Hot! Hot! Hot!

5_market_19One of the Hub’s guilty television pleasures is Heat Seekers, a little program in which two chefs go in search of incendiary food all over the US map. Roger Mooking and Aaron Sanchez can take on just about anything measured by the Scoville Scale, up to and including the dreaded Ghost Chili.

The Hub who is extremely fond of a good dose of chemical heat in his food, finds in the program pleasure by proxy.  He himself cannot take things quite as fiery as all that.  I know, because of an unfortunate experiment in cooking that involved a super hot South American pork stew some years ago.  Five bites in and the Hub’s throat barred access to his stomach.  He claims that it had been a glorious five bites before indigestion called a halt to the whole operation, but he still likes to watch other guys break into a sweat over a bowl of chili.

Everyone is different, but I find myself that I prefer Asian heat to American.  However the exception is in perfume.  There, I admit it, I love heat, the more the better.  Heat in perfume though, is something that you have to go looking for.  I already wear Poivre the unapologetically spicy Caron perfume, and enjoy Poivre Piquant the L’Artisan Parfumeur scent, though I find it insufficiently peppery. Such is my fondness for heat, that  A*men Taste of Fragrance with its chili pepper top notes actively attract me. A* Men is already Angel enough for me, and if there’s a version with chili, well then, I’m pleased to meet the infernal Angel.

Then there’s my flirtation with Van Cleef &Arpels Collection Extraordinaire Cologne Noir.  The chief note there is black pepper, and it was so beguiling, such a piquant mix on skin, stamping a flamenco dance of capsaicin up your nose, that it was hard to admit that the very end of the scent was not as good as the body of the fragrance.  If Cologne Noir had maintained that heat all the way through, I would have been the proud owner of a bottle by now.

This love of heat takes me to the extreme of buying pepper oil which I sometimes pour into tubs, and mixed with patchouli, it does give an authentic kick to your bath salts. But I know that this fondness of mine is something I will only be able to indulge at rare intervals.  The rest of the world, in filing gourmand smells, fills up the folders marked “Sugar” and “Honey” to the bursting point, and there isn’t much marked under the hot pepper heading. Perhaps there’s nothing for it but to wait and hope that somewhere a clever perfumer is working on a brief marked “Eau de Five Alarm.”

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8 thoughts on “Hot! Hot! Hot!

  1. Blacknall, have you ever tried Le Labo Poivre 23? It does have a lot of sandalwood creaminess to it, so perhaps ultimately would be too gourmand-like for your tastes, but the start of it? Oh my!!! Big, big hit of black pepper. Quite a delicious slap of it.

    Btw, totally agree with you regarding heat in food. I prefer Asian heat, especially Thai heat, because it seems to start off slow and then build over time into a full blaze. You don’t even notice how hot it’s getting until the 10th bite or so. There’s something quite fetching about it … although I always pay the price, intestinally, for any hot food that I eat. :(

    • Le Labo, aren’t they the folks who name things Rose No 28 and then it’s really a lily? I’ve been teased by them more than once, although I did genuinely like the Patchouli 24. I’ll give the Poivre a sniff though, now that you’ve mentioned it.
      Thai food! Yes, I love that, and Sichuan Food also, in fact any really hot Asian food. Too bad about the tummy trouble!

      By the way I really have to add you to my blog roll, since I read you. Honestly, am so inept with updating things it’s embarrassing.

  2. Blacknall, if you like pepper, I expect you would like Frederic Malle’s Noir Epicee, which is very peppery to my nose. Another one that springs to mind is Lorenzo Villoresi’s Piper Nigrum. Have you tried them?

    • Noir Epices, I knew there was something I had overlooked! I’ve sniffed this but cannot for the life of me remember what I thought, so will try again.
      Lorenzo Villerosi is hard to find around here. Maybe Luckyscent still carries him? You probably can find LVs more easily in London. We seem not to get too many Italian perfumers here, which is a pity.

  3. The first year we were married (that was 21 years ago as of last week!), I made a pot of chili for dinner. While we were eating, I made an offhand comment that I didn’t think I had seasoned it sufficiently, and it seemed bland to me. The CEO and his sister (who was living in our basement apartment at the time) both stared at me in consternation, and The CEO said, “Honey, I’m *sweating* – and I’m pretty sure it’s from the chili.” What I didn’t realize then was that their mother’s seasoning choices were pretty much limited to salt, parsley, cinnamon, salt, the occasional sprinkle of paprika on her deviled eggs, and, oh yeah, salt. Since then he’s made the jump to eating medium salsa instead of mild…

    “Hot” in fragrance? I’ve never really done it. Which is not surprising, given my usual girly taste, but I love black pepper as an accent, so I may have to seek out some spicies. I liked Noir Epices except for the turn it takes into Youth Dew toward the end, Youth Dew being THE KISS OF DEATH for me.

    • Your husband sounds like my late Father in Law, same thing, except that the FIL never ate salsa. Ever.

      Of course forgot all about Poivre Samarcande, which I have not smelled. Have you? Can never make up my mind about M. Ellena. Is he a genius do you think? Or are those perfumes just too watery? Only own one, the Elixir d M.

  4. I’d second the recommendation to try LL’s Poivre 23. It is wonderful black pepper to me. It’s very warm, creamy and enveloping. I would also suggest Hermes’ Poivre Samarcande. One warning is that it has a note perceived as cumin to many, so if you are cumin sensitive, it may not be for you. Happy hunting.

    • Oh thanks for the heads up. Will definitely try the Poivre 23, like creamy, and PS, as can handle cumin in moderation!

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