How do you like your coffee? (and Velvet Coffee by Maison Tahité)

No-buy January mostly meant no looking as well, so as to avoid temptation. Now that I’ve been looking at perfume again, I’m seeing some things—one of which was the Coffee Sample Kit from Maison Tahité – Officine Creative Profumi. I bought one from Ministry of Scent (formerly Tigerlily Perfumery) online, who also happened to be the only store to have it currently in stock in the United States as far as I could tell.

A cup of café crème

For no particular reason, Velvet Coffee by perfumer Delphine Lebeau was the first one I tried.

My general first impression is of a creamy sandalwood, with accents of coffee and a background of soft leather. From a distance, from the cloud of spray, it reminded me of Le Labo Santal 33 without the initial astringency. Up close, on the wrist, Velvet Coffee opens with some sharp spiciness of a peppery sort, although it could be freshly ground cardamom. And coffee, tempered by a backdrop of cooler notes including orris, carrot, cedar, and vetiver. This phase is a bit savory, as the mixing of spices to make a curry would be. It is then softened by a chocolate and vanilla cushion.

This is coffee as I used to drink it, with a generous dose of half & half. No sugar, mainly for health reasons but also because I don’t like the aftertaste. People would tease, “Do you like some coffee in your half & half?” A year or two ago I cut back and switched to milk. My coffee is still closer to the light end of the brown spectrum!

Brown color scheme
[Image source: iColorpalette]

In my experience with other perfumes and the SCO2 extract from the bean, coffee is a note that tends to drag the whole fragrance into a dark place pretty quickly, and it’s up to the other notes to counterbalance that to make a well-rounded perfume. Velvet Coffee seems to achieve this with the aforementioned cooler notes and creamy, musky undertone. Oakmoss and patchouli are also listed, and while I don’t perceive these individually, I believe they provide a backbone so the fragrance does not melt into a milky puddle.

Like the velvet in its name, this perfume stays close to the skin, like a warm mug whose steam invites you to lean closer and sniff.

How do you take your coffee, if at all?

9 thoughts on “How do you like your coffee? (and Velvet Coffee by Maison Tahité)

  1. I have a caffeine addiction: if I don’t drink 1 cup of coffee, I’ll have a headache and will feel extremely sleepy (even if I had enough sleep). So, at least one cup of coffee per day is a must. These days, while working from home, I make my coffee in a cezve, but I make it less strong than traditional Turkish coffee would be. I never put sugar in my coffee (unless it’s Vietnamese coffee), but I might add a slightly sweetened creamer – if I’m not eating a pastry or something sweet.

    I have some perfumes with the coffee note, but in general I prefer it in my cup.

    Velvet Coffee is a good name, but your description of this perfume is not what I’d want perfume with such name to smell like.


  2. I can drink it black, with almond milk, with cream, with honey.., doesn’t matter, as long as it has caffeine


  3. As far as drinking coffee I can only drink it with milk & sweetener. I rarely drink it though, it makes my breath & body fluid smell of coffee for 24hrs at least. Coffee beans & grounds smell fabulous but processed by a human? Nope!
    I also have Coffee Addict that Daniel mentioned. I find the coffee in that to be very strong & heightened by the cocoa. I don’t actually smell the cocoa note itself though. For me the mild sweetness balances the coffee nicely.
    A recent discovery in my “to use” box was Jo Malone London Black Vetyver Cafe. Woody & balsamic with an espresso note running right through it & longevity exceeding 6 hrs, good for JML. Now discontinued of course.


    1. Funnily enough, maybe because I was never conditioned to think that the notorious “coffee breath” was bad, I actually quite liked it when I smelled it on people (even as an adult). Not sure if I’d feel differently these days now that I’m used to keeping more distance in general, although I’m not about to seek out the experience of finding out!
      JML Black Vetyver Cafe sounds like a win!


  4. I don’t drink too much coffee as I’m more of a tea drinker. If I order coffee I normally take it as a flat white. As far as in fragrance I own quite a few coffee scents, but it’s usually in more of a supporting role. The most realistic coffee scent I’ve tried is Coffee Addict by Theodoros Kalotinis. I like it, but it ends up getting a little sweet with vanilla and caramel coming to the fore. Hot Cologne by Mugler with its herbal, citrus opening, and bitter coffee note is great and can be worn in summer. Guerlain Iris Torréfié is my favourite from their higher-end line. The coffee note in that one supports a well-done iris leather combo. The Maison Tahité line looks interesting, but might be a touch too gourmand for my taste.

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