Akro Awake Eau de Parfum opens with photorealistic dark coffee, almost bitter before caramelizing, and being mixed with green cardamom and a hint of lemon citrus. For the first two hours, the cardamom ended up overwhelming the coffee, but then the coffee back as a soft diffusion of caramelized, nutty coffee and lingered for the remainder of the wear.
It is described as a look at “coffee through a concentrate of unstable energy that finds its power in bitter scents.” It is listed as having the following notes: Balkans Santos coffee, green cardamom, Italian lemon, Haitian vetiver.
It opened with dark, almost bitter, coffee that soon caramelized and became nuttier, more roasted, and aromatic. It was exactly as you’d expect from finely-ground espresso beans. The green cardamom added a subtle bite without distracting or pulling away from the coffee. A few minutes in, the lemon appeared with a slightly sweet-sour undercurrent that complemented the cardamom but again was calibrated enough to allow the coffee to be the star.
After a half hour, the green cardamom strengthened, which weakened the overall sense of roasted, nutty coffee, while the lemon was mostly gone. The coffee was more in the background, adding a haze of nuttiness but was less distinctive compared to the opening.
The warm, nuttiness of the coffee note became stronger and more assertive against the cardamom after 90 minutes of wear, which was a pleasant surprise. All the notes had dropped closer to my skin and were less intense than the opening, but the caramelized, nutty coffee now was a diffused haze over my skin with a touch of cardamom, which lasted through the drydown.
For testing, I used 1/3 of a 0.7ml sample vial dabbed to the underside and topside of my wrist area . I used an unscented moisturizer prior to applying the scent as I found scent did not hold well here otherwise.
I purchased my sample in January 2022; fragrances are known to be reformulated over their lifetime , so be mindful of when a review was made, e.g. a review from 2010 may not reflect what the same-named perfume smells like in 2022.
It lasted for five hours until it was a skin-scent and about eight hours before it was quite difficult to detect on my skin. The sillage and projection were moderate with the sillage dropping faster than the projection within the first hour of wear.
It reminded me of a less caramelized, less milky Kilian Black Phantom; the coffee in Awake is greener, more herbal, in a way. Awake didn’t have the same longevity on me as Black Phantom, and I enjoyed the milky quality of Black Phantom so that one wins out for me.
- 100ml for $160
- 0.7ml sample for $4