Intense Cafe by Montale
100ml EDP for $170 USD from LuckyScent
Notes: Coffee, rose, amber, vanilla and white musk.
I originally got a sample of Intense Café from LuckyScent along with a dozen others and it was the one that stood out to me so I knew I had to buy a full bottle of it. The name is somewhat of a misnomer because it’s not really intense and it doesn’t really smell of coffee. I very rarely detect coffee from this perfume, as many other people have mentioned, but instead I get an almost milk-chocolate-smell when it dries down.
I know chocolate isn’t one of its listed notes so I thought is this the note that’s pretending to be coffee. Lately, however, I have been getting something closer to coffee from it – I think it smells like hovering your nose over the fumes of a cup of coffee, wafting a gentle coffee aroma, and not the scent of rich coffee beans. The mocha of coffee perfume.
However, it’s not called Intense COFFEE but Intense CAFE and it does remind me of a café. It puts the image of a quaint French Café in winter with Rose vines draped over the windows into my head. I imagine a tall and dark-haired metrosexual man, who’s wearing a trench coat and scarf, drinking coffee and reading a book in said French café whilst wearing this perfume. I can see it on this kind of man and I find that attractive. I believe it would suit any gender but not every personality – it is a sophisticated scent.
Rose certainly is the beautiful star of Intense Café. It opens with Rose which then lingers, fading, in the background as it dries down. I didn’t know I really liked Rose until this perfume. I’ve read that couple of people think it’s a dirty and masculine Rose but, to me, it’s actually the opposite. It’s a wet, fresh, musky, red and romantic rose to me. It smells freshly picked and like it has beads of dew sitting on its petals. However, if I’m heavy handed in applying it it does smell like jam, a jammy rose, as some people have previously mentioned.
About half an hour to an hour into wearing it I begin to notice the milky vanilla and the almost-chocolate notes. Now I adore Vanilla so it was in my territory now. The Rose grows fainter as it goes on and no specific note stands out; just a blur of vanilla-rose-musk-mocha. The Amber comes into play a few hours in making it a vanilla-amber combination which I love. It’s soft and delicate. It’s warm and cosy. It’s like a candlelit date.
Temperature definitely plays into effect with this perfume. The first time I tried this on I was in my room with my heater turned up high and thought ‘this is nice’ but as soon as walked out into the freezing cold winter hallway I went ‘OMG what is that incredibly gorgeous smell!’ I spent the next few minutes walking between the cold corridor and my warm room to smell the difference. I think in warmer temperatures it amps up the sweetness making it almost sickly but in the colder temperatures it has this romantic and mysterious vagueness to it.
Sillage is moderate on me but it varies depending on the environment – if there’s a breeze I get lovely wafts of this. I find it moderate to long-lasting, depending on your definition, as it lasts about four to six hours at its full strength and then about another four to six hours at a soft and subtle vanilla-amber dry down. I’ve heard some people say this is extremely gourmand and sweet but I don’t find it so (and I love gourmand scents). It’s very elegant, fresh, chic and sexy to me. It comes in a beautiful shimmery purple bottle but, as it’s opaque, it’s annoying that you can’t see how much perfume is left. 9.5/10 for me.