In Search of … More Ingredients: Mémoire Liquide Bisou au Chocolat
Since I was a tiny little girl, I can remember loving different scents. My mother used to call me “her little rabbit” because I was always sniffing. I often put it upon myself to buy her perfume. To this day, I still buy scents for her and my loved ones! I started collecting perfume from a very early age and my love of scent has since taken on a life of its own. My collection of fragrances is too large to count. I began writing about fragrance and studying the art of perfumery nearly four years ago. I am extremely pleased to have found my clan, my people – fellow lovers of scent and perfume who have formed a virtual online community. Marina is one of those people. She inspired me to write. I have always enjoyed, respected and learned from her writing. Therefore, I am tremendously honored and excited to contribute to Perfume Smellin’ Things. When I am not here, I am helping to extend the lives of people with rare disorders for an outstanding biopharmaceutical organization or nurturing the bodies and minds of my little ones. I am the new mother of an inquisitive, sweet, beautiful and strong-willed 2-year-old daughter and an affectionate, talkative, roly-poly 5-month-old son. My wonderful husband has learned the formula to my happiness: indulging my sense of smell often. He has also embraced a similar approach to fragrance as my own. You can also find me at my own blog: For the Love of Perfume. I look forward to growing my clan here on PST and learning from all of you!
It was October of 2007, and as a card-carrying member of Sniffapalooza, I approached various counters at Henri Bendel during the Annual Fall Ball. None intrigued me more than the Mémoire Liquide display, with its apothecary style clear glass bottles grouped by scent category. Numerous, seemingly lit from within, identical bottles sat neatly arranged before me in rows of what seemed liked hundreds (not far from the truth – in reality, over 150 in the collection). Uniform to the eye, they promised a virtual candy store to the nose. I could literally graze here for hours, breathing in the various scents and conjuring combinations of each.
Founders Robin Coe-Hutshing and her sister Jennifer Coe are my personal heroes for first creating Studio at Fred Segal. They then launched Mémoire Liquide in late 2006. Their idea is based upon an ever growing consumer population: one who longs to unveil the art of perfumery and desires their own personally created fragrance. They advocate Marcel Proust’s In Search of Lost Time and an idea perfumistas have oft explored: the visceral link of scent to memory.
While modern data suggest all senses are indeed tied to memory, I gladly supported Mémoire Liquide’s marketing concept in the interest of indulging my olfactory sense. With the help of a knowledgeable sales associate, I devised a “cocktail” of scent oils that spoke to me, ultimately creating one scent to wear. It was difficult to decide between a perfume, scented body lotion, bath oil or reed diffuser purchase. Should I go back to that counter one day, my personal fragrance formula may still be on file and I can purchase to my heart’s content. I recall the time spent at the Mémoire Liquide display as captivating, fun and gratifying.
All I have left to commemorate the aforementioned day at Henri Bendel are two scanty samples: Bisou au Chocolat and Mousse de Chene. I have chosen to review the first since, judging by its name; it falls into the Mélange Gourmandise collection. (The scents are broken down into ten aromatic categories.) Gourmands are typically “my style,” especially those that masterfully combine foody notes with spices.
Described as vanilla bean blended with musk “with a touch of unsweetened chocolate,” I agree that Bisou au Chocolat should be a member of the Mélange Gourmandise collection. However, I did not expect a rich, sweet floral accord to headline the scent. Sweet vanilla serves to intensify this mystical flower and its dough-y quality prompts me to declare it heliotrope. Musk resonates on the high, squeaky clean end of the scale. I am not a huge fan of dirty musk, but I do like it dirtier than this. I detect some chocolate but the scent mostly lingers on a sweet, dough-like topic, accented by soapy musk. To my dismay, the high pitch of this scent never deepens or develops. It remains on my skin a sticky sweet, slightly overwhelming combination until it simply fades away. Therefore, on its own I cannot call it my own.
Remembering the idea behind the line, I realize that choosing one Mémoire Liquide oil to review is like tasting one savory ingredient from a gargantuan gourmet meal. It presents only a sample but on its own fails to shine – to be expected. Is not shredded coconut too sweet to the palette by itself, but sprinkled into a cooked shrimp glaze tastes absolutely delectable? Shame on me. I imagine paired with a scent from the Encens, Bois et Epices collection – something like Bois de Figuieur – Bisou au Chocolate could be glorious. Perhaps another Sniffapalooza will lure me back to New York City and the Mémoire Liquide display. Better yet, I think I hear my name being called by the lovely associates at Studio Fred Segal in Los Angeles. I am certain they will assist me in my quest.