The synergy between the two most pleasurable senses at the service of new delights

Text: Sandra Bardin

The profane need not know, but gourmets certainly do. That is to say that the pleasures of the palate are not exclusive to taste, the sense that on its own absorbs only four flavours (sweet, salty, bitter, sour) or five if you count umami, but to the synergy between taste buds and olfactory receptors, 950,000 for us humans. It is not for nothing that the high priests of the two parishes, chefs and olfactory noses, freely draw on Nature’s gifts to create their masterpieces, be they dishes or fragrances, with reciprocal territorial incursions: the great common recipe book includes seeds, spices, berries, fruits, and even flowers in the kitchen. Some elements classified as food, then, stand out with strong prominence both in grand cuisine recipes and in haute parfumerie creations.

The aromatic-caffeine component that characterises Black Opium, the Yves Saint Laurent series designed to trigger intense sensations, Edgy, in the new Eau de Parfum Extrème edition is an authentic overdose of black coffee: the essential aroma of our every awakening is sublimated here into a rock concert with patchouli, fruit, dark chocolate and Bourbon vanilla, plus a super-infusion of jasmine that excites the nocturnal sensuality of the fragrance amidst the digital glow of the glitter bottle.
This is how actress Zoe Kravitz, YSL Beauty ambassador, experiences it in an electrifying game, which can be seen in the campaign video onYouTube

But it is when the masters of the two sensory shores try their hand at the same ingredients that the wonder begins. For the Collection Privée Dior line, here is Vanilla Diorama, a creation of the maître parfumeur François Demachy, who builds around the precious tropical pod an apotheosis of fresh citrus notes to balance the warm notes of cocoa and patchouli on a spicy tantalising background of rum: the bouquet is the olfactory version of the legendary dessert loved by Christian Dior, who had it specially prepared for him at Maxim’s. It was a real challenge to replicate the delicacy, but for the perfume launch the famous pâtissier chef Julien Dugourd succeeded: his Vanilla Diorama in homage to the memory of the great couturier was an elegant and exquisite dessert to be enjoyed with all the senses – sight, palate and smell. It is a pity that the recipe remains a secret.

But perhaps the most surprising food/fragrance liaison is boasted by The Library of Fragrance, a repertoire of 300 eaux de Cologne inspired by objects and experiences in everyday life: proving that it is the sense of smell that stimulates the appetite, here are gourmand essences ranging from the EdC Pumpkin Pie to Yuzu Marmalade, from the EdC Madeleine to Gin and Tonic, Popcorn, Pizza…

The brand is the brainchild of American “nose” Christopher Brosius, a creative visionary considered the enfant terrible of international perfumery.