If I wasn’t an ice cream maker I would be a nose. I have always been tuned in to my sense of smell. It was actually because I had been pursuing a career in fragrance that I stumbled onto ice cream years ago, using it to carry essential oil scent like an edible perfume. I still think of ice cream as edible scent. Almost everything we add to our ice creams is perceived by your nose rather than your tongue—from high-quality milk and cream to aromatics like tiny just-picked strawberries, chestnuts, sun-popped corn, single-farm vanilla, and coffee.
I love hanging out in the scent department or a perfume shop. Though I suspect I’m just like you—even the word perfume can conjure images of cheap drugstore colognes or aggressively scented people in movie theaters or subways fumigating the whole place with their overpowering perfume.
It’s a shame so many of us file all perfume into that one category. Vanilla ice cream is an edible perfume! The scent of a lovely orchid is submerged in butterfat, released into your olfactory by the heat of your tongue.
Perfume and fragrance is a rich and complex world. Much like music, we play with notes and each combination has a different effect on different people. I am trying to shift the way you think of perfume. Yes, people do it inelegantly or too aggressively. But they do music this way, too, and it doesn’t make us hate Mozart. There is no such thing as disliking all perfume. And yet, I cannot tell you how often I hear someone shudder at the mention of the word. If that were the case, then a walk in the woods would not be tolerable to most of us.
I am trying to shift the way you think of perfume.
I love scents, and, just like you, I use my sense of smell to make discoveries and to think. I need clean air, and to be able to smell what’s floating around in it in order to assess where I am and to find inspiration. I follow my nose everywhere. I make scent impressions when I travel. And I never forget a scent.
Building perfumes is an incredible art and science. It takes a lot to build a successful fragrance—it’s scientific, artful, and emotional. So when the team at Estée Lauder called to ask if I was interested in a scent partnership, I jumped at the chance. And with one of their most amazing fragrances, too, Bronze Goddess.
Bronze Goddess. What a name! From the first whiff I was smitten. It’s composed of orange flower, jasmine, vanilla, lemon, bergamot, sandalwood, and coconut. But what hit me were the warm citrus notes that, when combined with all the other elements, are almost reminiscent of stone fruit, or a walk in the LA farmer’s market on Saturday morning. It is the perfect summer scent—bright, warm but almost weightless. And I can’t stop wearing it. It’s exactly what you should smell like in summer; it doesn’t smell perfumey, quite the opposite. And, it smells entirely edible.
So, yes! I made it into a sundae! Of course I did! And we will be featuring it in shops for the next month. I started with a Salty Caramel base. I felt that the nutty, slightly smoky notes of our fire-toasted sugar would stand in for hints of sandalwood and ground the whole thing. Then we top it with cherries cold-poached in orange blossom and peach essence, and added toasted coconut and then Honey-Whipped Cream. It is truly the incredible, edible version of the fragrance.
If you ever questioned how much of what we perceive is scent over flavor, then pop over to our shops to try this gorgeous sundae. It’s all about layers of scent. I have found that both men and women love it—you could think of it similarly to notes in a well-crafted cocktail. And these elements would surely work that way as well.
Since I came to the culinary world through scent, not through food like most, I love this collaboration. But I must also add that Estée Lauder is, in my mind, American royalty. Aerin Lauder positively defines American style. To be asked to partner with them is an honor that I am thrilled beyond words to have had!
We’ll be serving the Bronze Goddess Sundae at our Los Feliz scoop shop starting tonight (June 30), and then in shops nationwide on Friday, July 15. The limited-edition sundae will be available through Aug. 14.
Come hang with me Thursday night from 7-9 pm if you happen to be in Los Feliz, and I’ll see ya elsewhere after that!