AARON TERENCE HUGHES
Aaron Terence Hughes
I haven’t been the biggest fan of Aaron Terence Hughes, but Arabica is a big stand-out from the handful of fragrances that I’ve tried. The version reviewed is before the presentation change (I know all of his oud fragrances were reformulated around that time, but I’m not sure if Arabica changed or not).
Out of the five Aaron Terence Hughes fragrances I had, I instantly knew Arabica was the most special one. At first I wasn’t sure if it was something I would wear often though, but after a couple of wears, I can safely say it’s a favorite out of the bunch (Blood Orange, Oud, Tobacco Oud & Vanilla, Chocolate Rose & Oud). Arabica is, as the name suggests, a coffee fragrance and it does have a special coffee note, but it’s more than that.
The opening has one of the most interesting lavender notes I’ve come across; it’s a warm lavender if that makes any sense. The lavender is soft, but beneath it lurks a sharp and almost sparkling accord, that at first smells a lot like a Rum & Coke to my nose. On my first wear, I couldn’t let that connection go; now I still get it, but I can focus in on it being a coffee as well. The coffee here is unlike most coffee notes in fragrances; it’s not sweet or creamy. It’s a bitter, bright coffee and combined with that Rum & Coke vibe I get, it reminds me of a coffee with liqueur. No sugar, vanilla, caramel, chocolate or sweetness of any sort.I have no idea what the notes are, but I found Arabica to get quite spicey (more pepper or cinnamon, not so much the cardamom you get more often with coffee).
Although I haven’t tried them side by side, if my memory serves me right, I get a similarity to Casamorati 1888; maybe not in the exact scent, but definitely in filling the same purpose. It’s warm fragrance, perfect for colder weather, but because it has a certain brightness, it remains versatile. Finally, I get more of the sandalwood base, which isn’t the most interesting in the late drydown, however, with the number of hours you get from this one before it reaches that point, it’s not a big deal.
Arabica can easily be a comfort scent for me, although I have to be conservative with the number of sprays. It’s very powerful and that fizzy quality in the opening can be too much with heavy usage. The projection becomes more moderate after a while, but longevity is excellent and tee opening is nothing short of an attack on the senses.