A few weeks ago a coworker asked, “You like chocolate martinis? I’ve got a great recipe for one.” To me a martini should be nothing but glacier-cold gin and a wink of vermouth, but I wanted to be friendly so I smiled and nodded. He started in on the recipe. “You take Godiva liqueur, Kahlua, Vanilla Stoli, and a little Baileys….” He ended by suggesting a garnish of a Hershey’s kiss. It was all I could do to keep my lunch down.
A few days later I searched the kitchen for something sweet. It was raining out, and cold, and I wanted a taste of something almost too rich to eat. Just then, my friend’s chocolate martini — a tiny one, for sure — would have been perfect.
That’s how I feel about Chopard Casmir. A daily diet of Casmir would burn out your nasal hair and leave you (and your bus mates) on the verge of nausea. But when the taste for something over-the-top rich and sweet hits, it’s hard to beat.
The jewelry company Chopard launched Casmir in 1991. Perfumer Michel Almairac developed Casmir, and the notes include mango, coconut, peach, bergamot, jasmine, geranium, muguet, amber, musk, vanilla, sandalwood, and patchouli. My overall impression is of amber, sweet tropical fruit, and vanilla.
Just as with the chocolate martini, Casmir is about overkill, only instead of liqueur it’s amber. Also as with the chocolate martini, Casmir isn’t particularly balanced. The only airiness I feel in the fragrance comes from the salty-scratchy texture of amber against the creaminess of vanilla, and the only contrast to vanilla and amber’s sugar is also sweet, but fruit-sweet. I don’t smell anything bitter or spicy to mix things up or cool them down.
Casmir isn’t about balance, though. It’s about gorging yourself sensually. Casmir is ideal when it’s cold out, you finally opened that old Barolo you hoarded, and you want to listen to Maria Callas while you shave truffles over risotto. Or, if like me the Barolo-truffle episode will have to wait until George Clooney begs you to manage his Lake Como estate, Casmir suits when you’re tempted to hole up and polish off a pint of Ben and Jerry’s while you watch Colin Firth as Darcy on a straight-through Pride and Prejudice marathon or a long night of screwball comedies.1 In short, Casmir is about excess.
Casmir is good value, too. One spray of the Eau de Parfum, or a few dabs of the Parfum, will last all day and have enough sillage to say hello to your coworker in the next cubicle. I wore a few drops of Casmir Parfum one cold day while I worked at a vintage clothing store and had one customer approach me with her turtleneck sweater rolled up over her nose. So be warned.
Really, though, if you’re in the mood for Casmir, who cares about those namby-pamby people who probably decorate all in beige and order their Thai food mild? They can go home and microwave their dinners and sit in their yoga pants while they watch boring TV. You, you’ll dig through your love letters, glass of wine in hand, and take advantage of a stereo's worth of songs to sing aloud with while you plot your genius next act. Really, life worth living is worth living to sensual excess. At least a couple of times a year. Casmir is good for that.
Although it’s getting difficult to find in stores, Chopard Casmir is still readily available online, where 100 ml bottles of Eau de Parfum sell for as little as $23. My Parfum mini is a lifetime supply.
1. I suggest starting with My Man Godfrey, then watching Dinner at Eight. If you need an extra spot of joy and you’re still awake, follow up with You Can’t Take It With You.