Dawn Spencer Hurwitz introduced Piment et Chocolat in 2003. The fragrance features notes of black pepper, paprika, pimento, red chili, clove, nutmeg, cinnamon, cocoa beans and chocolate. It starts with sweet chocolate and very strong, almost sneeze-worthy pepper notes. As it dries down, the sweetness largely disappears, and the initial kick from the pepper is tempered by the other spices; just enough red chili remains to add some heat. The end result is a warm, almost dusty combination of spices and dry cocoa.
It strikes a nice balance — it is foody, but not candied, and softer than the notes might indicate. It is a cozy kind of fragrance, perfect for a cold winter night spent by the fire. But it is in the Parfums des Beaux Arts line, and it isn't cheap: 1/3 oz of Eau de Parfum is $60, 1 oz is $135. I like it, but after three tries, I don't adore it enough to pay the price.
I have tried 20-odd fragrances from Dawn Spencer Hurwitz so far, and while I have liked several of them, I have yet to find one that I absolutely must own. Two others I liked but not quite enough to buy were Mahjoun and Cardamom & Khyphi (both of which, I should add, are much cheaper than the Piment et Chocolat). However, if you check out the dizzying array of fragrances on her website, you will see that I have barely scraped the surface. If you have a recommendation for a must-try from this line, please comment!