Velvet Tonka by BDK Parfums

Hi Posse. I first tried Velvet Tonka by BDK Parfums at the Sydney Libertine release. It blew my mind and I asked for a larger sample to really spend some time to write. A boxed manufacturers sample popped into my hand, happy days. Well, I just found that little box fallen down behind my sewing machine, untouched. Well, all you northern hemisphere perfumistas will be excited. A super warm, near gourmand, vanilla rich, tonka perfume is exactly what autumn calls for.

Perfumer Alexandra Carlin has put her name to some famous frags including Amouage Beloved man, Honour woman and Honour 43 woman. She also did Diptyque Kyoto, upcoming Tonka Blanc for L’Artisan and about 85 other fragrances.

Velvet Tonka by BDK Parfums 2021

Velvet Tonka by BDK Parfums

Fragrantica gives these featured accords:
Top: Almond, Orange Blossom
Heart: Tobacco, Rose Oil
Base: Tonka Bean, Bourbon Vanilla, Amberwood, Amyris

Cool, sweet, almonds in nougat is my very first, fleeting impression. At Christmas we used to get nougat in our Santa Bags. Mum would put it in the fridge so it would be teeth shatteringly hard by lunchtime. It would crash and crunch in our mouth until the warmth crept in and everything became a gooey, nutty, sugary mess that we would suck on till it disintegrated and we would have to swallow. Part of our Christmas legend was that this is how it is in cold Christmas like in the movies. Gah! We felt like we were there.

Velvet Tonka by BDK Parfums

Velvet Tonka is sweet, it skirts the sinkhole of cloying without ever falling in. I’m thinking rich and thick are better descriptors. Without being obnoxious it’s a fragrance with presence and sillage. The heart and dry down are dominated by nut, vanilla and a caramelised tobacco. If you and sweet aren’t friends then this will probably be a scrubber.

Unisex but leaning heavily into what we expect to be marketed towards women. Projection and longevity are well above average. I can still smell soft wafts over 24 hours later. Obviously your mileage may very but a little goes a long way with Velvet Tonka. A good choice if you dislike the animalic labdanum in amber but love gourmand.

Perfectly named, Velvet Tonka wraps you in a warm blanket of fragrance.

Surrender To Chance has samples
I also loved their best seller Gris Charnel

Does Velvet Tonka sound like something you’d try or wear?
Portia x


  • Blanka says:

    I adore most releases by BDK. They have that je ne sais quoi. The drydowns especially seem to not have the bases that are over and over used in almost every single release these days. Especially on days when I smell fragrance after fragrance to write notes, theirs stand out after the strip sat on the table for an hour or two.

  • March says:

    Unlike Anita and some of the other commenters, I bet I would love this, that whole vanilla-almond thing. But I haven’t tried it, I’m sure Patty could hook me up.

  • ElizaC says:

    How does this compare to Aroma M Geisha Noire or Neil Morris Prowl? I love the rich ambers and Velvet Tonka sounds like it might have that same feeling to it.

    • Portia says:

      Hi ElizaC,
      I’m not knowledgable about those two particular choices, sorry.
      Velvet Tonka is rich but not dark. There’s little to none of that animalic presence that labdanum brings.
      Portia x

  • Maggiecat says:

    Well, I want to try it NOW, after your description! There’s a bitterness to some ambers as they dry down that doesn’t appeal to me – this sounds as if it might avoid that. So its going onto my list of “things I must try” forthwith.

  • Maya says:

    I think BDK Parfums are not for me. I tried Pas ?e Soir and Rouge Smoking and on me they are too corn syrupy sweet. Velvet Tonka would probably be the same.

  • Dina C. says:

    Too sweet for me, but I love your description and the story about your Christmas candy treat, Portia! That was charming and endearing!

    • Portia says:

      Thanks DinaC,
      Mum was really good at creating little moments. It’s weird because there were so many it takes a nudge to bring the more shadowy to the fore. She did her absolute best for us.
      Portia xx

  • MMKinPA says:

    Something I’d like to try. Sweet is an iffy feeling proposition for me, but I love the idea of almond nougat! Have not yet tried any BDK!

  • Tara C says:

    I love this one and bought a full bottle! Tonka, vanilla and almond are some of my most favorite notes. I also love BDK Gris Charnel and Rouge Smoking.

  • Musette says:

    aaagh! This sounds like my worst nightmare!

    Now. Watch me fall head over heels in love with it! LOL!


  • Kathleen says:

    I definitely sampled this one and enjoyed it. Your review is very much experience. It was very cozy and enjoyable; however, I never felt full bottle worthy. Perhaps too sweet territory for me? xoxo

    • Portia says:

      Hey Kathleen,
      Isn’t nice to get to the point in our hobby that “I like it” doesn’t necessarily mean you need a bottle? I’m still to get there.
      Portia xx

  • cinnamon says:

    Oh, lord, that sounds sublime. Perfect for cold, grey, dark. And nougat — love nougat. But not cold. I don’t have a vanilla, almond gourmand. But don’t think this line is here. Will have to look again.

    • cinnamon says:

      I lie. A couple of places in London have the house.

      • Portia says:

        YAY for London having all the things Cinnamon. I’m quite impressed with them and also have Creme de Cuir and Gris Charnel. They also have Rouge smoking that is long on my want list.
        Portia xx

  • alityke says:

    Looks like Tonka bean is having its perfume moment.
    You had me at almond nougat! How does this compare to the No d/ced PG Tonkamande? I’ve “lost” my bottle of that & might need a replacement. This sound like it could be it.

    You know you have a perfume problem when you “lose” bottles & samples at home.

    • Portia says:

      HA! Alityke, I hear your problem loud and clear.
      I have just grabbed my old bottle of Tonkamande and they are cousins, not siblings. You probably don’t need both unless you are a tonka aficionado.
      Portia x

  • Tom says:

    It could go either way, but I am intrigued..