Breakfast And Dessert: Review: Parfumerie Générale Tonkamande And Praliné De Santal

Pierre Guillaume, handsome creator (he probably hates having his looks commented on everywhere and every time, but, come on, he is exceptionally beautiful, and I say that from a purely aesthetic standpoint ;), also he is not exactly trying to keep himself out of the focus) of Parfumerie Generale, launched two new limited edition fragrances recently: Tonkamande, an aldehydic almond milk mélange, and Praliné de Santal, a scrumptious take on sandalwood in all its creamy glory.

I got samples of the two at Les Senteurs, when I was in London. They have been launched at the same time, so I am going to review them at the same time, although they only share a gourmand theme, other than that they are quite different.

Ultimately there is one I like, one I adore. Let us see what is what.

Tonkamande includes notes of almond milk, aldehydes, tonka bean, wheat, sandalwood, vanilla and amber. It starts – unsurprisingly – very aldehydic. The aldehydes and the milky notes put together give the impression of frothy milk, milk whipped into a frenzy. The equivalent of a Nespresso machine minus the coffee. Breakfast comes to mind.

Later the aldehydes recede and what stays is a powdery, soft baby smell. Tonkamande is deceptively soft, it is actually quite tenacious and has a lot more sillage than one would think at first. I really like the drydown of Tonkamande that is a not overly sweet (especially for PG standards, astoundingly unsweet), cereal-like woody amber, but the first hour of milk froth, hmmm, I was not sure about that in the beginning. I like a milk note, I always do when I encounter one, but the inclusion of aldehydes meant to make the whole thing light and airy, also succeeds in making it somewhat medicinal smelling to me at times. Tonkamande grew on me though. When at first I thought, I could easily dismiss it, I found myself wearing it as often as my sample allowed and craving more. The fizzy milk opening followed by the comforting drydown is really lovely.

Praliné de Santal and I also had a rough start, but not because I didn’t like it, but because at first sniff it is extremely reminiscent of Serge Lutens Jeux de Peau. I love Jeux de Peau, I own a bottle, but I did not need a second one with another name. After wearing Praliné de Santal for some time and a side by side comparison with the Lutens there are enough differences though to fully warrant a bottle of Praliné de Santal as well, should one not be under an embargo. 🙂 Praliné de Santal is generally softer, less ostentatious, more refined, less tenacious. In a word, there is exactly the difference between a PG and a Lutens that one would expect, if one is familiar with both lines.

Praliné de Santal includes notes of sandalwood, heliotrope, hazelnut, Virginian cedar and cashmeran. It has me at first spray. Praliné de Santal is incredibly yummy. It smells like roasted hazelnuts, pastry, buttery croissants and hazelnut cookies with a pinch of salt. Sounds familiar? Told you so! But after that inital dessert fest Praliné de Santal wanders into less openly gourmand sandalwood territory, the smoothest, creamiest, loveliest sandalwood imaginable and stays there, comforting, eye-roll-inducing and warm. Did I mention, I really like it?

First in Fragrance gave out the terrifying information that only 120 numbered bottles are available in German, Austria and Switzerland. That kind of Perfumista torture is not nice.

Praliné de Santal is something I am thinking very hard about, especially under that kind of pressure. 😉

And here come a couple of totally unnecessary, but lovely-to-look-at photos of PG in all his glory. Enjoy!

Image source:,

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45 Responses to Breakfast And Dessert: Review: Parfumerie Générale Tonkamande And Praliné De Santal

  1. Georgy says:

    Eye candy!!!

  2. Are you kidding? He can’t be a perfumer, that’s an underwear model!

    These two are on my want list, especially Tonkamonde, but now that I’ve read your reviews, I’m more interested in the sandalwood in Praline de Santal (despite possible similarities between this and Jeux de Peau, but I’m chalking up the lack of connection to JdP to the immortelle). Which begs the question, is there immortelle in Praline de Santal?

    • Olfactoria says:

      Haha, I guess he could do both if the need arose. 😉
      As far as my nose is to be trusted here, I do not think there is Immortelle in Praliné de Santal. They are definitely similar, but not so much as to be dupeable, they diverge pretty much after the inital pastry blast.

  3. Ines says:

    Well, I tend to agree with you – it’s difficult not to mention his looks when there are these kind of pictures on the web (and his facebook profile) to look at. 🙂 And they are really great to look at ! (thanks for posting them) 😉

    I’m not sure how much would I like Tonkamande (the milk part is off-putting for me) but Praline de Santal sounds great.

    • Olfactoria says:

      I am sure you would like Praliné. The milk part is indeed strange, but also strangely addictive, I would not have thought I’d like Tonkamande as much as I do after the first two wearings, but then it kicked in. 🙂
      I am glad the photos of PG are so well received. 😉

    • Georgy says:

      That’s from one narcis to another, takes one to know one, if you release such pics on the web and on Fb it seems very hard not to mention his stunning looks…..gonna visit le parfum in order to sniff what he (PG) smells like…..

  4. Undina says:

    He’s very handsome. And both perfumes went to my “to try” list. 120?.. Who needs that preassure?! 😉

    • Olfactoria says:

      Exactly, Undina, who needs that kind of pressure???

      He even beats Killian Hennessy, doesn’t he? 😉 I love when olfactory and visual impulses are aligned.

  5. Tara says:

    OK I’m drooling now! Is the perfume? Is it PG? Who knows, who cares?
    *Pulls self together*
    Praline de Santal sounds to die for. I really like Jeux de Peau but that opening doesn’t last long enough for me and I loooove sandalwood. I see there’s heliotrope in the notes but you don’t mention almonds in your description, so that’s good for me. I will definitely add this to the list for my next Les Senteurs visit. Thanks for the tip.

