Comme des Garcons weren't kidding about the black thing. Their fragrance Black that came out last year is a dark and stormy night in the city. A city. Any city. There's urban smoke- birch tar and dirty black rubber, a tattered black motorcycle jacked, a well-worn pair of Doc Martens plowing through streets, cold air and anticipation, but also a promise of shelter and warmth once you reach your destination.
Black by Comme des Garcons is mostly a leather-incense scent that manifest itself very differently on people. When I first smelled it on a friend it I thought that Black belonged in Comme des Garcons Incense Series, as it smelled the way I imagine Nepalese temples to be. Exotic and meditative, uplifting and wafting towards the endless sky above the mountains. It was hard to believe that the same fragrance on the husband's skin translated as dirty as a back alley in a spice market. His skin chemistry connected Black to Serge Noire, a cumin-infused (he'd say cumin-infested) sooty black incense. My skin, though, amplifies all that is gourmand and sweet, making the licorice note a major star. I love the warmth created by licorice and black pepper, and the thickness they add to the incense, making it more corporeal and tangible.
Black fits these dark winter days and nights. It doesn't fight the melancholy but sort of accepts it, plays along with it, and soothes the heart without making a big deal out of it. It's a fragrance that lets you be, not making any false promises but delivers on every account. We all could use a bottle, or better yet, they need to run it through our water supply so we can bathe in it.
Notes: cedarwood, vetiver, leather, licorice, birch tar, pepperwood, black pepper, incense.
Comme des Garcons- Black ($100, 100ml EDT) is available from Luckyscent and Barneys.
Photo by Nic Leister, 2012