Puredistance is stepping into unexpected new territory with Black, a dark and romantic fragrance created by perfumer Antoine Lie (whose work goes from bland mainstream to shocking-- Secretion Magnifique, but also Rien and Tom Of Finland for ELdO). The restrained elegance of their floral offerings (Puredistance I, Antonia, and Opardu) and the classic M didn't prepare me for Black, an oriental with an edge that could have come straight out of the labs at Amouage.
Puredistance is one of those super-luxurious (and hyper-expensive) European brands that my wild imagination associate withe jet-setting society families that have titles,yachts, and homes on various islands; some of them are related to Grace Kelly by blood or marriage, and they have the Hermes boutique on speed dial. But Antoine Lei takes Puredistance far from Monte Carlo, though the expensive booze is stashed safely in the Louis Vuitton trunk. Black is as thick and velvety as the night sky above the palace, spicy and sweet, with the glamour of faraway places that is never tainted by flying coach and dealing with the TSA.
Puredistance Black holds my interest from the very first second. A medicinal camphoric note there that lets you know that the raw materials here are real and uncompromising. Soon it becomes honeyed and steeped in booze, making the maybe-oud go down easily and deliciously. Perfumes of this kind, from Amouage to By Kilian often use their sillage to assert themselves as luxury. Not here, though, and as the press materials stress-- this is a feature, not a bug. And I have to say that I love it. Black is not exactly a skin scent but it lives and thrives on skin level; the emotional storm is very much there, manifesting itself for one's own personal pleasure for a full day and night, just without broadcasting it to the world.
Puredistance Black will launch next month in three sizes. The cheapest one, 17.5ml extrait is priced at $224 and will be available in the US from Luckyscent and MiN NY. The sample for this review was sent by the company.
Art: René Bull, illustration from the Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám (1913).