eau de parfum intense
50 ml  1.69 fl.oz


An ode to Ethiopian coffee.


NOTES: Plum, Coffee c02, Aged Patchouly


” Before becoming a perfumer, I worked as a sommelier. Something we learnt plenty about during my wine days at university was terroir, wine houses all over the world pride themselves in having the ideal soil, the perfect amount of rain and sun and even what type of stones the vine passes in its search for water. The significance of terroir is still being discussed, but to me personally it’s clear that the environment where something grows has a considerable impact on the final product.

Since getting into perfumery I’ve always been confused by the fact that terroir is rarely spoken about, sure we know that you find the best jasmine, tuberose and rose in Grasse but not really why they are so much better (they truly are though). Or why Madagascar produces some of the most finely tuned raw materials in the world. Terroir once again, and the more I think about it, perhaps only a way of describing growing conditions where nature is at the top of its game.

The same thing applies to coffee. When I had my first sip of Ethiopian coffee I was completely taken aback, a wonderfully acquired taste, like a concentrate of Africa itself. Infinitely complex with hundreds of facets my brain couldn’t make sense of at the time. The more I had the more my fascination grew. I found it earthy, with the darkest of black currants steeped in plum wine lingering at the back of my mouth, gentle sparkling tart acidity and beautiful animalic floral hints of jasmine. I was sold! How could so much soul find its way into one single bean? To me drinking Ethiopian coffee is like drinking life itself.

Translating this into a fragrance was an enormously fun pursuit. I used a beautiful aged quality of patchouli to capture the very cradle of life itself and topped it up with a generous amount of coffee co2. An invaluable material since the complexity of real coffee simply can’t be recreated. A cushion of jasmine softens it all and a rich sultry plum creates the velvety mouth feel Ethiopian coffee evokes. A fragrance as complex as its inspiration, well that was the aim at least”. Fredrik Dalman In-House Parfumeur.

To explore the Alinea Collection from the comfort of your home, we offer the Alinea Sample Set HERE

Make a selection of five different Alinea creations that you love to try and receive a € 35 gift voucher redeemable against any 50 ml Eau de Parfum Intense flacon.

To truly experience the artisanal craftsmanship of the Alinea Collection, we welcome you to our Atelier in Amsterdam where you will be greeted by our in house-perfumer Fredrik Dalman and/or creative director Jeroen Oude Sogtoen.

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1 review for CAFÉ SIMIEN

  1. Fredrik trained in the wine business, to be a sommelier. I didn’t know this, but it makes a lot of sense. Noses are noses and the incredible gift he has as a perfumer could equally have made him a very successful master sommelier. The language and appreciation of wine is complex and to outsiders baffling and often risible. Yet we drink millions of litres of the stuff and to listen to friends, colleagues, shoppers, everyone is a damn expert. This gleaned fact extra added to my friendship with Fredrik but also formed part of the Café Simien story.

    The Simien Mountains are a designated World Heritage Site in Northern Ethiopia and one of the few places on the African continent where snow falls. Café Simien is not just an ode to black gold, the coffee of the region, but also of the earth the coffee is grown in. Fredrik wanted if he could, to be able to suggest something of the terroir of the distinctive single estate coffee he tasted once while on a wine tasting course. It was prepared for him by a world champion barista and he has never forgotten how it tasted; animalic, chewy and textured.

    Translating this memory into perfume is a whole different matter. Coffee can be a very fickle and sometimes unpleasant note in olfaction unless handled with confidence and skill. Here is simply astonishing. I am not a huge fan of things that are interpreted too literally or just sit in formulae with little imaginative purpose, but the coffee CO² extract used by Fredrik has an outstanding outdoor beauty, a huge impact of something brewed over embers in a much-loved metal vessel that is carried everyway. This metallic ghost bites into the edges of the coffee, disallowing any overt bitterness.

    Plum is the most beautiful counterpoint to coffee. If you pause here and imagine them for a moment as rich opulent tones on walls in a country house, then switch them to odours in your mind. Perfect non? I love plum in scents, fresh, dry, or bruised and ripe, dark mauve in tone, a rich baritone of a material with a slight bloom on it. It has been used here sparingly though like a shadow, dry and mellow, with calligraphy brushstrokes of tonality.

    Café Simien can be read as a companion fragrance to Bohéa Bohème, Fredrik’s divine smoky Chinese tea and boxwood perfume he created for Mona di Orio in 2016. The fumed personality of that wonderful creation has been replaced by one of my favourite materials in perfumery, patchouli. I have never managed to let it go. It has to be special for me to fall in love, but when I do, I fall hard. This is aged patchouli; it reeks of being buried secretly and disinterred with love and glee and oh my it smells divine here wrapped elegantly around the darkening coffee and plum. Burnt umber aftertastes, a glaze of oils, flickers of sweetness and an opulence of woody coffee. What a marvel.

    ALex Musgrave ©TSF 2020

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