I am in the Hotel kitchen, adjacent to the Pastry shop. There is Hazelnut Praline, being prepared within. A pinch of sugar has hit the stove top and a puff of blackened smoke rises. Room Service is grinding coffee and brewing a new batch. A line of knife peeled oranges is appearing via commis at the edge of my table.
I am toasting Aniseed to fold into my Savoury Orange and Lemon Biscotti.
The Ancient Dark Wood Pastry display wagon passes, driven by the cheeky young waitress. She drops my coffee mug off without skipping a beat. Martell Blue. I remind myself that an extra order of my best, needs to appear at the pass through at time appropriate. We will meet later and I will be wearing my daily Vetiver.
It's all edible in my dream.
Oh! And. Pregoni does this same kind of thing in his Pathetique.
i'll defer to the eloquent ClaireV's superior evocation & descriptive talents and simply concur with everything she says. another great shapeshifting non-edible gourmand from PG
I smelled Aomassaï several times when I was just beginning my fragrance hobby and I didn’t like it.
It took for me to start experimenting with both cooking in the kitchen – wasting whole pans of sugar in an effort to produce a good caramel – and burning frankincense on a small burner at home for me to understand, and then appreciate, and then finally love the smell of things approaching smoking point when subjected to high heat.
Aomassaï finds that common thread between hazelnuts, orange peel, caramel, and vanilla sugar – the smoky, dark bitterness they all share when approaching smoking point – and emphasizes it with equally dark elements such as wenge wood, resins, and black, soft licorice.
It could have been a treacly mess, a sop to the modern taste for simple syrup in the gourmand category, but Aomassaï is never too sweet. Instead, the foodie elements are subjected to intense heat and distorted beyond what is commonly accepted as “nice” smelling. It is sweet and bitter in equal measure. Furthermore, the smoking resins, grassy vetiver, hay, and dark wenge woods tether the sweet notes and prevent them from becoming cloying.
Barely anybody mentions the vanilla in Aomassaï. I had used maybe a full quarter of my bottle before I realized that it has the most beautiful vanilla in the dry-down. Once I had mentally subtracted all of the burned caramel and incense and nutty notes, I finally noticed it, and the sense of revelation was like finally spotting the image in a Magic Eye painting. Now it’s almost my favorite part of Aomassaï, that deep, dark vanilla. It is both smoking hot and paper dry.
Whenever anyone is asking for recommendations for fragrances that smell like coffee, Aomassaï is always the first one that jumps to mind. But I recommended it once (I think on a Facebook group) and the general reaction was confusion: surely, they all said politely, there is no coffee in Aomassaï. Well, perhaps not. But I still smell coffee.
Specifically, to me, it smells like someone peeling an orange in a coffee shop fragrant with the aroma of burned coffee grounds and old newspapers strewn everywhere on dark, rickety wooden tables. In my mind’s eye, this coffee place is intimately dark and cozy. It’s not the kind of place you’d wander into casually. You’d have to mean it. But once you’re there, you’re one of the regulars.
Although they are very different scents and perhaps nobody except me sees the connection, but I think that Aomassaï has much in common with both Serge Lutens’ Un Bois Vanille and Dior Privee Eau Noire. They all share strong licorice/anise notes, have dark wood notes that could be loosely interpreted as burnt coffee grounds, a smoky atmosphere, and a dry, papery vanilla in the far dry-down. And as it so happens, all three of these fragrances exemplify exactly the type of gourmand approach I appreciate – inedible but still incredibly appetizing.
I'm not very skilled at analyzing the notes and can just say this is one outstanding fragrance. Sweet but not too sweet. Sillage and longevity are excellent.
Genre: Woody Oriental
Pierre Guillaume’s scents for his own Parfumerie Generale line have been hit-or-miss for me. Some, like Querelle, Yuzu Ab Irato, Coze, and L’Oiseau de Nuit, have been “just OK” as far as I’m concerned. Others, including Intrigant Patchouli, Papyrus de Ciane, and Jardins de Kérylos, have been out-of-the-ball-park hits. Though as a gourmand oriental Aomassaï is not the type of scent I normally enjoy, I must now group it with those last three among my favorites from this house.
Smoky vanilla, toasted nuts, and burnt sugar support a smoldering heart accord of incense, licorice, hazelnut, and spices. This dark, dark composition is ideally balanced: the intense smoky quality keeps the structure from teetering into oppressive sweetness. What could have been a trite, cloying scent is instead a paragon of warm, brooding mystery. Aomassaï demonstrates what so many inferior gourmand scents could be but aren’t. A marvelous achievement in a difficult genre.