We review Coffee Break, a lavender-infused, vanilla-latte Eau de Toilette (EDT) for all genders from Maison Margiela’s REPLICA collection.
Maison Margiela is a French fashion house founded in 1988 by Belgian designer Martin Margiela.
It didn’t take Margiela long to make a name for himself as one of the most private and enigmatic players on the 1980s Paris fashion scene. He refused to take bowls at his live shows, shunning the spotlight and demanding that all interviews be taken by the design team together.
The house of Margiela, designer of haute-couture and ready-to-wear garments, bags, shoes, jewelry, and fragrances, celebrates the aesthetics of the unorthodox and embraces a philosophy that fashion is an artistic expression rather than a personality cult.
Maison Margiela fragrances are like everything else: unobtrusively authentic and deceptively simple recreations of past memories, a representation of how someone saw things at a particular time. You wear them not because they came from a particular designer or were concocted by a named nose—but because you want to wear it.
Today, Maison Margiela is part of fashion conglomerate OTB Group, the parent company of brands Amiri, Brave Kid, Diesel, Marni, Jil Sander, and Viktor & Rolf.
REPLICA Coffee Break
|Fragrance||REPLICA Coffee Break|
|Concentration||Eau de Toilette (EDT)|
|Family||Warm and spicy|
|Description||A floral and woody scent reminiscent of a cozy coffee shop in Stockholm, the capital city of Sweden.|
|Sizes||0.33 fl oz (10 ml), 1.01 fl oz (30 ml), 3.38 fl oz (100 ml)|
Denatured Alcohol, Fragrance, Water, Butyl Methoxydibenzoylmethane, Benzyl Salicylate, Benzyl Alcohol, Ethylhexyl Salicylate, Linalool, Limonene, Hexyl Cinnamal, Benzyl Benzoate, Benzyl Cinnamate, Geraniol, Isoeugenol, Tris (Tetramethylhydroxypiperidinol) Citrate, Cinnamal, Citral, Eugenol, Cinnamyl Alcohol, Coumarin, CI 15510, CI 60730, CI 14700
Source: Maison Margiela, last retrieved January 3, 2022
It’s a cold winter’s day, and you need a break from the hustle and bustle of midtown. So you sit down in a warm and cozy coffee shop to catch your breath and give yourself a break from it all.
Have a sip of the frothy latte. Take a bite of the flaky pastries fresh out the oven. After a while, you feel so good, you don’t want to leave. That’s what a good coffee shop does do you, and that’s what Maison Margiela’s Coffee Break skillfully replicates thanks to the alchemy of perfume.
With Coffee Break, a 2019 addition to the REPLICA collection of aromatic waters, Parisian designer house Maison Margiela—and French nose Jacques Cavallier—have done it again.
They’ve captured the olfactory experience of sitting in a lavender-perfumed coffee shop somewhere in Stockholm, Sweden, some time in the year 2007 so vividly, you can’t help but want to spray it, wear it, feel it, be it.
REPLICA Coffee Break lets you gorge on the aroma of latte and orange-jam pastry as fragrant lavender in a tall vase perfumes the air all around you. It’s so realistic, you can see the flowers in the vase. You can hear the coffee maker running. The ambient tunes playing from a speaker in the background.
The top notes are pepper, orange flower, and patchouli. The heart notes are lavender, cypriol, milk, tonka bean, and benzoin. The base notes are vanilla, cedarwood, and vetiver.
Perhaps it’s because I came in with different expectations for this fragrance, but REPLICA Coffee Break threw me off. And, curiously enough, it did so to the rest of the members of the Sterlish editorial team who got a whiff of it.
I mean, where’s the coffee?
For a fragrance called Coffee Break, I expected to get a strong hint of roast coffee beans. Of Italian espresso. Of New Jersey diner house filter coffee. And yet, I found that not to be the case. The coffee note, as a matter of fact, was barely there, and lavender prevailed!
If the combination of powdery lavender, woody patchouli, and earthy vanilla sounds appealing to you, the chances are high that this scent may just become love at first whiff for casual everyday wear in cold weather. If you don’t, stay as far away from this fragrance as you can.
In case you can’t decide or you don’t really know, definitely don’t buy REPLICA Coffee Break on the blind. Instead, try it out with a tester, a travel spray, a decant from a perfume subscription box.
This isn’t a full-bottle-worthy perfume for everyone, and the reason behind that boils down to this:
The powderiness of REPLICA Coffee Break cannot be understated. It is a clean scent, especially in the first ten minutes of wear. So much so that, at first, it reminded me of bubble bath and, to an extent, Johnson’s baby powder.
