Bittersweet (Tokyo Milk)

Under certain circumstances, "linear" is not a word to shun. Take Bittersweet, a fragrance whose top note deserves to be the entire song. This cocoa accord, as silty-rich and decadent as any a handmade truffle might roll through, is so patently satisfying it could have gone on for eternity, and I would've loved it to pieces. Unfortunately, from this delicious powder-dry affair, Bittersweet turns one hundred percent Bain de Soliel with an amber accord so heavy I expected to see a topcoat of shine on my skin.

Depending on how you feel about suntans, you may revel in this turn of events. Perhaps Bittersweet will transport you to the fantasy beach of your choice, there to roast in cocoa-butter-anointed bliss under a blazing sun. Me, I'm an SPF 50+ girl. Call it synesthesia, but for me, something about this particular shade of labdanum comes across as intolerably oily, slick and slippery, prone to overheating. No matter how nice it smells, it makes me desperate for refrigeration and shade. (Where's the osmanthus? I couldn't smell it at all-- and its astringency would have been more than welcome.) Under these hot 'n' sticky conditions, the continued smell -- heck, the very thought -- of chocolate (normally one of my prime daily food groups) made me ever so slightly queasy.

The verdict: Bittersweet is worth sampling just for that ridiculously appetizing top note. The rest may not be my cup of cocoa, but overall it possesses charms enough to tempt and delight others who may not be as prone to wilt, freckle, or burn as I am. Apply cautiously, as all sorts of yummy melting may occur... and if in doubt of your ability to withstand the heat, there's no need to stay out of the kitchen. Just delay this pleasure for cooler weather, is all.

Scent Elements: Cake flour accord, dark cacao bean, osmanthus, "bronzed musk"