Laurence Dumont Les Senteurs Gourmandes Tendre Madeleine ~ fragrance review


Les Senteurs Gourmandes by Laurence Dumont is one of those lines that often slips my mind for no particular reason. It used to be stocked at Sephora, where I have a hard time concentrating anyway (due to the crowds, the glaring lighting, and the loud music), but it's not there anymore; and when I do spot this brand somewhere else, I briefly wonder, who exactly is Laurence Dumont? and, am I really in the mood for vanilla today? before my attention wanders elsewhere. Well, I actually am in the mood for gourmand fragrances this fall, and now that I've sampled a few fragrances from the line, I've found myself enjoying them.

My current favorite from Les Senteurs Gourmandes is Tendre Madeleine, part of the brand's "Childhood Memories" fragrance family. Tendre Madeleine is described as "sweet, warm, and gourmet, a tempting treat  from morning till night," and its notes are listed as bergamot, cannelle [cinnamon], almond, vanilla, white musk and precious wood. Like many of this line's fragrances, Tendre Madeleine is indeed dessert-inspired, but it's soft and light enough to be wearable in most situations. It begins as a dusting of spice, just as much nutmeg as cinnamon, over a buttery sponge cake. There's a suggestion of candied orange from the bergamot. The almond-marzipan note does have a hint of the so-called "Play-Doh" effect, but that's something I enjoy in small quantities. The vanilla becomes most noticeable on its own in the late dry down.

I haven't tasted an actual madeleine in a while; I do remember the dessert being less spicy than this scent, but perhaps that depends on the recipe. The overall impression is right, because the little madeleine cake is a small indulgence, just a few bites of sweetly simple flavor and texture. This is also a snuggly comfort fragrance; it's neatly blended and stays close to the skin, so that I don't feel like I'm wearing an obvious homage to baked goods. Overall, Tendre Madeleine does bear a resemblance to another fragrance, L de Lolita Lempicka — it has a similar mix of orange, spice, and vanilla — but it sits more easily on me. Something about L de Lolita Lempicka's bergamot-sandalwood combination has always reminded me of a certain small gift shop in Philadelphia's Chinatown, where the smell from a large display of boxed incense sticks made me feel a bit queasy as soon as I entered. Tendre Madeleine seems much gentler and more wearable to me.

Les Senteurs Gourmandes Tendre Madeleine

I've had fun trying a few other fragrances from Les Senteurs Gourmandes, including Vanille Bourbon and Vanille Chocolat (the latter seems like a lighter take on Angel). The line is nicely affordable, and most of the fragrances would be suitable for any age group, teens and upward, as long as the person has a craving for some sweet notes.

Laurence Dumont Les Senteurs Gourmandes Tendre Madeleine is available in 50 ($35) and 100 ($50) ml Eau de Parfum, with a matching shower gel ($16) and body milk ($20), at Beautycafe and Lushoasis.

Note: top image is Madeleines [cropped] by SimonDoggett via flickr; some rights reserved.

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  1. Owen says:

    I don’t know why gourmands are supposed to bring you back to childhood ? they don’t with me and I love sweet chocolaty scents.

    • Jessica says:

      You know, I’m not sure either. My childhood-memory scents would be something other than chocolate and vanilla. And I certainly eat just as many sweets now as I did when I was a child!

      • Absolute Scentualist says:

        Jessica, I have to agree. For childhood frags, Demeter seems to hit the mark more with me as I think of grass, Play-Doh, going berry picking and running around in our swimming suits during thunderstorms as moments with long lasting smell impressions. The only lingering sweet memories I have are around Halloween and Thanksgiving, as I always loved my Aunt Judy’s peanut butter fudge. If they could bottle that one, I’d be sold! :)

        • Absolute Scentualist says:

          Of course, it just occurred to me that even if a perfumer’s imagination briefly touched on the very notion of peanut butter in frags, the IFRA would probably burst through their door and disappear into the night with all his or her supplies just as a sensible precaution for the benefit of the poor, put-upon public all us insensitive perfumistas assault daily with our Guerlains, Serges, Montales and Carons. :)

          • Jessica says:

            hah! :)

          • KRL says:

            P & J Sandwhich scent anyone?

  2. Bear says:

    L de LL is one of my favourites, perhaps immortelle (the maple syrup fenugreek smell) is what you dislike.
    Did you try this @ the KofP Sephora?
    That place is always crowded!

    • Jessica says:

      Hi, Bear! Maybe it *is* the immortelle… although I do like immortelle in ELd’O Like This and Annick Goutal Sables. I think it’s just the way certain notes are combined.
      I try to shop at various Sephoras in Manhattan… most of them are noisy and crowded, and the testers are often dirty or missing, alas!

  3. dee says:

    Jessica, I think it’s great that you reviewed this today!

    I’ve been wearing TM quite a lot lately—layering it with other things, and is my first gourmand fragrance (other than say, L’Heure Bleue).

    It seems to accentuate the smoky incense in Ambre Fetiche, and of course adds a layer of coziness to already sweet frags like Ode a la Vanille. It’s fabulous with Safran Troublant, and Champagne de Bois too! :)

    • Jessica says:

      Dee, the timing just seemed right for this one! I like Safran Troublant, too… and I agree that some of the scents in this line are simple enough to work well as “layers”!

