You won’t find many reviewed here, simply because I’m very picky about gourmand fragrances family members. I’m also very picky about vanillas, candy notes or chocolate accords. The level of sweetness plays a role too, as well as the potential presence of fruits. Sugar and spice, and everything nice? Yes, but let’s keep the sugar element low& healthy, please.
If we look back in time, the first major blockbuster in this relatively new fragrance family was definitely Thierry Mugler’s Angel. Many have rolled in since, and “edible” notes became super popular: candy, coffee, Cognac, toffee, almonds, bubblegum, milk, caramel, chocolate, vanilla, etc. The more these fragrances were massively present, the more I found myself searching for fine, slow-food, truly gourmand ones, rather than settling with fast-food products.
There’s chocolate and chocolate. There are so many similarities in the world of chocolate to the world of perfumes! Just think about commercial chocolate and fine chocolate, for example. That would be equivalent to designers and niche perfumes, and if you get hooked up on fine chocolate you’ll probably find yourself searching for artisan or indie – chocolates.
Chocolate families exist as well: you have dark, white, milk, couverture, ruby, raw, compound, modeling chocolate, and to complicate things further, there are different flavors added! Fine chocolate makers pay attention to unique flavors from each bean, terroir, the visual aspect of the final product, artisan methods of production, and sourcing, making sure that cocoa is sourced ethically. Sounds familiar? Just like perfumes, right?
So I’m a fine chocolate lover. Always liked my chocolate bitter: even in not-so-bright days of closed socialist market and quite a poor choice of chocolates offered, my mom tells me that I always asked her to buy me “baking chocolate”. This was a bar of dark, almost black chocolate in simple packaging, very hard and low priced compared to mass-production chocolates, but it had at least 70% of cocoa! It was bitter and you had to hold little pieces in your mouth to melt first because it was too hard to chew, but that was THE chocolate for me.
One more personal detail: I live next to the Chocolate Factory. Yes, I do, really. One of the oldest, most famous chocolate factories here: Kras. There are days when the smell of chocolate fills the air in the neighborhood: by now I know exactly which chocolate, praline or cookie product is being made – based on the smell of the day, early in the morning.
Over The Chocolate Shop
by Sarah McCartney is a story about fine, hand made chocolate pralines, and also a story about perfume making. It’s also a happy memory, one moment in time translated into a perfume. It all started when Sarah visited a friend that lived above a chocolate shop, and as a young perfumer, she was impressed by the aroma and atmosphere. A small batch of perfume was made, and years passed before she could get her hands on fine materials, meet IFRA standards, and Over The Chocolate Shop made a very well accepted comeback in 2018!
It’s a happy fragrance: the opening reminds me of cocoa powder in a very realistic way, it feels like opening a vacuumed packed bag of cocoa in a nice and cozy kitchen. It’s not sweet at all, oh no – but it isn’t bitter either! It’s dry, a bit musky, warm and powdery, and I think this “dryness” is what it made it so lovely to wear, but I also felt shades of fresh coffee just brewed and a faint whiff of tobacco I felt makes it so comforting, familiar, home-y, soothing, and I kept thinking it really could brighten any cold, foggy, rainy or misty day anytime! It certainly did just that for me, more than I ever expected it to!
As time passes, the cocoa powder seems to melt in cocoa butter, becoming more liquid and praline-smooth on my skin. The chocolate-feeling is still there, but it definitely gains depth and it feels smoother, the texture is different – I would say that hazelnut keeps it just above the level of becoming too sweet through this phase of development. Vanilla is present, but its role is just supporting, it behaves like a back-vocal humming behind the center-stage, present but never stealing the show.
Later on, during hours of drydown I thought I felt something spicy, but it could’ve been just another aspect of hazelnut, still very praline-chocolate smooth, but with a dash of hidden slightly sour moments, so I found myself thinking that it felt like “chocolate-smelling incense” if that makes sense to you…it did to me.
Relaxing, well-balanced and interpreted, with refined simplicity that’s bound to win you over and make you smile on the gloomiest day ever – and I think its the one of the best ever chocolate scents I’ve encountered, with excellent longevity and above average sillage. I highly recommend it in general, but especially for all gourmand-skeptics out there! Just look at that sample, wrapped like this 😀 Instant happiness.
Chocolate, coffee, hazelnut, vanilla.
Over The Chocolate Shop is available at 4160 Tuesdays as 9ml, 30 ml, 50 ml, or 100 ml perfume in characteristic 4160 Tuesdays bottles.
The Plum Girl
Photos: The Plum Girl, 4160 Tuesdays
The sample was kindly gifted to me by Sarah during Pitti Fragranze 2018, opinions and feelings – as always – of my own.
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