similar to ginger bread), and Basler Läckerli (Basle’s hard spice biscuit) are hard to resist.

Mässemogge (left)
Clockwise: Maroni, Magenbrot, Gebrannte Mandel and assortment of stuffed spiced breads. All pictures in this article courtesy of Fatimah A. Khan.

The fresh and crisp autumn air is laden with the sweet earthy aroma of freshly roasted chestnuts (maroni) and caramelised almonds (gebrannte mandel). Somewhere amongst the stalls people are enjoying mulled wine that is lending a sharp boozy facet to the atmosphere.

From tunes of Mozart playing in the carrousels to the techno music of the breakdancer ride the fair is overall an extraordinarily stimulating experience of the senses.

I have a few perfumes in my collection which remind me of the messe that I would like to write about. I am a big fan of gourmand perfumes. The whole idea of having scents that remind you of your favourite treats appeals to me. However, it is very hard to find a good gourmand that doesn’t end up making one smell like a plate of food or a binge session of cotton candy. The real talent of a perfumer lies in balancing the notes making the perfume complex and interesting and at the same time maintaining the comfort and familiarity, which is the idea behind a gourmand. I am going to share some of the gourmand perfumes that I love wearing in the autumn /winters. Hope you love them as much as I do and as always looking forward to your comments.

  1. Les Élixirs Charnels- Gourmand Coquin by Guerlain