    • dee says:

      … Since I originally added my two cents, I’ve been dousing myself in TM every night before bed. It’s a magically delicious sleep potion. :)

  4. RusticDove says:

    I’m happy you reviewed this Jessica – I’ve never heard of the line and this sounds worth a try! If it ends up working for me – it’s a nice cheap thrill, which is always a good thing. :-)

    • Jessica says:

      Rusticdove, The price is very reasonable, I think! For someone looking for an all-purprose true, rich vanilla, for example, their Bourbon Vanille would be a good pick, without having too much money.

  5. Jill says:

    Jessica, I’m so glad you reviewed this — I’ve had it for over a year now and really enjoy it! I also seem to mention it a lot to people as a great affordable comfort scent. Your comparison to L de Lempicka is right on — I find it easier to wear than L as well, though they are similar, and L does have an “incensy” component that TM does not.

    • Jessica says:

      Jill, I’m glad I finally devoted time to trying a few scents from this line! I think they’re nicely done; they’re affordable, and they deliver on their promise, and they’re easy to wear but they don’t smell like every single thing at the department store fragrance counter!

      • Jill says:

        Very true on all counts! Did you like the Vanille Bourbon? I enjoy that one too.

        • Jessica says:

          Jill, I do like that one a lot! I’m making a mental note of it, for future vanilla recommendations. I also like Vanille Violette.

          • Daisy says:

            oooo I would like to hear more about Vanille Violette!!!

    • boojum says:

      I’ve seen you recommend this several times, and it always sounds fantastic… but I never see it anywhere. So it lingers on the “some day” list, although the comparison to LdeLL puts me off a bit. I wanted to love that one (the bottle!), but really disliked it.

      • Jessica says:

        Boojum, I have to confess that I bought L de LL unsniffed, just for the bottle. I still love the bottle, but I really don’t wear the fragrance very often…

  6. AnnS says:

    Jessica: normally I don’t care for gourmands, but your review is sure making me hungry, lol! This sounds very tempting to test. Yum!

    • Jessica says:

      AnnS, I used to be a big gourmand wearer… some really heavy-sweet things like Exact Friction of the Stars and Keiko Mecheri Loukhoum. I still have my gourmand moods, and I’m in one of them this month!

  7. Valkyrie says:

    This one is lovely, but a little too perfumy for my taste with the citrusy opening and musky drydown. I want a realistic almond cookie. I keep meaning to try Carol’s Daughter’s Almond Cookie that supposed to be dead on cookie.

    Sweet smells are often evocative of childhood for me. I would make almond crescent cookies and gingersnaps every Christmas with my mother. My mom drank banana whey protein shakes for breakfast and Amarinthe reminds me of those.

    • Jessica says:

      Those are nice sweet-smell memories!
      Have you ever tried Acqua di Parma’s Mandorlo di Sicilia? It has a bit of an anisey note, as well, but it’s a great fragrance for an almond mood.

    • Daisy says:

      Valkyrie—you may want to try Mazzolari Alessandro or Guerlain 180 Ans…..both almond cookie delights!

  8. KRL says:

    I was just thinking, if the creator had a childhood in a European city, this is very likely to be a scent the recall wafting from the countless bakeries that come out with fresh, doughy, melt in your mouth goodness every morning. It’s had to walk a block without seeing (or smelling one). Whereas in the US, it’s just not as common. When I was a kid, there was a WonderBread factory that I had to pass on my walk home after school. I cannot tell you how wonderful that smell was…

    • Jessica says:

      KRL, There’s nothing better than the smell of an actual bakery! During college, I lived near an Italian neighborhood that had a few bakeries, and their smell at night was wonderful. Baking bread has been one of my favorite smells ever since!

  9. Daisy says:

    Jessica, I’m so glad you reviewed this today ! I love TendreM. —delicious and comforting, really a great choice when you need a good solid hit of yummy vanilla. This line seems to fly under the radar most of the time and it’s nice to see it get a shout out.
    I’ve not tried the Bourbon Vanille…but now I’m gonna have to. :-)

    • Jessica says:

      Hi, Daisy! I’ve known *about* this line for a while, so I’m glad I finally tried it and reported back on one of its scents! Since you asked about Vanille Violette above… it seems like a Lipstick Rose “Lite” to me, which is not a bad thing! (That reminds me, I promised Robin a review — more like an “appreciation” — of Lipstick Rose ages ago… need to focus on that soon!)

  10. Trish says:


    I’ve wondered who Laurence Dumont was as well!
    I too enjoy that play-doh accord, heliotrope sometimes reads that way for me. Thanks for bringing this line back into my radar.


    • Jessica says:

      Trish, I love a good heliotrope note once in a while! This line does deserve a little more attention, since people are always looking for good (and affordable) gourmands. :)

  11. bowbat says:

    Nice review! I picked up a bottle of this and the Vanille Bourbon when they were on HauteLook for $15/each. I find them both to be really nice and wearable, although the lasting power (on me at least) is crap. Also, the Vanille Bourbon to my (really, really untrained) nose smells very much like Comptoir Sud Pacifique Vanilla Abricot — which is great because that was an old favorite of mine.

  12. AStern says:

    Just an FYI, these are now on sale at HauteLook for $25. This cold dreary day has me searching for some sweet comfort. After reading this review, I think I know what I need! ;)

    • Jessica says:

      A, That is an excellent deal! Thanks for spreading the word.

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