Monday, 18 November 2013

Happy Hour Special: Speakeasy by Frapin

A few months ago M. and I went to Berlin for a long weekend. Together with friends we had  rented a flat in the fashionable Prenzlauer Berg district and life was good. One evening on the way back to the apartment, our bellies full of Schnitzels and potato dumplings, we recognised a brightly lit corner shop. It wasn't just your average open till late serving for the night owls type of corner shop. It was a proper specialist liqueur and wine store, with shelves after shelves of interesting bottles containing precious juicesThe owner was a young Turk and a real spirits aficionado. Not only did he know his stuff, he had a lot of it as well. A fantastic selection of Whiskeys, Malts and Blends, Brandys, Cognacs, Rums and Gins. This quintessentially British tipple seems to enjoy a great new following on the continent and of course, they try to do their own now. 
The bottle we ended up buying was a limited edition Berlin distilled Gin, named Berliner Brandstifter*, which smells and tastes of woodruff and elderflowers. It's dangerously delicious.  *Berliner arsonists, but it's also a pun on "gifting" a "liqueur"

The whole process of admiring the bottles, talking to an enthusiastic sales person, being able to sniff and even taste some of the open bottles reminded me a lot of perfume buying and M. and I started thinking that opening a combined perfume and liqueur boutique is a fantastic idea. If we did that we would be travelling all over Europe and beyond in search of the loveliest of smells and tastes and aromas. From the best Mirabelle Austria can offer to the foulest smelling Italian Grappa, from independent perfume houses in Barcelona's medieval back streets to candle factories on the coast of Ireland. We liked the idea. A lot. We imagined having a theme of the month, comparing the use of, let's say peach or rhubarb   
                                                               notes in both categories and...........................

Yes, we did get a bit carried away. The gin was, as I said, delicious. But since then I have become more interested in perfumes with a boozy note.  A perfume named Speakeasy has had therefore not much trouble to get my attention. Even better when this perfume is a collaboration between the house of Frapin and Marc-Antoine Cortacchiato, the perfumer and owner of Parfum d'Empire. Not paying homage to one particular alcoholic beverage but the concept of prohibition and how to cheat it in style, it was bound to be an interesting mix.

My interpretation of Speakeasy by Frapin

It starts with a shot of lime with a sugar crust. Have you ever had a T-Punch? It's a popular aperitif/cocktail in France, made of Rum, cordial, lime juice and, in my case, some brown sugar for extra crunch. Very squaffable, and nice in summer and winter. Speakeasy's opening is like an olfactory version of it. Lime green with some sugar freckles. This aromatic splash is then followed by a hint of mint and some immortelle, which now turns the colours of this fragrance into a bright yellow. And it gets brighter and brighter as the sweetness of it takes over and just when I think:"That's too much now", a smoky note starts to develop and the balance is shifting. The slightly tarty sweetness  is now accompanied by a tobacco/leather mix and becomes much more bearable. This transition is my favourite. Fortunately it's also is the most long lasting. In general, Speakeasy is quite a stayer, and not exactly a whisperer either. The last accords before it vanishes are soft, dry smoke with just a hint of fruityness.
It has a jazzy vibe to it and I tried to capture that in my image. A lovely boozy perfume, unusual and fun. I am more than happy to take it out for a night in town. Or three.

How and where to wear:
For one of those nights when you're either not drinking at all (perfume works as a substitute), or drinking a lot (you will at least remember that you did smell very nice throughout)

Determined women image via flickr from foxtongue, some rights reserved

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