Monday, September 25, 2023

Scent Saturday: Intense Café by Montale

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I love Intense Café so much that it only made sense to open this review with a comparison to Netflix’s A Series of Unfortunate Events. The original book series enchanted the artsy nerds of my generation with its literary wit and enchanting Gothic style. When I read A Series of Unfortunate Events, I loved it because my angsty self resonated with the titular characters’ misery and entrapment. Watching the show is a starkly different experience, and one full of the warmth that I also associate with Intense Café.

Despite translating the titular unfortunate events to T.V., the Netflix series progresses with an almost manic joy. Love shines through the actor’s performances, kaleidoscopic set design, and dialogue that crackles with glee. In such a way, A Series of Unfortunate Events becomes a bizarrely titled series. It functions as a comfort zone for anyone who adores storytelling and watching passionate people bring a technicolor world to life.

Which brings us back to Intense Café. The Montale creation stands as a perfume whose title is both hilariously misleading and eerily relevant. You’d think Intense Café would be built around a strong coffee note, but instead, the coffee flits between non-existence and window dressing. At the heart of Intense Café is an incredibly smooth blend of rose and vanilla. This results in a very enchanting perfume that, if titled differently, would rarely remind someone of coffee.

Intense Café recalls A Series of Unfortunate Events in a few other ways as well. First of all, it’s quite linear and constant; this perfume smells almost identical at the five minute and five hour marks. Just like the show’s cyclical plot, the journey of Intense Café is almost entirely unsurprising, yet enchanting nonetheless.

Most importantly, Intense Café shares the show’s bold, theatrical beauty. This is simply one of the most crowd-pleasing scents on the market that still boasts an original personality. There are few bells and whistles around the rose-vanilla heart, but the core is so enticing that complication would likely take away from the perfume as a whole. To top it off, Intense Café brings the classic Montale performance to the table. One spray is likely to carry you through a whole day, then kiss your nose when you wake up.

Intense Café is not a complex perfume, and it is also one that screams ‘feminine’ to those who are wary of gendered scent associations. Those bold enough to wear it will be greatly rewarded. I can’t count the number of times I’ve drifted off with the scent as if it were an olfactive teddy bear. I’m certain I’ll never stop wanting to explore fragrance. Even so, sometimes it’s nice to settle down with something beautifully familiar and just watch the show.

You can grab a bottle here, or decant here.

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The Fandomentals “Fragdomentals” team base our reviews off of fragrances that we have personally, independently sourced. Any reviews based off of house-provided materials will be explicitly stated. 

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  • Jade

    Jade is the Lifestyle Editor at the Fandomentals, where they obsess over perfume and underground music. Their wacky poetry is floating around the internet - beware! Follow them for fragrance and poetry content @johndarrextreme on Instagram.

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