Tried and Tested: Honore des Pres Perfume

By Arwa Lodhi

Despite the rather frightening chemical content of many commercial perfumes, there are still very few organic scents on the market. One of the first to recognise that not everyone was willing to douse themselves in chemicals just to smell nice was French brand Honore des Pres.

Now sold in top department stores around the world, the brand has relocated to New York, a city that the founder is clearly in love with and tries to reflect not only through scent, but through quirky packaging, too: the perfume bottles come in NYC style takeaway coffee cups instead of boxes.  With ingredients sourced from the most prestigious perfume producers in Grasse, France, the surprisingly long-lasting fragrances produced by Honore des Pres are not based on the floral ingredients typically used by natural brands; instead, they are largely derived from culinary delights.

The most obvious such scent in the range is  Love les Carrottes, which smells exactly like sweet, freshly grated carrots with an orange kiss. Why choose carrots for a perfume scent? Turns out the makers believe carrots evoke Sunday brunches in the city that never sleeps; most people, however, would probably imagine an earthy carrot patch. This, and the other scents below, are the creations of renowned ‘nose’ Olivia Giacobetti, who clearly smells the beauty in what is grown in the earth.


Vamp a NY’s dominant scent for me was jellybeans, which has nothing to do with its head notes of tuberose and rum. The base notes include vanilla, benjoin and perou balm (whatever that is). This one was a bit sweet for me and smelled a bit too little-girlish, but I was delighted by Sexy Angelic, whose heady liquorice, patchouli, sandalwood, and hint of chocolate all added up to create a distinctive, seductive scent. Nu Green is also a pure pleasure, completely refreshing with its blend of green mint, Indian herbs, and cedar–this one would suit men just as much as women.


Finally, Love Coconut will transport wearers immediately back to the best summer holidays they ever had. The mix of Tonka bean, vanilla, cedar wood and of course, coconut, is evocative of summer beaches and suntan oil, sunshine and seawater, making it the perfect summer scent, and the one I plan to buy on my next trip to Le Bon Marche in Paris–unless, that is, I can concoct something similar myself in the kitchen.

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