Perfumer Mark Buxton tells us exactly where he was going with his 2009 Black Angel:
"An unexpected encounter in a NY night club. A radiant Angel dressed In black… breaking up the smoky atmosphere."
Black Angel aims for an unapologetic sultriness, and it certainly delivers for those of us who love ambery-patchouli perfumes that are not steeped in sugar. That's the thing about this Mark Buxton creation: it might not be the most original thing I've smelled, but it's so incredibly well-executed that Black Angel is a serious contender for Best In Class.
The fragrance opens far more zingy and fresh than I expected. The sharp ginger note takes me by surprise every time, even though I know it's there. You could say that Black Angel makes an entrance. While it's not my favorite part here, I do appreciate the way it slithers in and makes itself noticed. Soon after, it makes peace with the skin and develops a nice warmth, an abstract pulpy fruitiness that goes beyond the mandarin or orange I smell at first. The sweetness is implied without going the whole way in, and before you start thinking "fruitchouli" the perfume takes a turn towards the woody with a very sheer veil of smoke.
I'm not an aromachemical expert, but I'm willing to bet my wings that the base accord of Black Angel is built around Iso E Super. It has the familiar modern clean wood feel that keeps even the darkest notes from becoming too thick and murky. There's nothing perverse or weird about it, and it eases the way nicely towards a somewhat cleaned up patchouli. The modern lines that form the perimeter of Black Angel don't stop it from being quite buxomy and soft in exactly the right places. I'd say that this long-lasting pretty thing is an excellent date-night perfume that sends the right message without crossing any lines. Now, to find the dress that goes with it...
Notes: mandarin, ginger, jasmine, orris, styrax, patchouli, amber.
Mark Buxton Perfumes- Devil In Disguise ($195, 100 ml EDP) is available from BeautyHabit and directly at markbuxton.com. This review is based on a PR sample.
Image by the one and only Rene Gruau.