Indigo Perfumery


With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, our thoughts inevitably stray to chocolate. In any form.

One of the more unusual approaches to chocolate (cocoa) is to feature it in fragrances. Not that you’d necessarily want to smell like a chocolate bar, but adding cocoa to the notes of a perfume adds dimension to a scent in a most unusual way.

What is cocoa anyway? Deriving from the Theobroma cacao tree (an evergreen also referred to as the cacao or cocoa tree), its cocoa beans are used to make chocolate and cocoa powder.

A tree begins to bear fruit when it is four or five years old. First it produces clusters of small flowers which develop into woody, ribbed pods that contain between 25 to 50 seeds (or beans). The beans are placed in large wooden boxes and covered with large leaves, such as banana leaves, and left to ferment for five to ten days. They are then sun-dried and roasted. After the roasting, the beans are ground into a coca paste, which is melted down to become cocoa liquor- essentially half cocoa solids and half cocoa butter (its fat content), the product most used in pharmaceuticals. Or, the beans can be steeped in alcohol to become what is called a tincture.

Here at Indigo, there are more than a few fragrances with cocoa as either the main star or in the backup position. In the Home Fragrance line, Belle Fleur’s Cacao Tabaq scented candle allows the cocoa to take a velvety center stage, backed up by subtle tobacco leaves, honey and ebony wood. Gorgeous. Providence Perfume Company’s Cocoa Tuberose natural perfume offers a chocolatey gourmand scent, accented by buttery tuberose and a light pipe tobacco in its final stages. It smells equally good on men or women. PK Perfumes’ Violet Chocolatier was inspired by Daria Jabenko‘s painting of…  chocolate cake and violets. The chocolate bursts out of the starting gate, but is nicely held in check by violet, rose, light spices and, later, white flowers.

In its supporting role, cocoa presents itself in Magnetic Scent’s Untitled #2 and État Libre d’Orange’s Eau de Protection.

What chocolate-inspired fragrance is your favorite?

[1], [Photo collage]

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