It is the eve of Easter.
The holiday of The Passion, The Resurrection and the chocolate.
It is time to take a trip to maison Mademoiselle Ange, server of all things sweet.
Bubbling vats of caramel and chocolat await behind her pretty as a picture door.
On shelves in giant jars honeycombs are bathed in more honey, next coconut cremes, backcurrant straws with sherbert, pear drops and melon bon bons.
In the scarcely seen kitchen the hard pressed pastry chef whips Chantilly cream into concupiscent curls. The shop girl, whose heart crushes on him, adds vanilla essence with limp love-wearied hands.
Out front, beyond the brass rails, acres of marble and mahogany counter bear tartes of shortcrust and flaky bases and those bottomed with sponge that Anglo Saxons incorrectly call flan.
Everything seems drowned in confectioners’ custard, surmounted with exotic and out of season fruit or crowned with cocoa frills and dusted with icing sugar. Even maron glaces come in crinkled coats and sprinkled with sweet spices.
An indulged mouse, fat on unbaked batters and unwhipped creams, scampers confidently across the floor to a nest beside the hidden oven and its warmth.
The maitresse de maison catches your eye, steps forward, bobs a greeting and smiles a toothless smile, smearing chocolate hands against her straining stained apron as she does.
With a twirl and a curl of her fattened arm she gestures to the piece de resistence a triumph of the chocolatier’s art: an egg of cocoa and caramel three feet tall and two wide.
“Large enough to fit a child inside” she leers as she comes near, her own dark leafy odour now apparent.
The Mademoiselle gestures for you to take a seat.
Will you stay in this palace of sugared pleasures, its atmosphere all thick with fudge flavours and nougat notes?
Can you bear so much sweetness and heavy, heavy air?
Some souls you know will take their places and gorge an hour or three, gathering like-minded souls around them by the dozen.
Others will flee.
Finding something too cloying in this toffee- fragranced house of fancies to countenance too long.
And you? Which will you be?
Angel is the quintessence, the apogee, the very apotheosis of a certain kind of smell.
It is the Everest of candy store scents. The ultimate of confisserie patisserie perfumes.
That it is expert is beyond doubt, but whether it is art is moot.
Opening with an array of boiled-sweet notes: melon, coconut, mandarin, blackcurrant, red berries and a touch of Turkish-delight rose, there is a moment, a demi moment when all seems as though it could turn out fruity.
Then massive waves of vanilla, honey and mainly chocolate and caramel break, washing away most everything else in their crashing wake.
At this stage it is customary to bow down before the genius of the insertion of a brusque storm defence of patchouli and to dwell on the animalic undertow.
To my mind both are invariably over stated: false pseudo intellectual alibis for fragrance aficionados a little ashamed of their gargantuan and decayed sweet tooths.
This is ultimately an unabashed sugar festival that flirts half heartedly with darkness, but is no more than dark chocolate and salted caramel.
It is commonplace to state this scent is some sort of olfactory miracle.
If true then sadly angels are both everywhere and decidedly average these days.
Are the customers at this store exclusively female?
No not all.
And nor are the patrons of Amen’s coffee shop across the way just male.
The Perfumed Dandy.