One 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.”