Why haven’t I been to Barcelona? There’s really no excuse. I would love to take in the Gaudi architecture, visit the Picasso Museum and wander along Las Ramblas. Thanks to Carner Barcelona, I now have another destination in the Spanish city to add to my list…
The district of El Born is one of the oldest sectors of Barcelona, dating back to medieval times. The Gothic church, Santa Maria del Mar, was built in the 14th century and jousting contests used to be held in the main square.
Today its cobbled labyrinth of streets are the fashionable place to be. By day it’s a shopper’s paradise with its many high-end boutiques, while by night the streets are filled with trendy young things spilling out of the many restaurants, cafés and bars.
To reflect the neighbourhood, perfumer Jacques Huclier set out to combine the old and the new for the fragrance El Born. Released in 2014, the notes feature lemon, bergamot, angelica, honey, fig, heliotrope, benzoin, jasmine, vanilla, Peru balsam, sandalwood and musk.
El Born starts with the party in full swing. A warm, deep, honeyed booze accord immediately sets the mood for good times. It’s the alcohol of a deep, dark spirit like malt whisky. The citrus accents are just a garnish, like fruit slices floating in a glass.
In addition to the liquor there’s the delicious crunch of praline. To begin with, El Born is a drink and a dessert rolled into one. Perhaps a Crêpe Suzette flambéed in liqueur. It’s rich and intoxicating with a sticky, viscous consistency.
Once the alcohol has evaporated, it settles into a heart of Peru balsam, vanilla and benzoin. It’s sweet but the curls of wood smoke take the edge off. El Born is great for those of us who prefer our vanilla accords dark and roughed up.
After a couple of hours it mellows to a balsamic, burnt sugar crust and stays that way for the rest of its duration. It leaves an appetising scent trail in its wake and has excellent lasting power.
This all makes El Born a must-try for those who like fragrances with a caramelised, toasted or almost burnt character such as Parfumerie Generale’s Aomassai.
It would be ideal for cosying up with during chilly, damp weather. I can imagine gourmand fans finding it very moreish, particularly those who appreciate a darker take.
Although I doubt I’ll ever be much of a gourmand lover, I admire every stage of El Born’s development from the alcohol soaked praline with citrus, to the smoky vanilla heart and down into the base of caramelised balsams.
Each part fits the whole perfectly, making it well rounded and very satisfying.
Are you familiar with Carner Barcelona? Which are the stand-out scents in the line for you?