Chocolate note in perfumery

I would like to start a series of posts about perfumery components and fragrant materials with a post devoted to a chocolate note in perfumery. Why chocolate? Well, I am a huge lover of chocolate and cocoa, and I love to eat it, but I have to note here, that I love smelling it even more!

Just imagine….

Although a chocolate or cocoa note is extremely gourmand, it is capturing my perfumer’s imagination a lot and makes me get back to it again and again. There are a lot of deserts you can recall straight away, and I am sure, each of you like one or two of them more than everything else.

Each of the desert with cocoa as a main component has its own unique smell which you could recognize immediately once it’s aroma touches your nose.

Let’s think about some of them…

Imagine the smell of melting centre of the freshly baked chocolate pudding, which captivates you with its tender warmth and richness, filling the air all around.

Or, cappuccino-chocolate cake, smelling somewhat sweet chocolaty-creamy.

Warm chocolate brownie topped with vanilla ice-cream, overwhelming smell of bitter chocolate with vanilla undertones.

Raw chocolate mousse smells delicate cocoa.

Or chocolate mousse with whipped cream smells rich strong cocoa.

You also could remember the smell of small chocolatie shops somewhere in Belgium or Germany.

These unique hand-made chocolate are wonderful gift which can reveal an atmosphere of small artisan shop to anyone, and we love to bring these little gifts with us from our journeys.

Have you ever tasted the chocolate with various additions, sold at Belgium fairs?


It is absolutely clear that cocoa note is very lovable and totally appealing for a perfumer, and deserves an attention from perfumers. So how to recreate any of the deserts we have just mentioned? Well, actually, perfumers are very lucky, because the cocoa beans are extremely generous and alongside with a tasty cocoa mass used worldwide for chocolate production, they also can offer something to perfumery. There are two natural perfumery materials produced from cocoa beans available – Cocoa Absolute and Cocoa CO2 extract.

I have both materials now – CO2 extract and absolute which are from Brazil, and these two are different animals, but both are all about chocolate.

Cocoa Absolute is a luxurious seductive chocolate heaven with never ending rainbow of luxury chocolate notes. I can imagine a dark bitter sweet chocolate or a good amount of a best quality cocoa powder.

This material is dark brown in colour with sticky consistency and obtained from the cocoa beans.

Cocoa CO2 extract is different, it is obtained via CO2 extraction of the cocoa beans. The aroma is much more creamy, milky, sweet, sugary and is absolutely amazing. The CO2 extract is most delicious gourmand fragrant Cocoa material I have ever encountered. It literally smells of hot melted milk chocolate.

The aroma is so real that I literally can see the hot cocoa mass as if I decide to bake some chocolate cake or make some hand-made chocolate myself. The material colour is light brown and it is solid at room temperature, which it quite tricky to use it in perfumes.

Both materials are giving a wide range of application – such as gourmand accords, where it will play beautifully with vanilla, cinnamon, cardamom, peppermint, tonka, chilli, iris, fruits, hazelnut, pistachios, cherries, blood orange and lemon; by itself creating the perfect chocolate note, it also can be a great partner for floral bouquets as well as tobacco, leather and wood accords.

They both have been already used in some of my compositions, like Lavender Truffle and Oriental Coffee, and some other. And they definitely will be playing in many more stages.

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