Home-toasted cashews and hazelnuts, enrobed with a mixture of dulche de leche that contained salt and tahini paste, is part of the treats that my Kappadokian grandmother used to prepare on cool autumn evenings for us kids to consume while doing our homework and it is this memory which was jogged upon first smelling Parfumerie Générale's Praliné de Santal.
Both focus on the "creaminess" (i.e.the sweet, milk-ish quality) of natural sandalwood, though one puts it in a buttered context, the other in a nuts context.
It all depends on the kind of tooth you harbor!
On this occasion, the effect rendered is extremely nutty at first (if Bois Farine by L'Artisan Parfumeur instantly reminds you of peanuts you know full well what I mean); but it mellows into a richly satisfying woody accord on drydown. I'm not sure whether I would be more impressed with the originality of the scent, had I not came into contact with the idea in the Lutens fragrance first. It certainly has an elective affinity.
Roasted hazelnuts & peanuts greet us on the opening of Praliné de Santal (lasting for a good 10 minutes on my skin), a combination of savoury and sweet, before the scent falls into an unctuous billowy note of powdery, rich woods and the soothing, smooth silkiness of Cashmeran (an aromachemical which gives an intimate, close to the skin scent, between worn clothes and suede). In the interim there are soft, powdery hints emerging (referenced as heliotrope in the press material, but really more like powdered white chocolate and fluffy, airy vanilla), without diverging from the main gourmand-woody-oriental character of the perfume. In this regard it recalls Etat Libre d'Orange Archives 69, with its easily approachable ambience of spicy woods and distantly (but in the same mood) the satisfying tobacco-softness of Guerlain's Tonka Imperiale.
Pierre Guillaume, perfumer and founder of the niche brand of fragrances, is consistent in his exploration of soft, gourmand orientals; his are refined desserts that withhold some of the sugar expected from the genre, exploring the more resinous or woodier aspects for backing up the respective central theme. Praliné de Santal lacks a certain dynamic after the initial fall into the creamy woods, belying its sharp development of the first few minutes. It's actually sandalwood and Cashmeran which are the remaining notes on the skin after Praliné de Santal has completely "dried down" at the 2-hour wear application mark; a skin scent of delicious aftertaste; sensuous, delectable, maybe having you hankering for going beyond.
Parfumerie Générale Praliné de Santal is a limited availability scent within the line, available in 50ml/1.7oz for 88euros and 100ml/3.3oz for 120 euros on the PG site.
Butternut Squash, Sage, and Goat Cheese Ravioli with Hazlenut-Brown Butter Sauce via gourmetproject.ca