puredistance : Black

Yves Saint-Laurent tuxedo (1966)

Yves Saint-Laurent tuxedo (1966)

Created by : Antoine Lie

Date : 2013

Genre : Oud vetiver

Concentration : Perfume (25%)

Oud is the new black, isn’t it?  From its ill-fated entry into western perfumery with Yves Saint-Laurent’s M7 (2002) through to its cumin-laced animalic glory in L’Artisan Parfumeur’s Al Oudh, it’s come a long way, baby!  Now we’re seeing it almost everywhere, although it seems to often appear in perfume names more than in the actual juice.

Puredistance’s Black is the opposite.  Oud is not in the name but it sure comes through in the juice!  As does vetiver, cardamom, patchouli and, in the drydown, a powdery musk that stayed on my shirt through a wash and dry cycle!  I thought Puredistance’s M was spectacular with their oud-leather accord but in Black, they have elevated oud from an almost cult scent to tuxedo-chic.  Antoine Lie calibrated the oud-vetiver accord with such precision, I couldn’t tell throughout the day whether it was oud or vetiver in the forefront.  But as soon as I put my finger on it, it seemed to switch.  People!  Perfumes don’t get much more handsome than this one.  Black’s longevity is excellent, my two sprays lasted throughout the day.

I loved wearing Black and I will wear it again and again.  I found this fragrance to be suitable for both men and women… say, in a classic tuxedo, or a simple, tailored wedding dress… or nothing at all.  This is one of the rare perfumes that won’t clash with nude.


Sycomore and Encre Noire : vetiver versus vetiver

Sycomore created by : Jacques Polge

Date : 1930/2008

Genre : Classy vetiver

Concentration : Eau de toilette

I’m new to vetiver in a sense because when I wanted that distinctive green woodsy scent, I simply wore Guerlain’s Vetiver.  I thought it was the ultimate vetiver with its clove note until I tried Lalique’s Encre Noire and then I got stuck on Encre Noire… for awhile.

Chanel’s Sycomore and Encre Noire are similar with Encre Noire being more bitter and more angular.  If you’re not a fan of a bitter vetiver, you should try Sycomore because it is rounder, slightly sweeter and more balanced.  It also smells richer and I suspect this is coming from iris butter.  I compared it to Chanel’s 28 La Pausa and the two share some DNA.

Sycomore is clearly the more refined of the two.  It’s what you expect from Chanel.  Encre Noire is slightly rough around the edges but lasts longer.  After 6 hours, Sycomore dries down to a musk while Encre Noire is bottomless… its heart hangs in there so much so that I wash it off before going to bed because I find it too invigorating.

Of the two, I prefer Sycomore (but only very slightly) although I wish it would last longer.  Both Sycomore and Encre Noire share the same heart or rather, like the Fridas, the same circulatory system.  Both are suitable for both men and women.

While rereading this post before publication, I realize that I’m not very passionate about vetiver.  It’s beautiful and I wear it often but it’s not a scent I get very excited about.  It’s kind of like a favourite sweater.  It goes anywhere and I never regret having put it on but it doesn’t make much of a statement for me.  It’s like a fallback scent.

Have a nice week everyone.

P.S.  Thanks to FiveOaks from Perfume of Life for this great post idea!

Image : Las Dos Fridas (1939) by Frida Kahlo

Lalique : Encre Noire

Created by : Nathalie Lorson

Date : 2006

Genre : Distilled vetiver

Concentration : Eau de toilette

When my downstairs neighbour Joanne told me that she had ordered brown granite for her new condo, I wasn’t particularly impressed.  I don’t really have much of a sense for those kinds of things… particularly in the kitchen.  For me, a laminate top is fine… and then I saw it.  It was beautiful… very, very chic.  Suddenly the kitchen seemed like a place where I’d like to hang.  At first it looked like just a shiny monochromatic brown surface but when I came up close to it, I saw so many lovely shades of brown.. as if different dark woods had been pressed together.  Only nature could have created such a thing of beauty!

When I wore Lalique’s Encre Noire, it reminded me of Joanne’s beautiful brown granite countertop.  There are no bright topnotes nor any grand flourishes… just a sultry vetiver heart that kept drawing me in as the day wore on.  I used to think that Guerlain’s Vetiver was the best around with its lovely clove note but this one is even more beautiful… simpler, more bitter and distilled… with a tailored feel to it.  If the soliflore genre exists in the vetiver world, this would be it… not a flower but a rich, dark wood.  Encre Noire reminds of Guerlain’s Mitsouko in that just when I thought it had disappeared and the show was over, it returned… lots of fun.

As much as I tell people to wear what they want, I would think that Encre Noire would be electric on a woman… understated, elegant and an aphrodisiac for the men around her… great dark scent.  Encre Noire is both topless and bottomless so there aren’t any fireworks nor surprises but it’s lovely.

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