(Written in December).

     Yesterday I saw a sight I’m sure you’re familiar with: a car bouncing along on the road, a tree strapped to its roof, protected from the scratchy needles by a cloth. The tree was, of course, freshly chopped from its roots, destined for a few weeks of tinsel and ornaments hanging from its branches until the faithful day when the presents it sheltered would be opened.

     I have written about Christmas trees before, namely in my review for the Luminessence candle in Pine. That one turned out to be far more cotton-candy than tree, but I digress. There was also WINTER from Dasein Fragrance, which combined the scent of a Christmas tree with fresh lavender.

     Cape Heartache is unlike either of those scents, because to me it smells like a very different type of holiday tree. I attribute this to creator Josh Meyer’s creative genius, as we’ve seen in reviews of his past work. Meyer places a unique signature on all of his scents, and they stand out from the crowd every time.

Imaginary Authors Cape Heartache

Imaginary Authors Cape Heartache

     Cape Heartache was released in 2013, and like other Imaginary Authors fragrances, has a story behind it:

Cape Heartache is the lone American contribution to Philip Sava’s wildly popular series of exploration novels. It is based loosely on an expedition he made to the Pacific Northwest as a teenager in 1881 and is generally regarded as the most candid of his works. Revolving around a homestead he built in a coastal grove of old growth trees, the novel documents his romance with a young woman who was a descendent of the Nehalem Indian Tribe. It’s themes of leaving the familiar and finding comfort and solace in a new place still resonate today.

     When you first spray this perfume on skin, you get a burst of sweet freshness, and then get hit with the signature ‘heat’ of the Imaginary Authors fragrances, a sort of blunt aroma of hot road. However, the way that Cape Heartache brings to mind Christmas is the unexpected dose of dark chocolate in the top notes, drizzled over sheets of pine needles like a decadent stroll in a forest. This chocolate is not an overly sweet one, and it’s not the main focus of the top notes, rather like a sort of delicious afterthought that adds festivity and charm. After a few minutes the composition shifts; your dreamy walk through chocolate and pine ends in a smoky cabin. Inside, a giant fir tree, covered head to toe in festive, old-fashioned decorations. It’s musky with a tiny hint of the earlier chocolate, and smoky like the remainders of a fire built on hand-cut wood. The dry-down, which lasts about seven hours, is essentially a mintier, more menthol-y version of the top notes. It is very, very pleasant.

     Verdict: Cape Heartache is a spectacular masculine for winter wear. With solid wear, Cape Heartache is a suitable option for all your holiday needs, or perhaps for those of you who can’t wait for December and hold your own Christmas in July. Interesting as always, Josh’s creation is an extravaganza of Christmas cheer and what you wish men smelled like. Recommended, 10/10!

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