Saturday, October 31, 2015

Dramatic Introverted Elegance: No.19 Warm Carrot by Cognoscenti (2012)

Sometimes a perfumer highlights a note so well you are kind of dumbfounded that it doesn't get used more. This is one of the feelings I have for Cognoscenti's No.19 Warm Carrot. My other feelings and thoughts are: this is the the perfect mashup of French pain d'epice and Indian gajar halwa, this has one hell of a spicy cold opening, the drydown is magnificent, this is so perfectly fall, and I feel like this the baby of Guerlain's L'Heure Bleu and Chanel's Bois des Iles. As you can see No.19 is incredibly layered and yet utterly wonderful.

No.19 starts out with a magnificent dramatic entrance that smells like cardamom, cold ylang-ylang, and earthy carrots the effect reminds me of the grinding of spices for pain d'epice. There is a slight quieting and the earthy powder of lavender enters, it softens the spice just enough that the carrot seed at this point is the most potent. Cognoscenti gives you operatic dramatic carrot, the perfumer draws out the leathery or as I think the furrier aspects of carrot. This is the moment where the carrot seed gets to be the star and in my head this is the color combo of intense rich orange against a rather soft dove grey.

After about 15 minutes we then enter the longest stage, the pain d'epice and gajar halwa stage. This stage is utterly lovely and will scent your scarf through out the day. At this point the tiniest drops of amber and vanilla enter the mix and they play utterly supporting roles mainly to gentle the spices and bring out the fruitier aspects of carrot. What you get is combination of creamy gajar halwa, that delicious Indian dessert pudding, that is lightly spiced with cardamom, and the anise laced gingerbread of France, pain d'epice. This sounds gourmand but really it isn't, it is just the perfect distillation of autumnal spices and it all sits gently with earthy carrot seed jam.

Eventually the spice takes a backseat and a mellow animalic mix of carrot jam, amber, and labdanum sit of the skin. The effect is deliciously cozy and elegant, it has the cider-ed quality of Bois des Iles on the skin.

The elegance of No.19 is rather operatic to me and yet it is not loud, there is such a gorgeous layering of notes in this scent that I reminded of classical perfumes and yet the used of carrot seed is distinctly unique and modern. Honestly I plan to get myself a small bottle of this for Autumn/Winter although I can see it playing perfectly on cold grey Spring days.

Try if you like Chanel Bois des Iles, Guerlain L'Heure Bleu, Sonoma Scent Studio Champagne des Bois, and Prada Infusion de Iris Eau de Parfum Absolue.

First image from
Second image Ha Jundi


Chez Pajama said...

This sounds so much better than I Love Les Carottes, which was a heartbreaking disappointment.

Jennifer Koth said...

Well this one is definitely not a heartbreaking disappointment :-). The only other scent that I have any other real experience with that features carrot seed is Bruno Fazzolari's Monserrat and in that it sort of creates a chalky dry effect.

marzipan said...

I had always wondered about this one but then the notes scared me off...

your review makes it sound so good :)

Jennifer Koth said...

Marzipan, it really is good. It sounds scary and the beginning has a moment that makes you wonder for a second but then it all melds beautifully.

Chez Pajama said...

If you enjoy carrot seed, definitely try Reminiscence's Si Do. It's been discontinued but you can still find it on eBay. I have two bottles.

Rouge Bunny Rouge's Arcadia and Tauer's Lonestar Memory also have a lot of carrot seed. But in an dry, earthy, non-gourmand way.

Anonymous said...

Sounds extremely interesting - earthy, sweet and delicious.
It's really odd because a few months back I started using carrot seed essential oil for its sun protection, I really disliked the smell. But I've started using it again and it one of the most gorgeous-smelling essential oils!

Always love to read your vibrant blog and beautiful words :)

Jennifer Koth said...

Chez Pajama, I'll have to look into the Reminiscence Si Do, I am now intrigued by what can be done with carrot seed. Have you tried Hiris? I remember reading somewhere it was one of the first major carrot seed scents to be released on mass market.

I think I need my carrot seed a bit sweetened.

Jennifer Koth said...

Neyon, thank you for the kind words. I recently read about the excellent stuff carrot seed oil can do for the skin and now I am very interested in getting myself a dram of it.