    As for the mean 120 bottles, I really think you should make Limited Editions one of the exceptions to the embargo. I hope this isn’t being unsupportive but really, it’s perfumista torture otherwise!

  6. deeHowe says:

    It’s no secret that I love Parfumerie Générale— I have more fragrances from that house, I think, than any other individual house. I also think that Mr. Guillaume is pretty much a genius, a very symmetrical one 😉

    These two scents are both beautiful, but I need to spend more time with them, since when my decants arrived, I was suffering from a dysfunctional sniffer! Santal went totally fruity on me, and now that I’m cleared up a bit, I need to wear it some more… today might be a good day for it!

    I love your reviews B., because you have the ability to absolutely trap my attention and infect me with your enthusiasm. It’s the best part of my morning!

    • Marie says:

      Symmetrical genius is my favorite kind 😉

    • Olfactoria says:

      Symmetrical genius! Perfect! 😀
      I couldn’t detect any fruit whatsoever in Praliné (thank goodness, I wouldn’t want it there), I look forward to your verdict sans stuffy nose.

      Thank you for saying such a nice thing about my reviews. *blushes happily*

  7. Marie says:

    I certainly am one to appreciate someone who works (out) hard in the name of fragrance 😉

    • Olfactoria says:

      So am I! You are so funny, Marie!
      Seriously though, PG has a lot more in store than fine pecs and chiseled cheekbones, his creations are wonderful, I am currently working my way through his line and I am impressed left and right.

      • Marie says:

        Not just a pretty face – that’s wonderful! Will be looking forward to reading about the lovely drops 🙂

  8. Suzanne says:

    I’m getting a kick out of reading these comments as much as reading your post. You truly do go the distance for your perfume-loving pals, Birgit. I’m sure it was terribly boring work to track down these photos of Monsiuer Guillaume…thank you so much for making that effort on our behalf! 😉

    Well, I won’t be seeking out Praline de Santal if it’s anything like Serge Lutens Jeux de Peau, because, though I can’t put my finger on what it is, JdP makes me feel nauseous from the very first whiff. It doesn’t have to do anything with sweetness, because that doesn’t bother me. (In fact, one of my favorite gourmands and favorite PG scents is Aomassai, the burnt-caramel scent. My decant has been depleted for some time, but I still like to sniff its empty remains.)

    Of these two, Tonkameade sounds like the one I would probably love, especially since I like aldehydes.

    • Olfactoria says:

      Oh yes, it was a long and tedious morning looking for these photos, but I feel they are inexpensible for the understanding of this post.
      Oh, you didn’t like JdP, too bad, it can be relentless some days…
      Aomassai – I had a sample, but cannot find it anymore. I hate when that happens. 😦

    • Marie says:

      Did someone just say burnt caramel – I love that! 🙂

      • Suzanne says:

        Marie, I think this one might have your name on it, then. Yep, burnt caramel accompanied by wood notes. It is sweet, but do try it if you ever get a chance. Just thinking about it makes me crave another decant.

        • Marie says:

          I have a high tolerance for sweet in fragrances (and elsewhere in the interest of honesty), so that would be OK. I think burnt caramel and wood would make my brain happy.

  9. angie Cox says:

    Oh when you are as old as me no-one beats Rupert Everett , pity he only modelled for Opium posters and didn’t invent the stuff . I can’t say I like the sound of either fragrance But I might send for samples from Les Senteurs . I loved the warm milk and cardamon of Jacomo no8 .

    • Olfactoria says:

      Rupert Everett is a very fine looking man, and a funny one, I like him a lot. 🙂
      It is the second time today I hear about the three new Jacomo perfumes. Interesting!
      If you decide to test the PG’s, I would be very curious how you like them.

  10. vanessa says:

    “Praliné de Santal is generally softer, less ostentatious, more refined, less tenacious. In a word, there is exactly the difference between a PG and a Lutens that one would expect, if one is familiar with both lines”

    Aha! That is all I need to know to be very confident about this one. I haven’t sampled either of these two scents, but try all the PGs on principle as they are always innovative and interesting, even if in quite the opposite direction to my tastes (grassy mortuary number that is Papyrus de Ciane, I am looking at you!). I own Brulure de Rose that you were wearing today I believe, and would love to get my hands on a bottle of Bois Naufrage some day. I did not like Jeux de Peau, however, which is why this distinction of yours is so key…

    • Olfactoria says:

      I can’t say it enough, I am very impressed with the whole line. Very interesting, well made and refined throughout.
      Grassy mortuary? Sounds intriguing. 😉

      I think you would like Praliné.

  11. lady jane grey says:

    “Milk whipped into frenzy” – LOL!
    Hm, since Lann-ael latest it’s clear to me, that I might have a problem with milk in perfumes. On the other hand, I adore almond in them (I worship even Lutens’ Louve, which was mostly dreaded by perfume enthusiasts …) – so yes, another one the must-try list.

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  19. GeM says:

    I had same thoughts between Praliné de Santal and Jeux de Peau!!, excepting that I tried Praliné de Santal first… Even then, when I tried Jeux de Peau (thanks to a Ari), I felt in love with the latter -regardless-.
    It is the Lutens’ spell… Fatal Attraction

    • Olfactoria says:

      I personally prefer the PG, because it is not so tenacious and in your face as JdP can be if you use only a little too much, but both are very interesting and unusual.

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