a journey of the senses by FLACONNEUR
BLACK – 2013 – ♂♀
Notes: Envision, Smell, Feel. Don’t analyse.
Perfumer: Antoine Lie
Price: $225 for 17.5ml bottle
Black by Puredistance is the creation of French perfumer Antoine Lie. Lie has put his talents to good use with the creation of Wonderwood by Comme des Garçons and Divin’ Enfant by Etat Libre d’Orange, just to name a few. His newest endeavor is based on a concept created by Puredistance’s founder Jan Ewoud Vos. The idea was to create a delicate perfume that lay close to the skin. According to Vos, Puredistance’s newest perfume also needed to possess a sensual quality that released the layers of the scent in quiet whispers, without shouting. As part of the back story for Black, Vos included images of famed rocker legend David Bowie and the renowned actor Jeremy Irons in the visual brief for Antoine Lie. Both the musician and actor had qualities that mirrored Vos’s concept for this new perfume. He feels that David Bowie’s elegant and mysterious character and Jeremy Irons’ darkly humorous and charismatic manner are appropriate inspirations for Black the perfume. I believe that Lie successfully completed the task set out by Vos but regrettably, Black is perhaps a bit tongue-tied.
I guess you could conceive Black as an masculine oriental of sorts. This seems to be the intent of its creator and somewhat consistent from other fragrances I’ve sampled from Antoine Lie. You can’t help but think that Lie’s signature will influence an integral part of Black’s character, whether you like Lie’s work or not. Black opens with a flick of bright, juicy citrus. The perfume abruptly shifts to an acute sharpness that tickles the nose, the likes of pink peppercorn or black pepper. Off putting but interesting when combined with a subtle eruption of a soft creamy vanilla or tonka bean accord. This slightly sweet note tempers the peppery sharpness and is a wonderful transition to more conventional coziness to come. The heart of Black is structured around warm and comforting amber woven with smoky frankincense. Like a trusty hat and scarf to keep your head and neck protected, amber does an equally adequate job of keeping the heart of Black warm and fiery. As Black’s heart progresses, you are taken on a journey over blackened, pebble smooth roads filled with complex twists and turns, traveling through a forest of smoke and sensual woods. This warming sensation is quite memorable and fortunately continues on to the base of Black, where one or two new aromatic woody notes are introduced. Black’s base is layered with residual amber, spice and smoke as a touch of saffron appears. The base is further complicated by a delicate oud, light in nature and complimented with earthy patchouli. Last but not least, an animalistic musk gives Black its mysterious human characteristic.
I will admit that Black has lived up to the conceptual ideal of “layers” successfully. Black’s lay-low disposition however, extinguished any excitement created by the evolution of this perfume. Black has some interesting elements; spiciness, a warming quality, a composition of lovely woody accords and a slightly smoky overtone. What’s not to love? While enjoyable, Black it is not as extraordinary as Puredistance’s other offerings; Annie Buzantian’s Antonia or Roja Dove’s M. The latter are examples of very well composed and memorable perfumes. You might find yourself picking either of them up, removing the cap just for a quick heavenly sniff. I don’t find myself intrigued enough with Black to revisit it in the same way you might a favorite book. I find that Lie’s creation is very similar to several other of his perfumes. Like many perfumers, Lie has a signature that is all too apparent in Black. While it is composed of 25% perfume oil, I also find the longevity of Black questionable. Its subtle and discreet nature made it forgettable to my nose after about an hour. I had to remind myself that I put it on. For me, Black is a very well composed skin scent. Again, not as enamoring as any of the other offerings I’ve experienced from Puredistance. While a mysterious, quiet and sensual nature seemed to be the objective of Puredistance’s founder, it certainly does not translate well in value. I’m sure that Black will find its place within the Puredistances collection, and I understand why Vos perhaps felt this profile was necessary to round out their collection. Black does possess a mysterious, sensual demeanor, but it’s a sly cat or sorts.