When the heart notes unravel, the floral, herbaceous notes of lavender and cypriol, accompanied by the resinous sweetness of benzoin, come in. An hour or so in, and the scent enters the dry-down with the base notes, earthy and woody, with a floral element throughout.
Lavender—a flowery, herbaceous, evergreen flower that normally makes for a masculine scent—has been blended cleverly with the cleanness of tonka beans’ coumarin, and the sweetness, earthiness, and woodiness of the base notes for a fragrance that’s particularly suitable for daytime wear in fall and winter.
Some find it so soothing, they even spray it on before going to bed. This is in no way surprising: A number of studies have found over the years that lavender essential oil has, as one team of researchers unequivocally put it, a “calming effect without producing sedation.”
It takes you to a higher state of mind, where the word “hustle” is nowhere to be found, and stress is virtually non-existent. And, I mean, who among us doesn’t want to be there—and stay there? That’s what can make this fragrance so addictive to those who love it.
As far as warm and spicy scents go, REPLICA Coffee Break is on the inoffensive side. When I wore it, I didn’t get the hungry wolf look from men or the death stare from other women. That said, some of you may find it too powdery to wear in confined spaces, such as on the subway on the way to work or in the conference room at the office.
In terms of descriptors, REPLICA Coffee Break is mild, but piquant. It’s lactonic, but powdery. It’s Starbucks latte-esque, but lavender floral-ish. A unique olfactory concoction that’s as androgynous as it is atmosphere-setting.
For an Eau de Toilette (EDT), REPLICA Coffee Break has good longevity. If you spray the scent on freshly bathed skin in the morning, it will last 4-5 hours before fading and needing to be reapplied.
You asked, we answered: Why some perfumes last longer than others
Similar to the rest of the fragrances from Maison Margiela’s REPLICA collection, Coffee Break sits close to the skin and fails to impress in sillage and projection. The sillage lasts for 1-2 hours, after which the scent is barely perceptible to others.
It helps if you spray the fragrance not just on your body, but also on your hair and/or clothing. If you’ve put on white or light-colored clothes that day, spritz with caution; REPLICA Coffee Break contains a number of pigments that may stain fabric.
Layer REPLICA Coffee Break with Vanilla Sky, an amber Eau de Parfum (EDP) for men and women, to create a unique gourmand fragrance that smells like vanilla cappuccino.
Combining Vanille Insensée, a sweet and woody vanilla Parfum by Atelier Cologne, with REPLICA Coffee Break, a warm and spicy Eau de Toilette (EDT), yields a dark, sweetly, vanilla coffee scent like no other.
To give REPLICA Coffee Break some booziness in what I can only describe as “Irish coffee with Irish cream” vibes, layer it with KAYALI Vanilla 28, a sweet and oriental Eau de Parfum (EDP) created by Huda Beauty with layering in mind.
REPLICA Coffee Break is available in three sizes: a 0.33 fl oz (10 ml) travel spray as well as a standard-sized 1.01 fl oz (30 ml) and 3.4 fl oz (100 ml) bottles.
The travel spray and the standard-sized bottle are both made of glass. Unlike the travel spray, the standard-sized bottle has no cap, only a plastic protector. For the same reasons, it isn’t suitable for travel or for carrying with you in a handbag.
If you travel frequently, and you already like this scent or you want to give it a try while on a trip, we recommend that you go for the travel spray. Otherwise, get the retro, apothecary-style bottle.
Buy the standard-sized bottle from Maison Margiela’s online store, and you can decide on the typewritten text on the cotton label yourself. (You can determine the text in the fields “Provenance and Period” and “Style and Description.”)
Read our guide: Which size perfume to buy?
Considering the scent, quality, and presentation, REPLICA Coffee Break is an affordable designer perfume that’s undoubtedly worth the price.
On the day of publishing this review, the 0.33 fl oz (10 ml) travel spray sold for $30, the 1.01 fl oz (30 ml) bottle for $72, and the 3.4 fl oz (100 ml) bottle for $135.
Like all fragrances in Maison Margiela’s REPLICA collection, Coffee Break is a genderless/unisex Eau de Toilette (EDT); it can be worn by both men and women.
Consider R.E.M. by Ariana Grande (for women), Rochas Man by Rochas (for men), Naxos from Xerjoff’s 1861 collection (unisex), and Maison Lavandes Trianon by Lancôme (unisex).
Don’t let the name fool you: REPLICA Coffee Break by Maison Margiela smells more like a cozy, lavender-scented coffee store and less like a warm cup of freshly brewed coffee. And that’s the very thing that makes it a great scent for cold days when you want to take a break—and feel cozy and relaxed.